I used to weigh over 300 lbs.
I am now a 5 year NASM certified fitness trainer with multiple specialties. They include body shaping, muscle gain, athletic development, and training those with contraindications ( physical and physiological limitations). But before all of this, I was morbidly obese. And even though weighing over 300 lbs. was new to me, I love to eat and my weight has been a very real struggle my entire life.
My 150 lb. Weight Gain & Loss
I was an analyst at Home Depot’s corporate office in Atlanta, Ga. 2008. Life was looking great for me as a 24 year old. One fateful day I received a call from my sister that my parents never showed to her apartment in Toledo, Oh to visit and deliver our infamous taco salad fixings. The next call was that my father was murdered and mother clinging on to life.
Long story short: I resigned from HD, moved back to Cleveland to care for my widowed mother. In the process I became her guardian. Depression + Seclusion (she needed 24 hr. care) = lack of activity of any kind, emotional eating, and 150 lbs. of weight gain.
Did I Not See 150 lbs. Piling Up?
I’m not sure. I was operating on a curve. What I was eating is incredulous. A family sized Stouffers frozen meal for me was like a snack. It with a large bag of Ruffles and Lay’s ranch dip was a meal. Add the empty Calories from juice, trips to Olive Garden, frequently making my homemade mac & cheese, I created a very unhealthy lifestyle for myself and my mother. But we both found comfort in food.
I Lost My Weight in Steps
Step 1: Losing A LOT of Body Fat Relatively Quickly
For me, I needed a surefire way of losing weight, body fat preferably, that I could stick to. And, it had to work with limited exercise as my mobility was limited. I’ve done the ketogenic diet before. I was aware of how it works and that it worked. Over 100 lbs. was lost for me and others I’ve helped going low carb.
Step 2: Gradually Reintroduce Carbs
I like to eat, remember? And I like good food. That includes carbs. The goal was to introduce healthier carbs/carbs in healthier portions vs. just going back to the habits that led to the weight gain. All while still eating to burn body fat. Granny Smith apples were my friend. A little rice hear and there. Beans. Berries. Cashews! You do not leave the ketogenic diet after weight loss and shop McDonald’s meal menu. Please!?!?!
Step 3: Mix Things Up with Shakes/ Avoid Muscle Atrophy
A HUGE benefit of the ketogenic diet is that it is a fat burning diet. It was tough initially I will admit, but I could tell that I was losing fat and keeping muscle. That’s just the truth. I’ve done the low Calorie, low fat diet before but I felt less toned and my athletic strength plummeted. With that said, I was ready to leave ketosis and eat tacos, pizza, spaghetti, etc. Eating these things meant meal balancing and Calorie mindfulness became exponentially more important (because these indulgences can really get away from us!).
Shakes such as SlimFast Advanced Nutrition High Protein and ViSalus Vi Shape Weight Loss Diet Nutritional Shakes helped! Adequate lean protein and healthy carb amounts are required to maintain lean muscle and not burn it over fat. Nutrition meal replacement shakes are low Calorie, high protein, high fiber, calcium, are fortified, and allowed me to somewhat indulgent with my tacos!
Step 4: Start Enjoying Normal Food in a Balanced Way ( Like Weight Watchers)
After all the dieting and shaking is done, the return to normalcy is maybe the most important. How can I eat normal, everyday food, but just in a healthier way?
My Story: (Short Version)
Between the years of 2008 and 2010 I gained 130 lbs. I found comfort and solace in food after losing my father and becoming the long-term caregiver for my mother due to a heartbreaking family tragedy (My mom suffered a TBI, rendering me her legal guardian). For those 2 years, I was divorced from life, and married to responsibility, depression, and eating.
But, a relocation back to Atlanta brought about some unsuspecting changes. Hope. I was BLESSED to have an old friend who just happened to move into the same building, in the same part of town, at the same time as my mom and I. Inevitably, he saw my weight gain and embraced with compassion and support. We walked almost every day to Piedmont park Midtown Atlanta.
That and ketogenic dieting lost me 60 lbs. 40 more lbs. were lost ketogenic dieting but with us in the gym. I was a tailback in HS, ran the 400 and 800 in track, and played HS and college tennis. So I knew my way around the gym. Who fully supported my diet choices (low carb). With that said, after a year friends and family who supported me were now coming to me for weight loss and training help. And I wasn’t even a trainer.
A great friend, who also witnessed my progress and was like minded in fitness, suggested turning this journey into a profession. Together we both became NASM certified professionals. I will stop here and say the rest is history. My specializations, chosen based on my experiences and passions are:
- Weight Loss and Nutrition
- Body Fat Loss
- Non-Dieting Weight Loss
- Toning and Figure Shaping
- Muscle Growth
- Sports and Athletic Training
- Gym and Out-of-Gym Personal Training
- Training for those with Physical Limitations
- Building Better Habits Moving Forward
Benefits of an Athletic Improvement Specialty
Did You Know? Tennis is a mostly anaerobic sport, not cardiovascular. Training for athletic improvements in tennis requires resistance, SAQ (speed, agility, and quickness), core, balance, power, and plyometric training. This is my passion and specialty. Serious tennis players train like football players.
Dietary speaking, I specialize in and advocate Ketogenic and Paleo Diets, as well as modified eating habits aka learn how to eat what you want just in a healthier way. All have a basis in eating for insulin regulation.
Modified eating habits deviates from strict dieting and deprivation, focusing on how to choose balanced meals for weight maintenance. This is generally done by controlling portion sizes, unhealthy carbs, and consuming enough protein. This is my Protein, Portion, and Carb approach
If you’re in Atlanta looking for training, consulting, help, feel free to contact me at email@example.com or posting a reply to any page. If you have questions or seek advice, please post or reply to any page on this site. I look forward to hearing from you!