I am part of a great Facebook group (The Ms. Fits), and one thing the moderator often reiterates to the members is that there is no special pill, magic shake, miracle machine, mystic meal plan or instant diet solution that will get you to where you want to be with your health and with your body. It comes down to hard work. I cannot tell you how true this is! The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that sells those very pills, shakes, machine, meals and instant solutions. This very much appeals to our cultural and societal tendencies (get it quick and without much sacrifice) but they are really only putting a band-aid on the symptom of a problem that can only be resolved with a signifiant lifestyle change.
A huge, sacrificial, against-the-grain, out of the box, difficult, challenging, not easy, people-might-make-fun-of-you, sometimes misunderstood lifestyle change.
That brings me to the Shalisha. I met Shalisha in November of 2014 when we moved to Northwest Arkansas. She’s a busy wife and mom of 2 beautiful girls, wakes up early, works, takes care of her family and is involved in many aspects of our church. But she wanted to add one more thing to her plate. She told me she wanted to get started on a lifestyle overhaul. And guess what? She made it happen. After the flurry of the 2014 holidays subsided, she made sure she knew what time I was going to the gym and was always there waiting. Sometimes she was rushing there after work. Sometimes she barely squeezed it in. But she was nothing less than consistant. While we were huffing and puffing, sweating and working, she would pick my brain about eating, about cardio, about weightlifting, about running, about anything and everything that pertained to her lifestyle change. And that’s what she kept calling it. A lifestyle change. She has told many people that she is not on a diet. And she’s NOT! She has used a tried and true method to reach her goals. And this girl has goals! But enough about my side of the story…I asked her about her experience and this is what she had to say.
When did you start your journey to a healthier you?
Jan 15th, 2015.
Did you have any specific goals in mind when you started?
Yes! To eat healthier, to turn fat into muscle, feel better, have more energy and lose at least 20 lbs was my first weight loss goal.
Tell me a little bit about where you are now in regard to those goals.
I have cut my portions and have a lot less sugar intake (unless it is fruits/natural sweeteners). I do a lot of meal prepping. That alone helped a lot and then I started working out with you. When I started, I had never done a sit up, push up, had, like, zero flexibility. All I had ever done in the form of exercise was Leslie Sansone “Walk Away the Pounds” and some light jogging. In just a few months of working out with my friend, I can do so many different things! Sit ups, push ups, BURPEES, etc. I love seeing and feeling my muscles develop, I LOVE feeling stronger, breathing better, sleeping better and I celebrate every little victory! I have lost over 17 inches and 20 pounds…and that is with zero supplements, shakes, starving myself…etc. I still enjoy the occasional ice cream sundae with my kiddos. But I just make conscious choices about what I am going to eat, when I’m going to eat and how much. I am so happy to have met my first goal and now I am ready to lose my next 30 pounds! And I want to gain more muscle and strength.
That’s so much progress! What were the most important things you did to get you to where you are right now?
Meal prepping and exercise. Not just cardio stuff but actual exercise. And staying consistent. Even if you can’t go to the gym, do HIIT type workouts at home! It only takes like 30 mins.. and it is so worth it! Also measuring AND weighing. Sometimes the scale can be discouraging – but if you are measuring you will see that the inches are falling off 🙂
What was your relationship like between your self-image and your eating habits?
I was a really bad stress eater… I was always eating! Especially candy/chocolate. Food had become a comfort that was actually killing me. I hated the way my clothes fit, hated that I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t even bend over to buckle my shoes.. ugh!! I had aches and pains, felt very self conscience & depressed which in turn, made me just eat more!
What about now?
Oh my goodness.. even though I have only lost 20 lbs.. I feel SO much better physically and emotionally. I stop and THINK about everything I put in my mouth.. I feel so yucky now if I give myself an “off” day so those are getting few and farther in between. I love that my clothes are fitting better, I can buckle my own shoes… I feel so good when I exercise. It is the best stress reliever ever – besides prayer! It is amazing what a difference it makes on your whole outlook when you start paying attention to how you are treating this temple (our body).
That’s an outer and inner change! Amazing! How often do you work out or like to work out?
I like to go to the gym at least 3 times a week, sometimes 4 times. But if I can’t fit that in, I at least do some kind of exercise at home. My husband laughs at me and says I never relax! When we are in the pool I make it count, when I am doing housework, I make it count! I lunge it up and squat all over the house! You really can add it in everywhere. I am a busy mom! I have do what I can when I can!
What exercise or workout do you hate?
Jump squats, inch worms, scissor lunges Love? Oh my goodness I love so many!!! I love feeling the BURN! I love planks, lunges, wall balls, push ups, dead lifts, sumo squats, burpees (yes I really do like them.. I like the challenge). I think the hardest part for me still is trying to do all those as fast as I can without stopping.. but, I will get there 🙂
What’s your motivation for continuing to change your lifestyle?
ME. I need to do it for myself first and foremost. And then my family. I want to be a healthy wife & mother. I also do it because I feel like God wants us to take care of ourselves.
That’s so true! Have other people noticed your new choices?
Ummm, YES! After the first 2 months, everyone started noticing my weight loss. My little girls love to work out with me. My oldest likes to play my conscience! If I start to even think about making a bad choice, she will say “Mom, are you supposed to eat that? Is that healthy for you?” Ha! Hopefully I am teaching her to make those wise choices also.
You’ve come so far and for some people, they think that those goals are out of reach. What advice to you have for someone who wants to get started?
Just start!!! Don’t put it off! Don’t keep trying to plan for the right time to start, just start! I mean you do have to plan. When I started I did all the meal prepping…but I had been putting that off forever. I finally just said “Today is the day!” And don’t look back.. It is not a diet. It is a lifestyle change. I always fail at diets. But I have not failed at this! I will never eat the way I have for the past 30+ years again..My life has changed and continues to change on a daily basis!
As you continue on this path, do you have new/different goals for the remainder of the year?
Oh, yes! I will drink more water! I am going for another 30 pound loss. I will perfect my form on a lot of the workouts that I do as I gain more strength & control. I want to lift weights this year. I will do a *real* push up. and I want to lose a few more dress sizes!
So there you have it – this woman has done some amazing things! She was generous enough to share some photos that show what the last 6 months of work have done. Here’s the proof, people!
*Much thanks to Shalisha for taking the time to answer my questions and for letting me post this for the world to see! You rock! Love you, girl!