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Transformation Tuesday: My Five-Week Journey


I'll give you a brief backstory for anyone just tuning in.

My life essentially imploded starting in July of 2018. This makes for the worst movie you've ever seen. My mom died, my grandmother died, family drama over material goods, my father was in the hospital twice, our family's dog died, I switched jobs, and my son ended up in the hospital for a week which also just happened to be his birthday and Thanksgiving. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm extremely uncomfortable sharing my personal life with anyone, especially thousands of people. I hate the "sad eyes" people give me when they ask how I am even though it's well-meaning. I hate attention or a spotlight on me. That's why you see so much more of Cassie than you do of me on our social media, but this is my thing and my journey I've chosen to share, so here I am. I am not one of those people who get sad and just can't eat. I comforted myself and cultivated my deep depression that I didn't even know I was in, by eating bad food and completely stopping my steady exercise routine. I am not, nor have I ever been, an overeater. I am extremely well-versed in nutrition, my husband maintains a healthy lifestyle and does all our cooking (well, most), and in general, I really try to make sure we keep snack food and junk out of the house. It wasn't about that. It was choices. My sad, lazy ass didn't feel like cooking or waiting for him to cook, so takeout, it was. And bad takeout. Bad, unhealthy choices...every.single.time! Couple that with completely halting your generally active fitness routine and bam! You gained 40 pounds...or at least I did. I hit rock bottom when my biggest "comfiest" jeans wouldn't close anymore and looked down and said, oh, I guess I've gained some weight.

Enter Iron Plate Studios.

I met with Kristin, told her my story, we created a plan, and then I took action. I was (and am) fully committed. This is how I operate. I make a decision, get ready mentally, and commit. I did this when I quit smoking a million years ago, when we started our Paleo lifestyle pre-kids, when I put off not trying to get pregnant, and even some career decisions. Kristin did an evaluation of me, my weight, my measurements, my goals, my commitment level and created a plan. My personal plans involves me with my trainer, Merisa, twice a week for an hour each session, plus a minimum of 4 days a week cardio, but I've been exceeding that, we recently decided it was essential for me to add in yoga also (Thanks, Urban Souls for being new and convenient to my commute!), and a 1500 calorie a day diet.

I eat very specific and very clean, but I eat in a way that is sustainable and not a passing fad that will set me up for failure down the road. Yes, I can eat fruit, just minimally to avoid all that extra sugar. Yes, I can have carbs, just smart ones. It's not about the calories as much as it is about learning portion size, weighing my food before I eat it, understanding how macros work, and balancing my diet accordingly. I don't use words like "diet", it's my lifestyle and I just eat really freaking healthy.

I had a bad weekend on Mother's Day. I wound up more affected than I thought I was and spent the day in bed feeling sorry for myself and eating complete shit and watching tv. I didn't work out, plus I had a cold or allergies or something which didn't help the situation (or the excuses to get on the Peloton). I beat myself up tremendously for it even though I got back on the saddle the next day and still managed to lose a pound that week. I couldn't believe it! I'm still pissed at myself because NOTHING I ate was worth it. Nothing! I was so committed and just let food be in charge of me which really pissed (and honestly, still does!) me off!

I felt a little sad this past weigh-in because I had a mental weight loss goal that I am not at yet, but Kristin reminded me exactly how well I am actually doing and to not focus on arbitrary numbers that at the end of the day really are not much. It's a three pound difference. I got measured yesterday for the first time in five weeks and am down 7 inches. And most of that is in my waist which is my largest problem area.

Kristin and I meet weekly to discuss my progress. She checks my very honest food journal and holds me accountable and I get weighed. Progress doesn't lie. I never lie in my workouts with reps. I never lie in my food journal which definitely makes you think before you eat! I never lie in my cardio days. What's the point? I barely drink. In five weeks, I've had two glasses of wine and three or four vodka and club sodas. This process is slow because it's real. It's retraining yourself to be healthy, work hard, and get where you want to be. It's not a magic pill or shake, it's not cutting out entire food groups and gaining it all back as soon as you reintroduce them. It's eating real food at home and in restaurants and working really hard to make my body strong and healthy. I wake up every day at 5 am, workout, go to work all day, sometimes workout again after work, hang out with my family and go to bed, but I've never felt better! I feel strong, I feel healthy and I feel like I'm in control for the first time in nearly a year. "Fat" is a bad word in my house. You get in as much trouble for saying that as you do for saying "fuck". We don't say fat and I don't like skinny either. I don't want to be skinny. I want to feel good, be strong, and be toned AF! I think, as my mom would say, my body "shifted" and I'd like to shift it back to where I feel good.

I asked Kristin and Merisa to also journal my progress and said, be honest and don't pull punches and I promised I'd never edit what they sent me, so five weeks into my program, here is my progress in their words:

Kristin: Melissa came into my office for her week 5 weigh in, and was 7 pounds down and I could tell feeling disappointed. According to her, she was hoping for a solid 10 pound loss. In my world as a nutritionist, this is a SOLID START. 2 more rounds of 5-weeks, she'll be at over 20 pounds and I'm certain will be elated when she sees before/after photos. But Melissa has the same mentality a lot of people have - instant gratification. I reminded her it took time to gain in, it'll take time to lose it. 1-2 pounds weekly is great, and any more than that is not sustainable. Perhaps some methods with extreme carb cutting or shake systems she'd be down more, but at IronPlate we teach "lifestyle" and "sustainability" where you rely on actual food, meal prep strategies and good old fashioned sweat to achieve the desired result (that being an optimal body composition with less body fat, and more lean muscle). Melissa is starting to really understand the method as well as appreciate the skills and education needed in order to see the results in a slow, steady wins the race way. (Melissa's note: We did my weigh-in at 8 PM after I had eaten four of my five daily meals. I was down 2 more pounds. Kristin asked me to weigh-in on Wednesday morning again as she believes I'll be down at least two more when it's first thing in the morning...stay tuned!)

Merisa: Melissa is a hard worker and she isn’t afraid to try new exercises to better herself. She is always determined to finish each exercise with all she has. I love it when she says, “Merisa, I think I can do more weight and more reps.” That shows to me that she wants to challenge herself and to improve herself through her journey. Melissa is a fun client to work with and I’ve been enjoying seeing her results. I’m looking forward to continue to see her improve in her weight loss journey.

I'm currently working on putting together an 8-week challenge for some of you to join me on, so stay tuned!!! I'll be back with more updates soon and thank you for all of your kind and encouraging texts, messages, emails, and words when I see you on the street! You ALL are what helps hold me accountable! xo


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HEADER PHOTO CREDIT: Danielle Guenther Photography

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