Ask the Professional: Overcoming Challenges with Weight Loss

ASK THE PROFESSIONAL

by Hailey Brady, BS, ACSM-CPT

What was the most challenging aspect in your weight loss journey and how did you overcome it?

Your initial thought may be, wait, how would a health and fitness professional have any personal experience with weight loss?

Yes, we work in the health and fitness industry but we’re still human! It doesn’t mean we’re always on our A game, and it doesn’t mean were immune to gaining weight, having ‘off’ weeks, or losing progress we’ve made from time to time. Life takes its toll on us the same way it takes a toll on everyone.

With that said, in a corporate wellness setting we’re lucky to be surrounded by like-minded professionals who value health and fitness and encourage one another to lead healthy lifestyles. Check out what the professionals have to say about the challenges they faced in their personal weight loss journeys and how they overcame them!

LifeStart General Manager and CPT, Jessica Hegberg

Upon receiving her masters degree Jessica struggled with weight gain. With the stress of not knowing what direction life was taking her, Jessica put on nearly 60 lbs.

“It actually took me about 7 to 8 months to even begin working out because I was too embarrassed to go outside and go to the gym, it was very mentally draining.” She was unhappy with the physical weight gain and the mental toll it was taking on her.

“I signed up for a gym and committed to going 3-4 days a week.” Jessica’s grandma knew she had enjoyed distance running in the past, so she offered to sign her up for a half marathon. Having something to train for kept her motivated. After completing the half marathon Jessica stayed motivated by trying weight training and HIIT training. She is now working out 6-7 days a week, down 50 lbs (and counting!) and training for her first NPC bikini show. “I became addicted to seeing all the positive change in my body”.

Jessica’s Obstacles:

1. Time: Balancing a full time job with all other aspects of life left her exhausted at the end of the day. To prevent herself from making excuses, she made a list of the reasons why she wanted to lose the weight. Looking at this list motivated her to push through the tough days.

2. Food: “I have a large sweet tooth. Instead of eliminating everything I liked, I counted my macros and meal prepped to prevent myself from making excuses.”

3. Not seeing quick results: Losing weight takes time and effort. “Not seeing automatic changes was hard for me. I found myself getting bummed out when I didn’t see change quickly.” Jessica decided to start taking before and after pictures. She compared the pictures week to week, month to month, and so on. “ It made a HUGE difference in my progress. It made me want to keep pushing through the bad days, and gave me a greater appreciation for the good days.”

Jessica’s Tips

1. Don't quit because you aren't seeing results, it took me 8 months to get to where I am now!

2. Don't hold back on food. If you crave a brownie or sweet, resist the urge to indulge right then and there. Wait a few days to a week. If you still crave the food, then eat it! Chances are you won’t remember the brownie a week later.

Check out Jessica’s Instagram for before and after pictures: @jessiee.elainee

LifeStart Fitness Director and CPT, Christine De Souza

Going through a big life change can inevitably increase stress. This added stress can affect eating habits, sleep patterns, relationships etc. LifeStart Fitness Director, Christine De Souza, shared her experience with weight gain during her pregnancy. Gaining weight during pregnancy is not only expected, it’s necessary for the health of the mother and baby. Christine gained 86 lbs throughout her pregnancy. “I gained an insane amount of weight, 86 lbs, throughout my pregnancy. You are only supposed to gain 30 - 40 lbs.”

Christine was conscientious of her diet and continued an active lifestyle until her due date. “At some points during my pregnancy I even counted my calories because I couldn't comprehend what was happening. My experience seemed to defy everything I had learned, witnessed, and taught as a personal trainer.”  10.5 months later she is only 6 lbs away from her pre-pregnancy weight.

While this journey has been difficult for her, she looks at it as an incredible learning experience. “The metamorphosis has been quite eye opening. Being a health professional, I felt as if I was doing all the ‘right’ things, yet I was still gaining so much weight. I felt self-conscious coming back to work even after 12 weeks.” 12 weeks after giving birth Christine had 39% body fat. “It was tough to keep moving with all that extra body weight.  I didn't look like myself, move like myself, or dress like myself.  I had really taken these things for granted”.

What keeps Christine focused on her health and fitness goals?

“The idea that I want my body to be strong and healthy.  Without fully healing and recovering from the physical demands of my pregnancy, my body can’t work the way it was intended.  I want to honor my body.”

Christine’s Tips:

1.  Your worth is not defined by your body.  

2.  Your body is a gift, and you only get one. Your body is capable of more than you can imagine. Remind yourself of this. Care for your body diligently!

3.  Perfection is a myth.

Christine continues her health journey daily and is currently following her own program ‘12 Weeks to Boss’. The program emphasizes food, faith, and fitness as a whole.


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