Remember that time, roughly 9 months ago, that an ambitious Amanda made this post full of goals for the year? I did well for a while, and I’m still holding strong to one of my yearly goals, but over the summer, I made some big changes to my focus.
July marked an anniversary of sorts, but not one that anyone would like to celebrate. July made it officially two years of trying to get pregnant, but not being successful. Adding to our family has never been easy for us (more on the long journey to Jonathan can be found here), but this was a new level of hard.
Imagine, if you will, the one thing you want more than any other thing in the entire world. Now imagine that every month for two years, you do what is within your control to get that thing. Then imagine the heartbreak of being told NO, every single time. That’s 24 “Nos” – that come with physical, emotional & hormonal side effects. To say that this put me in a dark place each month is an understatement. The end result of this process was: hatred/mistrust of my body, emotional breakdowns, blaming myself, poor self-image, shame, and eating my feelings (and by feelings I mean lots and lots of Ben & Jerry’s).
Around June of this year, I started doing some research into ways that I could be proactive. I knew that being overweight doesn’t help people get pregnant, so I determined to find a method that would work for me to get my nutrition right and buckle down and make fitness a priority. I started looking into a variety of options, including old standbys like Whole30, Weight Watchers, the Paleo diet, etc. But I had a hard time thinking that I would find success with these things that I had tried before but hadn’t found sustainable (for me). I’d heard about Macro tracking from a variety of sources, and started to look into it.
So I proceeded to Insta-stalk the Macroholics account. As I looked through the photos, I ran across one that my husband had commented on. Crazy right? So I texted him immediately with “Tell me everything you know about David Barnett.” I don’t still have the text, but I’m pretty sure he responded with something along the lines of “He’s a CrossFit athlete, I saw him compete when I volunteered at Regionals last month, he seems like a really good dude and he has an online nutrition coaching business called Macroholics.”
Online nutrition coaching. This could be what I’m looking for. So I hopped on over to macroholicsnutrition.com and started reading about the program, the FAQ, and watching the videos David had posted on their YouTube channel. I read every blog they had posted to that point. When Stephen got home from work that day, I’m pretty sure I talked his ear off about it for like an hour. He, of course, was nothing but totally encouraging. I definitely married up. The one thing that was a hurdle for me was the cost. I’m a pragmatic spender – I hate paying full price for anything. But Stephen assured me that if this is what I wanted to do and I would stick to it, we would make it work.
We were just about to leave for California to attend my cousin’s wedding, so I decided as soon as we were back, I’d reach out to David and get started. I signed up on July 11, and received my confirmation in an email that said I’d hear back in 48 hours with my starting information. So I went about my day. We had a playdate that morning, but when I checked my phone afterward, I had received my starting goals & information within 2 hours. Part of me was like dang it, I wanted to eat poorly for another day or two. But then I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything yet that day (I’m not a breakfast person) and I could start with a clean slate right away. So I jumped in with both feet.
I’ve been really happy with my decision so far. I’m 2.5 months in, and I feel like this is the most sustainable “diet” that I’ve ever tried. Here are the reasons that I think it works so well for me:
- I’m a big nerd, and being a student is what I’m best at (no lie, I lettered in academics in high school, so I’m super cool). I have always thrived on testing/being graded in a school setting and I view tracking my macros the same way. If I meet my three goals daily, I get an A+ from my coach. When you’re a straight-A student personality, this is serious motivation.
- It’s kind of like a game. I can input foods in real-time and see how they affect my macros. So if I need to make adjustments, I can input different foods in different variations to see how to improve.
- It’s kinda costly. And that’s a good thing. I know, I’m surprised too. But I think that I need the cost to hurt a little to take it seriously and use it. When I tried Weight Watchers, it was significantly cheaper, so I didn’t feel that bad if I didn’t use it. There are a lot of other ways that our family could spend that money, but if it makes me actually use it and participate fully, it’s 100% worth it. I’ve started being able to shift my thinking into seeing it as an investment in my health/life. And since I don’t pay for a gym membership (more on this below), I can see this as using money budgeted for both aspects of health – nutrition and fitness.
- David has been there. If you read the about page, you’ll see that he was once overweight and through this program has lost 80 lbs and kept it off. It’s a lot easier for me to relate to someone who has had to do the same thing than someone who has never been overweight.
- Daily/weekly accountability and support. The private Macroholics Facebook group is full of awesome people who are all just there to support each other and help each other succeed. I post my macros/calories every day and weigh in weekly. David & his team are there each step of the way. And so is everyone else. If someone has a question about how to get their protein up, they will likely get 20 responses with tips/tricks. I also love that something as little as another member “liking” my daily or weekly post makes me feel encouraged.
- It’s semi-anonymous. Sure, they can see my name and profile picture, but they don’t know me in real life. Having a safe space to go through this journey is key for me. I wouldn’t handle going to a meeting well (I don’t even do group fitness). This is part of why I failed at Weight Watchers. I was only accountable to myself and while I have often lied to myself about weight loss, I find it unacceptable to lie to other people. They keep me accountable without having to actually see each other, and never having to run the risk of things getting awkward.
- I don’t have to give up any foods that I love or eat anything I don’t like. Whole30 and Paleo cut out entire food groups. It’s all about making choices and then working your day around those choices. I ate Del Taco chili cheese fries a couple of days ago, and still made it work. Probably not my most nutritionally-sound choice, but I made choices for the rest of that day that evened out my macros without going over calories. One day I was making a homemade burrito bowl and realized that it was carb heavy – so I added more cheese to boost my fats & protein. On Whole30 & Paleo I couldn’t even have cheese. Since starting this program I have eaten at the following restaurants and still made it work: McDonalds, Chick-Fil-A, Mod Pizza, Del Taco, Five Guys, and Chipotle. I even eat Snickers Ice Cream Bars semi-regularly.
- The Macroholics group is full of all kinds of people who I’m totally inspired by: moms/dads/grandparents(!), singles, people who work all different kinds of jobs, people who live in RVs, people who live in houses that have gyms, people that go to gyms, people who don’t work out, people who walk, people who run, people who do olympic weightlifting, people who CrossFit and people who do some of everything. There are people who have been doing this months and people who have been doing this for days. They each have unique challenges to making time for their health, but they’re all out there hustling each day.
This brings me to part two of this journey: fitness. Another great thing about Macroholics is that it has helped me to be more consistent with my workouts. Each week when I do my weigh-in, I have to list how many days that week I trained. I don’t want to let my coach/the community down by not staying consistent.
My preferred method of fitness is using Fitness Blender workout programs. These workouts are accessible anywhere, I can do them in the comfort of my own home (read: no group fitness anxiety), and they challenge me as long as I challenge myself. Workouts with FB are generally free, but because I use their programs, I have paid to have the convenience of a plan set out for me. The great part is that once you buy the program, you can use it over and over forever. One time payment, but infinite uses. My kind of deal. Plus I bought some on Cyber Monday when they were on sale (I’m all about that deal life)! I also really love these workouts because Kelli and Daniel do the whole thing with you, and I just can’t get on board with trainers who aren’t suffering alongside me (I’m looking at you Tony Horton – “the kids” don’t need to be checked on that often).
The first 8 weeks of doing Macroholics, I did FB30 – these workouts average 30 minutes each, 5 days a week. This was a great way to get my feet wet with establishing a routine and making time for only 30 minutes per day was pretty easy. I’m currently on week 4 out of 8 in FBFit – this has increased my workouts to 45-60 minutes per day, 5 days per week. It’s challenging me both in making time and in performing the workouts, but it’s a good, healthy step for me. On weekends, I occasionally drop in an extra workout with Stephen in our garage gym. These tend to be more CrossFit-y: back squat EMOMs, working up to a 1RM deadlift, and a workout we made to honor our little man (The “Jonathan” workout). I also occasionally grab something from the Macroholics members-only programming for my “off days” from Fitness Blender.
So here I am, two-and-a-half months into this process, and enjoying the journey. Some weeks, I lose more than others, and that’s okay. I know I’m putting in the work to get lasting results. As of this morning, I am down 17 pounds. I have been tracking my macros for 77 days.
More importantly, though, I am gaining so much more. I’m gaining confidence. For the first time in years, I put on a swimsuit and actually got in the pool, in public, with my husband and son. Stephen was so surprised that he didn’t even pack me a towel (thankfully I had one in the car). I’m gaining some awesome quad muscles and sweet little biceps. I’m gaining strength and ability. And I’m gaining tools to help me better my health, long-term. Will this help us get pregnant? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s sure not going to hurt our chances.
We have also started to work with a doctor to see if there are any medical causes. I’ve done blood work/hormone testing/ hysterosalpingogram in the last few weeks, so we’re hitting this thing head-on from a variety of angles.
So, in reference to that long list of monthly goals from January, I’ve decided to pursue other goals. And I don’t feel one little bit bad about it because being able to change and adapt is a good thing.