Following last month's transformation story (which was received with a lot of enthusiasm!), I am super excited to introduce to you this month the amazing health transformation story of Chelsea. I am just totally blown away by each one of this stories, they are all so motivational and inspirational! Each one of them just goes to show that if we truly want a healthy lifestyle it is all in our hands......no matter how busy we are, how exhausted we are, or whatever the excuse might be. At the end of the day it is up to us to make a few small adjustments to our lifestyle, in order to get big results!
Tell us about yourself!
Hello, my name is Chelsea and I am from Seattle, WA. My passions lie in helping others, glitter, snuggles and cuddly fluffy pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, the ocean, and food. If I were going to describe myself I would say colorful, bright, and excited for life! I have recently gone through a transformation in my life where I improved my health. I was able to get off all medication and after losing -74lbs I am in a “healthy weight” for my life for the first time in my life since I was 11.
What made you rethink your lifestyle?
Before I started my journey to fitness I was struggling with acid reflux. When I would eat I had to spit rising acid into a bottle, it was painful and gross and I just wanted to fix it! I went to see a doctor and after they put a camera through my nose into my stomach I was told that I had very burnt vocal chords and I would need to have my esophagus replaced if my reflux continues to be this bad. The doctor gave me 2x dose of medication (the doctor told me I was going to be medicated like a 60 year old) and a list of food not to eat (chocolate, tomatoes, coffee, fried food, soda, etc). I left the doctor's office scared and not understanding what to do. FATE gave me a new friend who was a Tone It Up girl. Tone It Up is a guide that teaches you how to live a healthy lifestyle and I was able to start my healthy journey.
What changes did you make?
This question makes me smile, what didn’t I change! I feel like a different person! I went from eating 2x a day to eating 5-6x a day. I went from thinking “whole grains and diet soda” was healthy to a full understanding of how my body processed food, what types of sugars, flours, and ingredients our bodies do not process well. I feel like my biggest change was knowledge! I use to try to squeeze in a 30 minute workout “power half hour” when I could in the day and now I understand that there are times of day we should be working out to get the most out of a tiny workout!
Have you tried diets before? What were the results?
When I was 11 and newly graduated from elementary school headed into Jr. High I was so excited to try out for tennis and softball. My mom took me to get a physical and I will never forget the words OBESE written across my form. My mom, dad, and I decided to go on the Atkins diet together. What a crazy diet! I got to eat as much protein as I wanted but all other food categories where limited. I lost -25lbs in 3 months. I can remember my first day off that diet and going to Taco Time and just eating ketchup packets because it tasted like candy. After 1 month off that diet I gained back 30 lbs. This is when my YOYO (lose weight and gain back more) diet cycle started. In high school I would diet or try to eat less but my body would YOYO. I was not obese in high school but I was overweight. In college I found myself not cooking my own meals and only eating out. I became obese and graduated at 220lbs.
Every new beginning is difficult - how did you stay motivated?
I was motivated because of health concerns. After my 1st month I was off my acid reflux medication and down -10lbs. Seeing that the Tone It Up process works and really heals kept me motivated to never stop. I was now dedicated to a lifestyle change. I did not see this as a diet I was going to stop, this was my new forever life.
How did you go about setting goals for yourself?
The Tone It Up Nutrition Plan has a page dedicated to “goals” and shows you how to reach deep inside and pull out your most desired dreams even if they are ridiculous and you think they will never happen, write them down, make it present in your mind. For me setting long-term goals was overwhelming and when I looked too far into the future like the -50lbs I needed to lose, or working out everyday forever, and thinking about never eating desserts again. I felt like I would quit. So instead I set small weekly and daily goals that I knew I could achieve. Over time I learned that my fears were not true and I can have desserts and I don’t need to work out all the time. My tiny daily goals had rebuilt my daily routine and now it's amazing because it would be just as hard to go back as it was to start this journey.
How long did it take you until this change became a lifestyle, normal part of your everyday life?
After my 1st month I had my new routine. I found that the foods I could not even muscle down were starting to taste better. It was getting really easy to wake up in the morning and workout because this was my new norm. The first month was hard, but it got easier after that!
Did you have any setbacks, and how did you overcome them?
I had mental setbacks. When I was bigger I did not see myself as overweight. I am a confident person and I sported lingerie and bikinis like any size 6 (even though I was a size 14). Now that I was looking at a new version of myself in the mirror and in pictures, I compared it to my old pictures and I was horrified. How did I never notice how unhealthy I was? It became this big mental goal to always tell myself I am beautiful because my fear of “not being skinny” or “not seeing myself for who I am” (since I never saw what I really looked like) was high. I was mean to myself and would only look at flaws instead of all the great progress I had made. I really needed to focus on my mental transformation to continue my physical transformation. I needed to remind myself of my initial goals “to be healthy” I never had the desire “to be skinny” and I needed to remind myself that how I “feel” is what is more important, and I FEEL AMAZING!
What does your typical day look like in terms of nutrition choices and workouts?
I wake up and walk into my living room (7:30am) in my PJs. My yoga mat is already laying out ready for me. I turn on my SmartTV and go to the “Tone It Up You Tube Channel”. After 1 HITT or TOTAL BODY workout I walk back into my bathroom brush my teeth and beach babe spray my hair. I get dressed and make a protein smoothie. My Smoothie: unsweet almond milk, frozen banana, perfect fit protein, and instant iced coffee. I drink my coffee in my car on my way to work (8:10am) After 2 hours at work I grab my overnight oats or a piece of fruit (10:30am). (1:00) My lunch is usually a kale salad with deli meat and almond and fruit. I also have learned how to make “healthy fast food choices” these are in my blog if you want to check it out. (www.chelseabalance.com). (5:00pm) On my drive home I have a protein bar. I like Squarebars, Kindbars, and Luna Bars. If I am very hungry then I will also have a glass of unsweet almond milk. I put almond milk in a empty water bottle and keep it at work in case I am feeling hungry and I can have it on my drive home. (7:00pm) Dinner is always protein veggies, and quinoa in so many different forms. If I want dessert I have chocolate and tea, or frozen yogurt. I always make sure to eat and then not go to sleep for 2 hours.
How do you stay healthy on the go or when you travel?
I always packed healthy snacks for my “in-between” meals. There were only a few rules that I always following when traveling: No Dairy, No Fried Food, and No White Sugar of White Flour. So I stick to these rules and bring my own in-between meals and I am fine!
A lot of people are concerned that such a change will affect their social lifestyle. Did this change affect your social lifestyle?
My social life is changed! Once I started to truly love myself I did not want anything but the best, I started to notice how some of my friends really degraded what I was doing, were unsupportive, criticizing, and mean. I cut off these friendships and I kept the friends who supported and loved me through my transformation. My boyfriend and I have been together 6 years. We met my 3rd year of college. He has seen me in many different forms and always reassures me “I love you for you, and not for what you look like, but I am very proud of all your hard work”.
How has your life, health and overall wellbeing changed throughout this process?
I am no longer medicated for acid reflux. I am a healthy weight for my height for the first time since I was 11 years old. Mentally I feel unstoppable, I feel like reaching for the stars, I want to achieve my dreams and I will not settle for anything in my life. If I am not happy, I am going to change it!
You are working full time, how do you manage such a lifestyle (workout and nutrition) while working full time?
This might sound crazy but living this lifestyle is actually easier than scrambling trying to figure out what I am going to eat and feed my family after work. Cooking dinner use to be so stressful because I would have to go to the store, pick what we want, and cook. Now I prep all my meals on Sunday and pre chop all my veggies and marinate all my meat and label gallon zip lock bags for meals Mon – Fri. My workouts in the morning only take 15 minutes and so that was not that hard of a change and it really wakes me up! My meals are prepped and ready for me and so when I come home from work all I have to do is throw it in the oven, everything is already pre-chopped, pre seasoned, and ready to go!
Do you ever allow yourself unhealthy food? Do you feel guilty? How do you deal with it?
I have been a healthy weight now for a little over a year. I used to feel guilty when I wanted to eat a cookie or have a piece of bread. I slowly started to change my mindset about how I saw food. Food and I need to have a healthy relationship, I should not eat until it hurts. I need to make sure that when I eat a tasty treat I do not eat more than a single portion. I now understand that this is my LIFE this is not a diet it is not restrictive but there are healthier ways to eat and smarter times of the day to eat your treats. You can also remake the treats so that you are satisfied by the flavors you are eating without all the sugar, grease, and fat.
What can we always find in your fridge?
In my fridge you will find: unsweet almond milk, Greek plain yogurt (I use this as a sour cream replacer) Brussels/kale salad bag, zevia (healthy soda), apple sauce, pre-cut veggies for dinners during the week, zip lock bags of chicken breast marinating in lemon and time, salmon marinating in fresh dill and sea salt.
In my freezer you will find: dairy free ice cream, frozen bananas, pre-made/pre-seasoned /pre-chopped crockpot meals (chicken tortilla soup, mushroom chicken, fajitas, chili, BBQ meatballs of BBQ pulled chicken, and so many more)
What did you learn about you throughout this lifestyle change?
I learned that I really do love to give to others but I used to sacrifice my own health and happiness to do it. I make sure now that I am being taken care of even if that means saying ”NO” sometimes, which can be hard, or cutting ties with unhealthy friendships, and not letting people’s stress and problems penetrate my own bubble. I am so much happier now and I can help so many more people because I am not sick with stress and I am not overwhelmed with life.
What kind of advise can you give to anyone looking to change their lifestyle to a healthier one?
I know it’s scary. Change is hard, but once you commit to that first month the hard part is over. Try not to look at the big picture of “forever” until you are ready. Diets don’t work, what you need is a healthy lifestyle change, that’s what Tone It Up taught me how to have. Set little goals that you can reach every day because then slowly you will build a new routine and then suddenly you will look up and 6 months will have passed and you are now -50lbs and doing this “healthy life” forever is something you desire and not something you are scared about.