Holly has worked incredibly hard over the past 6 months to build an amazing physique. She’s regularly attended Figarelle’s Fitness Boot Camp classes, as well as Private Personal Training classes with Coach Lela. Holly shared with me some of the most important things that she’s done over the past several months to change her life.
What prompted you to seek us out and make this life changing decision to get healthier?
I have always been a well-adjusted and content person. I have a healthy, happy, marriage, a solid family, a great job and the world’s best friends. Things were fine. But something was missing. I knew it, but never openly acknowledged this feeling. I never talked about it. Outwardly, I was content. On the inside, I felt lazy, uninspired, and complacent. I went to work everyday. I was successful.
Then one day, by chance in a meeting, someone asked me about my life goals. I couldn’t open my mouth. I didn’t have anything to say. How could I live with myself if the only thing I could think to respond with was to get up the next morning, go to work and then get paid on Friday? I was ashamed. What was I doing?
Also, my body felt horrible. I wasn’t treating myself the right way. I drank alcohol every night. I stopped being active. I ate terrible food. That simple question, asked by a stranger, made something snap. I’d had enough.
What were the most important changes you made to your diet over the last 6 months?
Slowly and gradually over about 3 months, I cut out almost all processed foods. Now, I eat whole foods, whole grains, fruits, seeds, nuts, vegetables, grass-fed beef, chicken, eggs and whole dairy. I buy organic most of the time, but if it isn’t available, I don’t sweat it.
It took a few months of really hard work, kind-of obsessive grocery shopping and a lot of reading to get to the point where everything I bought, cooked and ate was real, whole food. Once I figured out what to buy, it was simple to maintain. It was a new normal, a new routine.
– I also count calories. I log using MyFitnessPal every day.
– I read labels. I buy food with ingredients I can read! Real food ingredients.
– I pack my lunch.
– I try to achieve a balance of 35-40% protein, 30-35% carbohydrates and 30% fat.
– I only drink alcohol on the weekends or special occasions.
I’ve talked about this process with others before. Many times people say it is too much work. Or too expensive. Or too much work to count calories. It IS a ton of work, for 3 months. But I promise, once you commit and truly change your nutritional habits, it becomes your new normal.
Did you ever lack motivation to continue this process, and if so, how did you get yourself back on track?
No, not yet. Is that weird?
Although, I did have a little trouble at first dealing with days where I would drink a lot or eat things I wasn’t used to eating anymore. I would feel absolutely terrible physically and mentally. I had feelings of regret; ugh, why did I do that to myself? I talked with Lela and did a lot of reading about “cheat days”.
I’m human. One day of bad eating won’t derail my progress. I learned that the key is to keep “cheat days” in check. I only do that once or twice a month and when I do, the couple of days after are really clean eating days with lots of water, vegetables and protein.
How important has a positive mindset/outlook been throughout this process?
Six months ago, I set an intention that I would maintain a positive mindset in everything that I do and say. Even in my writing and communication at work, I find myself rewriting sentences. I rewrite them into a positive perspective instead of a negative one. For example, the sentence above, “I buy food with ingredients I can read!” was edited from “I don’t buy food with ingredients I don’t recognize.”
Maintaining this positive outlook is challenging, but again, it gets easier and easier and becomes habit. I don’t go around shouting positive, daily affirmations to the world or anything, but a simple, positive tweak on anything can have huge impacts.
Additionally, I found it was easy for me to keep a positive outlook because I was 100% supported by the people around me. All my fellow boot campers are amazing and supportive, however, my husband has been 100% supportive. I changed schedules, routines, what we ate, what and how much we drank, what was in our fridge; all the change had the potential to wreak havoc on a relationship. However, I told him from the beginning that I needed to make these changes for myself, for us, for the long run. He understood completely. He does make fun of me for reading labels all the time, but I probably wouldn’t have married him if he didn’t.
Has anything else in your life been positively impacted because of your physical transformation? If so, what has changed?
I have a bucket list. I’m working on my life goals. I feel more confident. I want to challenge myself to achieve things I never thought I would achieve. My body can do things I never thought it would. I’m more productive at work. My staff tells me I’m much more fun to work with. I feel like I have a purpose again.
What were the most surprising things you experienced during your transformation?
Honestly, I’m surprised how much I’ve transformed. I never, in my whole life, thought I would look the way I look now. I feel and look strong. I have the body I always wanted. And now I want MORE!
What role did Figarelle’s Fitness play in this transformation process?
Goal setting is hard. Personal goals are private and emotional and if you don’t write them down or say them out loud or share them with anyone, there is no real accountability to achieve them.
FF played so many roles during this transformation, but the most important was the persistent focus on goal setting and establishing the steps needed for success. Also important was the 100% educated, professional and authentic health and fitness guidance. You know your business. You are experienced. You know what you are talking about. You’ll give recommendations honestly and to the point. I appreciate that because it saves SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY. The key for this to work is that I need to do what you say. And I need to trust you to do what you say. And I trust you.
I told Lela once (prefaced with, “I hope you don’t think this is weird, but…”) that as I was going through this, I would imagine you guys with me; like a presence. If I was having some sort of challenge or struggle, I would imagine you there and what you would say. Almost always, I would make the right choice. Hovering accountability.
You’ve recently been knocking off things from your “Bucket List.” What’s something BIG you’ve got coming up?
About a month after I started with you guys, I decided to start writing my bucket list. It was really hard. Again, pretty emotional. It forces you to really think about your goals and put them into action. But once I wrote things down, I felt liberated, in a way. I immediately started putting things into action. One of the things on my list was “attend a yoga retreat in a tropical location.” I had some money saved, so I started looking. Then I found the trip to Bali hosted by my FAVORITE local yoga studio and my favorite instructor. I quickly talked with Jose and and my boss and I booked immediately. I didn’t even give myself time to second guess. I purchased airfare two weeks ago. It’s real. It is happening.
I’ll spend 7 days at a yoga retreat in Ubud, Bali and about 8 more days traveling. I most definitely wouldn’t have done this before this transformation. My physical transformation has done wonders for my yoga practice. I can do things with my body that I’ve never been able to do. Also, it creates kind-of a positive feedback loop. Yoga helps PT and bootcamps and vice versa. They are complementary!
What tips for success would you give someone who’s just starting a fitness program?
You can’t just start a fitness program, just to start a fitness program and expect to have results. You HAVE to have goals. You have to spend the time and energy looking inward to understand WHY you want to achieve what you want to achieve.
And it doesn’t matter what those goals are. They just have to meaningful to you.
Go slow. Go slow to go fast. Make gradual changes.
Read health and fitness blogs, books, social media. Find what speaks to you.