1. Hi Brittany! Please tell us about yourself.
I grew up in the farming town of Visalia, CA located in the water lacking San Joaquin Valley. I’m a farmers daughter. I grew up living in a walnut orchard with my parents and two older brothers in my great grandparents farm house. My parents still live in the same house however my father has retired and now focuses on restoring vintage cars while my brothers run the family pecan and walnut farming business.
In 2003, after graduating college I decided to get out of Cali and headed to Alaska for some adventure. Up until 2008 I worked all over Alaska in the summer and California in the winter during pecan harvest. After 5 years of bouncing around I decided to get serious about my career, ditch the farming thing, and go to grad school to study fisheries (I love fish!). I did a three year study on rockfish in Prince William Sound that was probably the coolest job ever! I fished a lot!
That experience lead me to my current job as a Fisheries Research Biologist with ADF&G in the Kuskokwim Area. No ocean work but lots of fish still although I rarely get to touch one, just look at data and deal with people. It can be a pretty hectic job especially this summer when I will have a staff of 12-14 and 6 remote field camps to supervise. Lots of logistics and personalities to balance! Not to mention my busy personal life which currently includes three fabulous boys– a cute 18 month old baby boy named Brian, a wonderful (and cute too) fiancé named Brett who will be my husband in August, and a black furry lovable young labrador named Georgie.
2. How long have you been working with FF and how did you find us?
I joined FF in February 2014, 3.5 months after my son was born. While I was pregnant and gaining weight I watched my neighbor, Krissy Dunker take off weight. I told her after the baby I wanted to do whatever she was doing! She told me to check out your website and told me not to be afraid when I checked it out.
You all look pretty darn tough on the web, I must say! I went to a Saturday bootcamp and really enjoyed it. I joined right away and also signed up for weds lunch time small group with Lela.
3. Do you remember your first workout with us? What was it like?
Honestly, I don’t remember too much. I know I hurt after but I didn’t do anything but walk after my first trimester so I had gone basically a full year with hardly any good exercise. I was expecting pain! I do remember one thing very clearly. I could only hold a plank for 5 seconds. No joke! I was having shooting pain in the region of my appendix. I had an emergency C section with the baby so I assumed it has something to do with it. I never figured out what caused the pain but gradually over a month or so of doing short planks the pain subsided and I could actually hold a legit plank. I just did a 3:30 plank last month!
4. You were one of our two winners of the most recent Spring Transformation Challenge. Can you tell us what you accomplished in those 6 weeks?
In 6 weeks I lost another 10 lbs which was a big goal. I spent a lot of time tracking and menu planning. It was time consuming but very educational and was the reason I lost 10lbs. I lost most of the weight in the first 4 weeks which is when I also did better menu planning and of course sticking to my menu planning!
My other goals during the challenge were to stick to my meal plans and training plans. Krissy and I are doing the Gold Nugget triathlon soon and I had put together a 12 week sprint tri training plan that included out FF workouts. It was too much though and I didn’t follow my outlines very well but once again it was educational.
In addition to getting a good education during this challenge I also climbed the rope and did a pull up!!! I did not think I would climb the rope. I could not even get slightly up the rope prior to the challenge. No joke, not even off the ground! Then the last day of the challenge at Saturday bootcamp I just randomly tried and up I went, all the way to the top AND no rope burns!! That was a big fear of mine. I’m glad I tried. It was really fun!
5. What are 3 goals you achieved in 2014 and what are 3 goals you’d like to achieve in 2015?
I suck at goal setting. Like really, really suck! I don’t enjoy it and don’t like doing it. I feel like I have accomplished a lot in my life and I just like to live and do things. I like to think of goal setting as helping me focus. I just don’t like calling out goals, although I do recognize the importance now. Sounds strange but yeah, that’s me.
My goal in 2014 was to lose weight and that was it. Plain and simple. I just had a baby and had too much weight hanging around. No real amounts set except during the June 2014 challenge which was my first challenge and I set a goal to lose 10lbs and I lost 15 lbs! That challenge was very eye opening and showed me what I was capable of with some focus.
This year I actually have a few goals:
1) I want 15 more lbs off by my august 8th wedding. That’s about a lb a week and gonna take some focus! Also, After that’s off I want to switch to thinking body fat loss and not weight loss.
2) Set a wedding date. One goal done!! Sounds like the easiest but not for Brett and I. We keep ourselves too busy most of the time and a wedding has been low priority for both of us. We already know we are in it for the long haul with or without a license that says it’s legit.
3) Get flying again! I’m a pilot and flew my Cessna 182 from CA to AK in 2011 (epic trip!) But since the little man showed up, flying has hit the very bottom of the priority list. Last flight for me was 2 years ago. I was by myself flying from Bethel to Anchorage. It was snowing in Bethel, raining around Aniak, and crystal clear and gorgeous over Lake Clark. I look forward to getting back at it! My original goal was to end up as a pilot biologist. Maybe someday still….
6. How has your nutrition changed over the last few months? How have these changes helped you lose body fat?
First I try to follow your eat to 80% full guideline. I thought this would be hard, but it’s not. I hate feeling stuffed now. The 80% rule also helps me stay within my calorie goal easily so I can focus on my macros. I have also put a lot of emphasis on trying to keep my protein at 40% which requires supplements. I have a protein shake and quest bar everyday which helps, but I’m far from perfect.
Also, the greatest thing to curb my sweet tooth is a cookie dough quest bar cut into thirds and baked for 8 minutes at 375 degrees. Every night I feel like I’m having fresh baked cookies while watching my Jimmy Fallon! Sweets and fats like to mess with me!
Portions and measuring have been an ongoing education for me. You really can’t track well if you don’t measure and then that prevents you from losing fat. Portion control is an ongoing battle for me. I thought I had it figured out and could let up on tracking after the challenge but that’s not working, so I’m getting back to the tracking and refocusing. I’m still struggling with balancing my macros. I do have good days and bad. If I have a bad I just start over the next day. I try not to completely blow a full day.
7. What do you do to keep yourself motivated to continue working toward your goals? Any advice for those days when you just don’t feel like working out, but you push through and do it anyway?
I’m more motivated now because I don’t hurt as bad since losing weight. I like that feeling and I also like that I’m getting stronger so I can keep up with my son. I really like the idea of being strong. I want to be able to beat the sh*t out of someone if they try and mess with me. That’s motivating for me!
My advice: Schedule. Make workouts an Appointment. Plan each week. I work full time and that means less time with my family. My son is so much fun right now and I don’t want time away from him. I schedule my workouts so I can be in and out. I also know that when I go to an FF workout it will be over in an hour and I want to give my body a rockin good workout so I try to push hard. This is a totally shift in my mindset too.
I used to just want to leave a workout without getting hurt or in a place where I wouldn’t hurt the next day. I have been crippled from workouts. Like unable to walk thanks to one particular Lela small group class! I laugh now but I was using a baby walker to walk after a small group class. Oh, and this may be bad advice but if you don’t feel like working out –don’t. It might take a couple days or a week but you will want to get back to it. I promise. I have done this a few times and notice how I feel. It sucks. Considering the amount I sit on my butt during the day and the day to day work drama, I need a good workout to clear my head!
8. What advice would you give someone who wants to join a Transformation Challenge, but isn’t quite sure they are able to commit?
Do it and be serious. Tell people you’re doing it so they can encourage you and not derail you. Do things gradually. Challenging yourself is the hardest part, so go easy on yourself and work toward your goals. Do it more than once too. The first time will be an education, AND don’t throw in the towel if you screw up. Just pick up where you left off. I didn’t do this during the Winter Transformation Challenge, and I should have. During this challenge I caught the flu at week 5 and had about 5 bad days. I was so close to throwing in the towel but stuck with it. Glad I did!
9. I know you and Krissy have helped to keep one another motivated during the last few challenges. Can you tell us more about how you support one another?
Krissy is a HUGE part of where I am at now with my health and whole life really. When she says she will meet you for a workout she is always there. I can’t even tell you how many times I told her I would be late and she would just adjust her schedule to meet my needs, AND she’s probably busier than I am!
Krissy never makes me feel like I am slowing her down when we workout, which is huge! It’s very discouraging for me if I feel like I am holding someone else back. When I started running about a year ago with her she would set a timer and we would run 2 mins then walk 2 mins and work up to more. A couple weeks ago when we ran, we just ran! I have now run a mile in 10 minutes which was a great accomplishment for me! I guess the other thing is we both had something we wanted to do this year; GNT for me and Lost Lake for Krissy. Lost lake scares me and GNT scares her so we challenged each other! I have done GNT twice now but plan to be more competitive this year. I think we do well keeping each other accountable and she doesn’t ever pressure me or make me feel bad, just constantly encourages!
Gosh….It’s hard and everyone will tell you something different to do. I stopped prioritizing while in grad school which is when I was less busy, so it has taken a lot to change that. You have to find your own balance and what works for you.
I thought I could follow Krissy and have her same results. But I’m not as diligent, so it’s taking me longer. Am I discouraged that it’s taking longer than I hoped? Nope. Don’t care. I’m just happy I’m making progress! Schedule is the number one thing. FF makes you be accountable. On Sunday night Brett and I sit and plan our week. Whatever I set for a FF workout is set in stone for the week. I set workouts like appointments but I am more flexible on non-FF workouts although I shouldn’t be. I think it’s really hard as a new mom to put yourself first.
I still feel guilty everyday about being away at work and for workouts and other appointments because I feel like I’m being neglectful. It was kind of eye opening the other day when the dentist said how often new moms start to have cavities because they don’t spend the time to brush their teeth because they are too busy making sure the little ones are taken care of first. Doesn’t everyone prioritize brushing? Nope, I found out I had been slacking.
As for nutrition, if this is all new to you I suggest weighing and measuring your food to educate yourself and start tracking. Really tracking! Not half ass. It sucks, it’s time consuming, but it works. I don’t track water. I have always been a good hydrator and I don’t focus on entering my exercise just food and other beverages. Maybe I should but there are only so many hours in the day!