The end of the September Level Up Challenge brought a crush of progress photos and positive feedback. We have been SO excited to hear from you all and learn about the success you’re having. One thing we’ve wanted to do to celebrate is to feature members and their stories periodically on the blog. Today is our first opportunity to do that, and it’s with one of our oldest, dearest friends Elizabeth Hensley.
Elizabeth and her husband Randy own Ronin Fitness in Clarksburg. She’s a mother of two and used MacroEd to put her body back together after her second child was born. She has had AMAZING progress and we couldn’t be more proud of her. I’ll let her tell you all about it.
What are your goals? My goals were simple. After carrying two babies full term and being blessed with healthy pregnancies that allowed me to workout throughout both of them, I wanted to work back to my prior strength and fitness level and blow them out of the water. I’d be lying if I also did not admit that I desperately wanted something resembling my pre-pregnancy body back (and abs. Everybody wants abs). As a mom, we are required to constantly check our egos, whether it involves parenting or health and fitness. “Am I doing this right? Am I feeding the baby too much? Too little? How can such a tiny thing not require sleep?” Then there’s the “omg just a few months ago I could lift that weight. I could do that movement yesterday. I’ve gained (insert number here) lbs and my body doesn’t feel like my own anymore!” I wanted to jump on the bandwagon immediately and take advantage of my maternity leave to get into a good routine. I wanted to be the healthiest version of me I could be for my kids, and I hoped that included losing some inches and pounds, while gaining muscle and energy (yes ladies muscles are our friend! Strong is sexy).
How have you changed? (Physically, mentally, emotionally, etc). I believe I’ve changed in a major way. Physically the changes are visible to myself and the outside world. People have been telling me recently “wow! You look so different!” I honestly had not noticed a huge change because when you see yourself everyday you miss the finer details, not to mention we are all our worst critics. I have more energy and I’ve bounced back in the gym quicker this time around than what I did after giving birth to my daughter (my first born). I 100% will testify my gym performance is tied to my eating habits. Mentally I find it difficult to look at a food item now without seeing numbers. I’m constantly checking out the food around me and performing a quick assessment. “Mmmmm that will be a nice bump to my protein, but you’re crazy if you think I’m eating/drinking that over there bc I’ll blow my carb limit for the entire day.” It’s been a complete reality check. My family always tried to eat more paleo type foods, but I tended to think “oh it’s paleo. Allow me to eat my weight in it bc it’s healthy and whole.” The amount of healthy carbs I ate in a day was astounding. It’s all about balance. Emotionally I have more confidence in myself, my abilities, and how I look than I’ve had in almost a decade. I’m wearing clothes I never thought I’d fit in again. The best part is thanks to the macro plan I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything at all. If I’m having a tough day and feel the need to be a little naughty with my food choices I just have to be aware of everything else I plan to consume for the day. We are all human. I’m definitely known to be a stress eater. We will have tough days, but we just have to try our hardest to just dip our toe and not abandon the ship completely.
How did you make the program fit into your daily life? My husband and I both work full time. My husband is also in the military and travels for work as well. We own a business to boot and have two kids so spare time is not something we have large amounts of. I’m also not a huge food prepper. Personally I find that if I make too much of one thing I can’t force myself to eat it after a couple days. Therefore, Sundays are my prep days and I try my best to cook something I think I can eat for work lunches throughout the week. I pack a lunch bag for each day and set them aside in the refrigerator so I can just grab one and go. After that, I try to prep my ingredients for dinners so that when we get home late in the evening everything is ready to go in the oven. That way if our tastes have changed day to day we aren’t stuck with something we no longer think we can eat, but I don’t have to spend valuable time cutting/measuring ingredients otherwise. My big secret is if we are too tired to cook and are not ready for a refeed, we go to the store and pick up a rotisserie chicken and a steamable bag of veggies. People think it’s difficult to eat healthy, but there are quick options that aren’t so terrible out there. You just have to have the will power to stick to the plan.
What’s your favorite macro-friendly food? My favorite food prep item I use for daily lunches would be Italian sausage stuffed peppers. I get a big bump in my protein and fat numbers, they are super easy to prep, and they leave me satisfied. I love Italian food so this allows me to feel like I’m cheating when I’m really not. We also do a lot of paleo chili in the crock pot packed with hamburger, tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. I also cannot go without a nice, hot cup of protein coffee.
What would you say to someone considering MacroEd? DO IT! Dive right in! Why wait? I hear people say they don’t know where to start, or with work schedules it would be hard etc. Everyone has to take that first step. Don’t be afraid to fail. In fact, take a week or two and just play with food and the My Fitness Pal app and learn what meals work well together and what meals don’t. We all have failures along the way, but it’s those moments where we push through and start back over that make us or break us. I’m a postpartum mom who is hoping to nurse my son for at least 12 months. I could have easily said “oh when I’m done nursing I’ll start”, but thankfully I texted my friend Ashley who encouraged me to jump in and just stick to week 1. That’s right folks. I’ve been doing this for 5 months and have not dropped my carbs below 100g per day and have still been successful! My son is happy, and I’m ecstatic. There’s an entire community ready to rally around you and provide advice and encouragement. The time to start is not tomorrow, but today. Too many moments are missed out on waiting for tomorrow.
What’s your best piece of advice for our new friends? Just try your best. It’s that simple. At first, you’ll look at the numbers and think “omg that’s it?!?! I’m going to starve to death!” After day one you’ll be saying “omg that is so much food. How can anyone eat that much?! Maybe I’m over eating.” In reality you’re overthinking things. Trust in the process. You’ll have weeks where you drop inches and pounds and some where you might gain a little back. It’s all part of the process. You have to remember this is not a diet, but a way of life now. You have to find what works for you so that you can sustain your progress for the long term.
What’s next for you? I plan on continuing to follow week 1 until my son and I are done nursing. Once that day comes, I plan to do a full 8 week cycle to see if a different week enhances my energy levels better than where I am now. I plan to continue my workouts, keep building my strength, and get back to competing within the next 6 months. All in all I plan to continue this lifestyle. It’s healthy, simple, and gratifying.
Thanks so much for sharing your story and journey with us, Elizabeth! (I sincerely struggle typing that…E$…that’s better)
For those who are still waiting in the wings to start your MacroEd journey, Elizabeth says that now is the time and we totally agree. 🙂 Get started with our free 7-day ecourse here. Or jump into our beginner course, complete with meal plans here.
For those who have their own success stories, we want to brag on you! Complete this survey so that we can feature you in an upcoming #transformationtuesday.