My Weight Loss Journey

This post has been a long time coming and I’m so excited to finally answer all of your weight loss-related questions! It definitely has been a long and tough journey but worth it every step of the way. I can’t remember the last time I felt so comfortable in my own skin. To me, that’s one of the most important things to feel and when you don’t feel that, your whole world kind of shakes. So… that’s why I’m here today! I also am going to give you some background information just in case you’re new around here.

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS. This came after I was already diagnosed with fibromyalgia (yes, I got it very young due to a stressful high school experience). When I got PCOS, I had no idea what would come of it. I didn’t know how to react or how to fix it. At the time, it was just something I could figure out. Well… I ended up gaining a lot of weight about a year into my diagnosis. I was also eating a lot and drinking more than usual (NYC will do that to you). When I moved back to Miami, I was depressed and upset at the fact that I was back in the city I never ever wanted to live in again. But, come February, I went dancing with my mom and cousin and felt SO out of breath. I was embarrassed and done with being the weight that I was. The next morning, I called Orangetheory to schedule my Saturday class (February 17!). And since then… my life has never been the same. I can honestly say that starting Orangetheory single-handedly changed my entire life.

There were a lot of questions that were submitted so I’m going to try to answer as many of them as possible! Please keep in mind that I’m not a doctor or a professional of any kind so if you are unsure about something, please ask your doctor! This is just what worked for me and what really helped me lose weight when I honestly thought I never would. You can see my original post on Orangetheory (a month into starting) here. I will also talk about what I eat, how I’ve changed my diet and Pilates, too! So grab a cup of coffee and let’s talk. 🙂 If I miss a question,  I will try to update this as frequently as possible as more come in. But below are the main ones I’ve received! You can see the what I eat in a day here but I’ll explain what I’m doing now below, too. I’ve lost about 40 pounds in the past year!

These before and afters were taken in 2017 a few months before I started OTF and then the one on the right is from a couple months ago. I need to take an updated after picture! I will take it this week. 🙂 

  • How hard was it for you to make it a long-term lifestyle change? It was pretty difficult. I went from not working out at all, to working out 5 times a week, sometimes even 6. I basically made it a part of my day, which is what I think you need to do. It’s not about making it a chore or something you dread. Instead, find something you love about it. Like, let’s say you love the music you get to listen to on the car ride home after a great workout. Or, you love when you reward yourself with a healthy smoothie afterwards (my sister does this). It’s about making yourself excited about it and realizing that you are doing this to be a better YOU. I know it’s not easy, trust me. It was really hard for me at first. And even sometimes I still want to cancel a class when I dread a workout. But, I get up and go because I love how I feel now and I love that I finally feel comfortable in my own skin again. It definitely takes a while to make it a routine. But once you do, you’ll feel like your day is incomplete without that workout! 

 

  • Where do you get the energy to workout with an autoimmune disease? This was something my mom and I were worried about from the beginning. Struggling with PCOS and fibro, I for sure thought I wasn’t going to be able to do OTF or workout consistently. I remember when I first started, I would have to take naps after every class. I could barely function. But, I trained my body and took it easy. The key is to do what you can. When you have an autoimmune disease, working out can be very difficult. But you also have to remember that you aren’t like everyone else and sometimes you just can’t go as “hard” as others. Take it easy and give your body rest when it’s asking for it. 

 

  • Did you start working out and eating healthy at the same time? Yes! I started the diet as soon as I started working out. Obviously, it changed as I went along but yes. I decided to eat healthy and start working out at the same time. 

 

  • What helped more… diet or exercise? I’m not a doctor but I would definitely say both. I wouldn’t have lost the weight eating a lot and drinking a lot. I know people who work out 3-4 times a week but aren’t losing weight because they haven’t changed their diet. I would say it’s very important to change your diet, too. You can also talk to a doctor or nutritionist to get a diet that’s best for you. Everyone is different and everyone’s body is different. For me, for example, I cut out gluten (mostly… I sometimes eat it still!) and high carb foods. I eat under 50g of net carbs (carbs minus fiber = net carbs) a day and cheat on weekends. I also stopped drinking a lot. I drink really only on Friday nights or if there is some sort of special occasion during the week. It’s crazy how many carbs there are in drinks. And, for me, I count carbs more than calories since I burn a lot of calories working out. Again, it’s just what’s worked for me! 

 

  • How do you stay motivated? I would say taking before and progress pictures are so important. Those have helped me a lot because I see what I used to look like and don’t ever want to look like that again. I also am motivated by the way that I feel. I feel so much healthier and just less “blah” if that makes sense. I have more energy now than I ever have before and am happier than I ever have been. I also think that making friends at the gyms have helped me a lot. Some of my great friends are from Orangetheory and now I’m making friends at pilates, too! It’s all about making it a lifestyle and getting yourself happy and excited. If I feel down one day and don’t want to go, I remind myself of how I feel afterwards. I also write down adjectives to describe how I feel when I leave a work out super pumped. I have a note in my phone where I just add them as they come! Some words are: exhilarated, excited, hyper, pumped, healthy, etc. 

  • How many days a week do you go? From February to about January, I was going to OTF about 5-6 times a week. I would really just take off Sundays. Now I go about 3 times a week and do pilates 3 times a week. I absolutely love pilates for toning and maintaining but would recommend OTF over pilates for losing weight. You burn way more calories and the results are so much more powerful (when it comes to weight loss). But I love pilates for my anxiety and for toning my body. 

 

  • How do you cut out cravings and not give in? I actually eat what I’m craving if I’m really craving it. Honestly, I find that depriving myself of something makes me just want to have it that much more and then I end up cheating the entire week or something. If I’m craving something and I worked out, I’ll have it! Especially if I worked out. It’s like a little treat. 

 

  • Do you track calories or just eat healthy? Nope! I track carbs more than anything. But I really just kind of guess. I eat really healthy because we do a meal plan, which I highly recommend. Most cities have one! Ours is called HyperFit and I love it because I chose the no carb option. They have all different types of options though. I just eat the dinner and for breakfast I’ll have my smoothie (from this post) and then for lunch I’ll usually do something high in protein low in carbs. I’m not a huge lunch person (very bad) but I try to eat a small healthy lunch and I’ll snack a lot on fruits like strawberries and blueberries. Bananas have a lot of carbs in them so stay away as much as you can! I’ll also have a string cheese or apple with peanut butter if I’m hungry. Rice pudding with a bit of cinnamon is yummy too and they have low carb options! And then jell-o, Chobani nonfat Greek yogurt with coconut flakes from Trader Joe’s… that kind of stuff. I’m horrible with meal ideas because I really eat that meal plan at night and we sometimes have leftover meals for lunch so I’ll eat it for lunch too. I definitely would say that cutting out gluten and eating super low in carbs helped me a lot. 

 

  • Any recommendations for food? I can’t cook (sorry future husband) so I’m not too good with this but I definitely would recommend looking into a meal plan or checking out my what I eat in a day post since my mom used to make me those meals for work! I don’t like salad so I don’t eat salad but definitely try to have a high carb meal with some veggies. I know it gets boring but trust me it’s worth it. And drink A LOT of water!!!! I can’t stress that enough! 

 

  • How have you been so consistent? Do you ever feel like you’ll fall off the bandwagon? As they say, consistency is key. Once you make it part of your daily routine, it feels weird if you don’t go. For pilates, there’s a $20 late cancel fee within 24 hours so that helps me. I really just remind myself of how I used to look and feel before and that gets me up. Also, having fun weekend plans like getting in a swimsuit really helps because you want to look good for that. I also set small goals for myself. I think that’s so much more important than setting one huge goal that you feel you’ll never attain. Like, maybe it’s lose 5 pounds this month or drink half your body weight in oz of water a day (which is very important). It’s about small steps and achieving those things and just reminding yourself why you started. Also, it’s great if you get a workout buddy. They help you stay accountable! I don’t have one but I do have friends that I go to the gym with or see when I’m there and that helps. 

 

  • How do you get yourself to get up and go when working from home? I schedule my classes a week out in advance and build my work schedule around that! Like I said, it takes a while for something to become a part of your day and life. But, once it does, you can’t live without it! I actually love to work out because it helps me with my anxiety. That in it of itself is motivation enough. 

 

  • What is the most important thing you’d recommend for someone trying to lose weight? Ask yourself why you’re doing it and write it down. Make that something you remember on the daily and let it motivate you. Don’t get caught up in looking on Instagram and seeing others being super skinny – trust me, it won’t get you anywhere. Remember that everyone goes at their own pace. Don’t compare yourself to others! Everyone is so different. Make it a part of your lifestyle and something you look forward to rather than dread. Find a workout you LOVE! I didn’t have a workout I loved until Orangetheory. Now I have 2 (OTF and pilates) and I couldn’t be happier! Invest in your health because we only have one life and it’s not worth being unhealthy. Just really finding something you love helps so much. It took me years to find something I loved but now that I have I’m so so happy about it. 

 

  • How long did it take you to see results? One of my most popular questions! I was super impatient and starting to lose hope because a month in I saw no changes… 2 months in, not much either. I would say I really started seeing results month 3 of going consistently (minimum of 4 times a week). And I was working at the time at a job I absolutely hated so that was kind of my “reward” at the end of the day. I would only go 3 times a week for the 2 months I worked there but then once I quit, I went 5-6 times a week. 

 

  • What if I want to do OTF but can’t run? No problem! I have bad knees and can only do the bike or power walk. I’ve lost this weight doing those two things and not running. So it’s proof that you can do it and adjust accordingly! Seriously, my biggest advice is to listen to your body and go at your OWN pace! Not anyone else’s! 

 

  • Any good healthy snacks? I love jell-o, apple with peanut or almond butter, nonfat chobani Greek yogurt with coconut flakes, cheese strings, rolls of ham and cheese, rice pudding (low carb) with cinnamon, fruits like strawberries, blueberries or pineapple, RX Bars or Luna Bars… those are the main snacks I would say I eat. I always have a bar in my purse so that I don’t end up buying something unhealthy when I’m out. 

 

  • Do you follow any sort of plan? Nope! I just do all of the above. 🙂 

 

  • What is your current workout routine? I’m currently doing Orangetheory 3 times a week and pilates 3 times a week! I base it off of the instructors and classes. 

My biggest advice is just to find something you love, take before and after pictures, remind yourself why you started and find a workout buddy! Remember that nothing worth having comes easily so work hard at it and you’ll see results. I was always so worried that I would never be in shape again because my two illnesses cause weight gain and when I was on Zoloft I gained weight, too. So much of it is mental, as well. If you don’t think you’ll ever lose weight or fit into your “skinny jeans” again, then you won’t. Believe you can do it, work hard for it and get it done. If I could do it, so can you. 🙂 Love you guys! Thank you so much for all of your support this past year. If I didn’t answer a question, leave it in the comments below and I’ll add it to the end of this post! 

Lauren Ashley
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Comments

  1. Caroline @ The Caro Diaries

    I cannot get over how incredible you look – but moreso, how much your attitude and confidence has changed! You can SEE how much happier you are in your body, and it shows in everything you do! That’s the main reason I want to lose weight (15 pounds down, 30 more to go!!) and it’s so inspiring to see you live that! You look amazing, but I think more importantly, you feel amazing! Congrats Lauren!

    Reply
  2. Kat

    Cant get over how amazing you look!! Youre the reason i joined otf and i literally cannot thank you enough!!

    Reply
  3. Laura

    Also you look incredible I also started a weight loss journey and the only thing that kept me going was my progress pictures. There may be times you don’t see a change until you refer back to those pictures !

    Reply
  4. Mom

    I am so proud of you and your commitment to weight loss and feeling better. Congrats love you all the way to God

    Reply
  5. Kristyn Royster

    Thank you so much for sharing!! I have to say, you were one of my inspirations for starting Orangetheory. They opened up a studio across from my apartment building two years ago, and I just couldn’t bring myself to join. It was so intimidating to me. But, I kept seeing you talk about it and your results on Instagram. So I decided last April to sign-up. I went primarily 2 days a week all of last year, but have really up’d my weekly classes now to 4 days a week. Working on changing that to 5 days a week soon. I’m starting to finally see the results, eating better and loving this workout. So thank you for sharing and inspiring me!! Best wishes for continued success 🙂

    Kristyn
    http://www.kristynalysse.com

    Reply

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