My favorite thing about writing here on Limitless is connecting with the community. I get so stoked when you guys and gals take time out of your busy schedules to connect with me personally. It literally puts the biggest, dopiest grin on my face.
It’s even cooler when someone writes to tell me about a personal transformation that they’ve recently experienced. It’s been an honor to connect with Ami, Matt, Steffi, Kim, Jason, and Linda. A few weeks ago the lovely little lady you see in that picture above emailed me with the following:
” Your words and wisdom have helped me reached my goals!! The paleo diet has changed my life and I will never go back to my old ways ever again. When I first began eating paleo, I got a lot of negative feedback. Even from my cousin who is a doctor! But no one can argue with these results. Of course, now all my friends and family want to jump on the paleo bandwagon, but it feels so amazing proving everyone wrong.”
Needless to say I had to get in-touch with Brianna to see if she should share her story and transformation with the rest of you. Luckily for us she was kind enough to answer by prying questions 🙂
Anywho, without further ado I give you Brianna.
Justin: Describe the old you – what was a typical day like?
Brianna: The pre-paleo Brianna really didn’t have too much energy. This was partly due to the fact that I wasn’t sleeping well, which increased weight gain, which decreased energy… It was a vicious never ending cycle and I only had energy for work, which now I realize wasn’t much energy at all.
A typical day was TRYING to get myself out of bed, eating a breakfast that consisted of mostly white starchy carbs like toast or an English muffin, (carbs are energy, right?) then off to work where I gave all the energy I had for that day while still feeling lethargic.
Assuming I was making dinner for the night and not eating out, I would get home and make another starchy carb dinner then catch up on TV, do some house chores that had to be done, and by the time all that was over, I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to watch more TV.
I was lazy. No better way to describe it. I didn’t think I was a lazy person though, I did everything I was supposed to, but with zero energy. My confidence was slowly withering away. I wanted more energy and to look better and feel better, but I just couldn’t figure out how to get there. I would occasionally go to the beach for a run but that was just depressing looking at everyone with perfect bodies who I was comparing myself to. I hated who I was becoming and I needed a huge change because this was not the life I had planned for myself. When I think back now, I can’t believe that was me.
Justin: What is a typical day like for you now?
Brianna: A typical day for me consists of waking up early, cooking my meals for the day, going to work, fitting in some sort of exercise which could be running on the beach, riding my bike or walking around downtown. I’m not a fan of the gym, I’ve tried and failed. I love fitting in exercise into my daily life and planning fun activities. I always change it up. At night, if I go out with friends, I stay away from the tempting bar food and I’ll limit myself to a glass or two of red wine. No more late night Mexican food for me. Living in Southern California, that was a bit hard at first but I make my own Mexican dishes now, and they are delicious!
Justin: What was you aha-moment? The instant where you realized you needed to make some changes?
Brianna: The moment for me when I knew I needed to make a change was when I realized my clothes weren’t fitting me anymore. I guess I knew deep down I was gaining weight but I just kept ignoring it until I finally got on the scale and realized I was almost at 170lbs! I’m 5’7″ so that was way too much for my body type.
Justin: Why do you feel you just ignored the weight gain?
Brianna: I ignored the weight gain for several reasons. The first being that I feel I was addicted to food. I had lost control and ate whatever I wanted every day. I also was partying too much. With low self esteem and an out of control appetite, I just didn’t seem to care. Of course I wanted to be in shape and to look fit and feel healthy, but I never did anything about it. It was sad that I was treating my body like a garbage disposal…
Justin: What has been your workout strategy throughout the process? Nutrition strategy?
Brianna: Knowing what has worked for me and not worked for me in the past, I approached the Paleo diet a little differently. During my first 30 days, I didn’t work out at all. I wanted to focus primarily on the diet and getting that 100% perfect before incorporating exercise. I don’t have a desk job and I’m an active person so I wasn’t just sitting around all day watching T.V. and eating bacon… But I never did a squat or a lunge or a push up until my 30 days was complete. And in that first month, I was down about 10lbs. I couldn’t believe it! But seeing those results kept me going to the next 60 days, then 90 days, and now I don’t even know how long its been. It’s now my lifestyle.
Justin: What are 1 to 2 go to meals/snacks that you use often?
Brianna: My go to meals are mixed nuts and pork jerky. They satisfy my hunger instantly with just a small handful of both. I also usually have a tiny piece of dark chocolate with a high cacao percentage near by incase I find myself craving sweets. It’s hard sticking to the Paleo diet when snacks aren’t on hand and you find yourself hungry with no Whole Foods in sight… It can be dangerous.
Justin: What strategies did you use to help you get started?
Brianna: Some of the strategies I used were not always fun. I knew that in the beginning I was weak and I could not go out with friends to eat or drink alcohol or have any cheat meals. I told myself that I knew I could do just 30 days of being antisocial because in the end, I could feel that it would be worth it. So even though I went MIA for a month, when I started going out again and trusted myself to order the fish instead of the quesadilla, my friends were in shock of my results after just one month.
Justin: When sh*t hit the fan what were you able to do to stay consistent, motivated?
Brianna: The way the Paleo diet makes my body feel is the best motivation ever. No matter what happened in my personal life, work life, or any problem I had, I would never give up because I knew I would feel 20x worse. I love the feeling of waking up every morning and feeling healthy, well rested, and ready to conquer my day.
Justin: What were some of the biggest myths or things you had heard about exercise and nutrition that you needed to get over?
Brianna: The biggest myth that I needed to get over was that whole grains are good for you, “whole wheat” is good for you, and milk gives you strong bones. Since cutting grains and dairy out of my diet, my body has never felt better, my hair is stronger, my skin is clear, and I feel well rested every single day.
Justin: How did you track your progress?
Brianna: I took pictures of every single thing I ate! Which was also helpful if I couldn’t think of anything to make, I could scroll through my phone and get ideas from myself. I didn’t weigh myself the first 30 days but now I weigh myself about once a week. If I ate too much dark chocolate or “paleo treats”, the scale will tell me and I’ll be more strict the next week. I believe in cheat meals but only on special occasions. Not because its a random Friday and I want a piece of pizza. If I go on a trip, I’ll let myself slip up a few times. I don’t have any health issues so its not serious as long as I get right back on track. My stomach does not like cheat meals anymore though. Its crazy to think I just dealt with the fact that I felt bloated and gross after every pasta dish and pizza slice I had.
Justin: You mentioned that your support system wasn’t very strong at first. What sort of problems did you run into? How did you deal with them? How is the support system now?
Brianna: No one believed in me in the beginning. No one. My mom was concerned by how much meat I was eating and no one thought I would be able to stick with it. 3 months later and 30 lbs down, everyone is asking me what the Paleo diet is and for me to give them any advice I have. I have multiple friends on the diet now all seeing wonderful results.
Justin: What are some tips you would tell someone that is looking to start an exercise and nutrition porgram now? Especially someone that has tried and failed?
Brianna: Just start out with the diet. I believe that even if you’re working out every single day for hours and hours a day, it wont matter unless your diet is clean.
Justin: Outside of physical changes what other changes have you noticed about yourself (confidence, excitement for life, etc…)
Brianna: My confidence is through the roof. I love all the compliments I get from friends, family, and coworkers. Everyone close to me has noticed a huge improvement. I love how much energy I have and I truly believe the Paleo diet has made me such a better person, inside and out. There is not one downfall to this diet or “lifestyle” as I like to say. I recommend it to everyone I can. You cant argue with my results!
Justin: Any final tips, tricks, or insight you would like to offer up to the readers.
Brianna: Eat plenty of bacon. It makes you happy and is good for the soul 🙂
TO SUM IT UP, WHY WAS BRIANNA SUCCESSFUL?
Brianna developed healthy habits and was able to create change in her life that promoted more confidence, energy, and health. To sum it up, here’s how she did it.
1 – She creates time for her health: Brianna plans her day and makes sure that her health is a priority. She has decided that waking up earlier to prepare meals for the day is one way for her to stay committed to her health. No she’s making more of her own meals versus eating out all of the time.
2 – She moves more: Brianna creates time to exercise but more importantly she emphasizes more daily movement in to her life. She’s not a huge fan of the gym and that’s cool, you don’t need to in order to improve your health. She participates in activities that let her move more and have fun daily.
Whether it’s a walk, bike ride, or some other fun active she enjoys; daily movement has become a priority for Brianna and a key player in her improving her health.
3 – She doesn’t say NO: I personally love this strategy. If someone told you not to think about a giant pink Elephant what are you going to do? You’re going to think about a frick’n giant pink elephant. Instead of telling herself she can’t have something or is not allowed she simply puts a healthy limit on it. If she wants to have a drink, instead of throwing down a few beers or cocktails she allows herself to enjoy a nice glass of wine or two and calls it a night.
4 – She got HYPER FOCUSED: Trying to create change in our lives can be pretty overwhelming considering most of us already have a lot going on and taking up our attention. Brianna focused on something the Limitless Fitness Program does and that is just making one small change at a time.
For the first thirty days of her journey Brianna just focused on changing her nutritional habits before attempting to change anything else. This made the process a lot easier on her because all she had to do was focus on one thing at a time.
5 – She let results speak for themselves: Brianna had a few haters (maybe that’s too harsh. Non-supporters) at first but by taking measurements, photos, etc… she let the results speak for themselves. The changes she saw in her self also kept her motivated to keep pushing. Body measurements, body fat tests, take pictures of your meals, or journaling about the changes you’re seeing both physically and mentally are great ways to keep your spirits high and to document change.
6 – She developed coping strategies: One thing Brianna felt with was a craving for sweets but she found a strategy that helped her out. A couple pieces of dark chocolate (80% or darker) was just right to kick that craving. Brainstorm a few things that you may think will set you back as you are trying to make changes. What strategies can you come up with so that you are better prepared for them?
8 – Brilliant: I just thought this was such an awesome idea and I can’t believe I have never thought of it 🙂 Brianna took pictures of her meals to refer to them if she could not think of a healthy option to prepare. This made food prep much easier and took out much of the guess work.
So that’s that. Another Success story that I hope you can pull from to find inspiration, motivation, and actionable steps that will allow you to create the change you want when it comes to your health.
Any questions for Brianna? Ask away in the comment section below.
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