How I Ate To Lose 50lbs

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In 2016 I was almost 200lbs of Ice Cream and Pizza. Three years, two babies, -50lbs, and many lost inches later — I’m healthier than ever.

So this is for all of my girls (primarily from my personal Facebook) who comment “helpppp meeeee!” when I share my weightloss/pregnancy/postpartum journey…the time has finally come. As promised, I’m going to answer y’alls most FAQs and blogging it seemed like the best way to share. And if this helps anyone else out there — woohoo!

So, here we go. My #1 question I get is what the heck I eat.

No weight loss pill, patch, shake, magical potion, or restrictions is what.
Just a well-rounded diet & being active. Ya know, the old fashioned way.

I’ll preface this with I’m not a professional, just someone who has learned a lot on their own journey.

  1. Avoid Fad/Extreme Low Calorie Diets

    In a world full of trendy diets, eliminating entire food groups, or simply starving yourself — I say break all their rules. If anyone says you should cut carbs to lose weight, walk away. Quickly. Carbs are energy. Sure, you retain a little bit of water weight per gram of carb you consume, and guess what friends — that’s normal. DON’T CUT THEM OUT. A little lower depending on where you’re at? Sure, but no cutting and nothing low low. It’s not worth the torture, the lack of energy, or that fact that you’re going to gain back your weight the moment you start eating carbs again. Which you will. Because you should. Because whole carbs are great for you!

    For the second part of this — make sure you’re eating enough! There are plenty of resources out there (shared below) to determine how many calories you should eat to reach your goals and it’s probably more than you think. No starvation here, y’all. If you’re hungry — your body needs to eat (nutritious) food! So feed it. If you go into starvation mode — not only are you making your body cling to the fat it has, but it will probably result in a binge that will set you back even further.

  2. Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too

    Really, though. I eat anything I want. In moderation of course (and sometimes not.) I try to follow the 80/20 rule: 80% whole, nutritious food and 20% treat yo’self. This works by tracking my macros which I’ll also explain below. But, fun fact — you can lose weight and transform your shape eating anything in the world you want if you stay within your macro/calorie plan! This has been by far the most effective approach for me to losing weight. I failed miserable cutting things out completely, or eating very low calories, because I was HUNGRY and all I wanted was what I wasn’t supposed to have. Now I let myself have whatever I want, whenever and I actually want the “bad stuff” less. Everything in moderation!

  3. IIFYM Diet Changed The Game For Me

    Okay, so I know I said no trendy diets — but this is an exception. IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros — simply put, you track your calories, protein, carbs, and fats and that’s it. Those few things are what control your body composition (shape, how it looks). Now, for the sake of your overall health you should track micronutrients and things like sugar intake, etc. But for the sake of losing weight and transforming your body - Macros are technically all you need to track! In fact, I typically eat worse when I’m eating in a calorie deficit to lose weight than I do when I’m eating closer to maintenance (not gaining or losing) calories. I think the eating less calories and trying to lose weigh thing just makes me want more bad food — so I eat whatever I want if it fits my macros. Like oreos, chewy chocolate chip bars, ice cream, and whatever else. I’m one of those people who always wants a bite of something sweet after dinner so I always have a little something if it fits my macros! Which it does because I always make sure of it LOL

    Want to start tracking your own macros and determine how many calories you should consume based on your goals? This macro calculator is a great place to start: https://www.katyhearnfit.com/macro-calculator

    I use the MyFitnessPal app on my phone to track it. I have on and off for years. Eventually you become very aware of your macros without tracking them and at this point, I don’t typically use it. However — if I ever get off track or want to make sure I’m getting enough of something, I enter my food in there and can see! I find it easiest to enter my food while I’m planning what I’ll eat that week and make sure it fits my goals or if anything needs adjusted. I personally like eating the same things for breakfast and lunch everyday for a week, sometimes I eat the same breakfast for months (Kodiak Cakes protein pancakes with chocolate chips or blueberries with sugar free syrup is my fav) but I switch it up plenty! Doing this makes it easy for me. As a mom of two who works from home, I like my food to be quick and easy.

  4. It’s Okay To Get Off Track — Just Get Back On

    It happens to all of us. Holidays, Celebrations, and Life all can mean a lot of temptation. And it’s OKAY to enjoy yourself without feeling guilty. Just get back on track as soon as you can and you’ll be feeling good in no time. Sometimes if I go through a period of eating what I want (which is usually not eating all day and then eating something bad for dinner) — I spend a sunday planning yummy healthy meals that sound good to me and jump right back into it. After doing all of this for a while, it becomes more natural. You naturally fill your body with primarily nutritious food, and treats when you want. Instead of giving up completely or dragging out your time of being off track — just focus on adding more healthy food into your diet rather than eliminating the bad. Adding always is easier mentally than subtracting…for me anyways!

  5. Don’t Eat Bad Food “Just Because”

    Just because it’s the weekend. Just because you’re at a party/celebration. Just because everyone else is. Just because you’re out to eat. This was and sorta still is my hardest habit to break. For YEARS I ate bad all weekend for every meal just because it was the weekend. I’d eat a super low calorie diet all week and then TRASH it on the weekend. Which got me no where. This was an incredibly hard habit to break and took until after having my first son in 2017 to do so. I will say most of my “cheat meals” happen on weekends now and it’s intentional and completely fine! When I would be at a cookout or something, I felt like I had to eat bad. But now when I’m at one or at a party I think and ask if I genuinely want all of the treats. Many times, I don’t! And if I do…I eat ‘em. I’m’ not passing up a burger if I want one. This also goes for eating out. When we’d go out to eat, which was a lot before having kids — I ate a TON of some super unhealthy thing just because we were out. And always an appetizer. And probably soda. Because we were out. But, we were out a lot. And those massive amounts of calories add up quickly! So — think before you eat “just because,” but if you genuinely want it…well then, go for it. But if you want bad food everyday, then at some point you have to practice discipline and focus on your goals. If you genuinely want to be healthy, making the right choices will get easier and easier!

  6. DRINK WATER.

    Lots and lots and LOTS of water. About 100 ounces per day should be the goal! I drink primarily water but sometimes I drink sugar free gatorade or a diet soda if I’m dying for some soda! But for the most part, my go to, without thought…is water and yours should be too. If you’re a soda/tea drinker — ditch it! It will make a huge difference for you. Water is NECESSARY for your health. It’s not just a drink option!

  7. Get Enough Protein

    I aim for 130 grams of protein per day. It will vary, but I’d say 130g is a good benchmark for many people! I am 147-150lbs for reference. Protein will help you build muscle and shred fat, AKA giving your body a great shape!

My Meal Plan

I’ve been in a relaxed phase and just eating whatever and I still feel good but we wanted to get back into the swing of nutritious meals and solid macros/overall nutrition which is how we usually eat so I planned what I’m eating for the week and figured it’d be a good time to share because this is by far one of my most Frequently Asked Questions!

Breakfast:

  • Plain Greek Yogurt with Blueberries (I normally love Vanilla until I recently saw how much sugar was in it. I’m not normally a freak about tracking sugar but it was A LOT)

  • Hard Boiled Egg — I’m honestly usually so full from the Greek Yogurt (it’s so filling!) that I eat my egg as a mid-morning snack

  • COFFEEEEEEEEE. If at home I drink breakfast blend with sweet cream creamer and at Starbucks I get a Venti iced coffee with cream and sugar free vanilla

*My go-to breakfast is the Buttermilk Kodiak Cakes protein pancake with blueberries or chocolate chips with sugar free syrup. This is my first week not having that as breakfast in months. So yum and great macros.

Lunch:

  • Lean turkey burger on a Sandwich thin roll with mustard, avocado, tomato, and kale.

  • Sweet Potato “Fries” — Instead of cutting them into fry shape, I just slice the sweet potato into circular pieces and make them how I make sweet potato fries. Some salt & cumin, throw in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until they’re a littttle crispy and YUM. I normally dip in a bit of ketchup. I get sick of sweet potatoes very quickly but when I cook them this way I could eat them everyday forever.

Dinner 1: Salmon + Broccoli + Sweet Potato Fries

Dinner 2: Lean Ground Turkey with Banana Peppers and Sundried Tomatoes mixed in + Broccoli + Sweet Potato Fries

Dinner 3: Mexican Bowl

  • Mexican Seasoned Chicken + Quinoa + Avocado + Kale + Black Beans + Salsa + Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream

Dinner 4: Mexican Chicken

  • Mexican Seasoned Chicken + Kale, Avocado, + Lime Sauce (literally just blend those together) + Sweet Potato Fries + Broccoli

Dessert: As I mentioned above, I often have something sweet after dinner. I love a few Oreos if we have them but I don’t get them often because I end up eating 10 every night before bed. So Chocolate Chip Chewy bars are my next go to or just a spoon of dark chocolate chips or whatever else! Something within 130 calories or so — Oreos are a little more, like 160 calories for 3 of them I think. Halo Top ice cream is a great dessert — you can eat the whole container and it’s super low in calories and high in protein! But I never think to buy it until the moment I want in and at that point I’m probably not going to the store just for that lol but sometimes I do or I’ll think ahead and buy it.

Snacks: A boiled egg and a protein shake. I drink the protein shake at a random time unless I’m going to the gym that day then I drink it after my workout. I eat the boiled egg whenever I feel I want it. These are my go-tos, almost daily.

*Other snacks I like are rice cakes with Peanut Butter, plain greek yogurt (if I’m not eating it for breakfast), a Chewy bar, or just a cup of coffee. I’m not a huge snacker.

Notes:

  • My breakfast has less carbs than usual. I normally eat the protein pancake which is lots of carbs. However, I want to feel a little leaner right now and carbs make me feel full which I normally don’t mind so I just cut them back slightly, but am still getting plenty.

  • We’re eating a lot of sweet potatoes this week, but our other go to carb is rice. We like brown rice (obviously the healthier option) but we primarily eat Spanish Rice because yum.

  • I have no idea what the calories or macros look like for this. It’s close to my usual if not spot on though. I normally eat a little more than this probably, but like I mentioned — I’d’ like to feel a little leaner with summer (bathing suit season) approaching! My carbs are higher than this usually.

  • The lower carbs at this moment are fine for me as I’m not in the gym as much right now. With it being summer we are taking advantage of outdoor fun with our babies and plenty of yard work and a few evenings a week I’m out shooting!) Still going to the gym, just less. We don’t go a lot to begin with (3-4x week) — so right now it’s 1-2x but staying very active otherwise!

I Don’t Meal Plan For Weekends

I want to be completely relaxed on weekends starting Friday night! I’m still intentional about my choices (or intentionally unintentional) — On weekends we often like to make something more than our very simple week day meals. Week days are busy so we keep it simple. Sometimes on weekends we’ll make something new or something more time consuming. Or we’ll get take out or whatever the heck we feel like!

I’m Not Insanely Restrictive

If one evening we’re like screw it we want wings, we go get them. If I plan to eat a certain dinner one night and then get in the mood for something else, I’ll make something else. Weekends, like I said, I like to keep it relaxed and just decide at that time. I don’t like to feel restricted whatsoever — so I don’t restrict myself. But, I do make choices according to my goals. I want to feel good. I don’t like the way I feel after I eat like garbage for a week. I do, however, like the way I feel eating primarily well with treats when I truly want them.

Make Your Plan

Want to get started? Head to the macro calculator I included above and download the MyFitnessPal app if you don’t have it. Then come up with a meal plan that fits your macros. Your macros/calories may need adjusted based on your progress in a few weeks or a month, but give it some time before making changes! The calculator was pretty spot on for myself and others I know.

Use Pinterest/Google and meals you already like to come up with your meal plan! You can look up “macro friendly ______” and find plenty of ideas! Please feel free to ask questions and stay tuuuned for more info because I will keep answering all of these questions I receive, tips/things I’ve learned, and another very popular topic…workouts which will give your body the shape you want!

& Remember…

Nothing extreme, just be consistent. I’m not in the gym 5 days a week and I’m not on some crazy boot camp style diet. I eat well overall and I stay active. A body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion stays in motion. I used to be at rest…now I stay in motion. I used to eat garbage, now I love how I feel with good nutrition.

Now, go get started :)

Family Session Philosophy

 
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“Look at the camera and smile, sweetie.”

I hear it at the beginning of nearly every session from parents to their babies. I get it. It’s natural and they mean well. The first thing I do in front of a camera is look into the lens and smile, too. Most of us do. And those photos are great. We’ll get the classic Family shot. Everyone posed & looking.

BUT, LET’S ALSO

Let them run.

Let them show us how high they can jump.

Let them pick flowers.

Let them hold their favorite teddy or race car for some.

Let them make funny faces.

Let them be thrown into the air and flipped upside down by Daddy.

Let them be tickled.

Let them twirl in their pretty dress.

Let them be goofy.

Let them be quiet.

Let them be loud.

Let them explore.

LET THEM BE LITTLE.

Now that I have babies of my own, I realize they don’t sit still. Literally never. Until they pass out for bed time. And that’s the magic of children. Everything is an adventure. They find so much joy in picking flowers (even if they are weeds) or looking for bugs or showing a stranger with a camera how high they can jump or how fast they can run or how awesome their Hot Wheels race car is. Let’s remember them how they are in this moment. Because these moments go so fast. And then they’re gone. Before you know it, they will stand still and smile at the camera without you even asking and you will wish they were still running around you in circles. Let’s document them as the perfect little beings they are. All of the beauty and chaos and love that family is. That’s what I photograph. The moments you will want to relive for a lifetime, especially when they’re gone all too quickly

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ALYSSA + EVAN

I. AM. SO. EXCITED.

to be sharing this wedding with y’all! JUST LOOK AT IT. From the first time I met Alyssa, I knew she was a cool girl. Not just like “oh yeah, she’s sweet” I mean the coolest girl you’ll ever meet. She’s got a heart of gold, a style any girl would kill to have, and a personality you just want to be around all the time, oh…and a love for rock music. See? She’s the coolest. Basically, you just want her as a best friend — and I feel sooo blessed to have her and her now Hubby, Evan as clients (now friends!)

She told me at one of our meetings she was going to have pops of red for their wedding day. I’m thinking, wow - that’s bold. I’m SO used to neutrals for wedding days. And don’t get me wrong. I’m a neutral girl through and through (like my whole house and everything I own is gray and my vehicle is black and white) - so I LOVE neutral. But, when I showed up to their venue that day I couldn’t pick my jaw up off the floor. I want to make everything in my life red now, basically. They KILLED it. She had a DREAM TEAM of vendors, the sweetest Mama who didn’t let any detail sneak by, and of course - Alyssa herself has the best taste in like…everything. Have fun scrolling, and drooling, and having the new favorite color of red!

oh, and while we’re at it…

Let’s take a moment to recognize the fact that this is my second consecutive week with a blog post. Heyyyooo! WAIT FOR IT, friends! You’ll see! I’ve got the goods coming for you in 2019 :)


The Vendors are listed at the bottom of this post. Take a moment to check them out!

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brb ordering myself a custom leather jacket.

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One word: beaming

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I mean, COME ON. Look at this space.

 
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They’re a dream & I love them.

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dream team:

Venue: Brick Gables
Coordinator: Alisa Marie
Photographer: Kenzee Myers Photography
Videographer: Hallelujah Films
(INCREDIBLE) Florals: Sweet William Floral & Event Design
DJ/Lighting: Klock Entertainment
Glam: Luxe Salon & Spa - Lancaster
Dessert: Zig's Bakery & Cafe
Rentals: Lovebirds Vintage Decor Rentals of PA & Stray Production Services
Sign Rentals: Signs of Hope by Bethany
Custom Leather Jacket: Mountain Lettering Company