Sarah Ward | The Fitness Asylum

Sarah Ward

I admit. I had not just one, but several mental tantrums in resistance to signing up for the challenge. I hollered “But I Don’t WAAAAANT to count macros!!!” The thought of logging my food was annoying and scary. I was afraid that if I fell off the diet and had to log it, the misstep would catapult me into ‘forget it’ mode and knowing myself I would not just get side tracked but totally derailed. So, I stomped and whined and missed the discount pricing. At the last minute, I put myself in the mental timeout corner and just decided to do it. Now I want to yell out loud and shout out to everyone “I did it! Look at me! Yayyyyyyy MACROS!” I’m the happiest I have been in years and I learned the 12 week challenge is ALL about the MACROS!

M: Macro and Micro Goals
Yes, I chose my Macros: Moderate Carbs. I did not want to be too restrictive and I wanted to just see if I could sustain a balanced diet over several months for sustained weight loss. Yes, I had a Macro goal to lose weight and inches (and I lost 12 pounds and 2 dress sizes!). In the end though I realized many victories came from achieving the micro goals:

· Working out Consistently: I loved attending the boot camps. My mindset went from I have to go, to I like going, to I love it and now I need it. When I workout I now I leave with a mental high of pure joy, empowerment and a great sense of accomplishment.

· Non-Scale Victories (NSV)! There are so many! When I started FA I could not do a single burpee, push up , kettle bell swings or box jump! Now in the 30 second interval I can do 10 regular push-ups(no knees!), 6 inverted pushups, unassisted pull ups, 80 mountain climbers and 8 burpees. I even add a box and can do 30” box jumps! Who’s that girl?! Oh yeah..that’s me! While I might not have lost many pounds, my entire physique changed. I am toned now and you can see the muscles in my arms and even my abs! I’ll turn 50 next year and this is the best I have ever looked. I’d say that is a transformation even if the scale did not change all that much!

· I travel extensively for work and I made a micro goal to attend a class at a local gym or workout at the hotel. I did it. Totally out of my comfort zone, I went to a gym in cities across the US and just took a class. It was fun to try and be challenged by new workouts.

· I meal prepped for travel and took baggies of chicken and vegetables with me on the plane. I froze and packed meals in my suitcase. For long trips I set the goal to find local businesses that provided meal prep or healthy foods in the cities I was visiting. I can now give you a list for well over 15 states you can purchase meals with listed macros! Eat Fit Go in Colorado, FitLife Foods in Florida, Get Fit Grill in Iowa…..

· A Micro(ok Macro!) goal was to wear this beautiful full length dress for a holiday party that I have had in my closet that did not fit and I always dreamed of being able to wear. It fits! It Fits!

· Every week there was a new micro goal to work towards: attending a birthday party, going to a concert, a dinner date, a special speaking engagement. Each of these little micro goals kept me going!

A: Accountability
I really found the accountability aspect of the program to be incredibly powerful. Being a part of a team and knowing you were contributing to the success of the team made me want to do my part. I loved reading our coaches Facebook posts and her weekly words of encouragement. I found that committing to the team and having to weigh in really helped me to focus on just a week at a time and to stay the course. Knowing there was a weigh in (up or down) helped me to focus on just a week at a time to make slow but consistent progress. While I initially threw a tantrum about having to be accountable for my diet and log what I ate. In the end I loved logging my food! Because it was not ‘counting calories’ but meeting macros it became like a little daily puzzle to fit all the pieces together. Sometimes at night I was looking for that ‘missing’ puzzle piece(a carb, a fat, a protein) to finish the bigger picture. Even when I was a bit off diet, I still logged it and found that even though I might have had excessive carbs, I could make other choices and still meet my goals. I came to find logging to be comforting and just a daily habit. I liked the accountability of knowing my coach would look at my diary and teach me tricks to manage the diet and stay on plan.

C: Community
This challenge was ALL about community. Before FA I rarely went on or posted to Facebook. When I started the challenge, I found myself eagerly going to Facebook to see what other challengers were experiencing or sharing. I found some fantastic recipes, great recommendations for kitchen gadgets and tricks for meal prep. When challengers shared setbacks or successes I empathized or celebrated and did not feel alone in experiencing the ups and downs of following the program. Reading notes of encouragement and quotes were inspiring. Even life changing:

One challenger early on posted a small picture and caption to not think of food as being “good” or “bad” but rather as a “forward” or a “backward” food. This FUNDAMENTALLY changed by entire relationship with food and has completely changed my mindset. Before I would eat a food that I knew was not a great choice and then classically think to myself “Oh well. I’ve blown it. Might as well just forget it and start again tomorrow” and I would then eat the ‘bad’ food to excess. To this end I lived by the acronym for DIET: Don’t Intend to Eat Tomorrow. Now I look at a food and I no longer think is it bad or good? I ask myself is it a “forward food” taking my closer towards my goals or a “backwards food” moving me away from what I want? Now it is no longer an emotional battle to eat or not eat a food but merely a factual choice. Do I want to move forward or go backward? And if I do choose to eat a backward food it is amazingly ok. I enjoy a bite or two and I am now factually in control of HOW FAR backwards do I want to go? I realize I can enjoy something and go a little tiny step back and then I don’t have that far to move forward again. Wow. If I had not been a part of this community of challengers, I would have never have developed that mental state about food. A total game changer.

My fellow boot campers really became a true FA family to me. I have met amazing men and women. Some met me at the first “bootcamp basics” class and have seen my transformation in strength and appearance. It is so exhilarating when your bootcamp partner cheers you on and pushes you to know you can do it. When I work out with or next to someone who is strong, their strength and agility inspire me. Seeing the transformation of other challengers and the bikini girls made me a believer anything is possible if you just trust and follow the plan.

When I started the challenge I did not know that Bonnie did a Friday night Facebook live event. This was a great way to join the community live and I loved how Bonnie gave us something new each week to focus on. This was inspirational. Hearing which team was in first place or who the sexy bitch of the week was spurred my competitive side and drove me to succeed the next week. Even if I could not watch live I would listen the next day and still feel part of a community.

R: Rules
I’m a rule follower. What can I say? So I liked the rules: Keep it simple. And choose and stick to a rule. I chose no sugar. I decided to follow some of the advice in Bonnie’s posts and video casts to be 100%. I was 100% no sugar. While I am sure this contributed to my weight loss the greater measure was the change in my mood and cognitive state. Before the transformation I was mildly, clinically depressed and spent most of my day in a cognitive fog. Moody and fatigued. When I removed sugar from my diet I no longer experienced depression and the fog lifted. Now I feel energy and laser focus all day. So, I have not only transformed physically but mentally too. I am seeing greater success at work and at home as a wife and a mother. 100% no sugar and 100% happy!

O: Ownership
I learned that I owned my successes and missteps. I knew my successes depended upon me owning weekly meal prep and getting out of bed to attend the 5:30 boot camp. If I went off the plan I needed to reflect, own those factors and make a course correction. And as the days passed and I saw measurable changed I owned that! I made that happen! Did you know that I have always wanted to and have never attended a Halloween costume party? I’d had offers to attend but I never felt confident to wear a costume. This year I was elated to attend the Halloween Boooootcamp. I wore a Cleopatra Costume – with a wig and fun eye makeup. And…yup..I owned that! It was so much fun and I felt so confident and I loved my costume. While it was a wish come true for me…being part of a community that contributed to making someone else’s wishes come true made it all the more special!
All these MACRO factors: micro goals, accountability, community, rules, and ownership led to the MACROS:

S: Success!!!!
I wake up with energy and motivation to crush a boot camp. I am strong! I love getting dressed and wearing clothes I feel confident in. I wore a bikini on my beach vacation and felt amazing. I changed my relationship with food. I have met amazing people and feel encouraged and challenged by others to achieve my goals.

It is a transformation program. Maybe I did not lose a lot of weight, but I gained my life and my confidence back. That’s not an extreme statement. Every day I am thankful that I got past my tantrum and decided to count macros. All those MACROS added up and helped me move forward with my life..thus the change. Truly transformative. Thank you Bonnie and the FA family….

Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as typical. This training is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider before undertaking rigorous physical training.