After years of yo-yo dieting, Ashley was tired of feeling like her weight was something she couldn't control. But it took a trip to the emergency room and a number on the hospital scale for her to decide to make a change. Now, she's lost 115 pounds, enjoys creating healthy recipes, and doesn't count calories. "My entire life has changed for the better, and I cannot imagine where I would be today had I not made up my mind to get healthy," she tells us. Read on to find out how Ashley changed her habits and dropped over 100 pounds!
POPSUGAR Fitness: What made you decide to start?
Ashley German: My entire life, I have struggled with not only my weight, but being in denial. I never wanted to believe that I was "one of those girls," the obese one, but I was. I would lose a little bit of weight, and then gain it all back plus some, over and over. It was an endless ride I desperately wanted help getting off of. I could never be happy in my skin or happy about the way I looked. This impacted everything about me, my attitude, the way I dressed and carried myself, the friends I had, the opportunities I didn't take, etc.
During one of my low-weight periods when I was a bit happier with the way I looked, I met a guy (now my amazing husband) and started our relationship! The happier I got, the more the weight continued to pack on. I knew my weight was out of control, but once again, it's like being on this never-ending ride with absolutely no off switch.
I played naïve and I played the victim. "Oh, I carry my weight well" or "I just have bad genetics" were common thoughts that were completely fabricated to make myself feel better. It wasn't until an accidental fall down some stairs, a hurt ankle, and a trip to the ER that I realized I needed to get my weight truly under control! At the emergency room, I hopped on the scale (which terrified me) as a nurse requested. It wasn't until I saw him hold up his hand and sign 2-5-5 to the other nurse that I realized what I weighed. I can't even express how devastating it was to realize I had let myself go to that point. Everything else in my life was under control, I was dating an awesome guy, I was about to graduate college, and here I was over 100 pounds overweight.
PS: What's your favorite way to work out?
AG: I've tried just about every type of workout! I love CrossFit, but after moving I am no longer a member of a CrossFit gym. My husband and I use our backyard, weights, cones, and other objects to do our own version of CrossFit a few times a week! Keeping things interesting is important!
PS: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
AG: Now that I've shed 115 pounds, my weekly exercise schedule has changed a bit. I try to work out five days a week even though it used to be seven. I try to make it to the gym on the days that I can; if schedules prevent that, we do CrossFit, go running, take the dog on the walk, go on bike rides, etc. Whatever we can do to get even minimal exercise in is crucial to stay dedicated. A crappy workout is better than no workout in my opinion.
PS: How do you keep workouts exciting?
AG: My key to keeping workouts exciting is trying new things and doing different activities. One day I may run, the next hike, the next lift weights. I also love working out with people! I like working out with my husband or if I have family or friends in town I will suggest something active.
PS: How much weight have you lost?
AG: 115 pounds.
PS: What was the first big difference, other than the number on the scale, that really made you feel proud and excited?
AG: Getting stronger psychically was a huge accomplishment for me. I had never run a mile in my life so the first time I ran a mile straight through was the absolute best feeling in the world. To this day, my first 5K was one of the happiest days of my life. Seeing my body change and dropping jean sizes was also a huge thing for me!
PS: How do you track your weight loss?
AG: I am at my goal weight now so I rely less on the scale. Most people think weighing yourself every day is not a good thing, but for me it was a way to stay motivated and to avoid cheating. There were certainly weeks I didn't lose anything, however just seeing the consistency in my weight helped motivate me! I also used apps such as MyFitnessPal to track my weight and daily calories.
PS: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
AG: One of the hardest aspects of weight loss for me was eating breakfast, but throughout time I realized how crucial it was to my overall goal! When I was trying to lose 115 pounds my diet looked different than it does now. I definitely watch what I eat and always go for nutritional options, but I can change things up for frequently now that I don't have to be as strict.
A typical day of meals looks like:
- Breakfast: one of the following: a mini bagel or oatmeal (sometimes if I am in a hurry I will grab a protein shake or protein bar and try to always keep these items around for backup).
- Midmorning snack: apple or almonds.
- Lunch: chicken and steamed veggies or a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread with side of hummus and carrots, sometimes a salad. It really depends on what I'm in the mood for.
- Afternoon snack: Cow Pals cheese slice (less than 100 calories).
- Dinner: My favorite meal of the day, and it always differs. My husband and I try to take really unhealthy recipes and make them clean. Throughout this we have discovered some of the best foods ever! We make the most amazing chicken alfredo that is almost 100-percent clean by using spaghetti squash in lieu of noodles and creating our own healthy sauce. This is one of our favorite things to do together, and it keeps my meals fun and exciting! Getting bored with food causes me to cheat more frequently!
PS: What's the range of calories you eat per day?
AG: I don't track every calorie I eat anymore. When I was losing, I would eat around 1200-1500 per day, and I try to maintain that even now. I have figured my body out, and I don't feel the need to count every single calorie anymore.
PS: What are the healthy staples that are always in your fridge?
AG: My husband and I grocery shop every weekend. We buy all fresh foods, so we find it necessary to frequent the grocery store. We make out a meal plan for every night of the week and do not stray from our grocery list very frequently. The healthy staples we always buy are organic chicken, turkey meat, spaghetti squash, broccoli, asparagus (my absolute fave), butternut squash, fresh garlic (makes every dish better), avocados, bananas, apples, and whatever other fruit I'm craving that week!
PS: How do you strategize for meals out?
AG: I used to stress myself out about meals out to the point it was completely miserable! However now, I try to live by the 80/20 rule. I eat clean 80 percent of the time and the other 20 percent I cut myself a little bit of slack. That does not mean that I go out and consume 18 cheeseburgers, 10 fries, a milkshake, etc. I still attempt to be healthy when we eat out, but I do so by applying the 80/20 rule. If I really want something, I don't get it right away. If it's a craving that keeps coming back over and over, I'll indulge, get it out of my system and move on! An example for how I strategize when eating out is chicken fajitas. I love fajitas, and I will order them without tortillas or sides therefore I only eat the chicken meat and veggies!