When Lisa saw pictures of herself in 2016, she almost couldn't recognize the woman staring back at her. She was inspired to turn her life around, so she embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Rather than do it alone, she joined an online weight-loss community called Fit Girls Guide. Lisa is now 40 pounds lighter, she can run for 30 minutes without stopping, and her clothes fit better than ever. Read on for her full (and inspiring!) story.
POPSUGAR: When did you start your weight-loss journey? What made you decide to?
Lisa Uhlig: I started with Fit Girls Guide in October 2016. Like most of us, I'd been in a search for something to get healthier for a while, but nothing was sticking. I remember two specific catalysts that pushed me to sign up: my theater company took photos for our website, and I was so miserable with the result. I didn't recognize myself. I used to love dance classes, so I tried one at my gym to see if that could get me moving again. I don't know if I've ever felt worse about myself than trying to learn dance moves while staring at myself in that tiny mirrored room. Once dance became the enemy, I knew I had to find a path to change.
PS: What was your starting weight?
LU: 230 pounds.
PS: How much weight have you lost so far?
LU: 40 pounds.
"To find results, you have to trust the process. Don't give up on something just because you didn't see the number on the scale change."
PS: How did you do it? Did you follow a specific diet?
LU: I started by following the Fit Girls Guide 28-Day Jumpstart meal and exercise plan as closely as possible. It focuses on proper portions, meal prep, and planning ahead, which is my not-so-secret weapon.
PS: Did you do a specific workout type or schedule?
LU: Fit Girls Guide 28-Day Jumpstart also included workouts! It's six days a week for 30 minutes a day. The combo of strength training using just my bodyweight and cardio really pushed me, but everything was able to be modified if I couldn't quite do it yet (like push-ups or sit-ups).
PS: What are some nonscale victories you've experienced?
LU: I've run for 30 minutes without stopping, which makes me feel like a superhero. My clothes fit better and then started to fall off, so I got to shop — and not hate the experience. I don't worry about taking up more than one seat on the bus or planes anymore. It may sound "basic," but I love taking pictures of myself now. The camera is no longer a villain in my story.
PS: How do you stay motivated?
"I love taking pictures of myself now. The camera is no longer a villain in my story."
LU: Whenever I'm feeling out of step with my health, I share that with the Fit Girls Guide community on Instagram. Sometimes I post about it, sometimes it's a direct message. But the act of just putting it out there helps take it off my shoulders. And I'm always meeting girls who are experiencing the same thing or felt that way last week and can share how they got through it. Also, as I mentioned earlier — PLANNING! It helps to keep going, to have it all written down in advance, even when I'm not thrilled about a workout. For example, if I decided I was doing 30 minutes of cardio on Wednesday night the weekend before, I "didn't have a choice" when Wednesday rolled around. I did it.
PS: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
LU: I typically do a snack before my morning workout (about 200 calories). My three big meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are all about 400 calories, and then I add one or two 100-calorie snacks. I try not to eat too late in the evening, because it always makes me feel sluggish the next day.
PS: Any advice or tips for people on their own journey?
"My three big meals are all about 400 calories."
LU: "Love yourself" is of course what I want to say, but I know all too well how complicated that can be when you feel like you're staring at an endless highway to your goals. So instead I'll say, "Honor where you are." To me, that means consciously checking my negative self-talk and allowing myself to take things step by step. I say things like, "I'm not trying to reach my goal weight with this workout. I'm trying to do three sets of 15 sit-ups." Breaking it down makes it feel possible. Also, finding your tribe can be invaluable. They can be in real life or online. If they lift you up, that's where you want to be.
PS: Anything else you want to share?
LU: It takes time. A real change takes a lot of time, and we just don't like to wait for things these days! To find results, you have to trust the process. Don't give up on something just because you didn't see the number on the scale change or your jean size change after only a couple weeks. The results happen on the inside first — mentally AND physically. Keep with it and watch your work slowly surface. You're worth it.