When you hear about Courtney Schweiger's childhood, you would have never guessed she hit her heaviest weight at 214 pounds. She played volleyball and softball and was also a cheerleader. But you know how they say abs are made in the kitchen? Well, the one thing she struggled with was nutrition. In November 2014, Courtney decided her disordered eating and body dysmorphia would no longer bring her down. This was a huge step because body dysmorphia can be a crippling disease and, as the Mayo Clinic defines it, "a serious condition involving a preoccupation with a perceived flaw in appearance, be it minor or imagined." It can cause anxiety, shame, and depression, so overcoming it is no easy feat.
"I decided to really take control of both my fitness and nutrition and find food freedom and an appreciation for my body in all phases and stages," she told POPSUGAR. It wasn't all smooth sailing right from the start, though. She first started tracking her macros, but struck gold when she discovered the 80/20 rule. If you've never heard of this rule, it means that 80 percent of your diet comes from whole, clean foods based around complex carbs, healthy fats, and rich proteins while 20 percent is fun, as Courtney calls it. "Sometimes my snacks look like apple slices and peanut butter, while other times I might be snacking on Halo Top or tortilla chips and guacamole." That was the trick that helped her lose over 50 pounds today. A little bit of portion control mixed with balance is just what Courtney needed to help her reach her goals.
Looking back, she explains that transitioning from college to adulthood caused the weight gain. Once she graduated, her disordered eating and body dysmorphia only got worse. "My lifestyle was so different and I didn't take the proper steps to maintain my weight and ended up gaining more than ever before." Courtney had tried crash dieting throughout this period as well, and it only destroyed her metabolism. She was no longer walking, now driving. Instead of healthy dining hall options, she resorted to fast food. Plus, alcoholic beverages only added more calories.
"It was a rough path, but it also taught me so much about the science behind making a healthy diet into a long-term lifestyle." With all her past behind her now, she's turning to fitness to feel strong. She not only strength trains, but also incorporates tons of HIIT cardio.
The biggest thing that changed in this transformation was not the number on the scale, but the feeling she had inside. "I am less fatigued. I have less social anxiety and don't care so much about what others think about me, because I know how far I've come and that their opinions don't define me."
It's not easy. It's not going to happen overnight. It takes time. But your body, health, and well-being deserve it. Her advice for anyone on a similar weight-loss journey is "go slow, listen to your body, and find a sustainable plan that works for you." That's how Courtney has been keeping the weight off for four years all while building an inspiring and motivating online community to document her journey.