Rachael Didn't Count Calories or Give Up Foods She Loves, and She Lost 50 Pounds — Here's How
"Before I started losing weight, I had a horrible relationship with food," Rachael Alles, 25, (rn_crossfit on Instagram) told POPSUGAR. By age 19, Rachael was almost 200 pounds, and one family member's comment made her decide to make a change. She said, "I wanted to prove people wrong and no longer be the fat girl." Find out how Rachael changed her diet, found CrossFit, and was able to drop 50 pounds.
Rachael's History With Food, Weight, and Dieting
Rachael had a history of eating large quantities of unhealthy fatty food. She told POPSUGAR that she'd eat out all the time, including Taco Bell and often at Olive Garden because she worked there. "I just ate for pleasure," she said. "I ate because it made me happy, and I ate because food tastes good."
Why Rachael Decided to Make a Change
"I remember hearing a family member say I would end up in the show My 600-Pound Life if I kept going down the path I was on," Rachael said. "For me, that just hit so hard. I knew I had to lose weight, and I wanted to prove people wrong and no longer be the fat girl."
Rachael had reached 195 pounds, and she said, "This was the last weight I can remember taking as I stopped weighing myself because I didn't want to see the scale hit 200."
Rachael's Journey Began . . . and It Was a Slow Start
So Rachael began her journey in 2013 when she just turned 20 after quitting her job at Olive Garden. She admits that her initial goal was to just "be a skinny girl." When she started losing weight, she thought if she just ate salads and lean turkey burgers every day, she'd get skinny. "Well, I lost weight, but I didn't put any muscle on, and I didn't feel any better," Rachael said. "I also would binge eat because I was holding myself back from all the food I loved."
Like many women, Rachael struggled for so long not understanding what she needed to do to be healthy. That's when she met with an online nutritionist from Working Against Gravity.
Rachael's nutritionist set up her macros, and she doesn't count calories. Instead, she counts fats, carbs, and protein, and she weighs out all her food for accuracy. Rachael rarely eats out, but if she does, she knows how to stay on track.
While she doesn't drink alcohol unless it's a special occasion, Rachael said working with the nutritionist has given her the freedom to eat the things she wants every day. "I eat ice cream every night: Halo Top Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. I'm able to eat what I love and still look the way I do." Rachael feels like she finally found a way of eating that's a long-term answer for nutrition, not a quick fix.
What Rachael Eats in a Day
Here's an example of what Rachael eats in a day:
Breakfast: egg whites, lean ground turkey sausage, American cheese, with a side of Kodiak Cakes chocolate chip pancakes and syrup
Lunch: cooked broccoli, cauliflower mashed potatoes, and a protein like pork or chicken
Dinner: "I take a lot of my favorite meals and make them healthy. I also follow Feeding the Frasers on Instagram and get a lot of ideas from there. My recent favorite was the chicken and broccoli calzone on Instagram."
Snacks: strawberries, blueberries, cherries, or some kind of fruit; Skinny Pop popcorn; sugar-free pudding for chocolate cravings; Thinkthin Brownie Crunch bars; peanut butter if she needs the fat; or a protein shake if she needs protein.
"Every day is different, but ice cream is every night — I can't live without my ice cream!" Rachael said.
Rachael does CrossFit now, but when she first started working out, she did the Beachbody programs Insanity and 21 Day Fix at home, working out six days a week. Once she could afford a gym, she went to Anytime Fitness and hired a personal trainer, but it was more expensive for a trainer than CrossFit. When Rachael went to her first CrossFit class, she quickly learned that CrossFit was for everyone. "I wish I had done this first!" she said.
Rachael's Workouts and Progress Now
"I work out four days a week because of my work schedule. Sometimes I go to the gym once in the morning and once in the evening. It all depends on what my body is telling me and how much effort I want to put in at the gym," Rachael said.
Between 2013 and 2019, Rachael has lost about 50 pounds. "I actually don't weigh myself that much because my nutritionist and I have found that the scale doesn't define my progress," Rachael said. "My pictures and how I'm feeling is my success."
Rachael's Thoughts About CrossFit
"I want people to not be scared to try CrossFit," she said. "So many times I hear people say, 'I can't do CrossFit because X, Y, Z.' Anyone can do CrossFit." No matter your size, your age, or if you have injuries, anyone can do the workouts — you just scale to your ability level. Rachael said the coaches help you and push you to your limits, not someone else's. "I really encourage people to try CrossFit for at least a week and understand CrossFit before you say it's not for you," Rachael said.
Rachael's Nonscale Victories
Rachael's biggest nonscale victory has to do with food. "I finally feel like I can eat and not be scared of food," she said. She loves being able to eat normally and not feel bad about it because there is no such thing as "good" or "bad" food; it's just food.
"Being able to understand my nutrition has been even better than losing the weight — being able to eat out without guilt," Rachael said. "Having someone cheering me on and not food shaming me has been the greatest help in my journey."
Rachael added that another huge nonscale victory is that she's in amazing health. "As a nurse, being in great health, having great labs, and feeling amazing; this is such a big victory," Rachael said.
How Rachael Stays Motivated
What's Rachael's biggest motivation? Herself! "When I started, I was motivated by other people," she said, but she learned that this doesn't keep her working toward her goals or make her happy. "I had to find my motivation in myself. I keep going for me, to love my body, to know I will be healthy in my future," Rachael said.
Rachael is also motivated to eat right and exercise because she genuinely has a passion for it — she loves the gym and the food she eats. She said that losing weight or getting in shape should never be because someone told you to; that won't motivate you for the long haul. "You have to want to change, and you have to want it for you," Rachael said. "Once I figured this out, it was easier to stay on track. Working out and eating right is now a lifestyle, and I could never give it up."
When you think about quitting or that it's just too hard, Rachael said, "Keep going; don't stop. It's hard — really hard — but don't give up on yourself. You get one life, and one body, and you want to take care of it."
It's OK to ask people for help, and it's OK if your progress stalls. Just stay strong and stick to your plan. Rachael said that "I have had so many ups and downs in this journey, and every time, I just remember why I'm here, and that I have to stay on point even when I don't want to."
Rachael's Final Thoughts
"My history with weight loss started as this idea that I just wanted to be a 'skinny girl,'" she said. But once she lost a decent amount of weight, got into CrossFit, and got a nutritionist, she learned that it was no longer about just wanting to be skinny. "I want to be happy, healthy, and fit," she said. "I want to go up and down stairs and not be tired or sweating. I want to lift heavy things and feel like the strong girl. My goal is to prevent disease and to live an all-around healthy life." It looks like Rachael has accomplished that goal — how inspiring!