Natalia used to have a hard time looking in the mirror at herself, and her self-esteem had "hit rock bottom." Rather than letting herself spiral out of control, though, Natalia took a hold of her life and found an online community that offered meal plans, workouts, and a group of encouraging women who were going through weight-loss journeys of their own. She has since lost over 70 pounds, and she's going to run her first 10K this year! See below for her full story.
POPSUGAR: When did you start your weight-loss journey? What made you decide to?
Natalia R. Larson: I started my weight-loss journey Jan. 3, 2016. In November 2015, I had hit rock bottom with my weight and self-esteem. I was tired of looking in the mirror and hating the person looking back at me. I was down and needed to change. That's when I found Fit Girls Guide on Instagram. I started following them and a select few girls, and I instantly fell in love. I knew this was it!
What was your starting weight?
NL: 214 pounds.
PS: How much weight have you lost so far?
NL: 72 pounds.
PS: How did you do it? Did you follow a specific diet?
NL: I followed the Fit Girls Guide 28 Day Jumpstart for months. In my first four months, I lost well over 30 pounds. As I grew stronger, I added more rounds of daily cardio after my circuits. As for a diet, I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted but stayed within my calorie goal for the day.
Restricting carbs or sugars never worked for me and seemed more like a "fad diet." I needed a lifestyle change, not a quick fix, so I started out with a goal of eating 1,500 calories per day and worked my way down to 1,200 calories per day. Now that I am working on maintaining weight and toning, I am back up to about 1,400 calories per day.
PS: Did you do a specific workout type or schedule?
NL: I followed the Fit Girls 28 Day Jumpstart and then worked my way up to the Fitkini Guide. I am actually about to start Fit Girls Bootcamp next week, and I look forward to the extra push!
PS: What are some nonscale victories you've experienced?
NL: My biggest nonscale victory is going from a size 20 to a size eight in pants! It feels amazing. Not only have I grown stronger physically, but I have also grown mentally as a person. I have learned to love myself no matter what my size was, and for me that was a huge victory. Another nonscale victory is running my first 10K this year!
PS: How do you stay motivated?
NL: Easy — the Fit Girls community. I have met lifetime friends along this journey. Some I have never met in person, only through social media, and others I keep in touch with regularly and see at monthly meetups. The girls in this community are supportive, inspirational, and motivational. If it weren't for them to push me to keep going, it would have been just like any other time I tried to lose weight and failed.
PS: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
NL: For breakfast I'll have a Chobani Flip Greek Yogurt (230 calories), then a Fiber One Bar (100 calories) for a snack. Lunch is a bistro salad, which is about 300 calories. My next snack is 100 calories' worth of popcorn, and for dinner I have chicken, quinoa, and broccoli (about 500 calories).
PS: Any advice or tips for people on their own journey?
NL: Remember, progress not perfection! If you slip up, get back at it the next meal or next day. Anything is better than nothing!
PS: Anything else you want to share?
NL: I struggled with my weight after having two kids. I never thought in a million years I would be able to make this a lifestyle, but I did — and if I can do it, anyone can!