From our friends at Self: Taylor gained the freshman 30 in college, and after graduation, she decided to do something about it. Here's how she successfully lost the weight and found a new hobby in the process.
Taylor Staus, 24, grew up playing sports. When she went to college, she changed her exercise routine and created some unhealthy eating habits.
"I grew up playing volleyball and basketball," says Staus. "I was so active that I never even thought about my weight. I ate whatever I wanted." But the transition to college meant that she no longer had a schedule packed with organized team practices. She wasn't running around burning calories on the field and in the gym, but she was still eating like she always had. Beer, soda, chicken wings, pizza, and chips became diet staples for Staus at college. The more she ate and drank, the less she felt like moving, and the unhealthy cycle continued.
"Some people talk about gaining the freshman 15," says Staus. "For me, it was at least twice that."
Staus didn't feel great, but she wasn't sure what to do or how to start making positive changes. Then one evening while scrolling Pinterest, something caught her eye. "I came across a picture of these two gorgeous girls. I loved everything about them, but mostly the confidence in their body language and smiles," she says. Staus had discovered star trainers Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn, the founders of Tone It Up, who share workout and healthy lifestyle tips alongside their infectiously positive attitudes. While their message is about getting healthy, their vibe is all about having fun.
While Staus downloaded the TIU nutritional plan — which included grocery lists and recipes — she never printed it out. "At school I was living in a dorm and didn't have access to a kitchen. I didn't know how to deal with cooking the recipes," she says. "I felt scared to start something new.'"
When she graduated, she decided it was finally time to make a change — she was tired of feeling unhealthy.
After graduating, Staus knew it was time to make some changes — her graduation pictures showed how much weight she'd gained. "It was a serious wake-up call," she says. Her first step: walking 30 minutes to and from her new job in Chicago every day. Staus happily discovered that this little boost in activity quickly offered health payoffs. "I have asthma, and I didn't realize how out of shape I was compared to my high school days when I was involved in sports," says Staus. She used her inhaler less as she became fitter.
Then, Staus remembered the fit, happy-looking duo she saw on Pinterest a year ago and decided to finally print out that Tone It Up nutritional plan. "I started out by choosing a few recipes that sounded good and didn't look too complicated to make," she says. "And I quickly learned that when you keep healthy food in your house, you'll eat healthy food," says Staus.
Staus also started logging Tone It Up strength, HIIT, and yoga workouts almost every day, and she began running with her dad again — something she hadn't done since she was a teenager. "We've always been close, but I really reconnected with him as I got stronger and fitter," she says. "I had the energy to go outside and enjoy life."
In fact, she found that reaching one goal inspired her to set — and reach — new ones!
After two years of healthy eating and regular workouts, Staus has never felt better. Although she's lost weight, Staus doesn't focus on the number on the scale. "It really is just a number. There are so many factors that are more important like how you feel and how your clothes fit you," she says. A telling factor for Staus: she's no longer had to get steroid shots to control her asthma.
Staus's transformation has helped her reconnect with her love of athletics. She completed her first Olympic distance triathlon (0.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike ride, 6.2-mile run) in August, and she's run two half-marathons. She now has her eye on a sub 1:45:00 half-marathon (that's a speedy 8-minutes-per-mile pace) and she wants to break 3:00:00 hours in her next Olympic distance triathlon.
But what makes her happiest is that she's able to mentor and help other women who are building fit, strong bodies. Staus has posted personal transformation pics to her Instagram handle @progressxnotxperfection and now has more than 20,000 followers. Staus is sharing her story to help other women within the TIU community find their motivation. "It's about progress not perfection," she says.
Transforming your health and fitness doesn't happen overnight. Here are Staus's top six tips for feeling stronger and fitter and staying motivated throughout the journey.
- The saying "no one has ever regretted a workout" is 110 percent true. If you've had a bad day, a workout instantly makes you feel better.
- I usually dedicate my Sundays to meal prep to set myself up for a successful week. It makes it so much easier to stay on track when you already have the meals ready. I often make double recipes so I can use the leftovers, or I'll make a crockpot of chicken and then use it all week long in my lunches.
- Anything is fine in moderation. You should definitely treat yourself now and then.
- Journal or check-in via Instagram with your workouts and meals to keep yourself accountable.
- Track your progress, for example, taking pictures of yourself in a sports bra and shorts. "Like Kat and Karena say, 'looking back on how far you've come keeps you moving forward.'"
- Don't get discouraged if you have an off day. Sometimes life gets in the way! Just don't let a bad day turn into a bad week. Pick yourself up and do better tomorrow.
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