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Leigh Carmichael / FJ Spotlight

Fit-Journey-Leigh-CarmichaelHi guys – it’s Michelle.  I’ve been doing a great job of meeting people in Phoenix these past couple of months and I want to introduce you to a new friend I’ve met in a Pure Barre class!  Leigh not only kills it in every class but she is currently undergoing an incredible journey which we wanted to share with you!

What was your turning point?

There wasn’t a time when I really woke up and decided to change my lifestyle in order to lose weight. It’s hard for me to pin down a time when I was just so tired of being so grossly overweight because I’ve been overweight since I was 8 and I’ve always hated it. The drive to lose weight really came from me making the gym a bonding opportunity with my then-roommates and it just took off from there. One day I was just done wishing I could lose weight and just went for it instead.
Who inspired you to lose weight and get healthy?
The roommates I lived with from mid-2008 to mid-2010. After Halloween 09, they started going to the gym regularly and asked if I wanted to join. I got signed up with a personal trainer who taught me how to safely and successfully use the weights and cardio equipment. It was easy going to the gym when my roommates went. We made it a nightly routine during the week and never let each other get lazy about going. It really made the difference between that and all the other times I’d tried (and failed) to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What did you change in your diet?
I decided from the get-go that I would start by weening myself off certain things. Sugar was the first to go as I was never a sweets person followed closely by soda (which I don’t miss much, either) and then significantly cut back on dairy and fast food. I integrated dairy substitutes into my diet (because I like cheese way too much. It is far and away my worst vice) and looked for healthy snack alternatives. I also followed the advice of many when they told me to cut the portions and eat more often. 6 small meals a day did, and is still doing wonders for my metabolism. Not to mention the fruits, veggies and juicing I have introduced into my diet as well.
What is your favorite workout?
Mat Pilates. It’s hard for me to say exactly why I love it so much but it probably has something to do with the fact that I started doing it at my gym and had the most wonderful experience not to mention how great it made me feel and how flexible I became. Yoga is also something I love. Sometimes I really struggle with the positions especially since my wrists are weak but I have the most lovely instructor who makes me feel great about my progress and again, I love how flexible I am because of it.
If you are still losing weight, how much more are you looking to lose?
I’ve still got a ways to go on this journey. The last 40 lbs are going to be a fight but I’m looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait to know what it feels like to be an adult at an average, healthy weight. I’m 60 lbs down from my heaviest at 250 and that feels wonderful. I can’t wait to have the success of losing 100 lbs under my belt.
What were you most excited about when you lost/started losing weight?
The first time I saw that I had legitimately lost 10 lbs. It was the first time I had ever seen anything come from putting in work to lose weight and I was ecstatic. It was basically the first time I actually felt like I had a shot at losing weight. That and the day I fit into a size of pants I hadn’t been in since 7th grade!
What do you do in social situations (restaurants, parties) to make healthy decisions?
Keep my goals in mind, avoid what I know is bad, look for healthy options and honestly, just exercise will power. It feels better to wake up the morning after a party realizing I didn’t cheat than the actual moment of caving at that dinner or party would have ever felt. It’s just not worth it to me anymore.
What is your final goal?
My goal is to be a healthy weight for my height with a much lower BMI. That means anywhere between 135 and 155 would be ideal and I would be really proud of myself. I’m taking my time, though, because when I get there, I want to have changed my lifestyle in a way that will keep me healthy and allow me to easily maintain that weight.
You can follow Leigh on twitter @Leigh_M_C

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Fit Journey
Mission: To introduce or reinvigorate a healthy lifestyle while eliminating the intimidation often experienced when starting a health and fitness program. The Fit Journey community is with you every step of the way - because fitness is not a destination, it's a journey.
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