This week’s spotlight is one of Fit Journey’s favorite readers! See how she balances a healthy active lifestyle and still has room for a little ice cream! We introduce you to…Kelly Gibbons!
What was your turning point?
My turning point was the ultra dreaded bridesmaid dress shopping for my youngest sister’s wedding! When the lady came around to measure with that evil measuring tape and wrote down what size I needed, it was like a light bulb finally went off in my head flashing…”it’s time!”
Who inspired you to lose weight and get healthy?
It was really a personal decision. I had never actually dieted before, but obviously that wasn’t working! I was done having my children and that weight just hung around. Nothing fit right; I was out of breath going up stairs. Mentally it starts to take a toll too. Knowing myself, I thought Weight Watchers would probably work, I like a good challenge and knowing “points” were involved I figured it might be fun!
What did you change in your diet?
The beauty of Weight Watchers is that basically its portion control! You change your mindset very quickly when you learn, hey I can have a candy bar but then whoops, I have no more points for the rest of the day. Or you can fill your plate with nutritious foods and eat all day if you want to! Over time you learn that it’s all pretty simple. Stick with a normal portion, eat clean, add a ton of fresh veggies and fruit and changes will happen! But I can never give up everything- ice cream is my biggest weakness, so I never deprive myself either!
What is your current nutrition plan?
Over the last year I have gradually cut out meat and try to limit my dairy intake (minus the ice cream of course!) I have been having so much fun experimenting with tofu, tempeh, spices, and seeds. I wanted to see how I felt after making these changes and I have felt wonderful! I also just bought a Nutribullet and I am having a lot of fun making fresh veggie-fruit smoothies at least twice a day. I usually almost have a protein smoothie after workouts.
What is your favorite workout?
My secrete is to always mix up my workouts and to have fun! If you only do nonstop cardio such as the treadmill like so many people do, your body and weight loss will plateau very easily, leaving you very discouraged! As a time strapped working mom, I love doing HIIT workouts: high intensity interval training with weights where in about thirty minutes I can get an insane workout. I can boost up my metabolism and continue to burn calories throughout the day. I love to Spin and try to hit up my local spin class once a week. Sometimes leaving a great spin class is like a mind altering experience, it’s insane..the music, the muscles and heart pumping..the high is fantastic. I discovered kettlebells a few years ago.. I swear by kettlebells to totally rip your body. I think it’s the best piece of exercise equipment one can buy…just don’t put a dent in your ceiling like I did! I also love Pilates and try to do mat Pilates a couple of times a month just to work on tightening the core, and it has that relaxing quality that yoga has which I totally need in my life! And last but not least…I run! Running is one of those things I just totally dismissed in my life as in I hate it, can’t do it, won’t do it. I was totally that kid back in elementary school that came in last in every race we ever did. As exercise became part of my life, I tried it again and realized ok, I can do this…first it was to the end of the block, then to the next block, then a mile, and the rest was history. I signed up for my first race, a four miler a couple of years ago and next thing I knew I was going on 20 mile training runs for a marathon. Unfortunately injury kept me from completing the marathon but I have enough racing bibs to cover my wall and a few medals too!
How do you maintain your current weight?
Ahhh maintaining! That’s been the biggest challenge! I would have to say steadily working out is the key to balancing it all out! And to not deprive yourself! If I want the ice cream I have the ice cream, but then I know to have a great workout the next day. I always try to follow that 80/20 rule…80% I eat clean, and totally nutritious, and the other 20% there is a little room for a splurge…and by splurge I don’t mean a snickers bar…it can be a “portion” controlled size of ice cream or maybe a healthy cookie…(yes those do exist! ).
What were you most excited about when you lost/started losing weight?
That’s easy – shopping!! What a weird feeling to go into a store and know I actually have choices to pick from and that things will actually look good on me. Before that I dreaded having to go dress shopping. Believe it or not, it still seems weird to me when I shop. Before I dressed around my body and now I dress for my body.
How do you avoid temptations to keep you from falling back into old unhealthy habits?
At first when I was in my main weight loss mode, it was all about finding the willpower and saying no. It still amazes me that I found this inner strength, but I did! Shows how strong we can really be when we have confidence in ourselves! It wasn’t easy especially when you constantly had people questioning why you aren’t eating the birthday cake at work, etc. I think trying to surround yourself with people who are supportive, encouraging, and understanding is the best advice I can give in retrospect. I wasn’t prepared for all the negativity I received when I ate that healthy apple instead of the cake. Find a personal support team and let them know, “hey I’m getting healthy, I’m getting strong, and there is no stopping me!” You’ll also be amazed how sooner or later you’ll be inspiring others! Make it a lifestyle, YOUR lifestyle!
What do you do in social situations (restaurants, parties) to make healthy decisions?
On the weekends it’s my splurge time, so I don’t get too worked up about it. I really stick to the whole portion control thing. Read those menus carefully, there are still healthy options in many restaurants especially since many now list the calories. Before it was very common for me to eat until I actually felt like I could explode, and then wondered why I felt so sick for the next four hours after that! Now I just eat until I feel full. It’s really pretty simple but so many of us still put ourselves in that situation. I also look to avoid the little things that add up in those social situations, like laying low on the veggie dips, sticking with hummus and salsa as better choices. Once you learn to make the swaps for better choices it gets easier.
What advice do you have for someone first starting out so they don’t get discouraged?
Find a positive support system! Whether it be through the Fit Journey family, a healthy blog to follow, a group of close girlfriends, family, or meetings such as Weight Watchers, surround yourself with positivity. And please don’t forget a healthy weight loss takes time! This is not an overnight journey, there are no quick fixes. I constantly cringe when I hear someone telling about their latest “diet” they are on! Take the word DIET out of your vocabulary! You’re making a lifestyle, not a quick fix! For introducing fitness into your life, start slow, experiment, and find where you feel comfortable. At first I joined an all woman gym because that was where I felt I would be most comfortable to start my journey. Try all different classes. Make friends at the gym, soon you’ll start seeing the same faces, and a camaraderie begins…just think a whole room of people who are there with the same goal in mind…talk about a support system! Talking and getting to know the instructors is also a great idea. Let them know about your new lifestyle you are incorporating, they are always a wealth of information and encouragement.
What is your final goal?
As far as weight goes I am definitely happy where I am and confident I can stay here healthy and happy. As far as fitness, wow, where do I begin? Perhaps retrain for a marathon? Triathlon? We shall see! And if I can inspire just one person, it’s all worth it! Professionally, I hope to take my 13 years in the medical field as a registered nurse and partnering that with my newfound love of nutrition and fitness. I would like to work with special populations such a pre/post natal fitness, senior fitness and children fitness. I plan on expanding my writing portfolio and possibly do some medical volunteer work with events such as the NYC marathon. Exciting things ahead!