Hi!

My name is Gabby.  

I lost half my body weight through exercise and eating right.

 I'm here to motivate you, inspire you, and make you laugh on your journey to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

PART 2: HOW I LOST 120 POUNDS

PART 2: HOW I LOST 120 POUNDS

Hi everyone! It's time for the second installment of my interview. Are you ready to find out more about how I lost 120 pounds and how you can lose weight too? If you missed the first installment, don't worry, you do not need to read them in order. Each part has it's own set of questions.

In this week's Q and A, I will be revealing what I did in the very beginning of my journey vs. much later in my journey. You will also learn essential information and advice on how you can both avoid and move past plateaus. You must always be prepared for plateaus so they don't derail you!

FIND OUT HOW TO START YOUR OWN JOURNEY AND HOW TO RELEASE YOUR INNER SEXY BADASS!

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{Novelist  Jillian Neal asked me fantastic questions about how I lost 120 pounds. This interview was published in four installments. Below you will find the second installment. You can find the original publication of this interview on Jillian's blog here.}

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PART 2: Interview with Gabby

Ok, it is Tuesday, so that means that it is time for the second installment of my interview with Ms. Gabby. This week we're talking about weight loss goals, exercising, and those dreaded plateaus (and how to avoid them!) I cannot tell you how excited I am to share Gabby's story with you each week. She is such an inspiration to me and to us all! I'm thrilled that now I can also call her a very dear friend as we've gotten to know each other better in the last few weeks! She's just an awesome girl, and we're on a mission to change the world!

Here we go...

1. I know you are a big proponent of working out and lifting now, but when did you begin exercising? What exercises did you do at the beginning of your journey? What kinds of things do you do now?

{This article contains an affiliate link. See bottom of page for details.}

When I first started my journey, I was so overwhelmed. Everything I had ever tried before didn’t work so I had to start from scratch. It was too much to try to think about getting my eating on point AND exercising so I gave myself two weeks to just solely focus on eating right. For the first two weeks I didn’t exercise at all. In those two weeks, I did a lot of research on exercising and what I should be doing. I also called my brother, who was a fitness buff, for advice and I picked his brain a bit. I was so severely overweight, I honestly could barely move. I knew I would have to start small and work my way up the exercise ladder. Through my research and talking with my brother, I knew I had to start doing some kind of weight training to build lean muscle AND I needed to do cardio. I was scared, I had never weight trained before.

I started a baby weight training circuit that I had put together from looking online at different exercises. I bought a set of 1 pound dumbbells and had about five arm exercises that I did with them. I would also do squats and lunges (without holding the dumbbells). I performed each of the exercises 12 times (12 reps) and I would go through my list of exercises two times (two sets). It only took me 10-15 minutes but it was where I had to start. I eventually moved onto 1 ½ lb dumbbells, then 3 lb, and so on. Once you have a list of exercises put together, if you are unsure on how to perform them, you can search virtually any exercise on YouTube and there will be videos showing you how to execute them. That is exactly what I did.

As for cardio, I mostly walked but I also bought a couple DVDs. There’s a ton out there and some even have beginner, intermediate, and advanced workouts on the same disc so you can advance as you get stronger and more capable. 

I also had bought a Wii Fit game called My Fitness Coach. I loved it. It gave you periodic physical challenge tests and automatically adjusted your workout for you based on your capabilities. You have a trainer on the TV doing the exercises with you and all the while there’s a ticker tape scrolling on the bottom of the screen to tell you which exercise is coming up next. It was perfect for me.

*Beware though, they came out with My Fitness Coach 2 (and by now maybe even a 3rd) and it’s nothing like the first one that I’m speaking of. It was completely different and did absolutely nothing for me. Total waste of money.

My world today involves a much more intense fitness regimen. As you get more healthy and fit, you need to up your game. As my body got stronger, I wanted to challenge myself. My main components for cardio are running, jump roping, boxing, and kick boxing. My hubs and I joined a combat gym years ago to learn boxing and we both fell madly in love with it. Unfortunately last year both my husband and I needed surgeries (his knee and my leg) so we can no longer actually fight in the ring; however, we can still train just as intense as we ever did. We have a heavy bag at home and all the proper equipment so we continue to train at home. Boxing is an intense cardio workout and, in my opinion, so empowering. Especially for women. It is so liberating to feel so strong and capable of defending yourself. I think so many women are lacking in both of those areas. There’s absolutely no reason why women can’t feel physically powerful. I never have until recent years, and it is an amazing feeling.

My weight training regimen involves a lot of different methods. I do a pretty intense weight circuit at the gym but I also do a lot at home. I’m a huge fan of body weight resistance exercises. Firstly, they are very effective. They are tried and true. There are countless body weight exercises but my favorites are squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, crunches, and planks. Secondly, body weight exercises don’t cost a thing. If you have a body and a floor, you’re good to go. 

Even a 15 minute session 3x/week can make a big difference in building muscle.

For weight training, I also like using the resistant bands, medicine balls, and kettle bells. There is so much out there to explore. There is definitely something out there for everybody. I suggest to try different methods out to find your favorites.

Plyometrics, which is also called ’jump training’, is one of my most favorite ways to train. Plyometrics combines both weight training AND cardio. It burns mega calories and builds muscle at the same time. I absolutely love it. But it’s definitely intense and not something I would recommend starting out with if you’re brand new on your fitness journey. And it's a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any new vigorous exercise regimen.

There is a wealth of information on the internet. You can search beginner workouts of any kind and print them out, read reviews on the best DVD workouts, and even watch workout videos on your computer. The amount of resources is fantastic. Grab yourself a nice cup of coffee and surf the web. Before you know it, you’ll have a stack of workouts printed out. Just remember to start small. You can always build up and add or change things to suit your level. You’ll be surprised how quickly you progress. Even though your mind might not want to exercise, your body craves it, needs it, and wants it. Once you start giving your body what it wants, it’ll show you how much it loves it by showing you results… and you’ll feel great.

2. Did you have a specific weight you wanted to reach when you started? How often did you weigh yourself during your journey?

Well, there are two answers to this question. There’s the answer I would’ve gave when I was just starting my journey and then there’s the answer I would’ve gave after I knew what I was doing, which was about half way through my journey. Before I started, I wanted to be around 130-135 pounds. I’m not sure exactly where I got that number or the reason behind it, but that was my goal weight. In relation to the scale, in the beginning, I was on that damn thing every other day. I was obsessed with the scale and the ‘numbers’. After months of me crying, my husband couldn't take seeing me so upset and threw the scale away.

At first I was so mad at him but then I realized how free I felt. All of my hard work didn't come down to me stepping on that scale anymore. For being so crazed over what the scale said before, it was so weird how I then never even thought about it. I mean, if I happened to be at a doctor’s office or if I was at my mom’s house and I thought about it, I‘d weigh myself but the scale didn‘t appeal to me after my ‘revelation‘. I might have weighed myself every 2 or 3 months, if that. I solely went by measurements. I had Jay measure me once a month. In the end I wanted to be smaller. Once I really let that sink in, the scale didn’t matter to me anymore.

I knew in my head how I wanted to look, so I figured whatever weight I was at when that happened… well, that was going to be my goal weight. I didn’t know what it was going to be and quite honestly it was very liberating. Every month, the measurements told me I was smaller and that was good enough for me.

My advice for everyone is to rely on measurements and not what the scale is saying. If you absolutely must weigh yourself, I would do it on a monthly basis. The scale can be a huge source of discouragement. Measurements are the only true way to see if you’re making real progress.

3. Did you ever plateau in your weight loss, and if so, how did you combat this?

The only plateau I ever had was in the very beginning. But it actually turned out to not be a true plateau. Let me explain. For the first four months, I only lost a few pounds. I was devastated. I was doing everything right. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was spot on with everything. I cried everyday. I couldn’t believe it. I finally made the changes it took me ten years to make and it wasn’t working. When I would tell people I was doing everything right for four months with no success, they looked at me like I was a big fat liar. I could feel their eyes roll as soon as I turned my back. I have to say though, I was feeling better. I felt healthier and stronger. I knew something right and good was happening inside of me but geez, I wanted to drop the weight. I knew deep down something was wrong. One doctor and two nutritionists later, I finally found out what was wrong. I had something called Insulin Resistance.

Insulin Resistance is when your insulin levels are chronically elevated. High insulin levels cause more glucose to be converted into fat and stored in the fat cells. Even worse, insulin prevents the release of fat from the fat cells. Your fat gets trapped inside of the cells and no matter what amount of diet or exercise you're doing, that fat doesn’t want to leave and it stays trapped. Because of this, people with insulin resistance (and most don't know they have it) have a lot of trouble losing weight. It’s not impossible, but it is much more difficult to lose weight than someone who doesn’t have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is often a precursor to many metabolic disorders, mainly type 2 diabetes. This definitely applied to me since I was basically minutes away from developing full-blown type 2 diabetes.

Ok, so now what? Well, the plan was to keep doing what I was doing but make a couple changes. First, the nutritionist told me to cut out all refined and processed foods. For the most part, I honestly was already doing that, but I was drinking diet pop and sometimes eating those 100 calorie pack snacks. So I took that stuff completely out of my meal plan and solely ate clean (eating whole, natural, and unrefined foods).

Secondly, I was told to increase the weight training. Weight training exercises are known to help tremendously with insulin resistance. Again, I was already doing this, but I took it up a notch.

I was happy to finally have some answers AND the confirmation that I wasn't crazy. However, I was still very discouraged… but I never gave up. My willpower was ironclad. I was not going to be the reason for failure this time. If my body wasn't going to cooperate and it was going to 'resist' losing weight, well that was out of my control. But it wasn't going to be because of me. This was war. I honestly looked at it like a war. And it was on. It was on like Donkey Kong.

After I made those couple changes and kept plugging away, SOMETHING GLORIOUS HAPPENED! After four months, my body finally got on board with the damn program. I can't explain it but one day I woke up and everything felt in sync. Almost immediately, I began noticing my clothes getting bigger on me and I started looking smaller. I mean, I looked noticeably smaller each week. I started shrinking. I was still huge and most people who didn't know me well didn't see any differences. But I did. And I wasn't imagining it. Oh, it was ON. After this breakthrough, I religiously lost inches and got smaller every single month until the end of my journey. It never waned.

Note:

It’s important to note that in all of my 10 years of previous attempts at losing weight, I hit plateaus every single time. I’d hit plateaus time after time until I’d just quit altogether. Then I would gain my weight back (and then some) and I’d be in worse shape than before. This time was the only time I never hit a plateau and this was the only time I ever weight trained. I fully attribute never hitting a plateau on the sole basis that I weight trained.

WEIGHT TRAINING IS THE KEY TO PREVENTING PLATEAUS.

As you build lean muscle, your body burns more and more calories for you. The more lean muscle you build, the faster your metabolism runs. Lean muscle mass keeps all your cylinders firing at full speed around the clock. You can’t rely on just changing your eating to try to overcome a plateau. You can only cut calories so much. It is extremely unhealthy and counterproductive to not eat enough.

Note:

It’s important to note that even though I didn’t have a plateau, plateaus are VERY common when losing weight.If you find yourself stuck in a plateau, here’s a few things to consider:

START A FOOD AND EXERCISE LOG

Write everything down. Everything! Many times you can see a pattern that you weren’t aware of or find some hidden calories that you weren‘t counting. Some people refer to these hidden calories as the ‘calorie creep’. Big time examples of often overlooked calories are with sauces, spreads, salad dressings, coffee creamers, oils, nuts, seeds, and condiments. Alcohol is a big culprit too. 

Check your serving size. Even with very healthy foods like nuts, seeds, and olive oils, it is VERY easy to consume hundreds upon hundreds of calories. For example, a small handful of nuts (1 ounce) can pack a whopping 200 calories. If during the course of one day, you take three small handfuls, that’s 600 calories!

TAKE YOUR WEIGHT TRAINING UP A NOTCH and/or CHANGE IT UP

Add more weights or do more reps. There are countless ways to weight train. Try something different and tax some new muscle groups. The body can get ‘bored’ if we do the same thing over and over.

CHANGE YOUR CARDIO UP TOO. If you normally walk for cardio, start doing the elliptical, or a new aerobic DVD, or dancing. You need to change up all forms of exercise every 4 weeks. Your body will become tolerant of the same moves over and over and it will stop being challenged, which means you will stop seeing results. Each and every exercise, whether it's related to weight training or cardio, uses and builds certain muscles. Change your routine so that new muscles can be strengthened.

EAT SMALLER MEALS, MORE OFTEN.

If you eat the bulk of your food in three main meals, switch it up. Try eating six smaller meals every three hours. This is the method I use and it keeps my body running evenly all day long. I find I don’t have energy dips when I eat every three hours. Cravings disappear too. People hear six meals and automatically say they don’t have time; however, they’re already eating three meals plus two or three small snacks every day. It’s basically the same thing. The key is to eat less during your three main meals and more at snack time. It ends up the same amount of food but distributed more evenly.

START DOING YOGA

Have you been more stressed lately? High levels of stress releases more Cortisol into your bloodstream. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Studies have shown that high levels of Cortisol in your system all day long can impede weight loss and may even cause weight gain. Yoga is a great stress reliever. And you end up killing two birds with one stone. You’re getting exercise AND reducing stress levels!

GET MORE SLEEP

It is proven that getting enough sleep, helps your body lose weight! If you are sleep deprived, your body is strained, under more stress, and will resist losing weight.

You have to trust yourself but most importantly, you need to listen to your body. If you’re feeling a little run down lately, make a point to go to bed earlier. If you’re feeling really hungry lately, eat more (of the good stuff). You know your body best.

YOU are the expert on you. Trust your judgment on what you need. Try hard to not get discouraged. When we are trying to lose weight, we are putting a lot of new demands on our bodies (and on our minds!). We are asking our bodies to learn new ways to move, new foods to digest, to adjust to new body rhythms, and hormonal changes. Every once in a while, it may need a minute to catch up. Moreover, we are asking our minds to think in new ways, to change everything we’ve been doing, and to learn about health and fitness. It’s okay if things get a little hairy every once in a while. If you stay the course and stay healthy, the plateau will pass.

The Bottom Line:

I know this is a lot to take in and you’ll need your own time to learn your own perfect ways that work just for you. But I promise you if you stay on your healthy path, you will not regret it.

This is a learning process and it is a journey of tremendous change not only in a physical capacity but in a mental one as well. You will be tested along the way.

When you hit bumps, remind yourself this is normal. Remind yourself how bad you want a better life for yourself. Remind yourself that the frustration of this current plateau doesn’t come anywhere close to the frustration of looking in the mirror and seeing a stranger staring back at you. Dig deep, take a deep breath, and have faith in yourself. 

YOU CAN DO THIS!

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Want to read the rest of my interview? 

You can click on the pictures below or click these links:

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Don't forget to check out Jillian's blog and her bestselling (and spicy hot!) romance books. I've read every single one and I keep telling her she needs to write faster!

*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.

NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.

Please Note: The affiliate link provided in this article is for a product that I purchased and use regularly. I did not receive this product free nor was I asked to do a product review.

 *Affiliate Disclaimer: Half of Gabby has recently become an Amazon Affiliate. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires all affiliates to put a disclaimer on their website/blog. Most disclaimers are so filled with confusing lingo that you don’t even understand what they're saying. I’m going to break it down for you the way I'd want it to be broken down for me. I’m not a fan of complicated and unclear regulation jargon. So here’s the dealio. Half of Gabby takes up a tremendous amount of my time. But because I love it so much, I really want to continue dedicating my time to it. For six years now, I have been providing product links to products that I use and love and in turn recommend them to my readers. These products have helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle and/or improve my family life. I have helped sell countless products for six years and have never received any commissions… Until now. As of September 15, 2016, I will be providing links just as I've always done, but now will receive a very small commission if you purchase an item through the affiliate link that I provide. An affiliate link is simply a link that brings you to a place where you can buy that product. I will not earn a commission by you simply clicking on the link, you must actually purchase the item(s) within 24 hours of putting it in your Amazon cart. Prices are exactly the same for you if you purchase through an affiliate link on Half of Gabby. You will NOT pay more by clicking through the link. My promise to you is that I will never recommend a product that I don’t fully 100% believe in and/or use myself and recommend to close friends and family. This will allow me to continue working hard on Half of Gabby without it using up time that I need to otherwise dedicate to contributing to my household. I'm happy to be able to continue my blog and to continue talking with, meeting, and helping people all over the world with their health journeys!

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