Over the past 3 months I have been using a meal plan developed by Erika from 413 fitness and have seen some amazing results. This journey has made me stronger mentally and physically and I am very proud of myself. I wanted to share my personal experience and possibly encourage you to make some healthy changes in the new year (read to the end and you’ll see the special deal 😉 ).
For you, maybe it’s not as strict as an exact meal plan but perhaps adding a salad to every dinner, or only having 1 dessert. Or, perhaps you are ready to commit to a huge challenge like running a half marathon, or working out 4 times a week. It’s your body, it’s your goals.
I’ve always been able to motivate and encourage myself to eat right and workout so I’ve always chosen to do it on my own. While I overall was pleased with my body and felt good, I began wanting to reach more difficult goals and push myself a bit further. I wondered – what can my body really do?! I had reached a plateau and couldn’t seem to push past it, leaving me annoyed and irritated. I decided it might be time to look into gaining more personalized support.
While I begrudgingly determined I couldn’t do it on my own, I knew exactly where to go. My friend Erika had recently started 413 fitness, where she creates personal nutrition and fitness plans. (You might remember her from this post on 6 quick toning moves.) With a wedding right around the corner, I decided this was the perfect time to get a coach.
I bought personalized meal plans for 3 months, created by Erika. I filled out a form, telling her foods I did and didn’t want on my meal plan. She analyzed my current weight, height, exercise level, and personal goals to craft the exact amount of calories in protein, carbs, and fat to consume each day. Each monthly plan had 4 days on it which I would use all month, and then I’d get a new 4 days the next month, and so on. Each day had 3 meals and 2 or 3 snacks, depending on the month.
What I loved about working with Erika, was her approach to it all. It was very similar to the way I looked at eating. She didn’t want to do anything drastic in a quick amount of time, but to gradually make changes that I could incorporate into my everyday living for the rest of my life. It’s a way of life, not a quick fix! It’s a way of life, not a quick fix! Yes, I meant to repeat that 😉
On a scale from 1 to 10, I’d say it was about a 6.5 in terms of challenging (most of the time.)
- Social Events. If I never went out, saw friends, or had work lunches, etc. it would have been easier, but the outings made it harder to constantly say no and not eat free appetizers right in front of my face. While I believe people want to encourage you overall, many don’t understand how every “cheat” can be a major setback and add up as time goes on. It really is difficult socially when you have exact foods to eat. It’s important to remind yourself of the end goal in these challenging situations and stay the course.
- No Cooking. Not only did I hate having to be the one not enjoying treats with everyone, I also hated not being able to cook more at home. During the fall is typically when I like to cook more meals, and have those homemade hearty dishes.
- Food Boredom. While having the same meals more often made grocery shopping easier, I got tired of having the same foods. Although there is a pretty good amount of diversity in the plan.
- Resetting Immediately. The overall biggest challenge for me was getting back on track when I made a mistake and ate that cookie. It’s a hard lesson to teach yourself to not go too crazy when you mess up. Many times when people get off track, they are quick to say I’ll start again on Monday or I’ll start again tomorrow. NO! Start again NOW.
Erika was great to work with and would check in on me every few days to see how it was going. I’d also send her photos every other week for her to check on my progress. She gradually made changes based on my photo check ins with her. It was a great way for me to be held accountable and think about those photos. You can’t hide much in a bikini. 😉
I was very pleased with the results. I couldn’t really feel a drastic change in terms of how I was feeling, since I previously had been eating healthy foods, just not in good ratios for the results I wanted. I was very pleased with the changes I saw in my body and I could definitely feel my clothes getting looser in all the right places. AND I wasn’t EVER hungry.
These photos are difficult for me to share, but what’s a before and after without photos? Hopefully they will encourage you to push yourself out of your comfort zone 🙂 These aren’t crazy changes but definitely recognizable. And the best part? It was gradual, safe, and maintainable!
One thing that kept me going was taking it day by day versus thinking of the end date to reach. I of course slipped and would have too much dessert but learned to forgive myself and move on.
What I learned:
Protein – Wow, protein works!! I have always been taught to eat my protein!! It was a constant lesson my father would share. To this day, he will give me almonds at random times, explaining that I need more protein. I was on board with his lesson and tried to eat enough protein, and thought I was. However, come to find, I still wasn’t getting enough protein on a daily basis before the meal plan. As I started having more protein, my nails grew so much faster and were so strong! Along with my hair. Ladies – you NEED protein!
Fats – I think fats were probably around the closest thing that I was doing pretty right in terms of amount on my own. Not eating too much fats, not eating too little. Most of my fats came from my nuts and nut butter, avocados, or meat.
Carbs – On a regular daily basis, I was having too many carbs so I cut back a bit on my carbs during those three months. Typically I was having too many carbs, although they were from healthy foods, like quinoa or crackers. However, I have to say this – women should never be afraid of carbs. Carbs give us the energy to be bad ass and get stuff done!! However, you need to find the right amount for you based on your activity levels.
While I did get off track in Argentina (you only honeymoon once people!) I got back on track as soon as I got home and have stayed pretty consistent since then.
So, are you ready to take the challenge?
Erika is offering my readers an amazing deal! Use code “Chloe” for a 20% discount on any workout and nutrition plan. Deal lasts until Sunday at midnight.
Big thanks to Erika for all her encouragement and help these past few months. If you are looking to find out more about your body and what it needs, she is your girl! Leave any comments or questions below for me or for Erika and we will be happy to respond! 🙂