Why I Lost It
By guest blogger Lisa Traugott
My name is Lisa Traugott and I'm the blogger behind ShesLosingIt.com. Six years ago, my life was a mess. My marriage was on the rocks, my business was failing, and my doctor had "the talk" with me. Although not quite as embarrassing as the birds and the bees talk of puberty, it's up there with the top conversations I'd like to wipe from my memory. If you've never received it, this is how it goes.
The doctor looks over your chart. The one with your weight on it. And everyone knows that doctor's offices scales make you weigh at least three pounds more than you do at home.
Doctor: How is your nutrition?
Me: (Uh oh…) Fine…well, um…maybe I should probably be eating, you know, a little bit better.
Doctor: Do you exercise?
Me: Well I can't really make it to the gym, but I chase after my kids, you know, Rylee and the baby.
Doctor: How old is your baby now?
Me: Um…two and a half? (I begin to flush red. Oh no. Here it comes. The Dr. Phil moment.)
Doctor: Lisa, you're overweight and it's not from the baby anymore.
Apparently, my BMI was borderline obese. Great. When I got home I picked up the mail to find an invitation to my 20th high school reunion because God has a sense of humor.
I had had enough. I was tired of being fat. I was tired of feeling bad about myself. I wanted to get the power back that I had so easily given away. I decided to shock my system and try something radical. As a birthday gift to myself, I was going to enter a bikini competition at 5 feet 2 inches tall, 38 years old and size 14.
I thought female bodybuilding would just mean lifting weights and eating salad, but that's like saying being pregnant just means your belly gets a little bigger. It was a life-changing, jaw-dropping experience for me. Everything changed – mentally, physically, and emotionally.
I never realized how many emotions were tied to my food consumption. I never realized how many lies I had told myself to avoid facing hard truths about my life. Long story short, I dropped 50 pounds in five months and fixed my messy life in the process. I wrote a book about it called "She's Losing It!," which is like "Rocky" for moms.
After my first competition, I kept at it and learned more about nutrition and exercise. I didn't win my first bikini competition until I was 41! That alone should give middle-aged chicks hope. After I lost the weight, I decided I was going to do everything I ever wanted to do but was too afraid to try. For my 39th birthday, I went skydiving because when you're staring down 40, there's no better option than jumping out of a plane. For my 40th birthday, I learned how to pole dance. At 41, I was cast on a reality TV show called American Grit, which was hosted by WWE star John Cena. I've done five minutes of stand-up comedy and it was terrifying. One day, I hope to learn the final lift from "Dirty Dancing." This summer, I won my first international competition: Ms. Costa Rica Sports Model.
I see a lot of memes on the internet with some 20-year-old hottie in a sports bra shouting, "No excuses!" While there's a time and place for that, I'm in my 40s and I'm just not that intense. The mantra I'd like to convey to you is "change is possible." Because it is. If I can do it, truly anyone can get fit. Here are a few of my secrets.
I eat six meals per day. Each meal consists of protein (e.g. chicken, fish, turkey or eggs), complex carbohydrates (e.g. brown rice, oatmeal or sweet potatoes) and vegetables (e.g. spinach, asparagus or green beans). In addition, at least two of my meals have some healthy fats – like almonds or avocado.
Why six meals? Think of your metabolism as a fireplace. The standard American diet (SAD) has you eating three large meals per day. Each meal is like a giant log. It takes forever to light up and then runs cold for hours. But if you eat six smaller meals per day, it's like kindling. You never let the fire burn out so your metabolism is working all day.
I exercise five to six days per week. I combine cardio – such as a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical – for at least 30 minutes in the morning and do strength training after that. In bodybuilding, we do split muscle groups, which means we work different muscles each day. This allows muscles to rest and recover. Here's an example:
- Monday: back and biceps
- Tuesday: glutes and hamstrings
- Wednesday: abs
- Thursday: chest and trips
- Friday: quads and calves
People often buy into the notion that you're over the hill after 30. I'm not buying what they're selling! I'm more fit at 44 than I was at 24 and have the trophies to prove it. If you want to get fit, don't let anyone hold you back. You can do it!