Usually when people are on a weight-loss journey, they change up their workouts and their diet, but Haley only did one of the two. She kept up her normal workout schedule, but she completely altered her diet, thanks to Renaissance Periodization. Within just three months, she lost around 30 pounds. Read on for her full story.
POPSUGAR: When did you start your weight-loss journey? What made you decide to?
Haley Hurst: I initially started my weight-loss journey in August 2016. I had been doing CrossFit for about two months at that time and was eager to take all the steps to get better. Of course the next obvious step was transforming my diet. I bought a nutrition plan, and after about eight weeks, I went from 155 pounds to 140 pounds. I slowly transitioned back into my old eating habits, still CrossFitting but still eating all things junk. On Dec. 8, I showed up to an athlete check-in for a local CrossFit competition, where each athlete had to weigh in before starting. I stepped on the scale, and my heart sank! 170+ pounds stared back at me. That number was plastered on the leaderboard the entire weekend for the whole world to see. I was absolutely mortified.
Shortly after this, Renaissance Periodization (RP) posted a transformation contest. All that was required for the contest was before-and-after pictures all done through email for no one to see except me and someone on the other end of the computer. Why not? That's when I started moving forward — and never looked back.
PS: What was your starting weight?
"I love feeling beautiful, strong, and healthy. It's hard not to be motivated when every product of this lifestyle is positive."
HH: I started at 171 pounds.
PS: How much weight have you lost so far?
HH: As of April, I had lost just under 30 pounds and have easily maintained that weight since, weighing between 141 to 144 pounds on average.
PS: How did you do it? Did you follow a specific diet?
HH: RP has templates, as well as one-on-one coaching options. I bought the fat-loss templates the previous year but hadn't used them. On Jan. 1, 2018, I finally decided to just do it and stop making excuses.
PS: Did you do a specific workout type or schedule?
HH: I've been doing CrossFit since June 2016. I work out five to six days per week doing standard CrossFit class workouts. These classes are usually comprised of a strength portion and a metabolic conditioning portion. However, during my transformation, I didn't change my workout regimen whatsoever. The only changes I made were purely nutrition based.
PS: What are some nonscale victories you've experienced?
"My biggest advice is to find your 'why' and make that your focus."
HH: Positive physical change is so gratifying. It's particularly gratifying for someone who is incredibly self-conscious. Feeling good in my own skin, smiling when I look in the mirror, having confidence in myself, and finally feeling comfortable putting on any clothes in my closet are all huge victories.
More "tangible" victories have been in the gym. Last year, one of my coaches told me the only way I'd get a strict pull-up or a handstand push-up was to either get stronger or lose weight. RP helped me do both, and it's very evident in my gymnastics abilities. I can now do multiple sets of two strict pull-ups, sets of double-digit butterfly pull-ups, and sets of double-digit handstand push-ups (even during workouts). People that know me know just how big of a hurdle this has been for me, and I am beyond proud of how far I've come.
PS: How do you stay motivated?
HH: Results easily produce motivation. Prior to seeing results is when staying motivated is a little more difficult. This started for me with a nonnegotiable commitment. Three weeks passed before I saw my first full pound go away on the scale; however, I could see and feel the physical changes that the scale wasn't showing me. Since starting this new lifestyle, I've rid myself of almost all of my GI [gastrointestinal] issues, have found how to be social without relying on food, and have exponentially more energy as a baseline. What was very difficult at the beginning has now become second nature. I love feeling beautiful, strong, and healthy. It's hard not to be motivated when every product of this lifestyle is positive.
PS: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
HH: People ask me all the time for recipes and tricks that have helped me along the way, but I am the worst person to ask for this kind of advice. I have the palate of a toddler and turn my nose up to foods that most adults have in their regular diets. Most people need variety, but I am very picky and love routine. I eat chicken, green beans, pancakes, peanut butter, cauliflower mashed potatoes, oatmeal, Luna bars, almonds, and protein shakes every single day (and often more than once a day). I don't eat these few things because it's all I'm allowed to eat, but instead because it's what I really, really like and look forward to.
PS: Any advice or tips for people on their own journey?
"Cheat treats were planned rather than happened upon. This kept me from ever feeling guilty for getting off track."
HH: My biggest advice is to find your "why" and make that your focus. What worked best for me this go around versus the first time I tried to change my diet was the initial commitment. I started this process without an end goal in mind in terms of time frame or goal weight. I never wanted to be finished. Instead I started this process knowing that this was going to be a "forever" commitment to becoming healthier and stronger. I was prepared for the work required to tear down all my old, unhealthy habits in order to build a new foundation.
I set myself up for success by not putting myself in situations that would make this harder than it already was. The pantry and fridge were rid of all candy and junk. Dining out and social events centered around food simply weren't an option at the beginning. I prepped food for the entire week on Sundays and packed enough food for the entire day in a lunchbox so that availability couldn't possibly be an excuse. I set firm rules from the very beginning and I called these my "hard nos." Cheat treats were planned rather than happened upon. This kept me from ever feeling guilty for getting off track. All of these things together made the cold turkey transition much easier. After about a month of being incredibly strict, I started to notice I didn't really have to think much about this stuff anymore. It started to become so easy to stick to my plan. I wasn't craving the bad stuff as much. I was able to go to social events without cheating or bingeing. I saw my new foundation forming and that only snowballed my motivation. My "why" was becoming my reality.
PS: Anything else you want to share?
HH: Find someone you can lean on when the struggle gets real. Having all my close friends on the same track as me was definitely a game changer. If you don't have people in your boat, then maybe one-on-one coaching is the route for you. Accountability is a big factor if self-motivation doesn't come naturally.