Our next Before & After success story, Lauren, turned years of yo-yo dieting into a lifestyle that works. "I have struggled with my weight my whole life," she says on her blog, My Best Badi. "By the time I reached secondary school I was 6 feet tall and over 220 pounds. . . . For the next eight years I tried every diet and diet food out. I lost 40 lbs, gained 15 back. I lost 55 pounds, gained 25 back. It was a vicious cycle and ended up with me being back at 204 pounds on the eve of 2012. I was in bed, sick, and depressed." One New Year's resolution and a lot of determination later, Lauren is a healthy living role model. Check out her inspiring story below!
POPSUGAR: What made you decide to start?
Lauren Rabadi: I hated the yo-yo dieting. I would go up and down in weight frequently and I knew it couldn't be healthy. So on New Year's Day 2012 I gave myself a goal to be lean and fit and healthy by July. And I did accomplish the goal by educating myself on proper nutrition, realising that weights were not the enemy, and keeping consistent!
PS: What's your favourite way to work out?
LR: I love Spin class. It is great for high-energy, calorie-torching sessions.
PS: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
LR: I try to work out four to five times a week; I split it up my week with two or three HIIT cardio sessions and three to four weight/resistance training [sessions].
PS: How do you keep workouts exciting?
LR: Always change it up! I am a very active Pinterest user and like to pin different workouts to try every week. I also like trying out bodyweight exercises before hopping in the shower first thing in the morning; definitely makes you feel accomplished and more awake!
PS: How much weight have you lost?
LR: Sixty-five pounds and have kept it off for two years!
Lauren after (left)
PS: What was the first big difference, other than the number on the scale, that really made you feel proud and excited?
LR: The first time I saw muscle definition in my legs and stomach (my biggest trouble zones) was amazing. I was so happy and proud that I took calf selfies.
PS: How do you track your weight loss?
LR: I used to track it by weighing in, but that eventually became tiring and frustrating. Now I just tell by how my clothes fit and taking progress pictures.
PS: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
LR: I prefer making my meals and snacks instead of purchasing. My day starts with black coffee and a mix of berries, yoghurt, and oats. Lunch is usually a salad or wrap with a protein and tons of veg. Dinner, which I usually eat later in the evening because of my schedule, is a lean protein with vegetables and a carb (either a sweet potato, quinoa, rice, etc.). My snacks are whenever needed and consist of fruit, protein shakes, or homemade energy bites.
PS: What's the range of calories you eat per day?
LR: I don't count them, but I believe they are usually around 1,500 to 2,000 calories depending on how hungry I am or how hard my workouts are.
PS: What are the healthy staples that are always in your fridge?
LR: Almond milk, oats, chia seeds, chicken, Ezekiel bread, protein powder, and eggs. They are all so versatile and can be used for meals, snacks, and shakes.
Lauren after (middle)
PS: How do you strategise for meals out?
LR: I usually check out the menu online to see what options are there. I go for items with the keywords like baked, grilled, or steamed. Another trick is if you want something a bit heavier like pasta, ask for a half order or just for half your order to come out to the table. Usually restaurants will have no problem accommodating easy special requests.
PS: What advice do you have for anyone starting out on a weight-loss journey?
LR: Set manageable goals for yourself and no matter what, don't give up. I was definitely in the mind-set early on that if I didn't lose 10 pounds in a month or if I wasn't dropping dress sizes every week that what I was doing wasn't working and I would give up and have to start all over again. It takes time and patience, and even if you don't see immediate results, eating healthy and exercising is working; just stick around long enough to start seeing the results!