This Mom’s 100+ Pound Weight Transformation With VSG, Keto, and Intermittent Fasting
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
Hey! My name is Gizelle. I am a mother to 3 children living out of New Jersey and I have lost 100+ lbs and maintained for over 5 years. My journey began after so many failed attempts to grab control of my health — I was morbidly obese most of my life. It took having my firstborn to realize serious change had to happen. I couldn’t run after him, fit on a slide to play. I would hide at home and not go out because I was so disappointed in my appearance. I remember looking into his eyes after a wild cry, wondering how long we would live this way because of me. This was the pivotal moment where I decided a change was a need. After much deliberation, I embarked on my journey to weight loss surgery through weight loss surgery. Choosing the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) procedure was the best decision I have ever made.
This motivated me to engage in higher fitness goals after losing so much weight and excess skin became new insecurity. It didn’t all happen at once though. I was actually very excited about my loss and had begun eating healthily. I remember the day I decided I wanted to begin lifting weights. I was working out in the gym, mostly doing cardio — a trainer approached me and asked if I was interested in training. I said I’d love a few pointers. I mentioned how I recently lost a lot of weight and wanted to keep it off. His response was the kicker that triggered insecurity. He said, “I can tell. I can help you with exercises to fill in that loose skin.” He meant well I’m sure of it, but new insecurity was born that day. I noticed at that moment… losing weight was great, but now how do I look good in this loss. How do I become confident in my skin?
What was your workout routine? Can you give us what a typical week looked like for you working out?
Entering the free weights side of the gym at first was nerve-racking. I felt like all eyes were on me. I went to the gym wearing hoodies, hoping it would hide me. As if I could be disguised and blend in with my surroundings. I blast music in my headphones (still do this), to keep focus and enter my own world where instead of hiding from others, I hide others from me.
I started slowly with cardio warm-ups to empower my stamina. Low weights and bodyweight exercises. In time increasing my reps and weight. Testing new machines, then when confident enough hitting the free weights and challenging my strengths with the flexibility of motion.
Now, I work out at least 4x a week for 30 minutes to an hour (or more if I’m enjoying it). I try not to take 2 days back to back off. I do HIIT workouts for warm-ups and strength train.
What was your nutrition like? Can you give us what a typical day of eating looked like?
After surgery, I consumed a high protein/low carb diet which held on pretty strong for the first few years. After having more children and the effects of the VSG wore off and the weight loss subdued weight plateaued, I became discouraged. Eating “normal” portions and poor snacking habits rose which was a dangerous mix. I was always on the go with no discipline or habits. It really wasn’t until after my 3rd child was born that I took control of my health through nutrition. I learned about macros, created sustainable habits, and embarked on my ketogenic diet then.
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My diet consists of high healthy fats, moderate protein, and low carbs. I eat a lot of organic, clean, whole foods — like which I serve my clients in my meal prep business (The Flavor Crate). I aim for less than 20g of carbs a day, no sugar, and maintain less than the adequate caloric consumption for my size. I use supplements from Syntrax to better my performance in the gym and try to find as many organic vitamins at my local pharmacy.
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How did you stay motivated to lose weight? Did you ever slip up?
Losing weight I found is actually not as hard as maintaining! Maintaining weight is quite the battle. I also learned that motivation is nothing more than the ignition of building discipline. Without discipline, there really would’ve been no progress. I am not always feeling motivated, but I am disciplined.
Although motivated by my children to become better, I had many times where I fell off a bit and had to get back up. I learned and practiced more habits, continued testing my discipline, and pushing the envelope. Falling only allowed me to learn more and continue to pursue new equipped experiences. Getting up gets easier every time with that mindset.
That’s the key of it all. It starts mentally. You have to have the right mind shift to embark on and sustain this. Change each thought one at a time. Really dig deep and learn to create solutions instead of excuses. Excuses are the death of progression. Don’t ever allow that disrespect to tear you up!
When did you start to notice progress?
I really saw the best progress in my strength after I began the ketogenic diet and coupled it with Intermittent Fasting. This is where my progress really soared. Able to perform longer, mentally, and physically more in tune. Better mood and higher energy. All of this sent me to the gym for more. To lift more. Learn more. I love fitness so much that I am currently studying to complete certifications. I will be a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), Nutritionist, and Transformation Specialist by the end of this year.
Falling in love with pushing my limits and watching myself go from losing my breath going up a flight of stairs to being able to effortless tackle the stair master and jump rope for 30 minutes without breaking a sweat, really is the most enjoyable factor. The clothes fitting better. Areas I work hard to form, showing. Receiving compliments on my once as mentioned, insecure arms, newfound definition… truly was an “AHA!” moment for me.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
My Apple Watch truly is my savior. Without this thing I don’t think, I wouldn’t have been as motivated most days. This little piece of tech tracks my workouts and challenges me, reminds me to get moving, and allows me to share with my clients to keep each other in line.
Do you have any weight loss “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
Creating habit stacks is a godsend. I found that starting small, creating better water intake habits, limited my snacking. I learned to set alarms, created a routine. I learned to prepare my meals and outfits ahead of time, open time, and cut out unnecessary excuses. It’s so many habits built and toppled high curating a healthy lifestyle.
When to drink water is so underrated! Any and everyone drinks it, but it can truly change the outcome of your health goals by knowing when. Did you know that it takes 20 minutes for the brain to know your stomach is satisfied?
Drinking water 30 minutes before a meal and an hour after help from overeating. Combining those 2 little times really is a great foundation for anyone looking to control their appetite.
What is your best advice to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
My advice is quite simple. Love yourself, build habits, and keep your eyes on the end goal. Falling is normal. Every day is day one. You DON’T have to start on Monday. At any given moment, you can change your mind and decide you want better. Even after stuffing your face with a donut! Be proud of yourself often. Take pictures and videos. Your health isn’t solely defined by the scale. If you quit on anything today, quit on excuses.
Where can we find more about you?
You can find me on Instagram via @sleevelife_
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