How I Lost 70 Pounds In 1 Year With FitLove Squad
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
I’m Gia and I’m 29 years old. I’m married to a wonderful guy who is my biggest fan and supports me so much. He’s been a big factor in my weight loss success. Probably my biggest motivation for getting started is our desire to start a family. In January, I weighed in at 324 lbs, and we both knew that I couldn’t get pregnant as big as I was, and even if I did, I didn’t know if I would be able to carry a healthy baby. Simple things in life had become extremely difficult for me, like walking, even short distances, getting up off the couch, putting my shoes and socks on, and bathing myself. All these things that people do on a daily basis without thinking about them had become so taxing on me because of my size.
I had tried and failed to lose weight several times before, but I woke up one day with a pit in my stomach and the realization that I was in the worst health of my life and I had essentially wasted all of my twenties sitting on the sidelines of my own life. I knew I needed to focus on changing my life.
What was your workout routine? Can you give us what a typical week looked like for you working out?
When I first got started in January, I tried to walk a mile and I stopped and sat down on a bench and cried because I couldn’t go any further. My legs were sore and exhausted and I didn’t feel like I’d be able to make it back home. I didn’t know how I was going to do this. But I just started walking, every day a little further. When it was raining or was too cold, I would go up to my community center and walk on the treadmill, but that quickly changed when COVID hit and the center closed. So I basically just walked. Every single day I would go out and walk during my lunch break, and then my husband and I would walk in the evenings as well.
View this post on Instagram
In April, we decided we would try to incorporate some tennis. I’d never picked up a tennis racket before in my entire life and I absolutely sucked at it when I started. I STILL suck at it, but I discovered that I really loved it. So every day, we would go walk for an hour and then play tennis for an hour. In that way, COVID was truly a blessing in disguise because it gave us the gift of time; time to be intentional and to focus just on being active.
All through the spring and summer that was our routine: walking and playing tennis. Then in September, I signed up for FitLoveSquad and have been incorporating those workouts into my routine. But I would say, for the most part, my weight loss can be attributed completely to the changes in my nutrition and making movement a priority every day.
What was your nutrition like? Can you give us what a typical day of eating looked like?
I didn’t follow any specific “diet.” I knew when I started that if I wanted to succeed, I needed to change my mindset and my lifestyle. I don’t believe that diets really work. I have tried a bunch of fad diets in the past and have failed because they were too restrictive. What I did instead was what I called the “no brainer diet.” We all know fundamentally what we should be eating for our bodies, so that’s what I stuck with. I started doing a lot of research, watching a ton of YouTube videos, and implementing things I was learning. This basically started with cleaning up what I was eating and paying attention to food labels and the types of things I was putting in my body.
My rule of thumb has been, when I’m cooking at home (which I try to do 95% of the time), I do my best not to eat anything with more than 10 ingredients. I want to eat whole, organic foods as often as possible because deep down I know that’s what my body needs to thrive.
Along with this, I also started intermittent fasting and using MyFitnessPal to track what I was eating each day to make sure I was in a calorie deficit.
There were definitely days that I did NOT stick to this, but because I wasn’t being so specific, there was no reason to view those days as a failure, and it was easier for me to jump right back in the next day. I found that the longer I ate the good stuff, the less I wanted or missed the bad stuff.
In fact, now when I eat things that are outside of my personal parameters, it makes me not feel so great. For example, all I wanted for my birthday was McDonald’s chicken nuggets. Well, I ate them, but they didn’t taste as good as I remember and they made me SO sick. I still have meals where I will eat out or not stick to my guidelines, but I find that I tend to feel my best when I do.
Like this weight loss story? Get more exclusive weight loss stories delivered to your email inbox every Tuesday!
How did you stay motivated to lose weight? Did you ever slip up?
I definitely have struggled at times to stay consistent. The last quarter of the year has been the toughest for me. In September, I started a brand new job and my husband started seminary, so the transition made it really challenging for us to stay focused. I’m grateful for the community I’ve become a part of on Instagram and all of the friends I’ve made that help me stay grounded and committed every day. I also have completely shifted my mindset and I understand now more than ever that this is a marathon, not a sprint. I know that not every day, week, or month is going to be great, but I just have to keep pushing myself forward no matter what.
When did you start to notice progress?
I still am struggling with this. Some days I look in the mirror and I really like what I see, but I still have a hard time seeing a big difference because I see myself in the mirror every single day. The places where I notice the most changes are in the non-scale victories, like being able to do things now that I couldn’t before, or in my clothes.
It’s hard not to take in the fact that I’ve lost 5 jean sizes this year. Also, comparison photos really have helped me see even small changes in my body and have kept me moving forward even when I felt like I wasn’t making progress.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
I use MyFitnessPal to track my calories every day, and I use RunKeeper and GoalTracker when I have something specific I’m working on, like the 200-mile challenge I did this fall, but I am 100% a pen and paper girl. I like to be able to have a place where I can write things down, check them off, take notes, etc. I have an agenda and a habit tracker that I use every day, and I also have 2 dry erase boards on my desk at work to track different things like my goals for eating, water, and miles, and then I have a paper mile tracker and workout calendar that I mark off as I go.
Being able to see these things all day every day right on my desk helps me to stay focused and on top of things!
What is your best advice to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
Just start. Don’t wait for January. Don’t wait for Monday. Don’t wait for the first of the month There is no better day than the one right in front of you to make better decisions for yourself. There is no perfect time and you will never be completely prepared. Just go for it. Get over your all or nothing mentality and get over it fast. You will definitely fail and struggle and flail around and not know what you’re doing, but this journey is 99% about consistency.
Do you have any fitness books/podcasts/websites that you’d recommend and why?
Definitely not weight loss specific, but I read Atomic Habits and Finish at the beginning of 2020, and they both played a huge role in how I process this journey and set myself up for success each month. I also listened to the Weight Loss Podcast and really love how honest and real it is about overcoming common weight loss struggles.
Where can we find more about you?
You can find me on Instagram! @giasbigadventure
Would you like to share YOUR story on How I’m Fit?
We’d love to hear from you! Please send us an email and we’ll get in touch shortly!