Kelly the Culinarian: March 2019

Sunday, March 24, 2019

My 8-Week Transformation Challenge Results

6-word summary: Got superhero fit, lost 15 pounds.

In case you don't follow me on Instagram, eight weeks ago I embarked on OrangeTheory La Grange's Transformation Challenge. The rules are simple; weigh in at the beginning, middle and end; go to OTF three times a week and lose the most percentage of your body weight possible. Here are my gym's before and afters. What's interesting to me is this is the same exact outfit, but these capris sure fit me differently.

I've been going to OTF for a year now, but it's only in the last two months that I've seen major results. The key? All the boring diet clinches about abs being made in the kitchen and not the gym. Proof:

I've neverrrrr had abs in my life but now they're there. In all, I lost 11.6 percent of my body weight. An inBody scan revealed that I lost 10 percentage points of fat and gained one pound of muscle to end the challenge with 16 percent body fat.

I started out this challenge fit, and feel like I got shrink wrapped in eight weeks. But it was a hell of a journey to get here. I stopped drinking, tracked my food and got at least 10k steps per day. My diet focused on protein and creating a calorie deficit. When I wasn't working out, I was meal prepping.

What's interesting about the food is that we spent the same amount on groceries (and next to nothing on meals out) but we bought much different things. We ate far more fish and revisited foods we thought we hated. I baked with more protein powder and we learned that we do not, in fact, hate quinoa or kale (tilapia is still on the no-no list despite our best good-faith efforts). Two days of average meals:

Chicken lentil quinoa bowl, kodiak cake with peanut butter and banana, apple and tuna packet, grilled chicken with kale salad, avocado salsa and steamed sweet potato, protein cake with peanut butter and one salted chocolate graham cracker.

Mega salad with rotisserie chicken and quinoa, apple with egg whites and a kodiak cake with peanut butter and bananas, blackened salmon with sweet potato and broiled brussel sprouts, protein cake with protein ice cream.

I had dessert nearly every day, but it was a protein-based concoction of either a shake or cake or bar so that I ended the day full and satisfied.

In some ways, the workouts were the easy parts. I went to OTF six times a week and everything was figured out for me. I lifted heavy and committed to pushing myself for at least the first 10 minutes of every workout, even when I was tired and sore and unmotivated. On most days, after the first 10 minutes I felt good enough to keep pushing. I believe I went to OTF 37 times during the challenge, and there might have been one class in the entire spread in which I didn't get the prescribed 12-point goal.

As tough as this was, it was helpful to think of it as an experiment. What would happen to my body if I did all the things "fitness people" say you should do for a solid two months? I can't say if it's the hydration, the lack of booze or the abundance of lean/clean food, but I almost wished the diet didn't make a huge difference in how I looked and felt because I missed the foods that were so familiar to me. The fact is, I haven't had a break out since I started this. The acne on my back has cleared up and my skin is no longer greasy. Pushups in perfect form feel easy. My wedding rings are loose. My skinny clothes are back in my closet after a five-year hiatus.

More than anything, I learned that I'm eight weeks away from being ripped at any point. I know exactly what I need to do to get to fit and that I can stick to a set of rules to fit my goal. I see that I can be fit for me as opposed to it just being another thing to do because that's what's expected of me.

So what's next? Well, I spent a day enjoying all the foods I missed.

No regrets at all. But after that I got back on track. I also learned that a cheat meal may be more effective for me than a cheat day. I've reduced my calorie deficit and plan to continue to focus on protein. I don't need to lose any more weight. What I'd like to do is see if I can put on more muscle. To do this, I'm changing my strategy at OTF to start on the floor instead of the treadmill. I also think an eight-week cut is too long for me. I'd like to experiment with doing a four-week cut and a one-week refeed to see what happens to my body at that point.

Help me write my next post - comment with any questions you have about the transformation challenge, OrangeTheory or what's next so I can write about it!