Stacey's Eat Clean Triumph
I've been buzzing off the positivity and energy of connecting with you each day in the Strike Sugar Facebook Group, so receiving an email from Stacey Beers of Rockford, MI, a few days ago about her incredible 13-week Eat Clean transformation was truly the (sugar-free!) icing on the cake of a grand week. This 38-year-old full-time working mother and wife shed 34 pounds and 11% body fat in 13 weeks. Go Stacey, go! Wondering how she did it? Stacey committed herself to - no surprise here! - Eating Clean and a rigorous workout regimen. Let's hear about Stacey's Eat Clean Triumph, in her own words. Take it away, Stacey...
What inspired you to overhaul your lifestyle?
I went to the doctors earlier this year and weighed in at over 180 lbs. I have always been over weight but this time it hit me. I needed to make a change for me and my family. I was tired of the headaches, stress and just being generally unhappy about myself. The very next day, I found out that my gym (MVP in Rockford, MI) was having a 13 week total body transformation challenge. I immediately signed up that day and pulled out Tosca’s Eat Clean book and re-read it from front to cover. It was and is my guide yet today.
What were your health & wellness goals when you began? What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?
My goal starting the challenge was to get healthy and happy and be a better mother, wife and human being. I can’t believe how much change can happen in your life in 13 weeks just by eating clean and exercising. I have now realized how strong I am to do life. How great of a mom, wife, daughter and friend I can be. It took a lot of hard work and willpower but I have finally figured out how to eat and train my body. Most days I feel like I can do anything. That is a very powerful way to feel and I TRULY with all my heart want everyone to feel this way! This is why I wanted to share my story.
Was your 13 week transformation a personal goal or did you reach your goals in that timeframe?
The challenge at my gym was for 13 weeks. I never in my dreams thought that I would reach a goal weight during that amount of time. But as soon as I started eating clean there was no stopping me. I found myself working out twice a day and my body just wanted to go. At the end of the 13 weeks I had lost 34 lbs, 11 percent body fat and over 29 inches. WOW! It is important for me to note that during the challenge I had a lot of support of friends and family. I also had a wonderful trainer and nutritionist that was on staff at MVP to guide me. Without everyone’s support- I likely would not have had the results that I had on this transformation.
What advice would you give someone who needs to Clean Up their lifestyle, but doesn't know where to begin??
I would say just make the decision to take the journey. I don’t want anyone to think that this was an easy things for me. I tried many times to clean up my food and diet issues with many failed attempts. This just happened to be my time for it all to click. The day the challenge started, I got rid of all the addictive foods that I had been eating. Took them out of my house! I told my kids and husband that things were going to change and I went full speed ahead onto my Eating Clean Journey. Once you start eating clean there will be no stopping you or your body from doing some amazing things and a transformation will take place!
Over the 13 weeks, what was the most challenging aspect? What helped you overcome the challenge?
The most challenging aspect was changing my mindset on food. Here is a glimpse of my food journal about two weeks into eating clean- “I am so amazed at what can happen to your body when you cut out addictive foods such as crackers, tortilla chips and cookies. I haven’t had any of those things for over 2 weeks and I don’t crave them. I always thought that I was an emotional eater. I am starting to realize instead that I was just addicted to those type of foods. I am really so much fuller eating eggs and berries and nuts. I am finally realizing what it means to EAT TO LIVE not LIVE TO EAT!"
Do you have any techniques or strategies for staying motivated on the Eat Clean lifestyle?
What I can tell you is this: I have NEVER IN MY LIFE FELT AS GOOD AS I DO TODAY! My body is a machine. I get up at 5 am and I am ready for the gym. I am done with work by 5 pm and I am ready to get back to the gym. My skin is glowing, my mood is happy and my body is tight. The only explanation for all of this is the healthy, green, God given earth food that I am putting into my body! Just try eating clean for 1 week. I have no doubt that your body will love it and you will be hooked!
You said you’ve been vegetarian since you were 14 but had not been eating a balanced diet until you began this transformation. What was out of balance? What changes did you make in your diet specifically?
At the young age of 14, I decided to become a vegetarian. I did this because I thought it would make me skinny. Over the years I have always stayed a vegetarian but I was never skinny. Part of my transformation was logging my food intake daily. During the logging I realized that instead of getting the protein that my body so desperately needed and craved. I was feeding it with loads of bad carbs like crackers, chips and cookies and never getting full. My diet is now filled with proteins such as egg whites, quinoa, nuts, cottage cheese and greek yogurt and loads of fiber from veggies and fruit. Finally my body knows what it means to be full!
Do you have any Eat Clean tips for fellow vegetarians or vegans?
Sundays are my days to prepare food. I prepare a week’s worth of stir fry and steel cut oats so that I can heat it up. If it is prepared then I will eat it instead of the quick fix processed alternative food. Fruit and veggies are always cut up and in the fridge for snacking.
What does your average day of Eating Clean look like?
Before I even step foot out of bed in the morning, I drink two large glasses of water. I never leave my house without my water bottle and I drink about a gallon of water a day! - Breakfast is typically egg whites and steel cut oats with flax seed and berries. - Snacks are usually berries or apple with a handful of almonds or a half of whole wheat english muffin with natural peanut butter and banana, or popcorn and greek yogurt. - Lunch is my special recipe of quinoa stir fry with loads of veggies and low fat cottage cheese. - Dinner will be a Mexican fiesta-made up of avocados ,fajita veggies, black beans and a corn tortilla served over a bed of lettuce.
How often do you have treat meals? What do they consist of?
I am slowly introducing cheat items into my diet. I was very strict during the 13 week challenge. I did have a few bites of strawberry shortcake the other day for my daughter’s birthday. I also have found that fudgesicle are a pretty good snack to cover your chocolate cravings. They are only 40 calories and 2 grams of sugar per serving. Popcorn is another great snack with the benefits of some fiber for the salty treat.
What does your average week of training look like?
My early am workouts consist of either working out with my trainer Nick or doing a boot camp or total conditioning class. The time spent with my trainer is mainly circuit based training for a total body workout hitting lower body, upper body, core and cardio. The trainings have helped me to learn how to truly shape my body and workout to my maximum ability. My evenings are spent either running on the track, doing stairs or picking up a yoga class. I try to work out 1.5-2 hours per day. (This is not always easy being full time employed, a wife and mother but if you are passionate about something you will make or find the time for it.)
Which 3 exercises are you loving right now? Why?
1. I am loving kettlebell swings right now. It works out so much of your body all at once using your hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs and shoulders. 2. Next would be jump squats- because it works out your glutes, butt and hips. These have always been my trouble spots. I am all about hitting those hard and often! 3. My trainer will laugh at this but finally I would have to say pull-ups. I have hated those from the start but finally yesterday I was able to do a few without the band for assistance. He still assisted me but I was definitely able to do them without the band. My goal for the coming weeks is to be able to do 5 unassisted.
What advice do you have for someone who’s never exercised but is looking to start?
I would say just get out and walk. I purchased a fit bit a few months ago and my day is not complete until I have at least hit 10,000 steps. For me the gym was key because they offer such a variety of classes to mix up your work out. If you are intimidated to go to the gym ask to meet with a trainer. A trainer could quickly become your key to success!
How did you track your progress throughout the 13 weeks?
I am a fan of My Fitness Pal simply because it allowed me to log what I was eating so that I could stay on track. It also allowed me to track my exercise and how I felt with what I was eating daily. I got weighed and body fat checked every 4 weeks. This definitely helped me to stay motivated seeing the progress of my hard work!
What does your pre and post workout nutrition look like?
Before I leave for my 5 am work out, I have a handful of nuts or seeds and some berries and drink more water. When I get back from my work out I drink a half cup of low fat chocolate milk. This is a pretty recent addition to my diet but I found out it is a great source of both carbs and protein needed to help restore your muscles after weight training. Then I have my CLEAN breakfast.
What are your health and wellness plans for the future? How do you plan on maintaining your fantastic results?
The journey of eating clean and working out will be a lifelong one for me. It is a choice that I need to make every day to eat right and get to the gym. I owe it to myself and my family to keep living healthy. My husband says I need to keep finding new goals for the future. Who knows maybe someday I can compete in a body building contest. That sounds fun and challenging. My last remarks would be to everyone out there if I can do it so can you! Please just try to EAT CLEAN. It will truly change your life in so many ways! I am blessed to have read Tosca’s books over and over again. You are truly a blessing to so many. Thank you!