So, before I get into the weeds of this latest client success story, let me first explain the reason behind the title. By no means are we trying to mislead you. This particular client did lose weight while eating all the foods she loved (ice cream and real cream in her coffee) on a regular basis. But ice cream per se, isn’t the secret to meaningful, or long-term weight loss. Or donuts, or pop tarts, or cake, or peanut MnMs or whatever it is that you MUST have.
The “secret” of course, is a nutrition program that is tailored to YOU. Your budget, your schedule, your food preferences, the things you can’t live without (ice cream in this case) you, you, you.
Grace came to me with a very modest goal of shedding just a few lbs. As a mother of 4, her goals were very realistic. Nothing drastic, no pills or gimmicky products, no cutting out food groups, no insane amounts of exercise. Whatever we did had to accommodate her VERY busy schedule (not only is she a mother of 4, but she works, too), and she didn’t want to give up the foods she loved.
She wanted to get stronger, and tighten and firm up her midsection, rather than to shed a bunch of weight fast. From March to June, she shed a little over 7 lbs (~1/2 lb/week over the course of the 12 weeks), which isn’t a lot of weight, but keep in mind that she was already fairly lean and athletic to begin with. Going from 125 to 118 lbs represents a 5% drop in body weight. Most noticeable to both of us was the fat reduction in her abdomen. Not bad when that tummy has expanded over the course of 4 pregnancies.
Grace’s success is also attributed to her coming from a background of a solid understanding of nutrition. She comes from a very strong science background, and also has bounced back to a healthy weight after each pregnancy using a common sense approach to diet and fitness, so our conversations about calories, macronutrients (i.e., grams of fat, carbohydrates, and protein), cardio, and strength training went smoothly.
She was also familiar with the concept of “flexible dieting” (a diet that is personalized and suited to your needs) and “If It Fits Your Macros” (or IIFYM). These approaches can allow the dieter to accommodate ice cream, or pop tarts or whatever is a “must have” in order to adhere and succeed.
Lyle McDonald has a book called a Guide to Flexible Dieting, that is available on his website( or see bodyrecomposition.com for more information.) These concepts (flexible dieting and IIFYM) aren’t new and generally the dieter has had previous experience with tracking calories and has a very good understanding of portion control; a practice that takes shape over time.
Despite this knowledge, Grace wanted the accountability of having a trainer come up with a challenging program that would have her getting stronger (she went from being able to do zero pullups to 3 unassisted ones over the course of the 12 weeks), and to take the guesswork out of a nutrition program that allowed her to eat the foods she loved (I HAD to include ice cream, or else) and still successfully shed fat. She opted for online training because of her insane schedule; in person training simply wasn’t an option between both of our schedules.
So, how did she do it?
Sumi: Tell me why you opted for online training? Why now?
Grace: I love the flexibility of online training. I had been dieting on and off since having my fourth baby and was struggling to shed the last few pounds. Having someone to be accountable to really helped me stick to it.
Sumi: How important was it to incorporate ice cream into your daily diet?
Grace: Well I didn’t eat it EVERY day now, haha!! I love ice cream and being able to eat it more than just once a week really helped me not feel deprived. It was worth it to me to cut back on my carbs during the day and be a little hungry and then get a treat at the end the day.
Sumi: What was the most challenging part about your nutrition program?
Grace: For the most part this is one of the easiest diets I have ever been on, because it was so flexible!
I’ve had trainers put me on restrictive low calorie diets or ultra “clean” diets and I hated it. The hardest part for me was when I had more than one social event in a week. I had one treat meal a week and when I had two events in a single week it was hard to not want to indulge.
Sumi: What was your most favorite part about your training program? Talk to me a little bit about the strength training, and the cardio.
Grace: Again I loved the flexibility you gave me. I did 3 days of strength training at home. I have a basic set of dumbbells, a pull up bar and an exercise ball. I don’t have a home gym, I do it all in my living room.
I love working out at home, as a busy mom of 4 it is so much easier for me to squeeze it in when I don’t have to worry about childcare, driving anywhere, nap schedules, etc.
Some days my 45 min training session would stretch out to an hour and 15 minutes because I would have to stop and get a sippy cup filled, cut a waffle, or change a diaper, but I got it done. I also ran 3 miles 3 days a week.
Sumi: For those who are unfamiliar with online training, tell us what it’s like to be on the opposite end of my abuse? 🙂 Do you think online training is ideal for busy moms? What about busy working professionals like yourself?
Grace: Yes, I would recommend it for busy moms!! You can’t beat the flexibility and as
any mom knows life with kids doesn’t always go according to plan.
I loved having someone to be accountable to and encourage me along the way when I got discouraged or demotivated.
Sumi: What’s next for you, other than our next best selling book How To Eat All the Ice Cream and Lose Weight?
Grace: I’m super excited about our book. LOL Right now I am maintaining my weight loss, still running and following my awesome strength program written by you.
Sumi: Do you have any tips for busy moms? As a mother of 4, you really do have an impressive story to tell. Give us your top 5 tips for moms.
Grace: For new moms I would say:
don’t beat yourself up trying to lose baby weight. It always took me 1-1.5 years to lose my baby weight.
I started out slow, walking around the block, then light weights at home and kept building. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go as planned. If I don’t get good sleep because I’m up with a sick kid and I miss a workout I don’t freak out about it.
Same goes for your diet. If you slip up on your diet, just move on.
As long as you are consistent you will see results. I think a lot of people have an all or nothing attitude about fitness and diet. I love the analogy that if you broke a dish in your kitchen you wouldn’t go and break every dish as a result. Same goes with slip ups in dieting.
Schedule your workouts and stick to it.
When I first started out years ago I put it in my calendar. Treat it like you would any other appointment. Use the early morning time to your advantage. I wake up at 5:15 to run, I don’t love it and I don’t hop out of bed excited. I drag myself out of bed every time. But I always feel better when I do it .
You don’t have to belong a gym to be fit. Get some dumbbells and a pair of running shoes and walk or run around the neighborhood. My kids love to work out with me at home and I love that they see my example of being healthy and strong.
Make taking care of yourself a priority.
It is so easy as a mom to put everyone else’s needs first. I am a better mom when I take time for myself. I feel better physically and mentally. Not only that all that strength training makes carrying that Costco haul and a baby on your hip a lot easier.
Find someone to keep you accountable. Whether it is a trainer or a friend you meet for workouts, having someone else on your side makes it so much easier and fun. 🙂