Transformation of the Day: Ashley lost 45 pounds. Losing her beloved mother to cancer was devastating, but it opened her eyes to the fact that she wasn’t taking care of herself. She shared with us in detail how she used healthy food and exercise to transform her life. Now, this dance fitness coach is helping people get fit while having fun.
What was your motivation?
October 5th, 2010 is the day my life changed forever. I got a call that my incredible, beautiful, talented, amazing mother lost her battle with cancer. My best friend was gone and I didn’t know what to do. At first, I was angry, then sad… and then I felt really scared. Losing a loved one to a health related illness really WOKE ME UP. It made me take a good look at myself in the mirror and I honestly did not like what I saw. I was NOT taking care of myself and I could feel the consequences. I knew I needed to make a change. I knew that I needed to take more control over my health if I wanted to experience a long, high-quality life. So, I made a decision to fight for my life. I took a leap of faith and I started my journey to being healthy and fit.
How did you change your eating habits?
I decided to jumpstart my healthy lifestyle with a simple detox. I knew I needed a fresh start and a way to flush out all the excess waste and toxins from vital parts of my body, like my liver, colon and digestive tract. I committed to one detox strategy per week. Here’s a few examples:
1. I ate more detoxifying foods: garlic, ginger, lemons, kale, asparagus, grapefruit, beets and pineapples.
2. I drank more water, specifically detox water. I simply added natural ingredients like fruits and veggies to my water to enhance its taste and boost the healthy properties of what I was drinking. I really liked it because it made drinking more water fun and enjoyable. Here’s 50 Detox Water Recipes I used for inspiration:
After those 30 days, I saw a major improvements in my skin, mood, energy and I started to slim down. It really motivated me to keep going. From there, I focused on getting at least 2 servings of fruits and 2-3 servings of veggies (including at least 1 serving of leafy greens) a day. My goal was to create a calorie defecit, i.e. more calories burned than calories consumed. I also tried to keep track of the calories I consumed with a simple calorie tracker. That’s how I shed the most fat.
I cut out processed foods*during the week and made sure to eat enough protein after my workouts to help with recovery. I also focused more on meal prepping, so I wouldn’t be tempted to go out and buy foods that were not the healthy. I spent 1-2 hours per week planning and preparing my meals. I kept things simple and used as many “grab and go” options as I could.
What did your workout routines look like?
I started working out around 3 -4 times a week. At first, it was only cardio and I saw some incredible results with that. However, I felt so unmotivated by the gym and traditional exercise. I needed something fun that would make me want to get up and move. I love to dance, so I took dance fitness classes: Zumba, African, Bollywood, Hip-Hop, etc. Trying different formats helped to keep it fresh and fun. I didn’t feel like I was exercising anymore. It wasn’t intimidating or overwhelming. I not only enjoyed working out, I began to crave it. I knew I had something that would stick. I had a long-term exercise habit and it completely changed my life.
After I began losing pounds, I realized that I was slimming down but I wasn’t building strength and muscle like I wanted, so I started strength training. I still kept elements of dance in the strength training to make it fun. I incorporate dance and fun into pretty much every workout I do. That’s what made me fall in love with fitness even more.
Starting weight/Current weight
My starting weight was 190 pounds. My current weight it 145 pounds and my height is 5’6″.
How long did your transformation take?
I started my journey in June 2011 and I lost about 40 pounds in the first 5 months. I’ve lost a little more and maintained my weight ever since.
What inspired you to keep going when you wanted to give up?
My mother continues to be my biggest inspiration for not only continuing my personal health and fitness journey, but also for helping other people as a health and fitness coach. Her legacy is one of hope, strength, courage, redemption and love. She is my superhero and the constant motivation behind what I do and why I do it. It’s how I honor her legacy and memory. Every day that I get to help and support someone else, I become more like her. The caring, life-changing soul that is beautiful on both the inside and out.
What advice do you have for other people who want to lose weight?
Just start. Even if you start off a little rocky, it’s ok. It doesn’t matter if you’re not fully prepared or don’t know what you’re doing. Success begins by taking the first step.
Now, as a certified fitness coach, I use dance fitness as a fun way to help women:
1. Find their motivation
2. Build stronger bodies
3. Develop healthy lifestyle habits
Feel free to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube at fitbodybyashley for daily inspiration, free health and fitness tips to help you get fit and fun dance workouts. I’m here to help!