Transformation of the Day: Danielle lost 37 pounds and gained lean muscle. Despite several challenges, including postpartum anxiety, this busy mom transformed physically and mentally. She shared lots of details with us about how she learned to use food for fuel and made fitness a top priority. One of the significant factors in her success was an online transformation challenge she joined.
What was your motivation? What inspired you to keep going, even when you wanted to give up?
I had a few motivating factors. Before I embarked on this journey in 2020, I was fed up with not taking care of myself and putting ME first. In 2018, I decided I would embark on a lifestyle change. I began weight training and turning away from fast food, sugar, and non-sustaining foods. I switched to foods that fuel the body and help with positive body changes and working out.
In 2019, we found out we were expecting our 2nd child, and I had a miscarriage. A few months later, we found out we were expecting again. I was thrilled to be pregnant and continue my new lifestyle through pregnancy. Unfortunately, I was thrown a curveball and put on pelvic rest pretty early due to spotting and another threatened miscarriage. I realized my hopes of staying fit throughout the pregnancy might not be possible.
My baby was my top priority, so I stopped working out. I kept up with my healthy eating habits for the baby and me, but I could not do much more than walk. I gained 60 pounds during that pregnancy. After I gave birth, I suffered from terrible postpartum anxiety. I did not want medications, so I researched ways to beat anxiety. Food and exercise were two ways to help beat PPA.
Around July 2020, after four months of being in the house, working full time, caring for our newborn, and overeating/stress eating throughout the height of the pandemic, I seemed at my wits’ end with the extra weight. Not that I didn’t feel beautiful, but because of the mobility issues I began to have due to the excess weight. I got tired easily, had knee problems, and my joints hurt just bending up and down. I couldn’t even play 5 minutes of basketball with my son before feeling over-exerted.
So, I said all that to say my motivation was to get back to ME. I wanted to get back to the lady who wanted to move daily and push myself to achieve the goals I set forth for my own body and mind. My inspiration was knowing that I could be more for myself and my family. I needed to be disciplined to get to my goals. I wanted to show my kids that being healthy means taking small steps and achieving new habits. My second motivation and inspiration was being married in Hawaii to my best friend of 20 years and just wanting to look and feel amazing in my own skin for our wedding in August 2021.
How did you change your eating habits?
I joined the Heat Challenge in August 2020. It consisted of a meal plan based on the goals and information I put into the system. I stubbornly followed it to a T. If it wasn’t on the plan, I didn’t eat it for at least the first three rounds of the challenge. So for about 18 weeks, I was very consistent and focused on doing exactly as the plan stated so I could develop a habit of discipline and teach my mind that I was stronger than my urges.
I stopped eating fast food, highly processed food, sugar, soda, and juices during my first three rounds of the challenge. Instead, I ate lots of protein, complex carbs, loads of veggies (they were like freebies), berries, and fruit, like apples. As a result, my body began craving healthy, clean foods for fuel, Yay!
I love oatmeal. Fiber-rich foods help keep you fuller longer! I also incorporated healthy fats into my routine and found new ways to curb sugar, with foods like green apples and peanut butter (my new fav snack!)
What did your workout routine consist of? How often did you work out?
I worked out about 5-6 days a week in the beginning. Then, I slowed down to 5 days a week. I did fasted cardio in the mornings and some sort of weight training in the afternoon or evening (whenever time allowed). My now-husband (then fiancé) started the challenges with me, so it was amazing having his support.
Five days a week was most sustainable for me but what I realized was that on my “off” days, I still wanted to make movement a priority. So even if I didn’t work out, I still wanted to hit a certain number of steps or a movement goal. I’d take advantage of parks, walk with my kids, or play a game of basketball with my son…just anything to keep me moving for the day.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My starting weight was 189 pounds, and I currently weigh 152 pounds. I’d gotten down to about 148 pounds in August, right before my wedding. Now I’m kind of settling in at 148-152 lbs. as a weight range right, and I like it. I’ve begun building muscle, so although the scale says one thing, my body feels amazing, lean, and so strong.
I’ve learned to love all these changes over the past year. Bodies are amazing. Mine has morphed and shifted. I appreciate every step of this journey and all that my body has been through.
What is your height?
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I began my journey in August 2020. Within the first six weeks, I dropped 13 pounds. It slowly came off over the past few months. However, it took roughly ten months to really hit my weight goals and mental goals. The mental is just as important as the physical, if not more.
Strengthen your mind not to give up when you step onto a scale and not see the number you’re expecting. Strengthen your mind not to compare you, your body, or your journey to anyone else’s. Just be at peace with however long it takes to hit your goals because your life and what you have going on may differ from the next person’s life. Strengthen your mind to do YOUR best and know that with consistency, it will happen.
Is weight loss surgery part of your journey?
I have not had any weight loss surgery.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
I learned to stay off the scale if it brings more harm than good. I realized the scale was a little depressing at first because here I am eating great nutrition for my body and working out daily, and oh my gosh, the weight isn’t dropping off.
I had to get real with myself. I put on 60 pounds while pregnant for nine months, and I was still carrying around an extra 20 pounds gained before that (from years of not-so-great habits and a lack of exercise). So even after a month, two months or three, etc., I realized it would take time (just as it did with gaining the weight). I learned about being patient, giving myself grace, and just NOT STOPPING!
What advice do you have for women who want to lose weight?
Be real with yourself. You probably didn’t add weight to your body in a month or two. Instead, it likely happened over the course of time and the incidents that caused it, so be patient.
It’s ok not to love your body, but you can love the journey and process of becoming in love with yourself again. Don’t speak badly about yourself. Speak life. Words have power, and the mind is powerful. Tell yourself you can do it more times than not and watch what happens next!
Tell yourself you will not QUIT. On the days when you just don’t feel like doing anything, do it anyway. Most times, it’s a mental battle, and your body is ready. You have to strengthen your mind just like you want to strengthen your body.
NO ONE is coming to tell you to get up, to get moving, to eat your fueling foods. You are your best advocate. However, if you find yourself needing help, an accountability partner is the next best thing. Choose your AP wisely. You want someone who will help push you to achieve your goals, not someone who will ok your complacency 🙂
You can find me on Instagram and TikTok: @IamDanniHearn
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