In August 2016, I attended a talk by Jason Phillips at a CrossFit gym in Manchester, UK. I had no idea who he was, other than he was a nutrition coach working with CrossFit Games athletes and other sports people. I thought his talk was going to be about stuff I could only hope to aspire to, but I loved his honesty and realism about diet and fitness. Having struggled with my weight for so many years and done various diets and eating plans, I wasn’t sure if ‘macro dieting’ would really be for me, but I figured I’d give it a go. I signed up for a month of nutrition coaching just to see what it was all about, and was assigned to work with Brandy Wann.
That was a year ago and I’ve just now decided to run with things on my own, after having the most successful year in terms of weight loss and building a new relationship with food. So – what happened in between?
Let me tell you…
I remember sending Brandy so much information about myself and the most daunting part was the photos – I’m really not one for taking pictures of myself in sports bras and shorts, especially when I already wasn’t feeling great about my size and shape. She explained how the macro planning would work and I got set up with My Fitness Pal and keyed in my numbers. It took me a few weeks to really get into planning ahead and hitting my numbers consistently, and Brandy also adjusted my macros every few weeks based on my weight loss, energy, sleep patterns and so on, so we could work out what was right for me at any particular time.
The change had begun. I remember hating the meal prep and the amount of plastic containers I was using and washing each day. I also remember the reaction I got from colleagues at work when I was declining offers of ‘spontaneous eating’ and telling them all about my meal planning – but over time dealing with plastic boxes has just become second nature (I’ve even treated myself to some REALLY nice meal prep containers!) and my colleagues now get how I eat and respect that. By Christmas 2016 I’d dropped 6kg (12lbs) and was well in the swing of things.
I was seeing improvement in my training too. I did a CrossFit competition in February (which I’d done previously) and was seeded into a higher category than before. I also had good advice from Brandy on fueling for the day, which obviously differed to my usual plan. I also took up some competitive indoor rowing for a period earlier this year and Brandy helped adjust my nutrition to accommodate all the extra gassy workouts. Since losing weight, my gymnastic movements have also improved massively (less bodyweight to pull up on that rig really makes a difference)!
Photo credit – Christopher Jones
Sadly, I also had some injuries and illness during the year. This took me out of training and unable to properly follow my macros and got me quite down. Brandy gave me lots of support and reassurance that our health is the priority over anything else and not to stress or worry, just to focus on getting better. We would just pick up again once I was back in action.
In these last few weeks we’ve done some ‘reverse dieting’ which I’d never heard of before, but it makes complete sense and just gives your body a bit extra for a while to almost ‘re-set’ itself again, after having been slowly cutting macros for a while. I was worried I might start piling on weight, but actually in the first week of us doing it I dropped another couple of pounds and have pretty much maintained ever since.
Over the course of this last year, I’ve:
- Lost 10kg (22lbs – over 10% of my body weight)
- Lost 12cm (4.8″) from my waist and 7cm (2.8”) from my hips
- Dropped 2 dress sizes
- Gained muscle mass and definition to my body shape
- Gained strength and hit some new PR’s
- Gained confidence and compliments
- Been able to still enjoy myself and eat out or go for drinks, knowing I’m in control
In a nutshell – I’ve learned how to manage food and nutrition, appropriate to my lifestyle. I am so thankful to Brandy for all of the advice, guidance and encouragement to get me to this point. I really feel empowered now to take things on my own!
– Kim Graakjaer, Manchester UK