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Tag Archives: #beforeandafter

Featured Fitale Nancy McCaulay


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FFFC:  Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).

NM:  Hello my name is Nancy McCaulay I work for a Consulting Firm in Northern Virginia. My hobbies are Graphic Design, swimming, running, etc.

FFFC:  What sparked your weight-loss transformation journey?

NM:  Taking a long hard look in the mirror and not liking what I saw or how I felt.  Did I lack confidence? No Was I in denial….YES.

I would tell myself, you are black women and we have curves….no I was overweight with additional curves and rolls in places they didn’t belong.  Don’t get me wrong I love my curves, etc. but I needed to be honest with myself.  I got tired of lying to myself just because I could squeeze into smaller size and feel the waistband digging in my skin when I sat down, that I wasn’t “that big”. Cloths provide a wonderful camouflage but at the end of the day, they do come off.  And what you see is what you are!

Could I walk up a flight of stairs without losing my breath, yep! I wasn’t necessarily unhealthy but I knew that my “healthy” state would be short-lived if I didn’t do something about it.  So starting from a place of TRUTH my journey began.

FFFC:  What was your beginning and current weight or measurements?

NM:  My beginning weight was 247 lbs (July 2012) not sure what my beginning measurements were.  I do know however, I was in a 16/18 now I wear a 12-14.  I haven’t weighed myself for the month of July however; my last weigh in (June) was 204 lbs.

FFFC:  How long did it take for your weight-loss transformation from beginning to end?

NM:  I went to the gym the day after I took my before pic, July 21, 2012 so about a year.

FFFC:  What physical activities did you participate in during your journey?

NM:  I started off on the elliptical (30 minutes) and working out with my trainer 2x per week.  I started getting bored with the elliptical (that was the only cardio I was doing…lol) so I decided to try Zumba (definitely wasn’t a class person) in place of the elliptical.

When I started Zumba, I hid behind the pillar in the room –everything hurt, jiggled, I was off beat, etc.  I kept going because it was fun and the people were inspiring and supportive. Eventually, as the weight started to come off, not as fast as I hoped). I challenged myself to run a 5k —so I added running and Pilates (I have issues with sciatica and the Pilates works wonders for that).

FFFC:  How did your eating habits change?

NM:  I started eating more…..crazy huh?  Was I eating badly? Not at all, actually pretty healthy. I try to eat pretty clean; avoiding processed foods as much as possible. After attending a free seminar realized that I was nutritionally ignorant! Everything I thought I knew about eating went completely out the window.  He broke down the significance in eating a carb/protein with every meal.  One of the major things I took away was, “you have to eat to lose”.

FFFC:  What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

NM:  I actually don’t have a typical meal…..some mornings I will eat dinner food for breakfast (salmon, peppers and steamed vegetables). For the most part I try to stay away from processed foods (sugar, flour, etc.).  The things that are constant each day are a liter of water first thing in the morning and a protein shake at least once a day.

FFFC:  What is your favorite fitness activity?

NM:  Running, Swimming and Dancing

FFFC:  What do you do now to maintain your physique?

NM:  Well, I am not in the maintenance phase right now; I still have about 25 lbs to lose.  Since I’ve adopted how I eat and staying active as a lifestyle I may have to make some tweaks here and there but for the most part I look at it as a permanent staple.

FFFC:  How did you develop and sustain the willpower to avoid the bad stuff (i.e. junk food, bad drinks, lack of activity, etc.)?

NM:  Learned to be patient with myself and take it one day at a time and listen to my body.  In addition, I allow myself a cheat “day” once a week.  I don’t want to set myself up by saying; I will never have ice cream again, etc. that is not realistic.  Now will I buy ice cream for my house? Absolutely not, instead I will go and have a scoop. That way I’ve satisfied my crazing without losing my mind.  One thing I’m finding is that, when you feed your body good foods it starts to crave that.  So even though I have a cheat day I may only want the ice cream and not the cobbler too.  🙂

When I don’t feel like going to the gym don’t—-sometimes you just need to rest.  Other times, I get my activity other ways, swimming, going dancing or just getting out for a walk.

FFFC:  What advice do you have for someone starting out on their weight-loss journey but unsure of how to begin?

NM:  Make sure your head is in the game!  My former trainer (CJ) told me that you can go thru the motions of working out but if your head is not in the game you are doing just that, going thru the motions”.  Focus on getting healthy; the weight loss is the side effect.  Make small changes; avoid processed foods (i.e. adding fruit instead of bread or eating oatmeal instead of Captain Crunch). Get a support group that is positive and motivating.  Have fun and listen to your body…if you need to rest than do so. Try not to focus only on the weight loss—focus on getting healthier.  It is less discouraging 🙂 Most importantly, don’t be held captive by the scale—take a picture instead.

FFFC:  What do you think is the biggest misconception about this journey?

NM:  I think there is a tremendous misconception that your success is measured in the number on the scale.  I have heard sooo many people say to me, I should weigh, such and such for my height”.  Based on those charts I should weigh between 107 – 145lbs.  NOT I have more lean muscle than that!

When I tell people how much I weigh they think I am joking.  No, you can’t weigh that much, you don’t look like it.

I remember looking at the biggest loser with my trainer Russ and saying, oh my goodness I weigh more than she does but I was in a solid 14 at the time and she was in an 18 (that was her before weight).

FFFC:  Do you have any fitness idols?  Who are they?

NM:  I don’t really have any idols per se however, I do admire Ernestine Shepherd , Denise Richardson, Tosca Reno and Jillian Michaels

FFFC:  How can readers learn more about your transformation and journey online (i.e. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.)?

NM:  I post my monthly pictures on my Facebook page in an album titled “My Transformation”

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Featured Fitale Georgina Graham


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FFFC:  Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).

GG:  Good Day! My name is Georgina Graham.  By day I am an aviation expert, acting as an advocate and promoting excellence in safety, security and environmental issues in Civil Aviation.  By night,I am a shoe-loving, time-travelling scribbler with a passion for fitness and helping others achieve their goals and their dreams.  I am currently transitioning location (from Canada) to the United Kingdom and starting my own Coaching Consultancy ~ Be Utterfly Fly Fitness.

FFFC:  What sparked your weight-loss transformation journey?

GG:  I was tired. Tired of not liking how I looked on the outside or felt  on the inside.  Tired of feeling like the REAL me was hidden inside, underneath the nice clothes, high heels (always!), make up and hair.  I wanted to feel free of the burden of weight – which was really an outward manifestation of the fact I did not care enough about myself to put myself first.

FFFC:  What was your beginning and current weight or measurements?

GG:  At my heaviest, I had stopped really weighing myself.  My heaviest recorded weight was  227 lbs.  I currently have just finished a (not too clean!) off-season Bulk for
competitive body-building and I weigh 170 lb.  My usual weight is around 155 lbs.  My “stage” weight  is about 135-140.  I still have two wardrobes!  Off season and on!  I am probably at the heaviest weight I have been since reaching my goal weight – but I love my body every which way. You can only get the body you want by loving the body you have!

FFFC:  How long did it take for your weight-loss transformation from beginning to end?

GG:  I took about 6 months to reach my goal weight.  Then I adjusted the goal down in order to compete and I lost a further 20 lbs while also maintaining lean muscle in order to step on stage.  Each person’s journey is their own to complete in a healthy way – usually losing no more than 1lb-2lbs per week is the healthiest route for sustainable weight
loss.

FFFC:  What physical activities did you participate in during your journey?

GG:  I used Fitness DVD’s at home 6 days a week  These included cardio kickboxing, plyometrics, kenpo and strength training  I also made sure to walk 10,000 steps a day, so being active even if not actually working out.

FFFC:  How did your eating habits change? 

GG:  I actually STARTED eating.  Prior to my transformation, I would eat once a day.  I was so busy being “busy” with work, I would keep putting off meal after meal, until after working up to a 15 hour day I was too tired to cook, so would just have something like a bagel with cheese.  Little did I realize at the time how much I was damaging my metabolism.  At the beginning of my transformation, I would set an alarm to eat every two hours, until my body reacted without the reminder.  I then started to prepare my meals in advance and take lunch to work every day plus snacks.  I would eat 5-6 meals a day.  I also made sure to drink a gallon of water every day.

FFFC:  What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

GG:  I am pretty much a  creature of habit until you tell me I can’t have something!  This would be a meal plan outside of competition training – For Breakfast I usually have oatmeal and egg whites, or an omelette made with a whole egg and some egg whites, red onions, mushrooms and some chicken bacon.  Some days I may have just Whole eggs with some veggies, probably spinach. I also love Kale based smoothies (but try not to cook it slightly first so it does not interfere with my thyroid function).  I would add in some almond milk, coconut oil and maybe some blueberries, strawberries or half a banana.  Around 10am I have a protein shake or some almonds and an apple, or rice cakes with almond butter.  Lunch would also be some protein with a green salad made with say, spinach, cucumber, avocado, romaine lettuce or veg and some sweet potato or brown rice. In the early evening I would have my dinner before training, and this would be some form of lean protein – chicken breast, turkey, tilapia, or salmon or lean steak or lentils along with veggies, or a salad or quinoa, or other types of
beans.  Immediately after training I would have a protein shake with a simple carbohydrate, to help cause an insulin spike to take the protein straight to the muscles which I have just DESTROYED!

FFFC:  What is your favorite fitness activity?

GG:  LIFTING WEIGHTS!!

FFFC:  What do you do now to maintain your physique?

GG:  TRAIN, EAT, SLEEP!  I was prevented from competing last year due to a thyroid issue and allowing life to get in the way.  My view now is that health is the best wealth we have.  Competition training and dieting is pretty brutal, so you have to be clear in your mind of your goals and your values, so as not to compromise yourself in search of a particular aesthetic that is impossible to maintain.  My aim is to train hard, but maintain the health balance at the same time.  If this prevents me from stepping on the stage this year, then so be it.  I have days when I do crave something that may not be in my best interests to eat, and I am no Saint. So I do everything in moderation – and with intent.  The worse feeling is the one where you are being controlled either by the presence or absence of something.

My Journey

FFFC:  How did you develop and sustain the willpower to avoid the bad stuff (i.e. junk food, bad drinks, lack of activity, etc.)?

GG:  You have to make sure your WHY is stronger than your WON’T.  Effectively, willpower is a muscle like any other.  The more you use it the stronger it becomes.  To me, the whole weight loss journey is one of mind over matter.  Getting up to train at What O’Clock in the morning when there is 5 inches of snow on the ground and it is minus a bazillion degrees is no fun.  Wanting to go home after a long day at work but not and going to the gym instead all takes discipline –  doing what needs to be done, not what you want to do.  I do slip up, and life can knock you down, and sometimes of late after one too many “body blows” I have felt like I wanted to stay down, but in the end, I never give up.  I try to make mindful choices so that whatever the outcome, it was by choice not by chance.  My faith also keeps me focused and only by the Grace of God am I here today.

FFFC:  What advice do you have for someone starting out on their weight-loss journey but unsure of how to begin?

GG:  Make small, CONSISTENT changes.  Over time, these changes will add up to success.  Throw away the scale and prepare your environment to support your goals.  Establish a vision for yourself, not someone else’s idea of how you should look or what you should eat.  One thing you will probably find on your own journey is that some people will be inspired, others will be threatened.  Some may try to derail you, so it is important that the voice that resonates most loudly in your head is your own.  Don’t be swayed by praise (thinking you can add in some treats) or by criticism (thinking you should just stop).   I think, depending on the type of personality you have, factoring in something that might be considered a treat is important.  Feeling deprived is the easiest way to slip back into bad habits. But it is all amount making good choices.  For instance, I love to eat chocolate, milk chocolate to be precise!  Instead of that, which is really just sugar, I have no learned to like dark chocolate.  I only need a few pieces in order to satisfy that craving and then I am good.  I love a glass of red wine occasionally and some healthy popcorn as a snack.  Even if I over do it on any one day, there is always the next meal, there is always tomorrow, because that is what life is about.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  Looking at this as a long-term, lifestyle change is important too – there is no end.  It really can’t be perceived as a diet.  Mostly, your MIND has to be in the right place in order to maintain your physique.  Our external self is a reflection of our internal, so spend as much time working on your mind as your body.

FFFC:  What do you think is the biggest misconception about this journey?

GG:  The biggest misconception is that only certain people can do it.  Anyone can do it!  Success does not come over night, and many people believe if they eat right and train for a week or two, but they don’t see any meaningful changes, they should give up.  DIETS do not work! The Diet industry would not be an industry otherwise.  So really think of this as a lifestyle change, day by day, and results will come.  There is no such thing as a quick fix.  Whether it’s ten minute abs, lose 10 lbs in one day, take this pill or drink this drink.  In the end it boils down to what you eat and when and what exercise you do, creating a deficit between what you eat (fuel) and what you expend.  Understanding that the choices you make today make the body you have tomorrow.

FFFC:  Do you have any fitness idols?  Who are they?

GG:  I have some women who have trodden this path before me and encouraged me on my way.  Women who were willing to share with me their own ups and downs and their
own knowledge.  These women paid their blessings forward and for that I will always be grateful.  In terms of well known fitness personalities –  I admire people like Florence Griffiths-Joyner and Lenda Murray – women that raised the bar, yet maintained class and dignity and then pulled many up behind them.  Also, men like Charles Poliquin and John Beradi who have used their knowledge of the fitness industry, nutrition and training techniques to change how people perceive those in the industry, by using a scientific approach to training and
nutrition.

FFFC:  How can readers learn more about your transformation and journey online (i.e. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.)?

GG:  I started my Facebook Page – Be Utterly Fly Fitness – in January 2013, with the aim to build a movement of EMPOWERED people, who are FIT in body, mind and soul – who gain their wings to be FLY (Fit Limitless You).  That is located at www.facebook.com/BeFlyToo.  I will be launching an on-line radio program in the near future to share Fitness, Food and Focus – so you can follow me at www.blogtalkradio.com/BuffButterfly.  Tweet me @BeUtterfly and watch this space for the launch of my website www.BuffButterfly.com.  If you want to contact me by email, then please feel free to do so at coach@BuffButterfly.com  Thank you so much for your interest and thank you Diatta for giving me this truly awesome opportunity.  I am humbled and I pray that I will be able to continue to serve those who are in need!

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© Georgina Graham 2013

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Have fun with us online at Facebook at www.facebook.com/FemmeFitaleFitness

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