Weight used to be: 310 lb
Weight Now: 145-150 lb
So what made you change your life around and go from fat to fit?
After years of living in denial about my health and my weight, I literally woke up one day sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I accepted that it had to be a new lifestyle and not a temporary fix. I was about to consider weight reduction surgery, and was terrified of it as it comes with some very serious possible complications. I said “Tracie, ONE MORE try.” But this time, I was going to do it RIGHT. No crash diets and no starvation. I also remember a specific moment in time when I was watching a basketball game and when the announcer said Shaquille O’Neill weighed less than me I felt like I hit a brick wall – talk about a reality check!
Do you know what you were doing wrong to become obese?
Yes. I wasn’t moving daily and my diet was rich in processed refined foods, and “bad” high carb foods. Portions were also hugely inappropriate. I am also an emotional eater, like many people. Instead of channelling my energy into DOING things, I would eat when I felt anxious or bored, happy or sad. I accepted that I would HAVE to make GOOD choices every day of my life to stay healthy. Losing weight, especially a significant amount, is really about changing your mindset completely to “this is my new LIFESTYLE.” You COMMIT to it from day 1 forward and you don’t look back to you r old habits.
People think that to stay fit you can’t eat any junk food and that you just have to eat healthy foods all the time, every day for the rest of your life, do you do this now or do you have a treat from time to time?
Honestly I eat a very clean diet the majority of the time, but I am the type of person who thrives and succeeds with a regimen whether that is food or fitness. I believe in a treat now and then too. For me, that might mean a little extra almond butter or some dark chocolate for dessert, or a glass of wine with dinner. The beauty of living fit and feeding your body good, whole food regularly though is that the good food becomes what you crave most often. I no longer struggle with junk food cravings. I also believe in the occasional meal out, and generally make good choices but also believe in “wiggle room” as well as truly enjoying those moments not just for the food but for the experience of being out and having fun. No one should stress out about their meal when they are enjoying and living in the moment like that.
A lot of other women look up to you, who do you look up to and why?
I receive so much from my training clients. I often tell them they give me as much if not more than I am giving to them – the encouragement and support goes both ways. That is why I chose a career in the fitness and health industry, and I LOVE my job as a personal trainer. It feels purposeful, that I am giving back for being so fortunate to have finally found my best life. It is a huge victory just to accept that you have a problem and you need to do something about it. When my clients show up and work as hard as they do, that is so inspiring.
Do you drink alcohol? If so how often?
I might have a glass of red wine once a week with dinner. If I go out for fun, vodka with diet Coke and a lime wedge is pretty nice!
What would an example be of your diet you eat day to day?
I eat small meals throughout the day, every few hours. I eat a “Primal” inspired diet rich in animal and plant foods – lots of lean proteins and eggs, unlimited vegetables and some fruits, some low fat dairy foods such as cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados or coconut oil. Do I eat carbs? Well, yes – I pull complex carbs from all those foods mentioned but I don’t typically eat grains – maybe some oats for breakfast now and then. My body responds best to this type of eating and I am able to stay lean and keep the physique I want pretty effortlessly in terms of having to “think” so much about what to eat so long as it’s some combo of protein, healthy fat and complex carb (plant food). Also, I just generally feel better eliminating carb-intensive foods. I ALWAYS eat protein when I eat. So breakfast might be eggs (2) and egg whites (4) with a protein shake and fruit. Lunch a big salad with chicken and avocado for some healthy fat. Dinner plate is usually half veggies and half protein (fish, lean beef, more chicken or turkey etc) and berries with yogurt or cottage cheese for dessert. Snacks are some combination of a protein and might include some nuts or seeds like almonds or pumpkin seeds. I also love nut butters – almond butter, sunflower seed butter etc. I taper off the higher carb foods as the day goes on and usually end with a bedtime snack of a high protein food that is slow digesting like cottage cheese. I do protein shakes a lot post-workout. I also use whey protein powder to bake with and make protein pancakes or “breads” with it so I can have those things that remind me of the treats I used to indulge in before. I love being creative in the kitchen!
What did you do to lose so much weight and do you have some sort of workout routine?
I honestly lost about half through walking and using a stationary bike as it was manageable for me at that size. About halfway through my loss I added very light strength training (at home) using workout dvd’s and just researching things on the Internet. As I got leaner I had the courage to join a gym. I met a few fellow gym goers who introduced me more to the life of weight training. It was then that my body really started to take off and take shape! I currently work out 6 days a week. I do 3-4 days of strength training, usually 2-3 muscle groups per workout (chest/triceps, back/biceps, shoulders/abs, legs), warming up and cooling down with a little cardio. I do interval training on cardio-only days, but really don’t have many of those – twice a week if that. I might do 10 minutes on the Step Mill followed by 20 minutes on the cross trainer or rowing machine or spinning bike – increasing my effort every couple of minutes and then repeating in cycles. I’ll take a long walk on the weekend. I play a lot – shoot basketball with my children, ride our bikes around town when it’s nice out. I basically move EVERY day. Even a rest day is lightly active. Weight training days are intensive.
What are your 1st and 2nd biggest achievements in life so far?
Well I do believe that reclaiming my health is by far my biggest accomplishment. I was able to do so without any medical intervention, drugs, diet aids like packaged meals or products and went with a clean diet and exercise. And it was done in manageable increments and “baby steps” – eliminating poor food choices led to better and better choices with my eating as my body began to get healthy and WANT healthy food all the time. And as I moved more, my body craved more movement. It’s amazing what we are capable of if we TRY. I would say my 2nd greatest accomplishment was becoming a certified personal trainer. I’m so lucky to be able to have a job that I truly love and that plays a vital role in my new lifestyle. Another accomplishment was being in Fitness Magazine in January of this year. To think – a few years ago I was sitting on the sofa at over 300 pounds and now I am healthy, fit, a trainer, and getting the word out to others. It’s sometimes overwhelming!
What is your main goal in life or was the weight loss your main goal?
Being healthy was my goal and remains of the utmost importance. My weight loss was never really about being a certain size or looking a certain way – it was to live a long, healthy, productive life. Before, I just felt like I was existing. Now – I am LIVING.
What is your favourite picture of yourself at the moment?
Do you have any tips for people that might be obese and want to get started on weight loss?
Believe in yourself. Tell yourself, “this will be HARD, but it will be worth it”. Understand and accept it will take TIME and it is your new lifestyle forever. Join a gym! I was fearful when I was obese but really a gym will give you great support and encouragement. I often say we are like a family at the gym I work and work out at. I thrive off of the support there. Also, be ACCOUNTABLE. It might be necessary to log your food at first and be diligent about every little detail until you gain control and can really manage your portions and choices. Don’t make excuses – “be stronger than your excuses!” See a doctor to get the green light for exercise and DO IT!