My name is Hila, 32 years old from Israel, and today I would like to offer you a glimpse into my lifechanging transformation over the last year and a half – and how I went from being a morbidly obese woman, struggling with various health issues, to losing 73 kg and becoming physically fit and healthy.
My background is fairly non-standard as I actually come from a very physically active family who always cherished a healthy lifestyle – and as a child I was a serious breaststroke swimmer, in fact. Unfortunately, due to certain personal circumstances in the years since, I’ve drifted away from that way of life and gained a lot of weight – to a point where it was medically concerning.
For quite some time I have been feeling that a change is necessary and I knew it has to be a complete turn-around – no other way to make me feel better with myself and become healthier. So, in the summer of 2020, mid-pandemic concerns, I’ve made the first step and started to work with a sports nutritionist, who is also a trainer and thus able to set a training plan for me, making sure my nutrition matches my activities.
“Healthy lifestyle” for me is not just about losing excess weight, but even more so about the mental approach and being active – and having a professional partner in this process, one that you trust and feel comfortable with through all the ups and downs of such a change and who is there to help you navigate all the uncertainties and make the right choices as it can – and did! – make all the difference. If you are planning to start a similar process yourself – it’s highly recommended the right person for you.
My “regular diet” includes a lot of vegetables and protein (it’s very important to maintain muscles while losing fat) and a few portions of carbs throughout the day, but I am able to play with it and tweak it as I wish. For example: the lunch could be some protein-rich pasta with chicken or whole-wheat tortilla with tofu – with veggies, and spices, and all the good stuff! At the same time, I wanted to still be able to enjoy some “non-diet” foods from time to time (I’m a real foodie!), as I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain a standard restrictive diet for the long run.
So I actually still enjoy eating burgers, Shawarma, and sweets. What makes it work, you ask? The fact that I don’t eat those on-the-daily (actually, no more than twice a week) and when I do – I make sure I’m very active that week. Of course, there are certain “compromises” I need to do for that, like reducing or skipping the carb portion of dinner or my afternoon yogurt, something that won’t leave me hungry and won’t change the nutrition values for the day that much.
Speaking of physical activity, when I started working on my training plan, my weight was just too high for high-impact sports and I simply wasn’t fit enough – so running was out of the question. I started with a basic strength training program and simple walks. In the beginning, I was barely able to walk a few kilometers without getting exhausted, but after a few weeks of consistent effort, I clocked at about 22km a week! I wanted to do something more exciting but still low-impact – and this is when I found Marischa’s incredible channel.
At first, I bought a step and started with her beginner step workouts – and after lots of hard work, now I’m able to do a 1.5-hour-long session of her most advanced/brutal HIIT bodyweight workouts. Who would have thought! At a certain point, I’ve noticed that I barely sweat during the less intense workouts, so I knew that I was ready to progress to the more advanced ones. That’s what I adore about Marischa’s channel – there are so many types of workouts for all fitness levels, so you are always sure to find something that suits you. Caution, though: do not try to push yourself too much at home on your own – usually, it’s important to mix very intense workouts with less demanding ones, if you want to avoid injuries. I have a sports nutritionist, trainer, and physio that make sure I don’t overexert and hurt myself in the process.
Even when I had a running injury, once I was able to actually start running, her channel allowed me to overcome it. When injured, it’s really easy to fall down a black hole of self-doubts and negative thoughts (I’ve been there, too!), but what you actually need is to find what caused the injury, how to prevent it in the future, and what’s the right activity for you while you “on rehab” – as simple rest alone won’t cut it, unfortunately. Consulting my physio, I was allowed to continue doing intense workouts as long as I keep them low-impact, so Marischa’s workout sessions really helped me to maintain and even improve my fitness, while I kept recovering and strengthening my body at the gym.
Of course, there are still many fitness goals I want to hit in the future and some little more weight to lose, but I know I’m heading in the right direction. 🙂
In summary, these are my top tips for changing a lifestyle:
- Find a professional who knows what they’re doing (trainer, nutritionist, etc.) to guide you and help build a plan that can work for you in the long run – it will have to become your daily routine, so nothing too restrictive or stifling. They will make sure you’re getting the required amounts of nutrients and vitamins for your fitness level – especially as it improves and you ramp up!
- Don’t focus on any one specific method of training exclusively, even if you really enjoy it – mix things up! This will help you become stronger and prevent injuries, no matter what activity you’re doing. For example, don’t only do aerobic workouts (like running) – make sure to include some strength and resistance training (like weightlifting or TRX) a couple of times a week.
- Plan your meals ahead of time whenever you can and eat a variety of foods that will satisfy you while making sure to keep to the calorie deficit of your regimen. Case in point: while granola breakfast may have many nutritious ingredients, it is also very heavy on calories – a low-fat protein-packed yogurt with a portion of fruit and a few nuts is a better option.
- Accept that it won’t be a smooth process – you will almost certainly hit mental lows and plateaus (both in fitness and in weight loss), but don’t give up! Don’t think all of this is just “not for you” or that you’re “not good enough” – instead find out what works for you, what doesn’t, why, and plan ways to overcome or circumvent such hurdles. Do seek professional advice when needed – it can be a tremendous help!
If you would like to share some words of love/support for Hila, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. If you have your own story and would like to share it, please don’t hesitate to let me know and I’d be happy to help!