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  • Writer's pictureKourtney McCullough

How I Lost 30 Pounds Over The Course Of My Health Journey

Updated: Apr 22

I don’t talk about it much, but at the start of my health journey about 12 years ago I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now. Call it the freshman 15 in college (and then some), or the fact that I had stopped dancing (and most exercise) and wasn’t eating healthfully, or that I just wasn’t living my most authentic life and my daily habits reflected that.

Then, when I began experimenting with dieting and exercise (before I became a trainer and holistic health coach), I had no idea what I was doing. I was completely overdoing the cardio and HIIT (which made me more inflamed and hungrier!) and not seeing the results I so desperately wanted. What I did know, however, was that the more I pressured myself to lower the number on the scale, the more it back fired with a restriction or a binge (or both). So, I promised to not focus on the weight itself, but to focus instead on building small habits over time that made me feel healthier.

Here are a couple of things that did and didn't work to get me to where I am today (after over a decade and lots of trial and error later): 30 pounds of inflammation lighter with (more importantly) a healthier outlook on diet and fitness and a lifestyle that supports me and feels sustainable for the rest of my life.

🚫 I did not count calories or follow any strict short term diets.

✅ I did experiment with the type of eating that worked for my body (gluten free and mostly completely grain free) and prioritized getting adequate protein (25-35g) and fat with every meal to help muscle growth and to help my body become more insulin sensitive and more metabolically flexible overall.

🚫 I did not create a restrictive mindset.

✅ I did focus on what healthy habits I could ADD into my life (instead of what I had to avoid) and that helped me create a sustainable routine that has lasted for over a decade.

🚫 I did not use excessive cardio or HIIT to burn calories/what I ate.

✅ I did use exercise to help build lean muscle through resistance training and Pilates on KORE | KINECT to increase my metabolic flexibility, which helped my body burn more of its own stored fat.

🚫 I did not weigh myself.

✅ I did notice how my clothes were fitting differently over time. Body recomposition (ie losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously) is about changing the shape of your body, not about the number on the scale.

🚫 I did not deprive myself of treats if I wanted them.

✅ I did practice an 80/20 philosophy and limited my alcohol consumption significantly.

🚫 I did not overexercise.

✅ I did figure out a weekly workout split that allowed my muscles time to recover and did not drain my overall system and leave me feeling like a got hit by a truck. I also worked with a holistic doctor who helped me rebalance my hormones and got me out of adrenal fatigue from years of doing too many HIIT and bootcamp classes.

🚫 I did not expect change to happen overnight.

✅ You can lose weight relatively quickly or you can gain muscle relatively quickly. But, to do both takes much longer. By implementing sustainable lifestyle shifts, my weight loss became a side effect of eating cleaner, balancing my hormones, and lowering my bodily inflammation.

🚫 I did not neglect my recovery.

✅ I did use an Oura Ring to track my sleep and HRV scores to make sure my body and mind were staying resilient to the constant stress of exercise and of daily life. You can get $40 off an Oura Ring using this LINK.

🚫 I did not set unrealistic short term goals and beat myself up and give up when I didn’t reach them.

✅ I did stay consistent over time. Remember, consistency doesn’t have to look the same every week. Using my menstrual cycle to track my energy levels and hormones, for example, has helped me know when to push myself in workouts during the month and when to take it easier, which helped me stay consistent in the long term. You can "Workout With Your Menstrual Cycle" on KORE | KINECT.

Most people think they will reach their fitness and weight loss goals in under 6 months. Unfortunately, this is just not true (it personally took me about 3 years to lose 3o pounds in a healthy, sustainable way). Although it is possible to make progress during a shorter time, it often takes a year minimum just to dial in your nutrition and fitness and make a true lifestyle shift. Thankfully, a year is really a very small amount of time in the grand scheme of your life to create real permanent, positive change in your body and your mind.

💯 The point is: there is no such thing as a quick fix. Figuring out what works for your body takes time, but it is always worth it.

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