I hate sharing my "before" pictures, because I feel like they are really embarrassing. The picture on the left was taken a few days ago, and the picture on the right was taken in August 2015. I was 30 pounds heavier and very self conscious. I'm sharing my photo in hopes that my story inspires someone else to change their life for the better. It was about this time last year that I attempted to go on my first diet and was sadly unsuccessful.  It wasn't until January 2016, multiple attempts later, that I began my successful weight loss journey. I'm not going to lie and pretend like it was easy because it wasn't easy. But, there was something very different about my last attempt that proved to be successful.

I knew I wanted to lose weight. I knew that I needed to workout more and eat less calories in order for that to happen. It seems like a simple concept--But, for some reason I'd try fad diets that went against everything I ever learned in high school health class because I thought I could cheat the system . I tried the Paleo diet, I tried taking green tea metabolism boosting supplements and I tried going to Zumba classes. You name it, I tried it.

I was looking for a quick fix--something that was going to melt the weight fast. I seemed to have forgotten that I didn't gain my weight overnight. I gained my weight slowly and almost without realizing it. So, to think the pounds were just going to drop was just crazy. But, I didn't want to believe that it would take time because that was so discouraging. It seemed like every time I failed a diet, I'd throw my hands in the air and just decide to eat whatever I wanted and gain all of the weight back.

This past December, I joined the Biggest Loser program at Rejuv Medical. I was extremely skeptical about the program because I didn't believe that it could help me. I thought I was a lost cause. I came up with a million excuses for why it wouldn't work. I'm just too busy, I work early and I'm tired when I get home, I don't feel very good so I can't work out, I can't commit to going to the gym on a regular basis, I can't afford it, and I can't give up the food that I love. My fiance Dave also wanted to join the program with me. So, I decided to give it a shot and invest in myself. I'm proud to say it's the best decision that I've ever made.

  • I learned that there's no magic pill, shake, drink or food that could make me drop the weight I wanted overnight. I didn't gain my weight overnight and therefore I couldn't lose it overnight.
  • I had to rid myself of the mindset that I was "dieting" and I had to start telling myself that I was making a lifestyle change. Diets set time limitations and crazy expectations on people. It was unrealistic of me to expect to drop 20 pounds in one week.
  • I learned that I needed to stand for something because if I didn't, I'd fall for anything. I learned to develop a sense of discipline. I never used to be able to turn down free doughnuts in the break room. It was hard to say no at first. But, now when I eat unhealthy, it's a planned "awareness meal" and not a decision I make on a whim.
  • I learned to fuel my body with the right foods and nutrients. When I was just counting calories, I was doing it wrong. My weight loss depended largely on the type of calories I was eating. Twenty calories of protein isn't the same as 20 calories of sugar.
  • I learned to drink more water. It actually helped curb my appetite. I realized that sometimes when my body felt hungry, it was actually its way of telling me I was just thirsty.
  • I learned that I shouldn't judge my successes and failures based on what the scale said. It's important to pay attention to the scale but I also had to keep in mind that I was working out and building muscle.
  • And, most importantly, sustainable weight loss takes time. No matter how much I wanted to cheat the system and lose it fast, it took time and there was no way around it.

When I started to accept these seven concepts, things started to change for me. For the first time I felt like I finally understood weight loss. It's not about dieting for a month only to go back to my old ways. It's about living a healthy lifestyle and being able to maintain it my entire life. When I started to take care of my health then my weight issues started to disappear.  I'm no expert on health and fitness, but changing my mentality and adopting these basic principles has helped me reach my goals and maintain a healthy active lifestyle. Good luck to you in your health pursuit.

If you're interested in knowing more about my story, or would like to hear more of the tips that I learned feel free to email me, ashli@MinnesotasNewCountry.com!