Although Sarah is a busy mum who has a full schedule, she got to the point where she knew she needed to take care of her health — and not just for her, but for her family as well. She started her weight-loss journey with Renaissance Periodization's (RP) diet and training program, and the rest is history. See below for her full story.
POPSUGAR: When did you start your weight-loss journey? What made you decide to?
Sarah Grant: I started my weight-loss journey with Renaissance Periodization (RP) in March 2016 after a few years of trying different things to lose weight that didn't seem to work at all or only worked short term, and then the weight would come right back. The final push for me was several things. I was almost 40, and while my career and personal life were going very well, I didn't seem able to reach my health and fitness goals in the same way. I didn't want to spend more years of my life feeling less energetic and vibrant and healthy than I once had. I felt I was in the prime of everything else in life except my health and fitness. I also had two teenagers at home that I wanted to set a better example for as far as eating habits and living healthfully.
PS: What was your starting weight?
SG: I'm 5'4 with a very small frame, and at my heaviest, I was over 78 kilos. After I did some some crash dieting and a myriad of ridiculous things we try when desperate, I got down to 75 kilos, which was my starting weight the day I signed up with RP for diet and training with one-on-one coaching.
"I didn't want to spend more years of my life feeling less energetic and vibrant and healthy than I once had."
PS: How much weight have you lost so far?
SG: I've lost over 22 kilos.
PS: How did you do it? Did you follow a specific diet?
SG: I followed a specific RP diet plan with three dieting phases, each 12 weeks long with some mid-phase diet breaks in between where you maintain the current "new" scale weight for a few weeks before beginning another dieting phase. My total loss took about a year to accomplish.
PS: Did you do a specific workout type or schedule?
SG: I lifted weights four days a week in a periodised progressive overload program, also from RP, and did cardio as needed, anywhere from three to five days a week, 30 to 60 minutes per day.
PS: What are some non-scale victories you've experienced?
SG: A major NSV for me was feeling comfortable with my body. I live in South Florida, where it is always bikini season. When I got excited to start shopping for clothes and a cute bikini, that was an amazing feeling. Another major NSV I had was getting a strict pull-up and then being able to string together several pull-ups! I had always wanted to be able to do that! I think the best NSV for me, though, was watching myself grow into someone who felt competent and capable, both physically in the gym working out and also mentally, sticking to the healthy eating choices and plans that were helping me reach weight-loss success. It was a very empowering experience all around. I was never the athletic type; I was more of the bookworm type in school, so the entire way I see myself has grown during this process.
PS: How do you stay motivated?
Things like discipline, commitment, and integrity are the cornerstones for me.
SG: Honestly, I find motivation to be overrated. Motivation is something that always seems to ebb and flow, because it is just a feeling. Behind feelings is not much substance; they are so fleeting. I find principles a much stronger basis to act on. Principles have traction in life. Things like discipline, commitment, and integrity are the cornerstones for me. I find focusing on those things when the days come that motivation is low — and they will come — is a much better bet. Relying on the principles you live your life by rather than the feelings of the day is a critical component to success in my experience.
PS: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
SG: A typical day always starts with a protein shake around 6 a.m. I work out first thing in the morning, so getting that in before and/or during my workout is important. After my workout, around 8 a.m., I have a low-fat meal with some carbs and more protein. One of my favourites is protein pancakes and egg whites with some fresh fruit, or if it's the weekend and I have more time, I'll make some lean steak and egg whites with whole wheat toast and fruit.
Lunch is usually broken up into two lunches, around 11 a.m. and 3 p.m, simply because I like to eat more frequently throughout the day. My favourite lunches are always some form of lean meat, like chicken breast or tuna/branzino/salmon with rainbow quinoa or rice, asparagus or a leafy green veg, and some healthy fats. Peanut butter on whole wheat bread or with a banana is my go-to side snack with lunch. As a working mum, I always try to make lunches that are easy to prep ahead, reheat well, and are filling.
Dinner is usually a lean protein and lots of veggies, some healthy fats, and less carbs. My favourite dinner by far is a well-trimmed medium-rare filet mignon with heaps of seasonal veggies sauteed in olive oil. Just before bed every night, I have another protein and healthy fats snack. My favourite is a chocolate casein protein shake or casein pudding with some peanut butter. It's like a healthy dessert.
PS: Any advice or tips for people on their own journey?
Be honest. Hold yourself 100 percent accountable for compliance to your eating plan and your workout schedule.
SG: Be patient. The tendency to get discouraged by slow progress and then give up in frustration is a big barrier to success. Be honest. Hold yourself 100 percent accountable for compliance to your eating plan and your workout schedule. Be resilient. Progress will never be linear. Life happenings will throw your best efforts and plans into chaos some days. It is the ability to adapt, recover, and keep going in the face of the setbacks and challenges that ultimately leads to success.
PS: Anything else you want to share?
SG: Finally getting my weight managed and giving my health and fitness goals the priority they deserved has brought a lot of other really wonderful things into my life. I know that many people think about weight loss and fitness in terms of restriction or see them as burdensome, but this process really has the potential to be very enriching and empowering. As a working mum especially, there is a lot of pressure to meet everyone else's needs before your own, but if you make yourself and your health and well-being a priority, then what you bring to your family, your career, your marriage, and your life in general is the very best version of you.
Sharing this journey with my friends and family — all the good parts and the hard days too — has been an amazing experience in seeing the ripple effect you can have on those you love by being daring enough to start and committed enough to see it through.