After having three babies, Shalee Atkinson struggled with postpartum depression and had given up on taking care of herself. She knew that she needed to make a change in her life, not only for herself, but also for her kids. She came across Beachbody's 80-Day Obsession program. She took a leap of faith and followed the workouts and meal plan for 80 days. As a result, she lost 17 kilos and finally has enough energy to play with her children all day long. Continue reading to find out how this Beachbody program transformed Shalee's life.
POPSUGAR: What made you embark on your weight-loss journey?
Shalee Atkinson: My baby girl had just turned 1, and I took a look at myself and realized I weighed more and looked worse than I did right after giving birth to her a year earlier. I had struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety and had completely given up on taking care of myself. I was embarrassed to be seen in public, none of my clothes fit anymore, I couldn't keep up with my three young kids, and I was over it. Right at that time, Beachbody was getting ready to release a new program, 80-Day Obsession. I decided to take a chance and go for it, knowing that I had to make some drastic changes and improve my life, not only for my sake, but also for my family. They deserved a better version of me and I was so ready to give that to them.
PS: How much weight have you lost to date and how long did it take?
SA: I have lost 38 pounds [17 kg] in the last four months.
PS: What do you like about the 80-Day Obsession program?
The timed nutrition was a total game changer.
SA: Every workout was recorded live, so every single day you get something new. This made it fun and easier for me to stick with it. You just feel like you're part of the cast and in on all the inside jokes. It was fun to feel like you were a part of it and be able to get to know the cast. The timed nutrition was a total game changer for me as well. Before I started the program, I was eating out, binge-eating like crazy, and consuming so much sugar and Dr Pepper every single day. I had never done anything like this program, so it was a little overwhelming at first. I had an amazing coach that encouraged me and was a part of an incredible Facebook group full of Beachbody coaches, as well as Autumn Calabrese, the creator of the program. That group was so helpful to me throughout my journey.
PS: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
SA: 80-Day Obsession uses a container system. Each food group has a specific container. They are different sizes and the purpose of these containers is to teach you the proper portions of each food you should be consuming daily. Based on the meal plan, a typical day of eating looks like this:
- Pre-workout meal: I typically do chopped peppers, kale or spinach, chopped onions, two eggs, and a small whole wheat tortilla. I also take my pre-workout supplement at this time.
- Post-workout shake: I like to blend half of a banana or some frozen strawberries with my chocolate recover supplement.
- Post-workout meal: For this meal, I like to have leftovers from the night before. I rotate between my favourite fixate recipes (from Beachbody): turkey sloppy joes and lemon garlic chicken and asparagus.
- Meal option 1: chocolate Shakeology shake with half of a banana and almond milk.
- Meal option 2: steamed broccoli or zucchini topped with melted cheese and a side of fruit (berries, banana, etc.) is my go-to for this meal.
- Meal option 3: I switch this up every night, but generally I stick to my favourite fixate recipes. A quick and easy recipe I love is ground turkey, chopped veggies (green peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.), chopped sweet potatoes, olive oil, and sunflower seeds on the side.
PS: Does your diet change on the days you workout?
SA: I work out six days a week with this program. Sundays are my rest days, and the meal plan is slightly different on those days. I still follow timed nutrition — I just get to switch up the order of my meals a little bit.
PS: Do you count calories? Why or why not?
SA: I don't count calories. The meal plan that goes along with 80-Day Obsession has a formula that tells which meal plan you fit into. Each plan tells you exactly how many colour-coded containers you should be eating every day and when you should be eating. The containers are a simple way of measuring out your proper portions and counting macros. Timed nutrition helps ensure you are eating the right amounts of protein, carbs, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats, which helps reduce cravings and keep your energy up.
PS: What are some nonscale victories you've experienced?
I have so much more confidence and am no longer ashamed or scared to be seen in public.
SA: I have so much more energy! It feels so good to be able to chase after my babies and play with them all day long. I am able to fit into clothes I never thought I would be able to wear again. I have so much more confidence and am no longer ashamed or scared to be seen in public. My favourite thing about completing this program, though, is being an inspiration to people around me. I have had so many friends and complete strangers reach out to me since sharing my transformation pictures online. Everyone has been so amazing and supportive! It makes me so happy to see my friends making the decision to improve their health and as a result become happier and confident!
PS: What has been the most challenging aspect about your weight-loss journey? How did you overcome it?
SA: My biggest struggle was sticking to the meal plan. I have always been an emotional eater and really struggled with sweets in particular. I did have a few small cheat meals or treats during the program. I was shocked at how awful it made me feel anytime I did, though. That's literally all I ate before, and now I feel terrible after eating any kind of junk food. Looking back at my before pictures and seeing how far I had come really helped me stick with it and stay strong. Another thing that really helped me was the community I was a part of through social media. It was incredible how supportive and encouraging they all were to each other.
PS: What's your next fitness goal?
SA: I am currently completing another round of 80 Day Obsession. I have loved it so much and wanted to push hard for another round to lean out even more and get more defined muscles. I'm considering doing some competitions. That's something I have always wanted to do, but didn't believe in myself or think I would be disciplined enough to do it.
PS: Do you have any advice or tips for people on their own journey?
SA: Don't give up! Your health is so important. Take action now! Avoid putting things off until tomorrow or next week. Getting started is the hardest part. Be sure to recognise all your hard work and give yourself credit. Sometimes your results may seem small, but celebrate them anyway! Avoid weighing yourself every day. Try to measure your success based on how you are feeling or how your clothes are fitting. Be sure to take measurements and progress pictures regularly. It can be hard to see the changes happening in your body sometimes, so it's super helpful to have pictures and measurements to look back on and see just how far you've come!