If you know me personally or IRL or even follow me on Instagram, you know I’m not new to the fitness world. In fact, my first “blog” (aka Tumblr account) was a health and wellness inspired account where I would post daily workouts, full day of eating (FDOE’s) posts, day in the life posts, etc. This was back in college when I used my fitness lifestyle and blogging as an escape from endless hours of studying. And back in college, I did things right! I ate intuitively, making sure to focus on protein intake and vegetables. I ran a couple times a week, did plenty of HIIT and strength training in the gym, and still managed to pull good grades in school and have a social life. Ah, the good old days. How was it so EASY back then?
Oh wait. It wasn’t.
I look back on those years with longing – the lifestyle may not have been “easy” but the habits were formed and I was able to follow them with ease. Here are some of the habits of healthy college Karli:
- (on a school day) Wake up at 5:30/6:00 am
- Make a weird healthy breakfast
- A typical breakfast would be egg whites, two slices of wheat toast with peanut butter and banana, an Oikos greek yogurt, some broccoli because I’m weird, and a bolthouse farms juice or protein drink.
- Get ready for school and arrive by 7:30, even though my first class wouldn’t start until 10.
- Go to the business building cafe, get a mocha (this was before I could drink black coffee)
- Study for a few hours, to go my classes, blah blah blah .
- When I had my two hour lunch break I would head to the fitness center and get my workout in. I would start with about 30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical or treadmill, then followed that with a strength training HIIT workout and some Ab work to finish. If I felt motivated or had the extra time, I would bring a textbook and sit on an exercise bike and study for a while and burn extra calories at the same time.
- After this I would go to and buy a Core Power protein shake to have during my after lunch class.
- I would have a late lunch around 2 or 3, there was this wrap place and I would often get a chicken wrap but lets be honest in college I had pizza for lunch 9 out of 10 times.
- Finish out my classes, go home, eat some kind of meat and veggie for dinner (I lived with my dad at the time, so whatever he cooked I would eat).
It’s amazing that back in school this was just my routine. I used to be so good! And it paid off back then:
These photos above were from 2013. I was thin, fit, and probably eating close to 2000 calories a day. But I mean..I was in college too! So I was walking a TON with a 25+ pound backpack full of books and a laptop and full water bottles all day, taking stairs multiple times a day between classes, and having huge calorie burn days at the gym. My part time job was in a pharmacy where I was on my feet for 6-8 hours and would kill time by walking in circles around the place. And as I mentioned before, exercise back then was my escape from studying all day long.
Fast forward seven years (these were taken October 1st, 2020):
Talk about a backwards transformation! This is a super unflattering photo of me but if you’ve seen me in a swimsuit well you’ve seen it so here you go lol. Sitting at about 33-34 % body fat and 153 pounds on a good day, this is me in all my late 20s adulthood glory. A couple of breakups and lots of bottles of wine and cans of beer and pizzas and ice cream etc later, and wallah! This is how I look now.
Am I disappointed in myself? Maybe a little. Have I had breakdowns about my body image? Certainly! Have I tried crash diets and tons of workout programs in desperation to change, only to revert back to my old habits when my period would start or something bad would happen or simply when I felt depressed? You betcha. Even though I obviously KNOW how to lose weight and be healthy, my emotions or lack of motivation or heck even just information overload in regards to the fitness industry would send me on a downward spiral back to weight gain.
In the past few weeks I’ve really tried to focus on my health. A few months back I downloaded Noom, which was helping me form a healthy relationship with grains and fruit again, a relationship I had damaged with over a year of attempting keto on and off and being told almost all my life that “carbs are the enemy” and “the only way I’ve ever seen change was by cutting out bread” and other similar accounts from other people I knew trying to lose weight. I used the Noom app and started forming healthy habits and routines, the first being eating almost the same thing every single day. At first it was boring, but I quickly became used to the foods I was eating and began to look forward to them.
Since that photo above I have lost only a couple of pounds, but I have lost 6+ inches all over. I’m already noticing changes in my stomach (which is obviously my biggest problem area).
Here’s what I’m doing differently on my fitness journey this time around:
- Eating the same things almost every day. This helps me learn about the macros I’m eating and helps me become more comfortable with proper portion sizes for the foods I eat.
- Weighing myself every morning. I do this because I am comfortable and confident and the number does not cause me to spiral. If weighing yourself every day is harmful for you emotionally please do not do this. But I like to do it to see how my eating the day before can cause changes. It really puts things into perspective. For example, when I follow my macros and get proper exercise I can see either maintenance or about a half pound weight loss every day or couple of days. If I overeat or overindulge in sodium or ice cream or alcohol I can see that reflected on the scale with a slight increase in weight the next day due to bloating and water retention. It helps me make connections with what I’m doing and the effects those decisions have on my body and on my progress.
- Taking progress photos and body measurements once a week. I usually update these first thing Sunday morning before I consume anything! Measurements are amazing because sometimes the scale won’t budge but fat will be melting off you. I highly recommend measuring if weighing yourself isn’t your thing!
- Personal training and an eight week challenge. For YEARS I have wanted a personal trainer. After paying off my car I was finally able to pull the trigger and have been working out with a trainer for a few weeks now, and I look forward to each and every session. It’s pricey but it’s WORTH IT. I am also enrolled in a free eight week transformation challenge with 1st Phorm. I use their app to track my intake throughout the day and work with my group leader to make any adjustments to ensure I’m still seeing progress. On the days I don’t have personal training, I follow the workouts provided within the app. I really recommend this app for people who want a one stop shop for nutrition and exercise recommendations. I pay $5 for the premium version which makes tracking even easier and gives you more exercise options!
- Protein coffee in the morning. I got this idea from the leader of my eight week challenge group. She puts a scoop of protein powder in her coffee every morning to help jumpstart the fat burn process first thing. It’s a little strange to get used to at first, but I look forward to this every day now. I’ve been using one scoop of the Tone It Up protein powder in the Cinnamon Roll flavor.
I have a long ways to go to get to my college level, and I know I’ll never look the same as that again. But it’s nice to know that the physique I want for myself is attainable, because I’ve kind of been there already. My goal is to get to either 135 lbs or 25 % bodyfat by Christmas, or to fit into size 6 jeans. With the progress I’ve already made the past week and a half, I’m confident I can get there. The support and encouragement I’ve received from friends and family also helps keep me going. It’s going to be a long journey, but I plan on making this a lifestyle and living the healthiest I can for the rest of…well, forever.
Follow me along in my Instagram to see my daily stories with workout selfies, what I’m eating, and other fun stuff along the way!