My Four Week Transformation

My journey has just begun, but the progress is undeniable!

I’m proud to report in with some GOOD health and wellness updates. Nothing drastic or crazy, I’m not tuning back in with abs or having run a marathon or found some miracle fat burner. But I AM here to *humble* brag about some of the progress I’ve seen thus far on my journey towards a healthier, happier self.

If you checked out my last post you saw some pretty raw and embarrassing photos. My chubby tummy in all its glory, bared for the world to see. But there is a silver lining to those embarrassing photos: they serve as the BEST measurement of progress.

I know now that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story, but Karli a few years back was always set on a number. I don’t even REMEMBER that number anymore, but I do remember it being so far out of reach and so unrealistic and unattainable but striving and fighting to reach it anyway. Back in high school and college I didn’t know how to check myself and find what an accurate measurement of health was for ME. I always compared my body to other girls I saw on Tumblr and wanted their features: their slim waists and broad shoulders and gorgeous glutes. Even when I was at my healthiest I found so many things to hate about myself because I didn’t love myself, and instead wanted to replace those parts with literally ANYONE else’s. I remember at one point back then I was so frustrated because I didn’t think I had skinny enough ankles. ANKLES. And I remember hating how short I was. And thinking that my forearms were too big because I couldn’t wrap my hands around them. I had some serious issues!

And those issues lead to more issues. If you go into any “fitness” journey with a bleak mindset and hatred of your body, you’re never going to find what you’re looking for.

Gaining weight was a slow and steady thing, and I hated every moment of it. I would go on super low calorie or carb diets and then binge at night on wine and any snacks I could lay my hands on. I would workout for a few days then fall off for a week and beat myself up and then just eat whatever I wanted because “it didn’t matter anymore anyway”. It took me a long time to gain this 20+ pounds. But you know what else I managed to learn in that time?

I learned self love. I discovered the things and people that were holding me back and I let them go. I went to therapy. I worked on all the other parts of myself that were rotting in my core and I scooped them up and tossed them away. And what I found buried beneath all of that was this little seed of self love that I’ve been able to nurture and grow and now, even though I still struggle with body image and my weight sometimes, I’ve learned to love and be so happy with ME.

I think that’s a crucial step in any health journey. Step number one: love yourself as you are.

Step number one: love yourself as you are

Oof okay we got a little off track there. Back to the changes so far!

So, here comes my transformation photo so far. Drumroll please…

Photo on left taken October 1st, 2020. Photo on left taken October 25th, 2020.

So I don’t know what you see, but I see a girl who is KICKING A** and not letting excuses get in her way. It’s crazy to me because between these two photos I’ve only lost 2.9 pounds. But I’ve lost four inches all over my body, 1.75 of those around my navel (the most protruding part of my stomach). It’s amazing how much has changed without the weight really dropping.

Things I have been doing to finally see results this time:

  • Tracking macros. I track my calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates EVERY. DAY. No matter what. I include my wings and beers on Sunday during football games, I include that glass of wine I had to have after a stressful day of work, I include that ice cream treat I couldn’t resist at 10pm. Every. Single. Thing. that I eat is recorded and accounted for. This has helped me learn how much food is the right amount of food for me, which it turns out is more than I thought. It also helps me learn proper portion sizing and how to make room in my diet for my treats and cheats.
  • Eating clean. I strive to eat mostly clean whole foods in my diet, which I really thing has the highest impact on my progress so far. Breakfast is usually egg beaters with a large handful of spinach, a light amount of cheese, and some salsa or hot sauce. I will have bacon on the side if I have low fat dinner and lunch planned for later, or I will have toast if I need more carbs. As I’m typing this I just remembered I bought some avocados so I could have a healthier fat so GUESS WHAT I’M HAVING TOMORROW. Ooooo I’m excited.
  • Eating high protein. Another HUGE factor is the amount of protein I’m consuming. I make sure that 20% or less a day is from protein powders, and the rest is from clean whole sources such as chicken, ground turkey, eggs/egg beaters, quinoa, salmon, etc. I use protein powder in the morning in my coffee (but only a low 15g vegan one by Tone It Up), my new Phormula-1 chocolate milkshake protein post workout, and sometimes if I really crave ice cream I’ll make protein ice cream with another 15g of my vegan powder, some almond milk, and some ice.
  • Working out and giving it my all. I used to be a bit of a wimp doing workouts. For the last four years I’d do exercises that I preferred and at weights were I could complete the sets without much resistance. If I didn’t like an exercise (ie. lunges) I would skip them altogether. I wouldn’t even replace them! But now when I workout I give it my all. I do everything I’m told, and I try to max out my strength by going as heavy as I can for the given reps. I’m usually shaking by the end of each set, and the knowledge that I have to do more makes me want to groan sometimes. But I push through and I do it and I feel AMAZING afterwards. In just four weeks I’ve already seen pretty good improvements on my strength and endurance. For my workouts, I do personal training once or twice a week with a local trainer, and the other days I follow the workouts in my program on the My Transphormation app by 1stPhorm. This is also where I track my macros and calories, and have check ins with my amazing instructor for the eight week challenge group I’m in. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this app and finding a group that works for you, it’s so helpful having that team of people behind you cheering you on every single day. Which leads me right into my last point.
  • Being part of a group of like minded people. Since I started the eight week challenge with the My Transphormation app, I’ve been in a group of like minded people who are all in similar parts of their health journeys. There is accountability with daily workout and nutrition check ins, weekly weigh ins and measurement and photo updates, and our instructor is always available and quick to respond with any questions we have. Having this group of people going through the same thing as you are every day is so helpful and so motivating. It really helps keep me going on days when I really just want to eat junk food and binge some TV. I’ve ALSO started weekly competitions on my Apple Watch with a close friend. Loser at the end of the year has to buy the winner dinner/drinks. Talk about a motivator!

So, yea. That’s a high level view of what I’m doing that’s working for me this time around. And the photo doesn’t lie! I’m truly seeing progress, and I couldn’t be more proud.

xoxo, Karli

A New Weight Loss Journey

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).

Already feeling slimmer here in the waist only a week later!

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!

xo, Karli

August Reading Review

You guys, I’m going to get better at blogging one of these days. And I mean that! This blog isn’t intended to be a book blog, but it’s starting out that way. With COVID there just isn’t a lot of exciting stuff going on in my life worth blogging about (*queue world’s smallest violin*) . So for now: you get book reviews.

In August I treated myself to four books, two from Barnes & Noble and two from Book of the Month Club. If you haven’t checked out BOTM yet and you read on average at least one book a month, I HIGHLY recommend checking them out. For $14.99 you get to choose one book each month, and that includes shipping. The books are hardcover, making them already a great deal! For an extra $9.99 you can add-on a second book, which means for about $24 you are getting two hard cover books, shipped directly to you. GOOD. DEAL. I highly recommend giving them a try, and if you do please use this link to help your girl out! Without further adieu, onto the review!

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

3/5 Stars

Every once in a while I like to dig into a fantasy novel, and Sarah J. Maas has written some of my favorite series! When I walked into Barnes & Noble and saw this title on the shelf I knew I had to have it. I was even happier when I realized it’s going to be a new series. The book itself is thicccc, with 803 glorious pages full of drama, action, mystery, and adventure. Follow protagonist Bryce as she is thrown immediately into a mess far out of her control, and into a mystery that will leave you guessing until the very end. There are a few raunchy adult bits, as is typical per SJM’s style. If you’re not into that, I promise the story is still worth reading.

SJM does not have very diverse writing. Her characters are always described as super attractive model types with some secret backstory. There’s a hot girl with a secret, a hot broody guy who starts to be nice slowly, etc. But honestly, part of the appeal to me with her stories is that I can go in and get sucked into a story knowing full well what I’m getting into. With just enough surprise and mystery to keep me on my toes, but also while giving me the idea of what might just happen next.

If you like raunchy fantasy fiction, give it a try!

Afterland by Lauren Beukes

3/5 Stars

Follow a mom (Cole) and her son (Myles) as she navigates a world practically void of men to a safe space where they can live freely. And blood isn’t always thicker than water. Plot twist: her sister is out to get them, hoping to make her own riches using Myles for re-population efforts among the financial elite. Do you think Cole and Myles make it to safety? And what must the small family overcome along the way?

I wanted so badly to love this book. The post-apocalyptic world Beukes describes is full of some very real and very compelling concerns, but for some reason I just couldn’t get into it. For me it may have been the writing style, the constant back and forth between Past, Present, Super Past, Past, Present…too much. I feel the book would have read better if it was written chronologically.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

4/5 Stars

Johnson shows us a world where multiple dimensions exist, and mankind has discovered how to travel between them. This travel is used to collect data from hundreds of other Earths to Earth Zero (the OG) to anticipate anything from stock market reactions to citizenship levels. The trick is: you can’t travel to a planet where your doppelganger still exists. One girl, Cara, is a specialist when it comes to travelling: with only eight doppelgangers between 372 Earths, she can go just about anywhere. But tensions rise when another doppelganger of hers is pronounced dead, unlocking a new Earth for her that comes with a big secret that Cara just can’t shake.

Trigger Warning: there is domestic emotional/physical abuse brought up throughout the book.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

5/5 Stars

There’s…I…. I don’t even know where to begin here. This book isn’t ANYTHING like I was expecting. I didn’t read the reviews, I didn’t even read the description of the book on Goodreads. I expected such a cute, simple, Elin Hildenbrand-esque predictable summer beach read novel and NO. This was so amazing (not that Elin’s writing isn’t…but just..UGH). Read it, I really think you’ll love it.

So. I think we can all agree I’m sub-par when it comes to book reviews. BUT I like sharing what I’ve read, just as much as I like hearing what others have been reading. Sharing stories…does life really get any better?

Have you read any of these books and have any opinions? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

upcoming September reads:

May & June Book Picks

As many of you may (or may not) know: I’m a pretty avid reader. I’ve loved reading since I was a child, and that’s never truly changed. Reading leisurely took a backseat during college. Spending hours and hours reading textbooks and studying and scrolling through Chegg for assistance on homework problems took up most of my time and also made me want to do anything BUT shove my nose in a book again.

Fast forward six years (wait…six? really?). I’m settled into my cozy accounting job and get to spend my evenings relaxing at home. And with work-from-home in place due to COVID-19, I’m home just about 24/7. One of my favorite things about this is the convenience of just reading on the front porch or curled up on the couch on lunch. Although I definitely miss socializing with friends at the cafeteria or getting in a good workout, these more relaxing at-home lunches aren’t so bad! And if I do choose to exercise on lunch, I have so much more free time in the evening to read due to no commute. Score!

I get two books a month sent to me via Book of the Month Club. It’s a subscription service PERFECT for book lovers (like me!). The monthly subscription fee is $14.99 and includes one book, but you can do an add-on book for another $9.99. For brand new hardback books and free shipping, it’s kind of a steal. If you’re interested in joining, I would love if you would use my referral link . Each referral will score me one free book credit to help fuel my reading addiction.

I read anywhere from two to four books a month, give or take. Reading is my “me” time – it takes me to a different place for a while and lets me leave my own thoughts and stressors behind. I delve into the characters’ stories: I feel pain when they feel pain, happiness when they feel happiness, anger when they are angry. I empathize with their emotions, every time. Every time! And it turns out that this is actually a form of therapy. Ever heard of bibliotherapy? Well, now you have!

Bibliotherapy allows you to gain insight into the personal challenges you’re dealing with and helps you develop strategies to address the most concerning issues. It can also help promote problem solving, understanding, and self-awareness.

Sara Lindberg. “Bibliotherapy: How Stories Can Help Guide the Therapeutic Process”. verywellmind, 30 Jan 2020, https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-bibliotherapy-4687157. Accessed 7 July 2020

Bibliotherapy can be used by therapists as a tool to further traditional therapy sessions. This type of therapy may help you gain insight to your own personal troubles, can help you see situations through other perspectives by experiencing them through literature, and may even offer hope in bleak scenarios. Of course, therapy needs are different for everyone. Please note I am NOT a doctor and if you need any sort of help please seek a professional. But I CAN say that for me, reading as always been therapeutic. It’s cool to know that it can also be a tool to help with traditional therapy as well!

A lot of the reading I do is within the fiction realm (although I do love a good self-help/personal growth book!). Here are some of the books I’ve read recently that I would recommend, in the order that I would recommend them (from favorite to least favorite). By the way, I’m not great at book reviews. Click on the titles to travel to thriftbooks.com to read more about the books and also see some pretty great deals (not an ad, I just found out about this website and am obsessed with how many great deals there are!).

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

This book broke my heart into a million tiny pieces. I was angry. I was sad. I was pulled into so many directions. It’s a heart-wrenching story about young inter-racial love in a modern day and age. I think this is a good book to read in light of current events. It provides a good perspective of how easily situations can be spun to make the wrong person look like the bad guy, and how easy it is to assume the wrong things. 10/10 would recommend.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read is just that: a perfect beach read. A heart-warming tale about a young author who moves temporarily to settle her father’s estate. While in the charming beach town she makes a few new friends and makes a surprising bet with a neighbor and rival. Cute, addicting, and simple. I loved this book, and I’m pretty sure I finished it in two days. I would recommend this one if you’re looking for something cute, simple, and easy to read.

Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin

An entertaining story about a group of rich mom’s living in NYC and a young aspiring musician in need of a job. You travel through the intricate relationships of the group of friends and get to slowly watch things unravel, with a surprise twist at the end that I certainly did NOT see coming.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I both enjoyed and felt slightly ripped off by this book. I enjoyed the thrill of it, and the writing kept me sucked in till the very end. But I also feel like it had SO MANY similarities to that Netflix show that came out, The Haunting of Hill House, that I kept picturing THAT story in my mind while reading it. And much like my opinion of Hill House, I felt that this story was great the first 75% and the last bit of it was just…lackluster? Still worth reading if you like a bit of a thriller novel. If you’ve read it, I’d love to know if you got the same vibes as I did!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A fictional story of a Hollywood icon, and how she made her life from scratch. I wasn’t too entranced with this novel at first, but I kept wanting to know how the journalist was tied to Evelyn. Why did Evelyn want this girl specifically to write her story? I kept reading for that, and honestly it was worth it. I enjoyed the ride, and loved that the character came to terms with her love and her life, and made big bold decisions regardless of what others thought (but only after struggling for years with whether or not those decisions were worth the public scrutiny). It’s a good story to show that a lot of your life really does lie in your own hands, you just have to know what’s worth it to you.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I so badly wanted to love this book. I liked the characters well enough, and the story was a pretty great rock&roll adventure. What I really struggled with most was the way it was written: interview style. It still paints a beautiful picture and tells a good story, but for some reason reading it interview style stressed me out a little? That’s probably just a weird personal thing. Of all the books I read in May and June, this is the one I probably could have done without.

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know what your thoughts were! Alternatively, if you have any other great book recommendations, let me know. I need to expand my reading list!

Back to Blogging

Here we go again.

I’m not new to this. I’ve “started” a blog a handful of times now, but I’ve never really stuck with it. In my head, “blogging” is akin to running a Tumblr account. In high school and early college I LOVED scrolling through different hashtags on Tumblr for hours, “reblogging” images to my page that I felt fit my aesthetic. Usually that would be anything from wellness and fitness to nature photography to food. Occasionally on Tumblr I would post something original: workout stats, Myfitnesspal logs, meal ideas, and progress photos. Sometimes I would post something more along the lines of a diary entry. Sometimes I would go full out “emo” and post a stupid self-deprecating quote or some vague depressing song lyric. You know, typical young adult stuff…right?

The nice thing about Tumblr is that it was easy. So easy that it inspired me to start multiple different wordpress blogs. I think some of them are still out there if you look hard enough. But they definitely fall into that young adult “emo” category more than a useful or interesting lifestyle blog. This time around, I have a more focused vision in mind.

Karli’s Kandid Life is a play on words off of my photography business, Karli’s Kandids. I’ve used this as my Instagram handle for a few years now, and it just kind of stuck. It really transitions easily to a blog name, don’t you think? Karli’s Kandid Life is going to be a lifestyle blog. Expect posts from me about hiking, vacations, recipes I’m loving, books I’m reading, clothes/accessories I’m dying for (because as much as I try to escape it, I’m a tad materialistic), cute photos of my cats and my dog, etc. Another type of post you can expect will be those regarding transitioning into a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. Those ones will be pretty important to me, and I hope maybe they can convince some readers how easy it is to ditch a “one-time use disposables” lifestyle and replace those things with longer lasting, environmentally friendly alternatives.

Another focus of mine will be small/local business shopping. One of my personal goals for this year is to start taking my shopping habits and redirecting the focus from big brand box stores and billionaires to local artisans and small business owners. If I find some amazing products or small scale brands, I want to share them with others and encourage everyone to try to shop more local business.

My life isn’t glamorous. I won’t be one of those bloggers posting photos of their luxury beauty products on carrera marble counter tops. I don’t wear a size zero (or heck, even a size six) and look amazing in slip dresses and blouses. But I’m excited to share some of the best parts of my normal, simple life. And I hope that any of you reading this find joy in what I have to say, but if you don’t that’s okay too.

Thanks for stopping by. ❤

P.S. Here’s a pretty picture of my hibiscus tree’s blooms. Honestly I’m just uploading this so I can see how the image looks in the post and how it might interact with the rest of the site. However, if you’re like me and love hibiscus flowers and are looking for a tree of your own, I highly recommend checking out Bremec Garden Center. I purchased mine from the Concord location in early May and she’s still doing so well and blooming so nicely, and I’m not exactly a green thumb.