Meet Veronica, your newest superhero inspirational NF success story!
Veronica is a medical assistant and continuing her education to become a diagnostic medical sonographer, and she’s managed to lose 28 pounds over the past few months without TOUCHING a treadmill.
Oh yeah, and she’s also a super mom of two!
I’m was very impressed with how quickly Veronica transformed herself, and I feel lucky that she was willing to share her story. I know we have a lot of female readers out there who are looking for more motivational female stories. Along with Staci, here’s another story that will have you lifting weights, eating right, and living better, all with a big smile on your face.
Steve: Hey Veronica! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions. Can you describe the old you – what was a typical day like?
Veronica: After graduating and my son being born, a typical day for me was getting up with my children, keeping house, and not doing much at all. I would eat whatever and not exercise at all.
I wasn’t happy with my body, but I wasn’t doing anything about it. I would stay up very late, because after the kids went to bed, that was “me time.” I’d go to bed at 2 AM, and not surprisingly, be very tired in the morning.
I also used to be addicted to coffee.
I could easily go through a few pots with no issue.
Steve: Was there a specific moment when you decided to make a change? What inspired you to get started?
Veronica: One day I woke up the thirstiest I’ve ever been in my life. I drank a full glass of water all at once. I then realized it was my first glass of water in two days. I drank so much coffee that I’d never would drink any water. I didn’t realize how unhealthy I was. I knew then that I needed a change, for good. My sister and I were talking about getting into better shape. She Googled, “How to do a proper pull-up” and Nerd Fitness was the first link she clicked. She forwarded me the link and I read the article.
I then read your Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet. It intrigued me, so I decided to give the Paleo Diet and body weight workouts a go.
Steve: Your sister is the coolest! So that was a handful of months ago, what’s a typical day like now?
Veronica: I get up in the morning and make my kids breakfast. While they’re eating, I cook myself a healthy breakfast. Depending on whether it’s a cardio or weight day, I’ll work out when my son goes down for a nap. My daughter likes to watch me “dance” (jump rope) and she joins in with her own. My husband used to coach youth basketball and showed me some sport drills. It gets my heart pumping and the sweat droppin’! If I’m using free weights, I’ll wait until the evening when there aren’t little ones around to grab my weights. I eat when I’m hungry, and go to bed at 10:00 PM at the latest.
Steve: You sound like a completely different person. What has been your workout strategy? How afraid were you about getting “bulky” from strength training?
Veronica: I set small goals for myself. I didn’t worry about being able to do ten push-ups at a time. I focused on just being able to do one. When I was able to do one, it was a success. Now I can do all sorts of variations of push-ups that I never would have dreamed I’d be able to do. Before I began my workouts, I was super worried about bulking up, but after reading articles and success stories from your site (Staci!), I learned bulking up with strength training is almost impossible unless you’re tremendously overeating, and so far my body is definitely NOT bulking up!
Steve: ABSOLUTELY. It makes me so sad when women tell me they won’t strength train because they don’t want to get too bulky. Kudos to you for actually doing the research and realizing strength training is the best way to build the body you want. On to food. What’s been your diet strategy? Healthy eating? Paleo?
Veronica: I have been sticking to Paleo since day one. I was never a dairy person. I could probably count the amount of cups of milk I drank in a single year with two hands and a few toes. The hardest thing stuff to leg go? Grains and carbs. I am a pasta girl – I could eat it every day. Paleo spaghetti squash is by far my favorite meal. I had it for dinner tonight! On Sundays I make sure I have a week’s worth of meals and I plan it for that week. I keep it the same every day; I’m okay with repetition. For example:
- Breakfast will be a pork chop and two eggs with grilled onions.
- Lunch will be my tuna salad (cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, avocado, spinach, celery, and tuna).
- Dinner will be salmon with steamed broccoli.
- If I am ever feeling snacky, I eat raw vegetables or pick a single fruit, like an apple or banana. I have recently been on a grape tomato kick. I eat a large handful and I’m full!
Steve: How did you track your progress? How often did you weigh yourself? Did you take any other measurements?
Veronica: I tracked my progress with measurements and pictures once a month. I only step on a scale once a month, when I take my pictures. I do all three at the beginning of the month. I can compare to last month and when I first began my journey.
Steve: Love it. Once a month allows you to see progress, but keeps you from freaking out every day if the scale moves slightly in the wrong direction. Looking back, what’s been the most important change you made that helped you succeed?
Veronica: The most important change would be my eating habits. I immediately saw results – not only in weight, but in my attitude too. I wasn’t feeling sleepy in the afternoons anymore, and I could go to bed at a decent hour right away! I had more energy and I felt more motivated. This really helped me stick with it in the beginning.
Steve: What kind of support system did you have along the way?
Veronica: I have the support of my family and friends. My husband is my biggest supporter: he supports any decision I make. When I came to him and said I wanted a full length back tattoo, he shrugged and said, “If you want!” He helps me stay on track and even cooks me healthy meals. He helps me with my workouts and gives me advice.
I’m the only one in my family that is eating healthier, but it’s getting better. My parents used to get on my case about “dieting” and tried to get me to eat whatever they were cooking. Breakfast at my parents house was always a typical unhealthy meal. When I would only eat the eggs, my mom would badger me! But now that my parents have seen my progress, they actually help me. When we have family breakfast at my parents house, my dad will make me huevos rancheros: a couple eggs with onions, bell peppers, and salsa, without the salt. It’s delicious and I can eat in peace with the rest of my family. Woot!
My older sister and brother are always there for support as well.
Steve: Glad to hear that you have this support network! Have you tried and failed to get healthy before in the past? What made this time different?
Veronica: I have tried a few times to get healthier in the past. I tried counting calories and carbs in a little notebook. I was always hungry and dying in between meals. This time, not a single calorie was counted and I eat whenever I want. In the past, I tried running like a hamster on a treadmill. I ran and ran and nothing changed. Educating myself this time on free weights and body weights, I haven’t stepped back on a treadmill. If I’m gonna go running, I’ll do it outside on a mountain for fun. We have a ton of them here in Arizona.
Steve: Love it. Get outside and enjoy the weather! What would you tell somebody in your situation right now to help them? Somebody who’s tried and failed but ready to try again?
Veronica: I would tell that person that the time is now. Don’t worry about diet failures in the past. Take it one day at a time and listen to yourself, not anyone else. People will spout their opinions and “advice” on what you’re doing, but the only voice that matters is your own. Listen to your body and challenge yourself.
Steve: What are you excited to do now that you weren’t physically able to do before? any activities in particular?
Veronica: I’ve really wanted to take boxing classes. I know a few people who are doing it and it looks really fun. I never wanted to before because I knew I wouldn’t be able to last long. Now that my strength and endurance is up, I’m up for the challenge! Rock climbing sounds fun too.
Steve: Your physical appearance has changed…what else has changed about you?
Veronica: My attitude has definitely changed. I’m happier and just feel better all around. When I’m around people, I feel like I never stop smiling. And keeping up with my kids now is a breeze. I bench press my 4 year old daughter and it makes her laugh.
Steve: Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?
Veronica: Lord of the Rings! Excited for The Hobbit? I know I am!
Steve: Hell yeah! Favorite video game of all time?
Veronica: It’s a close tie between Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Kingdom Hearts 2.
Steve: Do you have any nerdy passions or pursuits?
Veronica: Other than video games, I really love anime and manga. When I read a regular comic strip, I have to remind myself to read from left to right haha.
Steve: If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be, and why?
Veronica: The ability to breathe under water or hold my breath indefinitely; I could scuba dive without the gear.
Steve: Tell us something interesting about you!
Veronica: I’ve been playing billiards for 10 years now and I’m quite good. I really love the game and playing against people.
Why Veronica was successful
She wasn’t afraid about getting bulky - This is the biggie. After reading about Staci’s success story, Veronica realized that strength training with body weight exercises and weights would NOT make her bulky if she combined it with a healthy diet. In fact, she learned that eating healthy, and strength training was the best way to achieve her goals! The strength training allowed her to get stronger, burn extra calories (even after she had finished working out), and allowed her to keep the muscle she already had. She’s well on her way to that perfect “toned” look that every woman wants but doesn’t really know how to get. (If you need a solid training and diet plan to follow, check out the Rebel Fitness Guide.)
She understood that DIET IS KING – Look at Veronica’s magical shrinking stomach…not bad for four months, eh? It wasn’t from hours of cardio, it was from healthy eating. It was being absolutely diligent (95% success rate) with her daily food choices that allowed her to rapidly get rid of the fat while preserving the muscle, leaving behind a great figure.
She did her research and listened to HERSELF – In her own words – “I’m always happy to talk about Nerd Fitness and the Paleo Diet. But when I get to the Paleo part, everyone always feels the need to preach on carbs. ‘Your body needs carbs to function and it’s part of a healthy diet!’ That’s when you smile and just nod, ‘My body seems to be functioning just great, so there!’”
She had two forms of measurement, but didn’t freak out daily - Veronica TOOK A PICTURE of herself on Day 1. She also stepped on a scale, and then didn’t touch it for another 30 days. She put her focus on eating right and hitting her workouts. Every 30 days she took another snap shot and stepped on the scale again. Her pictures looked better, she felt better, and the scale moved in the right direction: WIN! Most people weigh themselves daily, and then freak out when the scale moves in the wrong direction for a day. The scale lies!
She had the support of her husband, and earned the support of her family - She didn’t go it alone! Veronica had the support of her husband and her children to make healthier eating choices and lifestyle decisions. Although the rest of her family was initially skeptical about her behavior, once they saw how happy she was and how great she felt, they quickly threw their support behind her as well!
Get after it
A HUGE thanks to Veronica for sharing her story and her “Before and During” photos!
What sort of questions do you have for this Mother of Two?
Leave a comment and I’ll see if I can get her to chime in with answers!