Although I’ve always been very active, I’ve also always had a challenging relationship with food. My mom was a registered dietitian, and we ate relatively healthy as a family. But after she passed away from cancer when I was 11, I found myself struggling with binge eating then trying to compensate by starving myself. Growing up, I constantly heard comments from family members and classmates about how I was a “big girl.” Although I was always extremely confident in myself and my abilities, the constant reminder about my above-average weight and what I ate didn’t feel great.
Despite active lifestyle, hard to keep weight off
Fast forward to 2009 when I graduated from college and took up running. I got into great shape, running 25 miles per week and doing four or five Insanity workouts per week. Looking back, although I dropped weight quickly, I did not properly fuel my body, especially as a vegetarian. Later that year, I began a 10-month AmeriCorps program where I worked with non-profit organizations across the southeast as part of a traveling team. I could not sustain my previous diet and fitness regime and quickly gained back the 20 pounds I had lost.
Changing nutrition, only way to get past weight-loss plateau
In the decade or so since then, I remained active – running, working out, playing disc golf, etc. I have always been proud of my muscles and strength and even ran two half marathons between 2014 and 2017. In the spring of 2019, I realized that my weight had started to creep up again, and I decided to make a change. I ran more and ate very low carb. I dropped 10 pounds and hit a plateau. I had no idea how to keep my weight loss journey going.
Photo Creds: Bob Carey (left) and Shawn Sinclair (right)
Macros my key to weight loss, and I don’t mean the Excel kind
In May 2019, I took a leap of faith and joined a group nutrition program based around tracking macros through my gym - this is when everything changed for me. Macros are the major nutrients that make up our food – carbs, fat and protein. The idea is that instead of simply tracking calories, you track macros to ensure you are getting a proper balance of nutrients. When you switch to this type of tracking, most people, me included, find that they are undereating protein and overeating fat.
One week after I started tracking my macros, I began to feel the benefits. I played in a local disc golf tournament and felt energized and fueled even in the sweltering 90-degree Tennessee heat.
Weight loss feels great, but the increased energy feels even better!
I stayed in the nutrition group for six months and dropped 30 more pounds. I had no idea I had that much body fat to lose! For me, it wasn’t necessarily the weight on the scale or the size of my jeans that felt great, it was the way I feel when running, lifting at the gym and playing disc golf. I began having more energy than I ever knew was possible!
Get Gritty Nutrition
In early 2020, I decided that I wanted to help others achieve what I did. I enrolled in a nutrition coach certification course through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and obtained my certification in May 2020. I started a side business, Get Gritty Nutrition. I currently offer three levels of nutrition programs to help others have better relationships with food and teach them how to properly fuel their bodies while not depriving themselves of the food they love.
As a member of Team Throw Pink, I hope to not only share my passion for disc golf with women and girls to promote a healthier lifestyle but also share my nutrition knowledge. I would love to help fellow disc golfers prepare their bodies nutritionally for tournaments and other physical activity.