There are times when these Shed & Share stories are more of an encouragement for me than you. Today is one of those times. I’ve known Nicci my whole life. We were childhood best friends and even though years took us miles apart, we’ve been able to re-connect and be a part of each other’s lives. I’ve been able to watch Nicci’s real life transformation unfold every day via our personal facebook pages. She is a true inspiration and to say that I’m proud of her would be an understatement!
Profession: Online Education Administration and Freelance Graphic Design.
How long have you been on this weight loss journey?
I started my journey in 2008.
Weight Loss/Inches Lost:
61 lbs. – I am not too sure about my inches. I didn’t start keeping track of them until last year.
When I started my journey I had a few digestive issues, and I had been diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. I changed my diet, and cut out gluten and soy completely, and I also greatly minimized my dairy and meat intake. This has almost completely stopped any digestive issues that I was having. My issues with anxiety have greatly improved as well. There were times when I had issues just getting myself out of the house to go to the grocery store. Now, I actually love getting out of my house, and enjoy meeting new people! I have even enrolled in our local community college in a personal trainer program. I am in no way cured, and things are not always perfect, but things have gotten so much better. I attribute a lot of this to my overall lifestyle changes.
What was your “low point”?
I have served several terms with AmeriCorps. When working with AmeriCorps you spend a lot of time volunteering in the community. I was volunteering at a city summer camp for elementary aged children. We all know kids can be brutally honest, haha. Well, a little girl who I pushed on the swing everyday asked me if I was pregnant. Needless to say I was mortified! I knew it was time to do something, and get control. It was something that I knew I already needed to do. I was not feeling that well, and was not comfortable in my body. I knew that I was not healthy, and her words motivated me to take control over my health!
How did you get started?
I first started at home. I bought a treadmill, and started from there. I still had problems changing my diet, but I worked at it, and little by little I lost a few pounds. I knew I needed something harder, but I wasn’t sure what that was yet. Eventually I bought an elliptical machine hoping for more of a full body workout. The machine was great, but my motivation would come and go. I would lose a few pounds, and then gain a few of them back. I kept at it like this for a few years…three years to be exact. Then last summer I decided I would start running. At this time I also became a Vegan for 21 days, and cut out the gluten. This changed my ways of thinking about food, and this is when the real changes started taking place. I started using the Couch to 5k application on my phone. This really pushed me to the next level. When I started this I could not even run a mile, but the application teaches you to run in intervals. Running in intervals really gave me the confidence I needed to just keep at it, and to keep running. I found out that I loved running! I used to get so annoyed with runners, haha! I thought they were kind of arrogant for some reason. The more I ran the more people I passed along the way. They always had a smile or a wave. I thought wow these people are actually really nice! Then I started entering races. I did 5k races all that summer. It was obvious I was a newbie at the entire thing, and I thought I was going to embarrass myself at the races. At my first race I was overwhelmed with the amount of support and encouragement I received from seasoned runners. I ran five races that summer, and it wasn’t until the 5th race that I was able to run completely from start to finish. That July I also discovered an all women’s fitness training group called Kaia F.I.T. (Functional Intense Training). Kaia really focuses on goals, and on supporting one another. There is also a strong emphasis on nutrition. Through Kaia I have truly become educated on fitness and nutrition. I also learned about everyone’s favorite workout move the burpee or squat thrust, haha!!
My journey with Kaia has been amazing. I have learned to love myself, and to push myself. I have learned how to hold myself accountable and how to help others do the same. Most importantly I have learned how to set goals and to work to achieve them. Last July I could not run a mile. This May I ran a half marathon, and this fall I will complete my first sprint triathlon. Never ever in a million years back in 2008 did I think any of this could be possible!
I have two mantras that I like to keep in my head at all times; “Never waste who you are”, and “Moving forward…ALWAYS!!”
On this journey so far I have learned that you must learn to love yourself in order to move forward. You have to learn to love who you were when you started, and every step of the way.
I had to learn to love myself. That included my 2008 self, my shy self, my insecure self, my anxious self, and well you get the point, all of my self. The good and the bad!
Before and After
What is your workout routine and eating plan?
I workout Mon- Wed doing a combo of circuits, cardio, resistance, and light weights (think kettlebell, not actual weight lifting) for one hour a day. Thursdays I do a one hour yoga flow class, which is 10 min of intense workout followed by a slow, stretchy yoga. Fridays I either rest, or sometimes attend a TRX class. Saturdays I attend an outdoor running program for one hour, and on Sunday I rest. I know this sounds like a lot, but I started out slow and this is where I am now. Also, in any class it is important to find your hard. Don’t worry about everyone else. Just go at your own pace. It might also sound expensive to do so many classes, but all of these classes are through the Kaia FIT group that I workout with, so I only pay one price. Many gyms have programs like this too, so you don’t have to pay for each individual class. They are included in a membership price. Also, many of these things you can do at home! Bob Harper has awesome workout videos and you can get them for 5 dollars. I use these on vacation!
The eating plan we follow at Kaia is lean and green. Lean meats paired with lots of veggies, healthy grains like quinoa and brown rice, and fruit. I am not much of a meat eater, so I eat a lot of veggies, beans, legumes, fruits and healthy grains. I don’t eat any gluten, or soy. I keep my meat to a minimum, sometimes I use organic chicken stock for soups, and I keep my dairy intake to a minimum as well. Someone told me that milk takes a tiny calf and makes it get to a 400 pound cow in about a year. When you put like that it doesn’t seem like something we should be drinking all of the time. Cheese tastes good though, so sometimes I splurge. Also, nothing processed. No white stuff, sugar or flour. I also try to eat organic when possible.
What are your top 3 favorite resources that helped you along the way?
♦ Kaia FIT was a great resource for me. They provided me with a lot of fitness and nutrition information. It is helpful to have a support group. http://www.kaiafit.com/site/
♦ The Daily Plate – A place to track your workouts, diet, and goals. http://www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate/
♦ Active – this is where you can find out about all things active taking place in your area. This is where I find out about all of the races that are going on in my area. They also have great articles with advice on fitness, running, and nutrition. I liked them on facebook so I can see whenever a new article is posted. http://www.active.com/
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is sitting on the sidelines and waiting?
Don’t be afraid. Everyone is on some sort of journey, and no one is perfect. There are so many people out there willing to help you, and give you guidance. You will find friends who are going through the same things as you, and then you can give them the same support that you needed.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is in the process but is feeling discouraged?
Keep moving forward! I have been here so may times along the way. Sometimes you just can’t see the results, or you start feeling alone in your journey. If you stop, you will never see the results. You have to keep going, and when you keep moving forward new people will be put in your path. Those new people will inspire you, and most importantly you might be the one inspiring them to keep going!
If you are a parent, how have you balanced everything?
I am not a parent, but I finished my master’s degree during part of this, and I am in school again. It can be challenging. I have to keep a good calendar, and I have to listen to my body. Sometimes my mind tells me I should take a break, and I have to ignore it, but when my body tells me I have to listen, haha.
Anything else you would like to share?
Clare has been a huge motivation to me. I actually grew up with her, and let me tell you she has always been a motivator. When we were kids we walked all over our small town. I could have had the potential to be a little on the lazy side, but not when I was with Clare! We were always on some sort of mission, or trying to complete some little project. She was one of my best friends, we had so much fun! When I reconnected with Clare on facebook it was awesome. Then she started posting all of this fitness stuff on her personal facebook page. I am not going to lie at first I was annoyed a little, haha. I was at the beginning of my fitness journey and not fully committed. Basically what was happening is that I wished I could be doing all of the same things she was doing. Instead of doing them I was getting mad at the fact that she was doing them and posting them. One day something clicked in my head and I was no longer annoyed. I was suddenly motivated!! I loved reading her posts, and it kind of got me thinking I should do the Couch to 5k. I was seeing all of these other people on my facebook doing Couch to 5k too! I took the plunge, and well I am now one of those annoying people posting about fitness all over my facebook, haha!! Clare thank you so much for being a motivator to so many women! You are awesome, and I love you.
Here are some real life pictures of Nicci (with my sisters and hers!) and I!
Here we are circa 1990. Check out my sweatshirt! I told you I was born to be a fitness instructor!! 🙂
And here we are a few months ago. First time we had been together in years!
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Nicci! You are an inspiration to me!
If you have a shed story that you would like to share, please email me! We’d love to hear it! firstname.lastname@example.org
Awesome! I just recently found this website and am trying to get started – thanks for sharing!
This is my favorite one so far. So helpful and such a beautiful story. I love reading about real people with real struggles and real goals. Great encouragment !
Such an awesome story!!!
I met Nicci in Kaia last summer when we were in the same class (and continued to be in the same class through the fall). We established a friendship and have maintained that friendship since then. I did know her as her “before” pictures but have watched her develop into her “after” picture. She IS an amazing woman whom I admire immensely. I LOVE THIS GIRL! Her positive outlook and spirit are contageous.
You are doing great!! Thanks for sharing your story! I love taking classes that are included with my gym membership. Keep up the good work!!
Nicci, I am so proud of you and your accomplishments. Thank you for being a form of motivation for so many other people! I know you are an inspiration to me as I too am starting a fitness routine.
GO Nicci!! So proud of my sister. She is an amazing person, but her confidence and personality are really shining. Plus She LOOKS AMAZING. It has been very motiving and encouraging to our whole family as our parents have even developed this new healthy lifestyle.
Graet job Nicci!! Everything about you is FABULOUS!!! Keep up the good work!
I love this and I have to tell you I had the same sweatshirt and am a fitness instructor…how funny!
Awesome story and I LOVE the pics of you Clare – that sweatshirt says it all 🙂 So cute!
Nicci was my college room mate, and I loved living with her -she is such a precious person. So proud to see her story now. I’ve been watching her Facebook posts over the past year – it looks like it’s been an amazing journey. Congrats, Nicci, on reaching your goal weight!
That’s so amazing…I’m so glad we’re all on the same journey together! oxox Nikki
Nikki, you are an inspiration to us all. I did not know you until you were already pretty darn skinny, so I can’t relate to the photos of you initially, but WOW. You truly are just an inspiration. Seriously…… you give all of us on this journey inspiration. I love you and miss you!