Name: Marina Paul
Occupation: healthcare advertising strategy
Weight loss so far: 28 pounds
Goal Weight: 15 pounds to go!
How long have you been training with PP?
Since March 12, 2018 (almost 10 months)
What was your reason for reaching out to Philly Phitness?
I wanted a method to kickstart my weight loss journey, and I wanted it to be practically “foolproof.” I knew what works for me – a combination of structure, full-on effort, and something where I could see constant growth. I had a few tendon injuries in the past, and every time I would start exercising I’d overexert myself and then quit once something hurt. I wanted to make sure I could put in the effort I needed, safely. I know the saying goes something like weight loss is 80% diet/20% fitness, but I’ve always enjoyed fitness, and I suspected that making changes in this area first would carry over into my diet.
What was the first ‘epiphany’ or ‘ah-ha’ moment you had:
I’ve had a few of those, but I’ve had two major ones. I started my fitness routine by working out with Gabby twice a week but not doing anything else. Over time, I added 1 workout per week – through a group fitness class or working out in the gym in my apartment – until I reached 6 workouts a week. One of the biggest epiphanies I had was when I took a break from exercise when I took a trip to Madrid and Rome. The trip was fabulous, but I just didn’t feel like my full self in terms of energy and mood. When I returned, I hit the gym within 2 hours of getting off of the plane, and I felt great immediately. It hit me that I had become “addicted” to exercise! What kept me coming back to training and fitness had shifted from trying to accomplish my long-term goal of losing weight, to just feeling accomplished and energized on a daily basis.
The second major epiphany I had was really recent. Every change I’ve made in my lifestyle with respect to fitness and nutrition has been tried and refined over time, and so the changes are sustainable and I’ve accepted them as permanent. What I realized is that I don’t have to worry about how to maintain my weight when I get to my goal weight – I already know how.
How did working with Philly Phitness affect you in your personal life:
In the past, the default thing to do for fun was indulging in food and drinks with friends and not thinking about calories, nutrition, or my overall health. One of the slow shifts that occurred was prioritizing my health, so that now, living a healthier lifestyle is something I am proud of, and feel almost protective of. It’s still a challenge, as it’s not easy to get friends to people to do active things “for fun” – but it’s something I strive to do and I don’t feel deprived while doing it.
What have been some of the biggest hurdles / obstacles that have occurred and how did you get through them?
The biggest obstacle or hurdle I faced was making changes to my diet. I didn’t like to cook, and takeout and delivery felt so easy. The first step in overcoming this was making healthier choices with takeout (e.g., salads and smoothies). Then it was replacing them with really easy options I could make by myself, and bringing lunch to work. A really hard thing to train myself out of was eating at set times whether I was hungry or not, and “cleaning my plate.” Making my own food made this much easier. Then I started to learn to make more complex meals, and now I make pretty much all of my meals myself. There are so many YouTube videos where you can learn about healthier meals, and you can cook alongside them :). I’ve figured out what I like and I try to get creative with it to keep things interesting so cooking feels like less of a chore. A big part of how I got through this was talking through these challenges with Gabby, who would have ideas about how to tweak my lifestyle in small ways that didn’t require an overwhelming amount of effort, but added up to have a big impact.
How has working with Philly Phitness changed your perspective towards your future-self?
I view the hours I spend training as a kind of self-care for the long term– it’s an investment in my future self. I’ve read about a lot of recent research that shows how exercise positively impacts things besides your appearance – your mood, energy levels, the aging process, and overall long-term health. I see this as part of building a stronger, healthier, more energetic, and self-confident future self and so I’m really excited about that.
Is there anything about Philly Phitness in general or the team that you’d like to share with someone who may be learning about them for the first time?
The process of changing my lifestyle and losing weight has had a bigger impact than I thought it would. The process is challenging but way more fun than I expected it to be, and it has transformed other areas of my life.
If you had to pick 1 word to describe PP / your trainer – what would it be and why?
A role model. She’s been a great coach for me and has helped me change my lifestyle outside of the 2 hours a week we train together. What has driven me to trust her suggestions is that she practices what she preaches, she’s always striving for awesome, and I like the choices she makes to live a healthy lifestyle. Her suggestions are truly changes that have paid off for me, and I actually wanted to make – eventually :).
P.S. This is Marina’s “Mid Progress” and she will be updating us when she hits her target goal!!