Weight Loss Update: Plateauing, Contentment and Toning Up

Weight Loss Update: Plateauing, Contentment and Toning Up

I’ve been meaning to post a weight loss journey update post, after posting about reaching my goal weight. A lot has changed since then – my goals, my mantra, my attitude, and my focus.

So today, I’m sharing with you what has happened since reaching my goal weight, in hopes that I’ll again inspire many of you who are on a similar journey.

Spoiler alert: there are some before/after bikini pictures!

As a refresher, in case you didn’t read my original post, I started off around 170 pounds. I was a yo-yo dieter for most of my life and ranged from 188 to 128. Actually, Women’s Health magazine featured my story, in case you want more details. I had set a goal weight of 140 pounds and I met that goal in January of this year.

And you can track my sweaty post-gym selfies on my @GetInspiralized Instagram, if you aren’t already.

What has happened since reaching my goal weight

If you asked me what I weighed now, I couldn’t tell you exactly – I’d probably guess between 140 and 145, and let me tell you why I somewhat ditched the scale.

After reaching my goal weight, I also fit comfortable into a size 4, size smalls and could re-wear a lot of my old clothing that I had tucked away deeply into my closet.

I treated myself to some new clothes, which awakened in me a new sense of style – I was proud to show off my body and my curves and I ditched the flowy tunics for slim fitting sweaters and t-shirts. I easily buttoned low-rise skinny jeans and wasn’t afraid to show off my arms in tank tops.

I found myself content. I went from a size 31/32 to a 26/27 and a size Large to a Small. That was a huge accomplishment and I decided that before I reset my goals, I’ll easy up on the intense workout schedule and build in more leniency in my diet.

Most importantly, I enjoyed going out and wearing my cute new outfits and instead of looking around the room and feeling out of shape and uncomfortable, I felt the exact opposite – I wanted to move about the room, go out more and see more people!

At my bachelorette party in May, I wore my bikini proudly and didn’t feel one bout of insecurity. In the bikini picture (eek!) below, the right shows me at my bachelorette and the left shows me in July 2013:

Weight Loss Update: Plateauing, Contentment and Toning Up

When I went to events, I wore loud dresses, because I was proud of my body and my physique and felt confident. There’s no greater feeling! Here’s a before and after from two separate weddings (before on the left at 163 pounds and after on the right, about 145):

Weight Loss Update: Plateauing, Contentment and Toning Up

My biggest piece of advice for anyone who is on a weight loss journey and wants it to last: enjoy your goal milestones. You deserve it! I’m not saying that for every pound you lose, you go out and eat a cake. I’m saying that if you set yourself a big goal and you reach it, give yourself a bit of a break and enjoy your new body.

It’s important to love our bodies at every stage of the game. Without self love, all we have is hatred, resentment and disappointment – which are not encouraging feelings when you’re trying to be the most confident and happiest version of yourself. When I think back on every time I housed a bag of Pepperidge Farms cookies, it was because I was stressed, unhappy or disappointed in myself.

So, self love = a better, happier, stronger, fitter and more positive you!

As a woman, I can’t recommend enough to incorporate strength training into your routine. Honestly, lifting weights has given me a newfound confidence and inner strength. I love seeing my muscles defining, it’s empowering and frankly, a more fun way to focus on incremental body change:

Weight Loss Update: Plateauing, Contentment and Toning Up

Now, what happened when I became a bit more lenient with my workouts/diet? I teetered between 140 and 145 from January to now.

That’s it. Five pounds.

Clearly, I had found my comfortable weight, the weight my body says, “Okay, we can do this.”

Then, I started plateauing. The dreaded plateau. Plateauing is when you reach a point where either the scale doesn’t move or you don’t see a visible change in your body. Plateauing can definitely be discouraging – you’re putting in hours a week at the gym, but the scale won’t budge or your arms don’t seem to be any more toned.

So, I took to Instagram. I started looking through older pictures when I was at my goal weight and pictures of my 145 self and realized: I was gaining muscle and toning up. That extra weight was from muscle! My shoulders were more defined, my arms were stronger and my booooty was lifting up!

Weight Loss Update: Plateauing, Contentment and Toning Up

I started amping up the weight lifting and training sessions. I started doing more Tone It Up workouts after my 30 minutes of cardio. I did abs, arms and more lower-body HIIT moves to rev my metabolism and get that change I wanted. I definitely started beating that plateau and seeing progress, like with my arms in this:

Weight Loss Update: Plateauing, Contentment and Toning Up

However, I was still yearning for a bigger change in the way my body looked and felt. In light of my impending wedding and honeymoon, I knew that I wanted to tone up.

I wanted strong legs, strong arms, a strong back and a higher metabolism. I wanted to have strong arms in my wedding dress and then rock that bikini on my honeymoon!

Setting Goals and Why They Are Only Temporary

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my body and mind are a work in progress. Although I reached my “goal weight,” I knew I had a lot of work to do before I reached my so-called “dream body.”

My goal weight was exactly that: a goal. It was a goal made at a certain time in my life when I needed a number on the scale to keep me motivated toward slimming down. I needed that number, I needed that reassurance that my body was indeed changing, no matter how minute. The scale was my friend, not my enemy – and we became closer, the harder I worked.

Something that’s important to keep in mind is that our bodies are different every single day. They react differently, they look differently, they perform differently and they feel differently.

So, even though I made a goal weight of 140 back in January of 2014 doesn’t mean that today, at 7:00am on May 28, 2015, I have that same goal. My body has changed, different milestones in my life have happened, and my goals are now a bit different.

Accept yourself as a work in progress

Don’t ever say “by this date, I will have my dream body.” Just forget it! Instead, say, “by this date, I will be a healthier version of myself by X, Y and Z.”

For example, “by July 1st, I will be a healthier version of myself by eating clean meals during the week and making it to the gym 5 days a week.”

Incremental changes are more powerful than that end goal – take it from someone who made it to their “goal” and was more moved by the smaller victories than the big one.

If you let yourself reach a certain goal, you’ll lack inspiration to push forward and keep being a better version of yourself. Every day, you should strive to be a better person – that doesn’t necessarily need to be about health, it can be about anything (work, family, relationships, etc).

Regardless, we’re all works in progress – embrace it!

Resetting your goals

My new goal is based on this point in my life: my wedding is in a little more than 3 weeks (23 days to be exact!)

Instead of saying, “OMG, I have to lose 5 more pounds before my wedding or I’ll dieeeeee!” I’m saying this:

My goal is to increase my workouts to 6 days a week (now I’m at about 4, maybe 5) and incorporate each of the following into every workout:

  • At least 30 minutes of intense cardio or HIIT
  • At least 30 minutes of lifting and toning exercises

So today, I start that goal – I have 23 days to reach this goal. Let’s see how my body can change in those 23 days! Follow along at @GetInspiralized, always.

I’m going to call it my “fit” journey instead of my “weight loss” journey.

Weight Loss Update: Plateauing, Contentment and Toning Up

I’ve realized that throughout starting Inspiralized and starting my own weight loss journey, something I’ve enjoyed most is inspiring others to reach their health goals. Every time I see a post on my Instagram that says, “I saw this picture and then I went to the gym!” I smile and feel a rush of happiness immediately. Maybe I was a health coach or a personal trainer in my previous life, because I really enjoy helping others feel great about themselves.

To be totally honest, sometimes, when I’m unmotivated to make a workout or eat healthy, I reread the comments from my weight loss journey blog posts and I see how I’ve encouraged others – this kicks my butt in gear! So, THANK YOU for helping me in my journey.

With this, I’m curious – would you like to see more of these updates? I’ve been fooling around with the idea of starting a small offset of this blog that would be dedicated to more health and fitness – from the perspective of someone who isn’t a certified fitness instructor.

So, let me know - is there anything else you’d like to know about my fit journey? Ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to respond!

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  1. GIRL!!!! YOU LOOK AMAZING! You are such an inspiration. And I love the idea of more updates like this! For sure!! :)

  2. Congrats!!!! I would love to see an off shoot of the inspiralized blog devoted to fitness/weight loss. You look fabulous and so healthy!

  3. Congrats! You looked amazing before and are now just healthy and fitter! Would love to see a typical day for you when it comes to food and workouts. I follow you on instagram and pinterest and love your recipes. Good luck on your new goal and i know your wedding is going to be perfect!

  4. I would love to know how to eat when you are working out so intensely. I find that when i up my workouts, I am STARVING. Do you count calories? Im wondering if I should spend more time focusing on clean foods, than calories.

    • Allyson – I never count calories! I eat balanced, clean meals! When I’m hungry, I eat – just something healthy! I eat a lot of healthy fats, like olive oil and avocados!

    • Allyson, if I’m trying to lose weight but I’m starving when I work out, I eat more healthy fat and plenty of protein with my meals. I find that if I eat more than around 150 grams of carbs a day, it makes me hungrier. My only carbs come from fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds. Give it a shot and see what you think!

  5. kristina gadbury :

    love these posts and your instagram! If your loving your muscles…you should look into a crossfit gym! I’m a cycle instructor and runner but have been doing crossfit at a crossfit gym now for 3 years. has totally changed my body and my perspective on diet and exercise =)

  6. I love seeing your success and your attitude. I worked for 3 years to reach a goal weight, which didn’t happen, so I have decided to be more relaxed and just not worry about it too much. It helps me to see the way your goals change, your flexibility, and your acceptance of reality. I’d love to re-find my motivation to drop weight, but I’m not sure when or if that will happen, in part because my husband has decided that he’s happy where he’s at weight-wise (we’ve been on the journey together). If you have any tips on finding motivation I would be very interested.

  7. Love the idea yesterday of the almond butter banana sandwich! I’ll be running the Midnight Sun Marathon in Norway while you are getting married and this will
    be my go to pre run breakfast for the next couple of weeks while training! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it!

  8. Thanks. I love reading your blog. I have your book. I eat more vegetables because of your recipes, and it blows me away. By now, I’m sure you’ve been told enough how great you look. (And I do think you look amazing) But, I wanted to tell you that your mom looks amazing also. From the picture above compared to picture in book. Wow.

  9. Love reading and being inspired by your fitness journey. I would definitely read an off-shoot blog devoted to fitness and health. Tips on how to craft a workout schedule for the week and how to figure out what weight training moves or HIIT moves to do each day would be greatly appreciated!!

  10. Thank you for the incredible post. I have been on a fitness journey as well and i wanted to look a certain way when I turned 40! This post made me realized that it is indeed a journey and every small victory counts. I also struggle a bit about proper nutrition while working out, so tips on that would be amazing! Congrats on ur upcoming wedding and girllllll, you look hot! Can’t wait to see some wedding photos.

  11. You are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your journey! Congrats on your wedding and good luck!

  12. Ali, received my inspirilizer two weeks ago. So far, love several recipes and am super happy with it! As for reaching that last goal of yours, try incorporating sprint intervals (all out sprints, not just “running fast”) into your workout – sprint for 5-15 seconds, rest for 15-60 seconds, repeat. Your muscles won’t quite know what hit them!

  13. Ali,
    I just have to say that you are the most REAL blogger/writer/chef that I’ve followed. It is so refreshing to read posts like this. So relatable and you make it simple. No preaching. I think an off shoot would be fun, maybe like quick posts about your work outs or post/pre workout eats/smoothies! Love seeing them on snapchat :)

    ALSO! You should let someone take over your snapchat on your wedding day and keep us there for the ride :) Just because we all love you so much ;)

  14. This post is from a Real Blogger who isn’t afraid to show her struggles, and how you get through them. I enjoy your spiralized recipes, weight loss and fitness goals. It would be nice to see what you do for fitness each day, such as running, walking, dumbbells and how many reps etc. You are an inspiration to everyone, young and old. Thanks!

    • Thank you so much! I basically did either 30 minutes of HIIT or a 45 minute spin class 5-6 days a week. I followed about half of those workouts with 20-30 minutes of toning exercises, ranging from squats/lunges/burpies to weight lifting with dumbbells. I used a lot of Toneitup.com workout programs, but also would rip out pages from my favorite fitness magazines for inspirations. I always had a printable at the gym to keep me accountable and on a program! Hope that helps!

  15. Thanks for the update, Ali…and yes, I do enjoy reading about your journey, so please keep the updates coming when you can.

    I have been so happy to find your blog, your recipes, and your balanced approach to fitness. I’m not overweight, but I am at a point where my pants are a little snug, and I would just like to kick it into gear and get back to healthier eating…I get busy with my family and let the eating piece of the puzzle fall by the wayside a bit. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. I’m currently in my quest for a (roughly) 40lb weight loss goal. But I also am trying to tone, strengthen and build muscle so I’d love to keep seeing additional updates. I couldn’t agree more that strength training and weight lifting has been equally positive for me as cardio. Tips would be much appreciated!

  17. Love the idea of a fitness blog!!

  18. Indeed….I second all the comments above. We love hearing and seeing all about your fitness journey, recipes, workouts….everything. You are an inspiration. And so Real. XO

  19. You are an inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing your fitness journey.

  20. You go girl! You seriously are so motivating and inspiring! I would love for you to keep doing post like these! Keep up the good work and I can’t wait to see picture of your weddings!

  21. you are looking fantastic!!!

    I personally started doing yoga for the first time and although it isn’t anything crazy, I definitely can see results and lost some of my belly fat. I found a review at http://www.healthandbodyzone.com/ and so far its working great.

  22. I would totally read that fitness blog! You should do it!
    I’ve loved your spiralized recipes for a while now, and think it’s great that I can make yummy healthy food even my boyfriend will eat! I never realized you went through such a struggle with your weight since you always look so lean and healthy your posts and videos. That was some REAL talk!
    This post was super inspiring! I can totally relate to your story except I am still currently in the yo-yoing phase. Your story gives me a little more confidence that I can get out of the cycle of hopping on and off the health and fitness bandwagon.
    Also, I’m a Tone It Up girl too! The workouts are fun, but I find consistency to be the hardest part! How do you stay consistent with fitting your workouts in?
    Congrats on the upcoming wedding! I’m sure you will make a gorgeous bride!!

    • Consistency is definitely my biggest struggle! I have a “no less than 3 days a week” rule which usually turns into at least 4-5 workouts a week. The more workouts you do, the better you feel and the more likely you are to stick to them. I also plan out my workouts now, just like my meals. I print this out and pin it up to my cork board so I see it everyday and every time I’m like, “Ehh I don’t feel like it” I look and there’s a clearcut, manageable plan and it gives me that extra motivation! Hope this helps.

  23. You’re story is very inspiring. I’m currently 170 and my goal weight is around 140-145. I tend to yo-yo with my weight. Last year I was down to 155, but then I stopped working out. I follow pretty much a paleo/whole30 diet. You’re recipes have come in handy many times! But I think the key for me is to keep a consistent workout routine. What workouts helped you the most? Thanks for your openness and encouragement through your blog!

    • You’ve got this, Natalee! I basically did either 30 minutes of HIIT or a 45 minute spin class 5-6 days a week. I followed about half of those workouts with 20-30 minutes of toning exercises, ranging from squats/lunges/burpies to weight lifting with dumbbells. I used a lot of Toneitup.com workout programs, but also would rip out pages from my favorite fitness magazines for inspirations. I always had a printable at the gym to keep me accountable and on a program! Hope that helps!

  24. Congratulations on a job well done! As someone who has struggled her whole life with weight I need all the help and inspiration I can find. I enjoy exercising and recommend finding something you really enjoy doing. For me consistently making healthy food choices can be difficult. I’ve found your blog and the Inspiralizer very inspirational!! Thank you very much for sharing with us each and every day.

  25. Dear Ali,
    I have tears in my eyes,you have a “big “soul , I really think you inspire us ,the readers ,i wish you all the best ,and more dreams to come true!

  26. Congratulations on a fantastic journey, you look amazing. I would love to hear more about the fitness side of things. I’m at my correct weight but trying to achieve some balance between stretching, weights and cardio so tone up and make sure my body ages as best as it can. I would love to get more details about your individual workouts.

    • Nadine, I basically did either 30 minutes of HIIT or a 45 minute spin class 5-6 days a week. I followed about half of those workouts with 20-30 minutes of toning exercises, ranging from squats/lunges/burpies to weight lifting with dumbbells. I used a lot of Toneitup.com workout programs, but also would rip out pages from my favorite fitness magazines for inspirations. I always had a printable at the gym to keep me accountable and on a program! Hope that helps!

  27. Hi- will you share the exercise programs you followed to lose the original pounds? I’m at 163 and trying. Hard to get down to 145 by losing fat and gaining muscle tone. I’m not one to just use the scale either, but. I know that I have a considerable not a body fat to lose. So, I’m just curious to know what your workout routine looked like when you lose the initial 30+ pounds. Thanks in advance and congrats on your incredible success!

    • Jennifer, of course! I basically did either 30 minutes of HIIT or a 45 minute spin class 5-6 days a week. I followed about half of those workouts with 20-30 minutes of toning exercises, ranging from squats/lunges/burpies to weight lifting with dumbbells. I used a lot of Toneitup.com workout programs, but also would rip out pages from my favorite fitness magazines for inspirations. I always had a printable at the gym to keep me accountable and on a program! Hope that helps!

  28. Saw the photo of you and your mom and your mother is gorgeous! You have her as a role model and inspiration. You also look great and I’m glad you’re focusing on fitness.

  29. Thank you for this post — it’s such a great idea to reframe one’s thinking/target from “weight loss” to “fitness”…to be honest, I never really looked at it that way. I’m 5 lbs over my “goal” weight, but not getting there due to muscle gain, I presume…anyway, you’re looking fabulous, keep up the great work! And yes! Would love a fitness offshoot of this blog! Cheers!

  30. Ali, thanks so much for sharing your journey. You are totally inspirational and a fierce bride to come! You rock keep it up :)

  31. Love the updates. Keeps me inspired and accountable. Would love to read more about your journey!

  32. You’re whole website is filled with joy and enthusiasm! Thank you for sharing your delicious recipes and inspiring life journey. You’re lucky you figured out how truly simple it is while you’re young – exercise & eat clean, smile lots and be grateful every day. Please continue to share your journey in your honest way – it’s refreshing and charming. For those who can’t afford a gym, I found fitnessblender.com is a great source for exercise inspiration. When combined with your recipes and adding in some joyful living … you’re living life to your best. Happiness to you and congrats on your upcoming wedding. Cheers :-)

  33. Yup- would love a health/fitness portion to follow your journey and get inspired!

  34. YES!! Please add a page to your blog for fitness updates! You are such an inspiration! I joined the gym again yesterday and this was in my email today. A clear sign! :)

  35. Ali you look great!!! You have given me a boost. I read you article in the women’s health magazine. I am going to buy cookbook and your inspiralizer. I am right now at 178 my goal is 130. So I am excited about your cookbook and inspiralizer. Blessings on you upcoming wedding!!

  36. You look amazing, Ali! It’s amazing that you have been able to reach your fitness goals and are inspired to try for new ones. I have an AFAA cert in group fitness so just had to poke in to remind you and readers that HIIT is only recommended for even the fittest of people 2-3 times a week! It’s awesome that it’s been working for you more often but just remember the heart is a muscle and also needs it’s rest just like any other muscle in our body. Like we rotate upper and lower body, it’s good to rotate high intensity and steady state to give that heart rest and recovery! I don’t mean to be a negative nancy, I just know people of all walks of life read this blog, and would hate for someone to hurt themselves because they try to do HIIT six times a week! Keep up the good work but remember to rest!


    • hey Jennifer – thanks for the advice, but I think you may have misinterpreted it: I say “intense cardio or HIIT” – so, not always HIIT, I’ll be alternating!

  37. Hi Ali, I’ve just recently started following you on Instagram for recipes and just found your fitness handle this week – love it! I too would enjoy reading your health and fitness blog if you take that route. I’m 8 months postpartum and working on getting my 165 to 140 (at 155 now!) and have found that weight lifting is KEY! Would love to know where you got your white bikini if you care to share!! :) Best wishes for the wedding – very exciting time.

  38. I have lost 30lbs and this post just made me refocus and reset.. I would like to loose another 40-50 but your right i have already seen changes and i need to celebrate that and get my arse back in gear!

  39. Hey Ali,

    Have loved your blog and follow all of your different outlets. I have been working out 3-5 days a week, usually pilates reformer, and then some walking on my hour breaks at work. Was doing a lot of cardio before but was growing tired…Im a Peloton lover too! Ive been tracking everything and really keeping to a good diet as far as good is concerned, but if the scale moves, its only up! I know what my problem is…alcohol…I love happy hour and weekends are always a bust, and even though im eating clean along with my wines and vodka/soda its killing me. As a young social girl, how did you manage? I probably have 3-4 drinks 2-3 nights a week, and its totally hindering my progress. Any tips? Thanks!

  40. Hello Ali,
    I have been checking into your blog from time to time for inspiration over the last 8 months or so. I have even turned my best friend in Brooklyn onto your blog. We both agree that your blog keeps us honest and motivated (and inspiralized *smile*). I can’t tell you how helpful it is to see your goal-setting techniques in action. I particularly love your honesty and seeing your photos. You are so wonderful and you are so brave to come so clean about your struggles and your successes. Your courage is so appreciated!

    Despite very much enjoying your blog, I have never left a message previously, but seeing how I just happened to check into your blog this morning for a dosage of motivation after a bit of a hiatus and then realizing that you are getting married today, I really felt the need to write and say ”congratulations!” Also, Lu is a very lucky man to have such a warm and charming wife by his side. What a beautiful couple you are together!
    All my best to you both!
    - Laura

  41. Ali! I don’t know where you are on your “fit journey” now but I just read this and I wanted to say you look AMAZING! You look fit, healthy, and radiant! You are glowing from the inside out, and it shows. What the numbers say on the scale don’t mean a thing- it’s the fact that you are moving your body, eating healthy, and feeling good about yourself. Keep it up!!

  42. Jerilyn Sheryak :

    So I found myself reading all of your weight loss entries this morning… and I discovered the craziest thing…it’s exactly 23 days to my wedding as well! Thanks for the “inspiralization!”


  1. […] ask me a lot what my diet looks like, especially because I’m pretty open about my health goals and have maintained weight loss. Well, I don’t eat much red meat at […]

  2. […] my health journey and it’s been over a year since I shared an update (my last post about plateauing and contentment was in May 2015), I figured today would be a great day to check in with all of you and share more […]

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