Elsie’s Fitness Story

Elsie's Fitness StoryAlmost three years ago Emma shared her fitness story here on the blog. If you can believe it, all this time I have been wanting and planning to share my story too—but so many things were holding me back. One is that I have struggled with fitness all through my twenties and now thirties. I have never felt 100% accomplished in this area, and I'm realizing now that I probably never will. The other reason, honestly,  is that I didn't really want to start an open conversation about my weight. It's embarrassing and vulnerable and no matter how much I frame it up as a "fitness" story, I knew it could circle back to judgements about my appearance, and honestly—I just didn't want to talk about it. Body image will never be my favorite subject. It feels weird to talk about it. 

But whatever!   

Three years later, I am here to share my story. It's like most stories, full of ups and downs. Right now I am in a good place. Probably the best, most balanced place I've been in. So I want to share what is working for me, what hasn't worked and what I would like to improve for the future. 

Disclaimer: This is my story, not an advice column, so please read it as such. There are countless things that have worked for my friends and family (like my husband losing 45 pounds using the Lose It App) that didn't work for me. Every story is personal. 

On Fitness:

One of the biggest things I have learned is that fitness and weight loss aren't the same thing, and they don't necessarily come hand in hand. The best example I can share of this is that when Emma and I trained for our half marathon a couple years ago, I was definitely feeling stronger and more disciplined than ever before in my life. I was running long distances leading up to the race (five miles, then six, then eight, then ten….), and it was a great experience! But I did this at my highest weight ever. And I'm not going to lie…it was frustrating in some ways because, even though I felt accomplished and fit, I was a little disappointed that I didn't lose any weight. With that said, I still saw some improvements in my body, and I think that was a good lesson for me that weight doesn't always equal fitness. 

Our half marathonAfter the half marathon, I continued going to the gym close to my house where I mostly ran and lifted a little bit of weights. I did a couple more 5k races that year. But I started to feel stuck because nothing compared to the motivation of the bigger race, and I felt like I was no longer progressing. That coupled with the fact that I was still dieting unsuccessfully made me feel like I was stuck on a hamster wheel or something. Going nowhere. 

Running with friendsOne night I was at the gym running circles around the tiny little track and I started crying (emo, I know). I knew at that moment that I needed to make a change and find a new way to challenge myself. I also had started to realize that I was very much living in a bubble, seeing the same people and doing the same things every day. And I wanted to do something to force myself to break that comfort zone and become more independent. So I promised myself that I would find a new class to try, a place where I didn't know anyone. 

The next week I signed up for a local Barre Method class. I can't remember what made me choose barre, but I'm pretty sure it was on my friend Elise's recommendation. I felt anxious and weird like on the first day of school, but I did it! I went to a class where I didn't know anyone and it was really, really hard. I kept going, and every time it was really hard I would tell myself, "This is why you are here." I know it's cheesy, but this was a huge turning point in my life and a really healthy step for me as a person and for my fitness.

That was a year ago in March. I am so happy that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and tried a new challenge. I did a class this morning and it's my favorite way to work out. I learned that group classes are a really good motivator for me, and they're worth the extra money and schedule shuffling that it takes to go regularly. 

FitnessI was always a slow kid when we had to run the mile at school. I didn't run my first mile (without walking) until I was 24 years old. It's true what they say, that it's mostly mental. Because I was surprised that something I never thought I could do became a fun and easy part of my daily routine. Pretty soon I could run three miles and I felt awesome. 

Group fitness classes... yay! Group fitness classes... yay! I just want to encourage anyone who is frustrated or bored with their fitness routine (or wanting to start one!) that you can do far more than you think you can. Take a chance and sign up for something that scares you! It's one of the best choices I ever made.  

On Weight Loss: 

I have been an on and off dieter ever since I can remember. I don't say that proudly. I have tried a lot of different diets and plans that worked for other people and, for reasons I will never understand, they didn't work for me. The math was there, the science was there, but it didn't work. If you've been in this situation, oh man, I would love to have a loooonng coffee chat with you right now because it's one of the most frustrating things. I was never obese, I just wanted to lose ten pounds, and there is a certain guilt that comes with that—like "am I really vain?" feelings, which usually lead me to more donuts. My husband and some of our siblings lost a lot of weight using the Lose It App. I struggled hard with feeling happy for them because I was so discouraged with my own journey. I developed a really unhealthy start/stop, good/bad relationship with food, and the emotions that come with always dieting, quitting, then dieting again were pretty exhausting. 

Lose It! App

I chose to do Whole 30 for 3 reasons (all equally important to me). 1. Because I was starting to view myself as a quitter and I wanted to follow through with a plan 100%. 30 days seemed like a good starting point. 2. Because I want to be a healthy eater. More veggies, less sugar. 3. Because I wanted to lose weight. I had been trying to lose weight for several years. This wasn't my only motivation, but I would be lying if I said it wasn't a goal. I wanted to feel my personal best. I first learned about Whole 30 from my friend Diana who had great success with it. We became each other's cheerleader, and it was really good to have a friend who had already done it to text about random stuff!  

Snap to DianaI won't go into explaining Whole 30 here because you can read all about it on their site or in their books, It Starts With Food and The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

So I'll skip to my personal experience! I decided to do the Whole 30 plan 100%, even though it included two things that seemed impossible and brutal to me—giving up alcohol and giving up dairy (cheese + wine night is my ultimate favorite thing). It was only 30 days, right? 

My experience was really, REALLY positive. The thirty days went quicker than I thought they would, I felt like I was fantasizing about donuts and ice cream way less (this is BIG), and I generally liked the food I was eating OK or sometimes a lot (it wasn't torture). I think a big reason why Whole 30 worked for me when other plans didn't was because there is no cheating. On other plans I would focus a lot on my cheat days, my treat meals or ways to get more "fun food" into my day within the plan. Whole 30 completely discourages this kind of thinking. You're not allowed to eat any artificial sweeteners (not even Stevia), which I was really annoyed about at first, but later realized that it was necessary for me to reset my brain. 

After the first month, I decided to do a second thirty days because I felt so good about my progress! My husband, Jeremy, decided to do it with me to support me and also to try it for himself. He already ate super low carb/sugar, but for him, giving up alcohol and dairy were a challenge, but it's been really fun for us to be able to eat all the same recipes. 

I am finally losing weight (slowly, but still!) and now at the lowest weight I have been at since we were married almost four years ago. I'm surprised, though, that I'm honestly more excited about my new attitude toward food than I am about losing a few pounds. For the first time in a while I am not looking to food as a reward or a way to destress after a long day. And I'm really excited about that! 

Doing Whole 30 as a couple kinda ruins date nights. Eating out is WAY less fun on Whole 30 (your favorite meals will be made at home, I promise), and with happy hours out of the picture, we were feeling kind of sad at first. We're routine people and Whole 30 majorly disrupts your routines. With that said, I'm happy to report that after a couple weeks of doing it together, we're finding new things to do together and ways to have fun that don't revolve around food and drinks. That's never a bad thing! 

Favorite recipes: Rosemary Almonds (I still make these all the time and eat them with a dinner or roasted veggies or an apple), Josh's Sweet Potato Hash, Cauliflower fried rice (food-processed cauliflower, coconut aminos, coconut oil, egg, tons of garlic and maybe some shrimp or chicken), Roasted veggies with rosemary, Almond flower chicken nuggets (the ultimate treat—Jeremy makes them), and any kind of dip that makes raw veggies appealing. For drinks I mostly rotate between black coffee (hot), herbal teas (iced), La Croix and, of course, lots of water. For more ideas just look on Pinterest. There is a ton of good stuff. 

My favorite sparkling water*My very very favorite sparkling water flavor is this Target brand Cucumber Mint flavor. It's like sparkling spa water. 

My plans for the future are pretty simple! I want to keep working on my fitness. With our move coming up, I'll have to choose between finding a new group class in my new town or finding a routine I can enjoy at home. I'm definitely open to suggestions! With food stuff I am planning to reintroduce alcohol and then dairy into my diet next month. The rest of the foods I gave up for Whole 30 I may not reintroduce ever because I haven't even missed them that much! 

Black coffee foreverThanks for listening to my story! I completely understand if it doesn't line up with your experiences, but I hope it encourages some of you either to try Whole 30 or to try a new fitness routine that you've been curious about. I enjoyed sharing this. xx! Elsie  

  • thanks so much for sharing your fitness journey — the ups and downs and the authenticity. also, i’ve always seen that flavor of sparkling water at target and wondered if it would be delicious or just really weird — now i’m going to have to pick some up!

  • Thanks for sharing this story! I’ve been on the wagon and off the wagon so many times. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the info out there these days, so much so that it is nice to hear just what really works for others. I’m just starting up on the Whole 30 myself and i love it! Hope you continue to share on your new city adventure!

  • I really enjoyed reading your story. It’s really nice to see you open up, Elsie. About five years ago, after a painful break-up, I ended up having almost two years of getting chubby for the very first time in my entire life.

    I went to a friends wedding and saw a chubby picture of myself and that was it for me. I started a juice fast that weekend. I ended up becoming a vegetarian then eventually a vegan and of course lost all the weight and beyond.

    As far as self-esteem and good body image, on some level, I think I will always struggle. I can be in the best shape of my entire life but if I gain a pound or two, I start downing myself. Ugh. So, I definitely know how you feel.

    Thanks for sharing this. It was really nice to read something so genuine. Body struggles are one of the most difficult things to talk about.

    Sincerely,

    Laurali

  • Thanks for sharing, Elsie! I couldn’t agree more that weight and fitness don’t necessarily go hand in hand.
    Being diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic recently (as a 27 year old!) forced my hand in completely changing my diet to super-low carb. And although I was slim and eating healthfully before, cutting sugar and grains completely has radically changed my energy levels for the better. And workouts are more important than ever because they help my blood sugar levels naturally.

    All this to say, weight and physical looks is not the most important reason to eat healthfully and exercise. I love your food suggestions in this post and look forward to seeing more low-carb healthy recipes on the blog!

  • It’s actually really nice to hear such a normal story! We’re so used to seeing the extremes. I’m the same in that it’s really only 10 pounds of vanity weight I ever want to lose, and I feel kind of embarrassed to admit it.
    I have a freakily stable weight – I really had to concentrate on gaining when I was pregnant, but find it VERY hard to lose as well. I like yoga and the gym, and really must make more time for those things – for myself! I’m not a dieter, though I did lose 10 pounds when I went from vegetarian to vegan, and I try to eat healthy 95% of the time!

    Jo
    http://www.helloseedling.blogspot.co.uk

  • Thanks for sharing this story, Elsie. You always look so stunning and you’re able to wear crop tops, so you definitely don’t look like you struggle with your weight. It’s encouraging to know that even people like you go through ups and downs with weight. I was always underweight until my mid-twenties, then it’s like my hormones have changed a few times since then and now into my early 30s that it’s so much easier for me to gain weight. I miss the days of having a flat stomach without having to put in any effort. And I’m like you…I love my wine and cheese nights! It’s all about finding a balance, but still not depriving yourself. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you so so much for sharing this (and for linking to Emma’s story, which I hadn’t read before). I have to admit I have seen you both on the blog and wondered “how DO they do it?” Meaning…have balanced lives that involve food and fun but also seeming healthy and looking good (looking great, really!!). It’s nice to know that you’re normal and struggle with this too just like everyone, my story is quite similar to both of yours. I’ve been fluctuating between wanting to lose 10 lbs and thinking “maybe this is just my new weight and I should accept it” for about 2 years now and I think it’s time to make a change — I’m encouraged to try the Whole 30!

  • Good on you for finally coming to grips with it and getting the results you want, gradual weightloss is better than fast- so much healthier and you’re more likely to keep up with it!

    ACID PEEL review

  • You are totally gorgeous and a daily inspiration (on many facets) to me. Thank you for sharing and and keep up the hard work. Try yoga, if you haven’t already!

  • Elsie-

    I’m so happy you shared this- I LOVED reading it. It feels a little weird to be vulnerable I know, but I bet it feels SO good just putting it out there! You are inspiring to me on many levels. I also have to say how insanely gorgeous you look in these recent photos. YOU GLOW! and ps. we need to be Snapchat friends! Text or email me your name on there so I can find you!

    Love to you, beautiful friend.
    xoxo

  • Thanks for sharing, this could be my story because it is so similar! Even down to the La Croix I am drinking while reading 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing your story! I’ve done whole 30 before and loved it. It would be lovely to see whole 30 recipes on your blog.

  • When you move to Nashville, check out the YMCA- all the ones I’ve been to have been really great and offer a lot of great classes at all different times that you don’t have to sign up in advance for and come with your gym membership.

    Also if you’re drinking a lot of canned sparking water, you might want to invest in a soda stream. They seem like an extravagant purchase at first, but it pays for it’s self really quickly.

  • Good for you on the Whole30! I haven’t done the Whole30 strictly but have started eating healthier and cutting out a lot of processed food based on a wonderful food blog I found. It’s amazing how differently you view food and how you truly read their labels. Oh and don’t forget how much better you feel. I will have to try the sparkling water you speak of. I’ve tried a few and haven’t found any that I can stand.

    I would love to hear tips on how you worked your way up to running a mile. I really want to start running but have a huge mental block that tells me there is no way I can run.

  • Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to read today. I’ve been trying the same old thing time and time again and its no longer working, its time to try something new

  • Thanks so much for sharing your story! I was just diagnosed with hyper-thyroidism, and after many years of enjoying a fast metabolism my treatment will require me to watch what I eat pretty vigorously. I’m trying to stay positive and brace myself for the feelings that will come with these changes, and it meant a lot to read not only about your fitness journey, but also your reflections around the tensions between health and anxiety that comes with diet and exercise in our culture. I love A Beautiful Mess and your and Emma’s openness and honesty (and beautiful taste!) :)))

  • Thank you for sharing! I can totally relate to your anxiety to join a new class where you don’t know anyone. I recently started a kayaking course and I felt so anxious before going the first time. It was something I really wanted to do, but it was so nerve racking not knowing anyone and not knowing how well you will do. I am slightly overweight and it can make it so hard to put myself out there, because of the confrontation with the fact that I can’t perform as well physically as other people, because I’m so out of shape. But I’m so glad I did it! I really enjoy it and I’m so proud of myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone despite my insecurities. Know one should let that stop you from doing something you want to do. My next goal is also to stop using food as a reward and start eating healthier. So your story is really helpful and inspiring! I’m considering doing the Whole 30! Thanks again 🙂

  • Yes! Whole 30 def reset my brain in the way I look at food. So helpful. After I started it, a friend recommended the Jassa Podcast to me (Jason Seib and Sarah Fragoso), and I’m totally addicted now. They answer tons of diet and fitness questions and are just generally super encouraging.

  • Thank you for sharing your story! I gained 25 pounds this year (yikes!) and I’m really looking for new ideas to try. I run at the gym pretty regularly, but I get bored doing the same thing over and over. Going for my first jog in the woods/park this morning and I’m excited about it. Are there any good Barre Method videos? I don’t think I’ve got a Barre class near me.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story elsie. After recovering from an injury and summer on its way I have started focusing on working out by doing cardio, some yoga and free weights. My sister recently lost 10 pounds by drinking lots of water, portion control and cardio and it def lit a fire in me. At first it was about fitting into my clothes better but now it’s about getting stronger. It’s easy to get discouraged, but it’s worth it to push through. I am a vegetarian and eat a lot of dairy, but I am looking to challenge myself to cut some/all of it out. This article is very encouraging and you look amazing. Your new outlook on food and commitment is definitely agreeing with you!

  • Hi!!

    I am a new reader! And yes I share your name!

    I have loved to read your story. Your honesty is so refreshing and shows how far you have come on your fitness and weight loss journey.

    I look forward to reading you progress. You go girl! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I feel like many women struggle with dieting/fitness/health and not too many people are real about those struggles. I also switched to a paleo diet and did the Whole30, which I absolutely loved. I would love to see more paleo recipes on your blog! You look happy and awesome!

  • Thanks so much for sharing this. I really enjoyed reading it. Actually I’vvery been thinking about leaving a comment asking about your guys fitness routines cuz you are in such good shape. My goal this year is eating better, and well, it’s not going tge best. But not a fail. I just love candy/sugar so much! One step at a time is okay with me. We are forever evolving.

  • Well done Elsie! I’ve considered Whole 30 a few times but, honestly, it’s too hardcore for me. You’re looking radiant in your photo with your Target drink 🙂

  • Proud of you for kickin’ butt on this, Elsie! I always see you guys share such delicious but not so good for you food and wonder HOW you guys can eat it, but I can’t! I was forced to quit dairy after I realized it was causing all of the problems in my body I didn’t like (like acne), and it was SOOOOO hard at first, but now I really don’t have any problems with it (except that when the rest of my family goes out for ice cream, I can’t go unless they happen to have a dairy-free alternative!). Almond/soy lattes for the win!

  • So brave and awesome of you to share your story! Totally inspiring. Thanks for being brave and sharing.

    Cheers!
    Alexa

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I started going to the gym pretty aggressively a few months ago but had a really bad experience (note: avoid gyms around colleges at all costs) and have been too spooked to go back since. It sucks because I was JUST getting over the “new kid” feeling and then what happened happened. Your story makes me want to get a membership somewhere a little farther away from campus 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your story! I can so relate! I even teach fitness classes, count calories, eat a paleo lifestyle and still struggle to lose lbs and inches – you are not alone. It’s a tricky balance. Honestly not eating dairy or grains has made me feel free for the first time in my life and it feels great to eat so clean. When you move to Tennessee, you should check out a Buti Yoga class. It is so much fun – it’s no way boring and it helps you fall in love with yourself <3 The founder also has online workouts that she films weekly that you can subscribe too AND she's all about eating grain and dairy free. I would love for you guys to share more grain/dairy free recipes on your blog! The sunflower seed dip the other day was awesome!

  • Thanks for sharing. But I must admit I’m a little surprised…You always look so confident! And thanks to you and your sister I gained some confidence myself. I’ll try to explain that… I also struggled a lot with my weight (sometimes I still do), and I know it’s silly because I have the right weight, I’m not thin and I never will be, but it was difficult to realize I’ll never look as skinny as many actresses or fashion bloggers. I feel that on media I only see “extreme” body types that I can’t relate to. And then I found A Beautiful Mess, and I felt so identified with your body type (I know sounds a bit creepy sorry) and liked so much the way you dress and felt I could copy some styles, I thought that if it looked good on you I should try too. For example crop tops or short skirts, I had to see it on someone with a similar body to realize that it looked good and I could wear them too. It helped me to start thinking different about myself and finally gaining some much needed confidence. Now I can happily say that I love my body, I even like mirrors and I repeat to myself how hot and pretty I am 😉 So yes, it’s very important to practice sports and control what you eat, to be healthy, but is also important to be kind to ourselves and remember how hot and pretty we are 🙂

  • For a great home options look at http://thebalancedlifeonline.com/ If you join the sisterhood $9 a month, you get a months worth of daily pilates/barre workouts, all about 10 minutes long…totally easy to work into the schedule right?! And, you get motivational tools, and lifestyle assessment tools as well, along with free “bonus” long (60 minute) workouts every month as well.

    I LOVE it and love what pilates does for my body!

  • loved this post! the last few weeks i’ve been researching the whole30 and decided to start june 1st. i’d love to see more posts on the food you’ve been eating/meal plans/recipes.

  • PURE BARRE rocks! it is an expensive investment but SO worth it!! I was frustrated by not seeing results just hitting the local gym. I feel at my Barre class, for 1 hr I have MY solo time to relax, recharge, push out from my mind the outside world & stress for my 1 hr of ME time, and each teacher is committed to pushing you “one-on-one” to get the max from each class. I’ve taken 7 classes now and saw results after after 5 classes. Dear hubby immediately said “your body is shaping different” (in a VERY positive way). There have been many “tucks & holds” in class where I wanted to punch someone or not hold for another 10 secs because those muscles were shaking ON FIRE…but no pain, no gain. Ha!! I want to try the Whole 30 too. Dear hubby, Vincenzo, is an Italian chef (from Italy) and does all the cooking at home. He now lives here in U.S. of A. The Mediterranean cuisine is amazingly healthy with simple cooking so I already have the resources to cook from home. 😉 GREAT post Elsie! I totally get that fitness is a sensitive topic for many but hey, it’s your blog, and no one should judge. 😉

  • Thank you so much, Elsie, for sharing your story. I can totally relate to it on a lot of levels – I’ve been trying to lose weight for some years too. I quite like exercise, so that’s not a big problem for me, but I love food and sugar and carbs a lot. I like healthy things too, but sometimes I just really want that pastry, or to make that cake I saw in a magazine. For the last month I’ve been tracking my food intake via the FitnessPal app – which looks similar to Lose it. At the end of the day it tells me: if every day were like today you’d be xx kg in 5 weeks! Which sounds great but four weeks in, my weight is at the exact same point as it was when I started and I’m losing motivation fast.
    I wanted to do Whole30 too, but I find it expensive – if I shopped only what you’re allowed on Whole30 I’d be spending quite a lot more money on groceries than I do now.
    It’s so hard to teach yourself to think about food differently!
    And you’re looking great in all your recent sister style posts, btw, I caught myself thinking that the other day!
    xo Kat

  • I really appreciate you sharing this today. Who doesn’t battle themselves in regards to healthy living. It is a great reminder to keep trying new things and to remember everyone is struggling to find their balance. I feel very inspired today and that is just what I needed.

  • I am so happy to be reading your posts lately. It’s kinda reminiscent of the way it used to be and I miss reading your stories. It’s what made me love your blog in the first place. I know people can be judgemental on the Internet and blast people but know that your stories are loved more than hated by others. Weight is such a struggle for many of us. For me the only time I felt the best was when I was pregnant and my flabby belly was, for once, cute and loved by all who saw it. I got the Fitbit last Week and am loving it so far. I will check out that lose it app!

  • Thanks so much Kiri!
    I am definitely nowhere near as talented at writing recipes as Emma, but I will try to do a few more from time to time!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.
    xx- Elsie

  • Wow! You are such a beautiful woman and your blog radiates with happiness I would never have thought you would have these struggles. Thank you for being so brave and honest. As women, there is so much pressure to be ‘thin’ it makes me crazy. Be kind to yourself and do what feels good, that’s what I try to do!

  • I LOVED this! Thank you for sharing! I completely relate to that feeling of exercising, counting calories, etc., and not seeing results. It’s so frustrating! I think it’s crazy (yet completely believable) that training for a half marathon didn’t help toward your weight loss goals–it made me think the other day how I was complaining to my hair stylist that I haven’t been seeing the results I want after 4 months of regular barre classes. She said, “Some exercises just don’t work well for some people/bodies.” That was kind of a lightbulb moment for me! I realized I was at my thinnest/most fit last year when I was doing yoga several times a week, a bit of running, but then the key was I walked to work and pretty much walked all over town because we lived in a central location. All that said, I love barre class, too, and if they don’t have a Barre Method in Nashville, see if they have a Dailey Method. That’s what I do and I love it, especially because Dailey is one of the most noncompetitive, nonjudgmental and at the same time motivating workout environments!

  • I would definitely recommend the Whole 30. It’s only 30 days and it’s the best diet I’ve ever done (although really challenging). xx! Elsie

  • Although I have not tried it yet, I hear great things about Class Pass. It is a membership that allows you to try a variety of studios and gyms in your city, with no commitments to a particular type of fitness or location. Sounds perfect for you! https://classpass.com/

  • So proud of you Elsie! I wanted to do the whole 30 challenge when I was a vegetarian. But when I was pregnant my cravings triumphed over my vegetarian beliefs and now I eat meat… so I am thinking about trying this fun 30 day challenge to lose the baby weight!

  • Thanks for sharing! I plan on starting whole30 this week! I have been printing out so many recipes so that I am prepared! it’s so incredible how much junk we eat and don’t realize it (even the “healthy” stuff!)

  • I totally understand. The first time I tried it I quit halfway through because I went on a trip with my sister and it was too hard. Plus I felt like cutting out social drinking would mess with my friendships (my friends like to go out A LOT). But now that it’s over I feel like it went by really fast! :)) It’s definitely super challenging and hard to feel “normal” though because you basically can’t eat out at all (or at least it’s not enjoyable).
    xx- Elsie

  • I really appreciate your story, Elsie. I have felt the same way about myself for years. Not fat, just not where I want to be in my personal health and fitness goals. I am not looking to be stick thin, but I want to be toned and healthy! HEALTHY! Thats the most important thing for us to remember: having a healthy body doesn’t mean you’re 100 pounds. It means that your body is working at its maximum to sustain your life! I’ve been a relatively healthy eater for years, but my boyfriend doesn’t share my goals for health and fitness. Its SO hard to live in a home with someone who likes to eat junk (fried food, fast food, carbs on carbs, soda, beer, chez-its…etc). I’ve tried to be the sole grocery shopper for the house (its been relatively easy- I’ve been out of work for almost 6 months due to an injury that I am having surgery on this Tuesday (eek!) but, I am going to have to give up the control when I am dependent on others to cook for me. I feel like it would be easier to reach my goals if my boyfriend shared my ideas on health and wellness. In any case, I won’t ramble much longer. I lived in Nashville for a short 6 months in 2012 and I’m dying to go back. Such a beautiful city full of kind people. Good luck, with everything you look to accomplish. We are all rooting for you <3

  • Thank you for sharing, Elsie 🙂 this was so inspiring to read, and I feel the same way. Ps: you are so beautiful! 🙂

  • I’m all for trying to eat healthier, and this sounds like an amazing thing to try! I already gave up most dairy except aged cheese (I am lactose intolerant) and i think I could give up most of the other stuff except: does this mean no more cocktails or red wine ever? I already don’t drink much — maybe one -two nights a month I’ll have one or two drinks — but the thought of not having an aged rum or a good glass of red wine again is too sad!

    I realize you really just need to abstain from alcohol for the first 30 days, but how do you think you will deal with cocktails and wine from there out? Once in a while as a treat or never again???

    Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

  • Love the real & inspiring story! But, what are those MAGICAL sneakers?!!

  • Thanks for sharing! I have been wanting to try Whole 30 for a long time now, I actually was supposed to start January 1st but found out I was pregnant and didn’t feel it was a good time to try something new. My friend has been having wonderful results – she’s up to 210 days I believe and has been documenting her journey at http://www.lightercurves.com if you are interested in checking it out. Your post just solidified my plan to start after I have my son in August, so thank you for the inspiration. 🙂 Best of luck to you on your fitness and health journey – it is a journey and not a destination but its so worth it.

  • Hey Elsie,

    I loved to read your fitness story, it’s something a lot of us relate to. Right now I’m more similar to Emma, small habits change that (hopefully) will stay with me forever. But it was really good to read your story, because the important thing after all is that you found what works for you and makes you healthy and happy. Congratulations on your hard work and commitment! I am a recent blogger and only started my blog after completing your e-course. It helped me more than words can say and I still come back to it several times when I need “advice” thank you so much for always inspiring us!

  • OMG. I really appreciate you posting this. When amazing and beautiful people share struggles and frustrations that are similar to mine (a lot of those thoughts were straight out of my own head) it’s encouraging and inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • You should try Pilates! The traditional kind. It has completely change my life and the way I few fitness. I have never enjoyed working out but now that I’ve been doing Pilates for several months I am getting stronger, and that makes working out a lot more fun and motivating!

  • Thanks for sharing, I’ve been in a similar battle with my weight all my life! I just turned 30 and made me realize that I must focus on being healthy now, instead of skinny. Right now I’m doing the Dukan Diet. I’m doing well and the pounds are starting to go. Everyone says I look happier than ever, so with that I feel amazing. Also, Its been a year since I do Yoga every Day! (except some weekends) and I recently started taking kick boxing classes, which is the opposite of yoga, but that balance on all the cardio, sweating, kicking and screaming, with the ‘ommming’ and ‘namasteing’ of my daily yoga is just what I needed.
    Keep up the good work everyone! 🙂

  • This was so cool to read! This is one of my favorite blogs and I am on my 3rd month of Whole 30! Like you, I figured why stop a good thing? It started because I wanted to lose weight and look good for my summer vacation, but now it’s so much more than that. After trying and failing at every diet for the last 8 years, I am finally seeing success and feeling amazing. I was down 17 pounds at the end of last month, as you know, no weighing til the 30th- but I think it’s a little over 20 lbs now. As I started reading your article I was thinking, she should try whole 30, and then you did! Amazing! Congrats and I love this blog and your style and everything you do here. If you started whole 30/ paleo recipes, this would be even more of my favorite spot in the internet.

  • I’m so glad you shared this when you did!

    About 6 weeks ago I started a running program- partially to feel more energized, but also to lose 15 pounds that have always bummed me out. About a week ago I was unable to increase my run distance in line with the program, and I found myself so discouraged that I’ve “fallen off the wagon” a bit. I know it’s silly, but I can be a hard on myself and it has been difficult to move past the setback.

    This post inspired me to try to mix it up a bit with my workout plan, and try to get back into it. Thanks!

  • this lines up with my story like 99%, if you throw a brief foray into crossfit in the mix. barre classes are by FAR my most beloved workout and totally worth the expense. i’m currently dealing with an autoimmune disease that has me on the AIP diet, which is very similar to whole30 (minus nuts and seeds – UGH) and has me trying all kinds of new things. finding non-happy hour dates has been a challenge but a good one – hearing what you and jeremy have discovered might be a great post!

  • I have been a yo-yo dieter all my life and finally hit a peak where I just can’t loose weight. I started Crossfit to get my knees fixed after surgery – and while I still haven’t lost weight I HAVE BECOME FIT and I feel amazing in my own skin and I eat clean with 100% paleo 80% of the time LOL. Crossfit may seem intimidating but trust me if I can to it ANYONE can. I started when I was 59 years old I couldn’t DO ANYTHING and 1 1/2 years later I can squat, run, jump rope and wall walks. I’m a fit 61young and I’m now a lap behind the youngsters – I workout with peeps 20-40 years younger and it keeps me on my toes. And the Crossfit Community ROCKS. There’s nothing comparable. When you walk into a box its like walking into Cheers – where everybody knows your name. Check my journey on Murphy’s Law-Lynn blogspot and hit the crossfit tab.

    And honestly Elsie you look awesome in your photos – in your adorable outfits.

  • That’s super encouraging! Thanks Elsie. I feel similarly in some ways. I’m bad at following diets or making food goals and working out in classes or with friends/on a team is the only thing that’s ever really worked for me.
    Thanks again for being vulnerable with your readers!

  • Thank you for being so open about your fitness journey! In an online world it’s so easy to imagine the people we’re reading about have this perfect life with beautiful homes and lovely vacations, and not a worry in the world! I did Whole30 a couple years ago. It was a great eye-opener that eating whole, unprocessed foods really makes a huge difference in how we feel! I eventually started working all the “bad” things back into my diet, but in moderation. I think like most things in life, even food that doesn’t necessarily nourish us (but just tastes good!) is ok in moderation. One blogger I read who is all about whole foods puts it this way: If you eat healthy 80% of the time, your body is able to make up for the other 20%. That philosophy also makes it easier to have a social life, haha. 🙂

    Best of luck in your continuing journey! You’re an inspiration to so many of us, and your vulnerability is admirable!

  • You should check out BUTI yoga! I think there is a studio in Nashville with classes, but you can also do it completely online for $12/month. It’s a really fun, empowering (and intense) workout, and is growing into a major movement: butiyoga.com

    I have never like working out, but this is something that I look forward to!

  • Thanks for sharing this, Elsie! I’ve heard a lot of good things about Whole 30 – will definitely check it out! 🙂

  • This was so nice to read. My husband and I did the Whole 30 in February and we loved it. We lost weight and just felt better! We kept a lot of good habits but the convenience factor of eating out proved to be too tempting. So we’re going to revisit that. We loved the way we were so energized and pumped about the day! Anyways, thanks for sharing this was a good read!

  • Thank you for sharing your story, Elsie. I love hearing about what others have tried in regards to health and fitness…it inspires me to try new things, too!
    I can relate to what you wrote about weight and fitness level not being the same thing. I am a size 12-14. I eat very healthily- no alcohol, dairy, junk food, etc, and I am quite active- lots of running, cycling, yoga, and I love the gym. Despite this, I never seem to lose much weight. It is frustrating for me to see much thinner friend who are able to eat whatever they want, and stay slim! But I have learned that the fact that I feel healthy, energized and strong is what really matters. We need to expand our idea of fit to include many types of bodies. I think genetics are a big part of our body shape, regardless of how we eat and exercise….Anyway, I’d like to try the app and diet plan that you mentioned. they sound interesting!

  • I’m so glad you decided to share this! About five years ago I started to run and eat healthy in attempts to loose weight and it worked. But I really had no idea how or why it worked. It probably had a lot to do with stress (and the ending of an engagement). I was just about to turn 30 and I was the thinnest I had been since high school, but probably not the healthiest. I have never been overweight, but I have struggled with my weight yo-yoing my entire life. I have never been athletic, so running seemed like and easy choice. I didn’t even follow a “plan” or a “diet” per-say, I just ate less and the weight came off. I swore to myself that I’d never wear a size 12 again. Then, three years ago I started training for my first marathon, and low and behold I gained weight. Then last year I ran another marathon and gained even MORE weight! I got myself into a weird mentality that I could eat whatever I wanted because I was running 20+ miles a week during marathon training. I was SO frustrated and upset with myself. How could I have possibly let myself gain the 30 pounds back that I had lost and then some??? (and it is true, some people go through a type of depression after training for a big race like a 1/2 marathon or full marathon) At the beginning of this year I decided to run the Chicago marathon again for charity. But this time I wanted to do it right and loose some of these extra pounds that I’m carrying around. In February a friend of mine started the Whole30. After reading about it I was like “no way can I give up cheese and wine”! And believe me, I’ve tried every weird fad diet out there. After reading about you posting that you were doing the Whole30 (and seeing the success in my friend Meg) I decided to try it. It’s only 30 days right? So here I am at day 22! And it’s not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I’m even planning on extending it for 30 more days because now my boyfriend wants to do it with me too! (I even got him to run a 5k with me) My official training starts in a couple of weeks and I’m hoping to PR this year. 🙂
    So thank you Elsie, thank you for sharing your story! It means a lot!

  • Thanks for sharing, Elsie. I’ve struggled with fitness and eating healthy for a long time, too, and know that it’s more about how you feel and think than what you IMAGINE you look like.

    This was really brave of you. Thank you again for opening up. 😉

  • Thank you for sharing your story! It takes a lot of courage be real about weight, food, and body image challenges. It is really encouraging that even our blog heros have to work through this stuff! : ) So glad you are finding a balance that works for you!

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story! I know it’s always hard to talk about fitness and weight. I’m lucky that I don’t have a problem losing weight, but I’m extremely unfit. I feel weak and tired and have to catch my breath after going up a flight of stairs. Your story really motivated me to start getting in shape and feeling better!

    Laura
    http://laurahager.blogspot.com/

  • Thanks for sharing your Story. I had several Friends who had issues with their thyroid and did not loose weight because of a dysfunction. Have you had a checkup with a doctor?
    Sounds motivating to find a new workout class, maybe I try that too.

  • I totally related to your story. I vote for finding a new group class after you move. I do group fitness and I find that having people ask “Where were you on Tuesday? We missed you.” kinda stuff to be really motivational in a positive way. Plus it will be a fun way to meet people! My two cents. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hi Elsie — thanks for sharing and this sounds eerily similar to my story. Ran my first half about a month ago at my highest non-pregnant weight. I’ve been trying to decide what to do now, and I’ve researched classes. I have this weird expectation that if I don’t huff-and-puff and sweat like a man that I didn’t get a good workout. I know that’s not the case, but my approach to exercise is “no pain-no gain”.
    I’ve recently started a 21 Day Body Makeover (by a trainer out of Dallas) and cut out almost everything. (I did cheat a bit with booze though). I’ve never felt better and I also find that when or if I cheat and eat something I shouldn’t, I feel sick. So incredible how bad food can affect you.
    Thanks again for sharing! You’ve inspired me.

  • I did whole30 while I was in college and COMPLETELY loved my experience. I noticed that I didn’t take any naps that month (didn’t even want to), I was much more productive and I was generally in a happy mood! I strongly suggest whole30 as well. I really want to do it again maybe 60 days this time! And the food IS GOOD! It’s amazing what the food you put in your body does for you. I’m so glad you had a positive experience on it as well!

  • Thank you for your honesty, Elsie. I, too, have been struggling w/ dieting & exercising and having no luck w/ losing weight. I’ve read It Starts With Food book and have introduced elements (or subtracted as is the case most of the time) of the Whole30 into my diet, but I haven’t committed to the 30 day entirely. Your words have inspired me to do so.

    I enjoy your blog immensely! It is my favorite in all of Blog-dom. Good luck w/ your move. We’ll be neighbors as I live & work in the Nashville area. 🙂

  • Thank you for the post. It always take courage to share such a personal story, especially about one’s body. I have just joined the gym last week, but have yet to go. However, the one thing that I got from your post was that we need to step out of our comfort zone in order to change. I have changed the way I eat because I can do that at home, but when it comes to being out in public and working out when I don’t feel comfortable in my own body is very hard. I thank you for encouraging me.

  • I’m so happy for you Elsie! I know how challenging it can be to get out of your comfort zone. As a kinesiology student I just wanted to comment about a few things.
    You may already know this, but muscle actually weighs more than fat! That’s one reason the scale can be so deceiving; even though you may be losing body fat you could be gaining ‘weight’ if your body is building muscle. This could have been the case leading up to your half marathon.. Trust your body! The number on the scale is often an inaccurate measure of health 🙂
    Also, studies have shown that exercise is the best preventative medicine. Though you may not see the changes exercise is having on your body, it most definitely is improving your health!
    Here’s an interesting video that really puts it into perspective.. We have 24 hours in a day, and if we spend 30 mins of it walking or playing or moving, we are investing in our health and future quality of life.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUaInS6HIGo
    Proud of you for sticking it out with your fitness routine! Getting enough physical activity in our daily lives is a global challenge and stories like yours are inspiring and great to read!

  • Thanks for sharing so openly! I, too, have struggles a lot with fitness and just feeling comfortable in my own skin. So its nice to hear your story…I guess you could say it’s nice to know I’m not the only one having ups and downs. 🙂
    http://www.sweetlytattered.com

  • Thanks for sharing your story! I’d love to hear more about, “finding new things to do together and ways to have fun that don’t revolve around food and drink.” That’s hard!

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Elsie. It’s amazing how hard we can be on ourselves about weight when fitness is an entirely different matter! If you feel good and feel healthy, that’s what you should focus on. I’m glad you’re finding some things to help you toward your goals!
    I think someone else mentioned it above, but try yoga if you haven’t. I used to do it for a 1/2 hour to hour a day and I was my leanest and most muscular and didn’t do any other more traditional style workouts.

  • Hey Elsie!
    Thank you for sharing this!
    Probably one of most inspiring post for me!
    I’ve been trying to find the best and suitable fitness plan for myself, and am still finding.
    you inspired me a lot.

    Ps: I’m currently only doing yoga. And occasional walks. Trying to find and do something more regular.

    Thank you for sharing this, Elsie!

    Cheers!

  • Thank you for being so honest. I have been going through the exact same thing recently having just finished my first 6 mile race and now feeling no motivation to keep up with my fitness. I’ve also been thinking about trying Whole 30 and this is the final motivating push I needed. I totally feel you that wine and cheese will be the most difficult thing to give up here, haha.

  • I have wanted to try the Barre classes for so long now after a friend suggested them to me! I will tell you that I’ve had a lot of luck with the Kayla Itsines BBG at home program, but I also need to go to some group classes too for the social aspect (and that whole friend responsibility part, when you go with friends you HAVE to go!) I was also going to suggest you try out an aerial yoga class over at MyHot yoga before you leave Springfield, I’ve seen such positive changes in my upper arm strength, flexibility, and it makes my back feel great! I go every Wednesday (on hiatus for 2 more weeks because of an appendectomy, boo!) but we have a really fun group of girls who regularly attends. Come by and join us!

  • Thank you for sharing your fitness story. I’m always looking for that thing that will resonate with me and the Whole30 sounds really interesting. I think I might give it a try! And I’m going to lace up my sneakers this weekend and get back out there!

  • Thanks for sharing your story and congrats on your healthy journey! I’ve also been using the Lose It app and am really enjoying it. I always thought I ate alright, but recording my intake and seeing the numbers on the screen has really helped me put things in perspective.

    I’ve also started working out with Fitness Blender. If you are ok working out at home I would highly recommend them! It’s run by a husband and wife team who do absolutely everything themselves. They have 400+ free workout videos of all kinds, plus scheduled programs that you can purchase if you want more structure. I sound like I am being paid so say this, but I swear I am not! Haha. They’ve really changed my life so I want to spread the word 🙂

    Best of luck to you and everyone else who is working towards a healthier and happier self. xx

  • You should give a try to pole dancing, or at least aerial dancing like silks or hoop/lyra – I’m sure they’ll have it in Nashville. It is seriously the most fun I’ve ever had working out. It can be very challenging, but is also exhilarating and rewarding. (and addicting! I can’t live without exercise now, and before this I haven’t been to the gym for 2 years because I hated it so much) And the pole community has a very strong body-positive culture, so it’s just a great group of people to be part of!

  • Hello Elsie!

    There’s a app/website that’s called class pass. You pay a membership then you’re able to visit any class within your city that’s offered up to three times max each place. It’s a great way to visit different studios and decide which one is best for you. You can try cycling to yoga to barre.Nashville is included! I currently live in a smaller city but when I move to Seattle in a month I’m super excited about trying it out. Maybe this is a great way to find a place you like.

  • Elsie,
    I loved reading this post! as a long time reader/instagram follower, I totally saw your sister style photo on instagram and thought

    “Wow she looks great, didn’t she mention she’s doing whole 30?!”

    I’m glad you and Emma and the ABM team can share experiences with all of your readers,
    xo from Alaska
    Sydney

  • Thanks for sharing! This came at a good time for me, because I’ve been not-so-great at going to the gym lately, and last week decided that enough is enough, and that I need to stop slacking off. I found myself a second gym buddy (my schedule and that of the first buddy are not coordinating very well at the moment), and I’ve resolved to eat less crap.

    I think what makes it easier for me, is that I haven’t weighed myself since the end of high school (7 years ago), and I have no plans to start. I know myself, and I know that I would obsess over it. I also know that I would rather be toned and weigh a bit more than have a super low number, but I still don’t want to know the number. That’s just me though.

  • unrelated (but kind of since you have a snapchat picture. ha!) but I just got a snapchat and can I just say, that I would love it if you had a snapchat that you would like to share. I only use it to follow bloggers/photographers and I feel like you all would make a super fun account to follow! 🙂

  • I totally understand what you are going through. For me, they only thing that worked is yoga. And now I am a yoga instructor. I love Barre too! The studio I manage offers both barre and yoga (plus spinning and TRX). Barre and yoga make for great complimentary workouts. I live and work in Columbus, OH. If you are ever interested, I would be happy to come down to Nashville and help you set up a home practice as well as find your studio home (community is great!). Any reason to come visit Nashville sounds good to me. Lots of luck on your journey and remember that it is the journey not the destination. Find what makes you feel good and what makes you happy. You will glow from the inside out. You got this!

  • Thanks so much for sharing your story Elsie! I’ve been debating about doing the Whole 30 for a long time, and your post has finally encouraged me to get off my duff and do it! In addition to just wanting to eat healthier/cleaner and lose some weight, I have a wedding to get ready for in a few months! *fingers crossed* I’ll look and feel just as good as you when I walk down the aisle!

  • Elsie, thanks for taking the time to share your story 🙂 I’m planning on trying the whole 30 this summer for the exact benefits you found, I want to develop a better attitude toward food. Thanks for sharing this and fueling my motivation to take on this challenge.

  • Whoop whoop! Seriously there’s not much better than feeling GOOD about yourself!!! It can truly change your life. I’m in Nashville, you’ll love it here. Very diverse, fun, sweet people. I’m on a fitness weight loss journey as well. Started in February and I’ve lost 30 lbs! Something I always tell myself and others is, you get fit in the gym you lose weight in the kitchen. You’ve done amazing!! I host accountability groups for fitness programs. The one I’ve been doing is the 21 day fix. It’s awesome. Clean eating, portion control and 30 min workouts!! https://www.facebook.com/Jennyrwaldrop

  • And your dedicated readers from the Target Food Product Development Team (including this Springfieldian) are thrilled you like our Simply Balanced water! When you slowly reintroduce alcohol, it’s delicious with gin and a squeeze of lime.

  • Thank you so much for your honesty Elsie!
    I relate to you so much. I’ve never really been overweight, but have always wished I was about ten pounds lighter. I was always the kid in PE who struggled through running the mile, and I just can’t seem to enjoy exercising the way my friends do, even though I really wished I did. I already eat relatively healthy, and I’ve heard so many encouraging stories about Whole 30, but I’m a vegetarian, so it makes me a little nervous about how restricted my meals would be.
    Thank you again. I’ve been a daily reader for almost seven years, and it’s so fun to see you guys grow. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us.
    -Alexandria

  • This is such an awesome fitness story. The distinction between working out and nutrition is honestly so true! People think all they have to do is go to the gym but eating makes up for a big part of how your body looks and feels.

    You look great and seem like you had such a great experience with this new routine! Thanks for sharing your experiences 🙂

    xx, mel
    http://melinspired.com

  • Ok so when I started reading the first paragraph I was thinking “I wonder if she does barre? It’s the best workout!” So I was pleasantly surprised to read that you do. I take classes 3-4 times a week in Tulsa at a studio branch of Barre3. They have two studios in Nashville and if they are anything like the Barre3 classes here, you’ll love them! The atmosphere and community is a major plus to the classes you get to take.

    I enjoyed reading about your journey and I’m glad you opened up about what works for you! Keep going 🙂

    -Courtney

  • Thanks for sharing, Elsie! It can be really hard to talk and write about this part of our lives, something so personal to us.
    I personally struggle with viewing food in the right light, just like you do. I feel myself sometimes looking to food as a reward when instead it should be something else. I’m doing pilates every day and cardio every other day right now. I hope to one day feel in shape and be okay with my weight – even if I’m not losing a ton, but I’m still in shape.
    Thank you so much for your personal story. It really helps me with my own. 🙂

    I’m thinking about doing the MIND diet, a diet that is supposed to support thinking and brain power. I think that’s the kind of feel good diet that I need, not a “get skinny in one month” diet.

    A Beautiful Mess is always my favorite to read. 🙂

    Brooke | brookewrote

  • Wow- thanks for reading for so long! That’s amazing!

    Whole30 would be really hard without meat, but my friend did the vegetarian version and had an amazing experience. I didn’t eat meat everyday (because I’m a lazy cook) I ate apples, almond butter, broccoli and cauliflower more times than I could count. So I wouldn’t rule it out!

    xx- Elsie

  • One of my besties does it and it looks REALLY fun and REALLY hard! Would love to try, but I’m intimidated by all months of work you have to do before you learn anything “cool”. :)) Maybe after we move?
    xx- Elsie

  • your metabolism looks a lot like mine!:D
    I’ve been through a lot of diets, some of them also helped me gaining weight 🙁 I got serious results with the Zone diet, but after a year and half of that diet it slowly stopped working and I stopped losing weight, while my friend that was doing that diet with me got weirdly skinny and with way too much muscles. But on top of all, I was tired of being on the same diet for an year and half , so I started researching more. I had a lot of friends going vegan in the meanwhile, but they ended up eating bread and pasta all the time, and the worst…? they lost tons and tons of pounds. If a eat a plate of pasta I immediately gain weight. Going vegan was not a solution. Then in 2012 I found the blog My new roots, and I started eating more healthy and tried the detox that Sarah prepared for that year, and it worked! I lost a few pounds and i felt so much better! Obviously after a few months I gain that kilos back (i live in Italy and I can’t escape my mother’s lunches every time!) but since then I can now listen to my body and I recognise what are the food that are really good for me. I Skip alcohol a lot of time, and try to treat my self with some fruit, not some sugary treat all the time 🙂 I try to enjoy a few different classes at my gym ( pilates, Gag, Yoga) and I try to run 5k once a week. Other than that, I see very few results but I feel a lot better. I may need to improve my gym routine, but I understand your struggles. I’ve been there and I’m still there, trying. Go Girl!

  • I honestly don’t recommend trying to do an at home workout routine once you get to Nashville. I feel that it’s so much easier to talk yourself out of working out when you’re at home. You may obviously be different, but for me, group fitness is the only thing that works. It keeps me motivated, and it’s fun. I hate trying to work out on my own. Plus, it will be a good way for you to meet people in a new town!

  • Hi Elsie –

    Thanks for writing this. You’re (both!) so awesome for doing so, honestly, it’s really open of you. I can empathise with every single word too! It’s not very interesting, but I’m 33, and while I don’t need to lose a ton, I’d feel happier if I could lose a bit. My hubby and I recently started a Whole30 – which we love by the way – and so my next step is to move more. Step by step! Thanks for a positive, but honest piece.

  • Well done in fulfilling your accomplishments and also sharing with us! 🙂 be proud of yourself, I am (and I’m sure all of your readers are too)

    Keep up the good work! You go gurl 😉

    Dorky-and-weird.blogspot.com

    Xoxo Jessy

  • Elsie- I have been following your blog for over 7+ years (?!?) and always admired your style, beauty and body size. I would say it’s easy for a reader like me, an outsider looking at the beautiful images on your blog or Instagram, to think your fitness is easy for you because of your petite size. I appriciate you sharing your journey. I have had a bad relationship with food and not good with health, especially after having a baby.

    Thanks for motivation to get back on track!

  • Hi Elsie,

    Thank you so much for sharing, you’re such an inspiration. To be honest I had noticed your glow in recent photos 🙂 I’ve been going to a yoga/barre/pilates studio for a while now and I am so addicted. It is such a beautiful feeling to find fitness enjoyable after slogging it out like a chore for so many years.

    Sending love from Australia,
    Claire

  • Elsie,
    First off, you are beautiful, but I think it’s great your are focusing on your health and fitness. I too, do not have huge bad health issues, but 10 pounds (esp post baby!) can seem like a 100!!! What I have found helpful, and maybe will be helpful for you 🙂 … are two ladies. Chalene Johnson and JJ Virgin. Chalene is a super motivator with an awesome podcast (wait a minute, you probably already listen to her), and one for business too as well, just in case you haven’t heard of her. Also JJ sounds like a proponent of something similar to the Whole 30 thing but I don’t know. Either way, what has really changed how I have felt (enough to have reached out recently to start a new strength training class that seemed terrifying to me but has also been amazingly life changing) with the help of these ladies, is the focus on how things make you FEEL. I.e. if a food makes you feel bad, you don’t eat it. If exercise makes you feel good, you do it again…seems obvious but when your really re-set your focus on how you feel, instead of what you “should be doing” (eat this way, move that way to = this body), you find your motivator. Anyways, just very cool what you’re doing. I love you girls, and am so excited to see the new adventure in Nashville!
    Cheers, Erin

  • The Downtown Y on Church St. is the best gym I’ve ever been to. Tons of machines, a cinema room(!!), a rooftop pool, and their classes are some of the best I’ve taken. It’s one of the my favorite things about Nashville! 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing your story! I agree, this would be a tough subject for me to share too, I don’t like talking about body image at all for various reasons. But you took a great approach to it, mentioned what did and didn’t work for you, realizing everyone is different. I’ve had the same experience. Some things worked for me and others didn’t but over time you’ll find something that is perfect for you!

  • Thanks for sharing! I can totally relate with feeling in a fitness rut, but classpass is is something in giving a try so I can go to many different group classes and still feel like I’m shaking my fitness routine up.

  • I recently took up pole dancing at a private studio. I have gained so much confidence, feel sexier, have more grace and actually really enjoy working out!

    xoxo

  • Yay, that is so Awesome Elsie! I am doing the Whole 30 right now. This is my second time doing it and my husband is doing it along with me this time too. The one thing I notice is that I just feel way better. No more bloating and full stuffed feeling that I used to have.

  • This was really interesting to read 🙂 and by the way you are so beautiful 🙂

  • Cardio isn’t everyone’s cup of tea! Some bodies need more muscle to burn fat, so maybe strength training is more up your alley? Either way, I’ve always thought you looked wonderful, and yes, body image can be such a sensitive subject. I wish you the best on your fitness journey! (P.S. Check out Cassey Ho on YouTube for Pilates; she is amazing and you will feel so strong!)

  • Well done and thanks for sharing this. I think when you are a woman weigh and fitness probably follows you your whole life and will always have its ups and downs. Same here with me.
    Been having bit of a down but it is slowly going up again, yay. My husband and I have decided to start our own fitness plan and have a healthier lifestyle this summer. It is so nice to do this with your partner and you can motivate each other. I used to run but got issues with my knees. Wo in addition to my exercise class and his running we go for fast pasted walks in the morning for about 45min. I love it! We have a park in walking distance and it so lovely and free at the moment. And its great to have that time together to talk.
    Looking forward to read about and see your new place!!

  • Running is truly a mental game, and it’s funny because I was the girl who didn’t run a full mile in high school and would lie and say that I did…oops 😉 Now running is my therapy and it is truly amazing what exercise does for our minds, not just our bodies. I recently had double foot surgeries and have been out of the exercise/running game for 9 weeks. The way that I feel without it is like I’ve lost part of my body! Running is my third leg. Not to mention I feel sluggish and yucky about my body. Not fun! However this experience has taught me to rethink my relationship with food and my body. I have realized that I need to learn to love myself and be OK with my body with or without running. I also have learned I need to rely on other forms of exercise as running is so hard for our bodies. I’ve thought about barre and now you have me convinced! Thank you for sharing your story!
    Xx

    heapsofme.com

  • I was getting sort of emotional reading this because it was like reading my own story. I completely know how you feel about not losing weight and the guilt and frustration that comes with it. Ahhhh! I wish we could talk over a long cup of coffee too. I LOVED barre3 class btw and I highly recommend trying it. It’s like barre but with added pilates and yoga moves. Anyhoo- I’m completely inspired to try whole 30 after reading this post. Thank you for baring your soul and revealing a vulnerable side. I know it’s not easy to do. But it completely paid off!
    ♥Heather

  • I know your struggle with diets because I’ve been through it more than I’d like to admit. Since I was 15, I’ve been struggling to keep a healthy eating routine and being fit. I was never obese either, but never happy about my body image either. 2 years ago, I went through a very stressfull period; I quit my education because I couldn’t handle it and suddenly I found myself on a crossroad with a million different directions of which I didn’t know what to choose. I did not know where I wanted to go professionally without a higher diploma (I did not think I had a lot of options besides minimum wage jobs) but developed a serious fear of failure during my stride to reach that diploma that was making another education impossible for me too. My boyfriend and I always said we would go to Cape Town if we had the opportunity and in that time, we decided that might give me the peace of mind I needed. We went there for 6 weeks and it has changed my eating forever. Because of the stress, I already lost some weight (but in an unhealthy way, simply because stress was preventing me from eating) and in Cape Town, fresh fruits and vegetables were so cheap and delicious that it would have been a crime not to enjoy it. That, combined with a lot of excercise (my boyfriend and I love to windsurf and that was our main goal for Cape Town) completely resetted my eating habits AND way of thinking about food. It also gave me the peace of mind I needed to break away from dietting (because I finally found my body to be okay). I have never looked back and can honestly tell you I never deny myself of anything I like (like some great wine or crisps) because I am no longer focused on those ‘cheat foods’. I listen to my body instead of overthinking portion sizes and unlike what I thought before, it has made me eat less than before.
    I can honestly look into the mirror now and be happy with who I see. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have a killer body. But I know that what I put into it, is healthy (to a degree) and I know I have plenty of excercise for me to be healthy. That is what makes me proud of my body.
    I am very happy with your post, because it is nice to know there are other people out there struggling with the same things I struggled with!

  • Thank you for sharing! This sounds a lot like what I’ve experienced and it’s nice to not feel alone.

  • Congratulations on sharing this post. Body issues are definitely not as easy to share. My husband and I did a half marathon as well and he was upset about the lack of weight loss too. After we completed the challenge I pretty much stopped running entirely, it’s something I’d really like to get back into now.

    Kindness is the best accessory,
    Rebecca

  • You go girl!!! It’s always hard to stay motivated to work out, especially after a move, but taking care of yourself is so important. So don’t give up!! You should try Pure Barre!! I hadn’t heard of Pure Barre until I moved out to SoCal and I have been an addict since October. I used to run all the time and my knees would kill me and I switched to PB and LOVE it. I find that I have to do a little bit of cardio along with it, but I mainly do Pure Barre and I recommend it to everyone!

  • Yours is totally a story I can relate to- weight loss is hard no matter how much you want to lose and fitness can be tricky. Thanks for sharing. I am new to yoga and Zumba and love them in equal amounts!

  • Loved this! I just finished my first round of W30 in March and will start a second one in June. It’s changed my life and made my relationship with food so much healthier and has made me healthier in the process. Kudos to you for finding something that works for you! Enjoy your journey!

  • This post came at the perfect time for me. My husband and I are on day 15 of our Whole30. We have been so pleased with our results-more consistent energy, weight loss, and my adult acne is finally clearing up after years of trying everything, but we’ve started struggling with “wants” at the halfway point. We’ve considered having “treats” or calling it quits all together – “after all, 15 days is enough, right?.” We’ve been working hard to stick to it these past few days and this post really reminded me what I’m striving for and how far I’ve already come.

    So glad I read this today.

    Xoxo, Brooke.

  • Thanks so much for sharing. My story is very very similar. I was always fit and active growing up but as soon as I started working in offices and living on my own, my metabolism came to a complete halt. I gained 20 pounds for no apparent reason and couldn’t get it off no matter what I tried. i felt the same as you-petty, vain, ungrateful for wanting to just lose 10 pounds when I was still relatively smaller than most women around me. But I knew I wasn’t healthy and that my size wasn’t “me”, based on what I had felt like prior to the major changes. I did whole 30 three months before my wedding and it breathed new life in to my body! I started seeing a naturopath as well and it turned out that I had adrenal fatigue and leaky gut where you basically store all toxins in your body instead of flushing them out and causing vital bodily functions like digestion to take a back seat. Might be worth looking into if your struggles persist after whole 30. Apparently both are very common when you experience high levels of stress and have had illnesses that required antibiotics more than a couple of times. I’m back on a slight variation of whole 30 but it’s been almost 60 days now and I haven’t looked back. Coconut Bliss Ice cream (mint chocolate and pineapple coconut dream, mmm) and Inka plantain chips are absolute life savers!!

  • This is so awesome. I’ve been thinking about my diet/weight/body image/general dissatisfaction with my physical self for a week or so, and now you posting about your fitness story is fate nudging me on. I have Crohn’s disease and an ostomy bag, so I have to be really careful when it comes to eating anything with a lot of fiber, as it can cause an intestinal blockage. That said, there are still things I can eat (cinnamon applesauce is a constant in my life), and there are low-impact activities I can do (YogaGlo.com has been wonderful).

    So yes, I came up to my craft room to find a good dress pattern that’ll be a staple for my summer wardrobe, but I think I’ll go take my dog for a walk!

  • Thanks for sharing, Elsie! I’ve struggled with dieting for years and find myself envious of friends who’ve been successful with apps and books that don’t work for me. It’s nice to have a reminder that everyone’s fitness journey is different. Good luck with the next chapter of your fitness journey! I hope you find a gym or class in Nashville that keeps you motivated and inspired.

    If you haven’t already checked it out, you might consider Class Pass. It’s like a membership to a whole bunch of gyms and studios. I like it because it forces me out of my comfort zone to try new things. At the very least, it might be a good way to try out a bunch of places in your new city 🙂

  • I’m also really glad that you shared your story and have had success! There were several parts that I could easily identify with.

    I’d love to see some fun “mocktail” recipes!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this, I’ve been researching whole30 and plan to start next Sat! I find I am always tired, drink too much daily, crave Doritos and love cheese. This is going to be tough, which lets me know it is something I should do! I do love fruits and veggies too, so hopefully I can make it through. I mean I WILL make it through. Wish me luck!

  • Thanks for sharing your story. It was very encouraging. I think we all feel insecure in bathing suits. So it will always be a good topic to share about open and honestly.

  • Hi Elsie,
    I am a frequent reader of your blog and enjoy the majority of the content. You and your team are incredibly creative and delightful. However, as someone who works in eating disorder recovery I urge you (and your team) to consider the responsibility that you hold as influential women with a wide breadth of impact.

    When writing this type of post I hope that you would keep the following in mind: 35% of “normal dieters” progress to disordered eating. Also, please consider reading this article: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2015/03/diets_do_not_work_the_thin_evidence_that_losing_weight_makes_you_healthier.html

    If you would like to go further, I recommend the text – Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight
    by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor

    Deep thanks for doing some research in this area, or refraining from encouraging dieting or the restriction of food.

    With care,
    Rachel

  • Hi Rachel,

    In my opinion, Whole 30 is not unhealthy dieting, it’s completely the opposite. It’s even safe for pregnant women. 🙂

    I understand where you are coming from (I don’t want to encourage my readers to do anything harmful EVER- we’re on the same page), but I don’t think whole 30 crosses that line at all.

    I think it’s really healthy. When sharing my fitness story, I knew I would probably offend some (which is why it took me so long to share it) but I hope you can see how much care I put into it and that what I am encouraging is really just healthy living.

    Thanks for the links and for reading! :))

    Elsie

  • I’m dying to know where you got the floral yoga pants in the first picture!!

  • Yay, I’m so happy you shared this! A lot of it rings so true for me, too, and Emma’s story was the thing that kick started my own story of trying to be fit for life (before that I was just in my early twenties, hadn’t worried about it, like you don’t when you’re young, and had just been for a year or two starting to realize I needed to do something). I hate running. I HATE it. I want so badly to like it, and I’ve tried couchto5k more times than I can count. Everyone says if you do it enough you’ll like it, but it never was happening for me. Then I found Hot Hula. It’s not too big outside of like Hawaii and Vegas but it seems like you can find it around, at least once in every city. It’s dance-based. Hula/Polynesian dance based, like how Zumba is Latin-dance based. But it’s actually a focus on core workout instead of cardio. And I LOVE it! I feel like an Island girl, telling stories with my hands, being sexy in a way I’m comfortable with, and completely, totally, working my butt off. It is the only thing I’ve found that for me truly never feels like work or exercise (except the first class or two when you’re still getting it). I get so excited to go to class. And it felt for so long like running was the only thing that was considered legitimate, but I realized early on in a Hot Hula class that I was sweating and working more than the days I ran, without being miserable. So it’s about doing what you like. I actually made a tank top that I wear to my classes (using your quotable shirt tutorial!) that says “Running Is the Worst”, to be snarky since all I can find is inspirational running-quote workout shirts. I can only do it once a week and go to the gym other days, but I LOVE it! You should see if it is in Nashville yet (if there’s a Polynesian population it should be), and give it a shot!

  • Thanks for the reply, Elsie! And thank you for letting me share a bit from my perspective. I hope that you find the links helpful, I imagine that some of the information I shared could be illuminating, for you and your readers, to why dieting is such a struggle (short answer: because it sets people up for failure).

    Happy Memorial Day! 🙂

  • Hi Elsie,

    Thanks for sharing your story! Have you tried cardio kickboxing? I’ve started last July and I’ve never felt better. I don’t get sick as often. I’m more toned. My only diet change is eating less sugar. Good luck on your fitness journey. You look great already! 🙂

  • Thanks so much for sharing Elsie. I think your story is so relate able. I have gone through so many different fitness programs and fallen in a rut with working out too, but you’re right in that you have to find what works for you. Good luck with your fitness journey!! keep us posted 🙂

  • I usu. rly hate on you, but this post was very brave, and color me impressed. I completely relate, and something happens to a person’s body in his/her 30s that is so confusing (and sad). I, too, don’t want to completely focus on appearances or the the superficial (I have family members who’ve had plastic surgery for unnecessary and arbitrary reasons), because I feel like that’s a sliding slope to a state of being always unhappy. You are so, so right about fitness, and when you were at your strongest and probably healthiest, you were heavier. Sigh. I get it. Thanks for this post.

  • I don’t usually comment on blogs, but I loved your story. I’ve never been into fitness, but I lost 30 pounds by eating a plant-based diet. Sounds similar to the 30 diet, but obviously no meat, dairy or eggs. I do still have sugar in my life, but I’m more of a salty foods craver than a sugar one. I do need to get more active though…reaching 45 yo and the knees aren’t as strong as the should be. Thanks for your story!

  • ElsiE, you are so beautiful inside and out that I hope you focus on being healthy snd not on those pounds and also that you know how much of an inspiration you are to thousands of people! You are the bomb!!!!

  • This is super encouraging! Thanks, Elsie! Good luck finding a new class or routine in Nashville!

  • so happy for you and your achievements, elsie! especially since you did whole30- i’m paleo myself, and strongly support it. it’s great that you found stability in eating whole foods. keep up the good work. you are beautiful.

  • Thanks so much for sharing! I would definitely recommend checking out Tone It Up for more workout stuff too (and recipes… yum!). Their workouts have been INCREDIBLE for me- I seriously have never felt stronger or more toned- having arm muscles makes me feel like a powerful lady. They have an online group too where you can find other folks in your area who do the workouts too, and it’s really good for support- plus, city groups usually get together to do fun healthy stuff together too!

  • Thank you so much for posting your fitness story with us! As you mentioned, talking about body image can be an awkward topic to discuss. But I want to encourage you to continue striving for a positive body image and talking through your journey! I believe that’s the only way that we can overcome the weirdness of the discussion and begin to view our different body types and fitness journeys more positively! The vulnerability is hard, but I admire you so much for sharing pieces of your experiences on here to encourage others!

  • I am so glad to hear someone else experiences secret resentment towards their loved ones when their progress is more advanced and I feel like I am really struggling to lose a couple pounds! I’ve always been ashamed about that. I am just now realizing, after 28 years, that it does really boil down to genetics and a totally personal plan for yourself. Sugar is my best friend and worst enemy, as is exercise. Also, trying to find the time to work out has been a challenge. Do you do a little something every day, or do you switch it up? My boyfriend wants me to start getting up with him at 4:30 am, but that is just out of the question :). Thank you for sharing! The struggle is real and it’s deep!

  • I can totally relate to all of this. Also, the Whole 30 is really similar to the Reset I did from http://www.chriskresser.com. For me it was about maximizing health. I tried a million things, including growing up vegetarian, etc, and I find that the style of eating like in the Whole 30 is really what works best for my body. Lately, the transitions I’ve been under have taken a toll. I’ve started getting more activity again after a long time, and I’m working on eating better, though committing to 30 days is a bit much since we are hopping from place to place right now. All that is to say, much support and good feelings! I think a lot of us can relate to your journey.

  • Thanks for sharing! Fitness has always been a huge source of embarassment for me…I really hated working out at gyms, but I was never motivated enough to work out at home and that lead me to just being super out of shape. Then after a back injury last summer I decided it was time to get healthy and I joined the YMCA and it’s been the best experience. It’s so much more community oriented than the other trendy gyms out there. I feel totally comfortable and not judged. I’ve started taking one-on-one Pilates lessons and I feel great. I’ve never done anything that’s made me feel strong before, and now I can’t get enough! I’ve been getting really good at meeting my fitness goals cardio-wise, too. The gym is about a 15-20 minute walk from my apartment (I’m in NYC), and I find that having to walk that distance is really refreshing: it’s nice to really separate your chill/home area from your workout.

    Moral: YMCA’s are awesome, Pilates is cool, and thanks for sharing your story, fitness is so, so personal and I think a lot of people don’t understand how hard it is to talk about fitness even when it doesn’t relate to weight loss.

  • Thank you for sharing your personal fitness journey Elsie! You’ve got me thinking about trying the Whole30 diet. I’ve been gaining those extra pounds over the last half year and I know I’m not the healthiest I can be. Thank you for your inspiration. 🙂

    http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

  • Just an idea – class pass is now offered in Nashville. It is sort of like a mini membership at lots of places all in one. (lots of pilates, yoga, hot boxing, barre studios etc.) for less than the cost of a membership at any one place. I think it is a great way to try several styles and places out before you make a commitment.

    http://www.classpass.com for info

    I don’t work for them or anything I just figured it would be a great way to sample many of the popular studios when you first move to town and hopefully find something you love.

  • I have always wanted to take a Barre Class!!! Oh my goodness!! Do they have a beginner class for ADULTS? LOL!! The older I get (34) I am afraid I would be lumped in with little bity girls! LOL!! And was it reasonable compared to other gym classes?

  • Group fitness is a really great motivator especially if you find a place where you feel at home. Making workout friends is the best part! Good luck!

  • I’m so glad you shared this journey! I think its really positive and also reflects what a lot of people struggle with on a daily basis – whether that be stuck in a routine, unsure about sticking with a health plan, or fearing trying a new way to workout. Its inspiring when someone (you) tells their fitness journey because, at least for me, it helps with my own! Sometimes it can all just feel intimidating because there is SO much information out there, too! You mentioned being open to suggestions for the time you move – I’ve moved a LOT in my adult life, and when I can’t consistently find a gym or a class (esp DURING transition when all the boxes haven’t been unpacked and you’re right in the thick of it!), I follow along with a girl named Zuzka Light. She has DVDs you can buy, but I just utilize her free videos which are all over youtube and her own website. Her workouts span from beginner to ULTRA challenging and what’s great is they last 15-30 min. She gears them around things you can do at home. I know it doesn’t sound like long, but they are AMAZING. She’s VERY encouraging, as well and not intimidating at all. Anyway! Good luck on your move! I’m excited to see where it takes your life/business/success! LOVE your blog. Best to you and the whole team! Anna

  • I have also a lot of ups and downs.
    And indeed, in times I ate rather healthy and sported a lot,
    the weight would go away.
    It doesn’t feel encouraging, so I started eating like I used to.
    If I wasn’t losing anything, was it worth the sacrifices I made?

    I know it is wrong to think like that, I felt really good because of all the sports, but still.
    Some people say that they look up at me, that I’m so dedicated.
    I really have no choice. If I would eat like half of my friends do, you could roll me to school right now.

    I try to hold on, but it’s hard to find challenging and cool sports to do. I used to dance 12 hours a week,
    but since I study in a big city, there’s not that much time left.

    Thanks for sharing your journey Elsie!

    x
    The Losing Struggle | Bloglovin’

  • Love your story Elsie! Always good to step out of the box. I gave up the alcohol two years ago and it was the best thing I ever did for my body. It’s poison to me and wreaks havoc on so many body parts. I will never take another sip. Look forward to trying the whole 30!

  • THANK YOU!!

    This is the encouragement I’ve needed while stuck in the “rut” of figuring out how to be healthy and fit. You have said it so lovely.

    You are stunning 🙂