So here is my story for you:

I found FUELhouse at a time when I was needing a lifeline, but had mostly decided that my metabolism had checked out and changed such that I was never really going to be any different than what I was. I’ve always been active and though my weight had fluctuated a bit through my life, it hadn’t been something I’d thought about a lot until the last few years. What I’d experienced was a gradual creep up of my weight. Nothing too alarming all at once, but slowly I was gaining about 5 lbs. a year and was at about 20 pounds from where I thought I wanted to be. My clothes were getting tight (or just too small) and I really didn’t want to buy new clothes in a bigger size. I was really frustrated because I had been doing ClassPass/barre classes and was already working out 4-5 days a week and was eating pretty healthy, so I didn’t think that any program was really going to change that. I’d tried cleanses, “challenges”, checked my thyroid…none of those things really helped at all.

I decided to sign up for the 60-day Transformation in September of 2015 at FUELhouse mostly just because I thought it was a good deal on membership and wanted a little nutrition coaching. Before day 1, Molly arranged for the guy with the “body fat dunk tank” to come for the most accurate testing of your body fat percentage. I showed up, got myself dunked and waited to hear my body fat percentage. I knew I needed some work, but the dude that ran our dunk testing proceeded to tell me that, based on my fat percentage, I was “obese.”  I promptly walked into the gym, took one look at Molly (who I didn’t really know all that well at the time) and started crying.

After putting me back together as well as she could, Molly did the “before” pictures when I was still wet from the dunk tank and my tears. I look at those pictures today and it physically hurts me because I remember exactly how shitty and defeated I felt at that moment. And while I gave Molly and Megs a smile and told them I was all in for the 8 week Transformation program, I was also pretty honest that I didn’t really think it was going to work.

But I started. I took notes on everything Megs said at that first nutrition seminar and I met with her a few times privately. I had absolutely no sense of how much protein I needed or how much I was actually getting. When I heard 2/3 my body weight in grams of protein a day, I even put !! next to that in my notes, thinking there was no way I could do that considering how I dislike eating meat (no mammals…never had to change that!). I also remember telling Megs that I didn’t think it would work for me because we eat out a lot and I did not want to be the person making weird substitutions and being high maintenance.

I wanted to change my body, but I wasn’t willing to drastically alter my lifestyle…thankfully, I found out that with incredibly sensible plan I was presented, I didn’t have to. Don’t get me wrong, I really seriously committed to that 60-day plan. I grocery shopped, I packed lunch, I food prepped and I followed all the suggestions. BUT I also still had a few cocktails, I still went out to dinners and I still lived my life – I even went on a trip to Hawaii during my 60-days. I came to the gym 4-5 days a week. I took pictures of the workouts on the boards and, when I wasn’t in town, I did my best to recreate the workouts on my own.

I started to feel more confident and competent in the gym, instead of just staring at the weights like I used to and then giving up for a lame stint on an elliptical machine like I would have before. I began to realize that I could just leave off whatever useless starchy thing was on the menu with my protein at restaurants and just double the veggies – and that that didn’t seem obnoxious or high maintenance. Instead of giving up eating out, I tried to make some different choices about where I ate out – leaning towards places where I knew it would be easier to get protein and veggies (i.e. Thai food) and trying not to suggest places where I’d be tempted and too limited (i.e Italian).

I was pleasantly surprised though that, with a little creativity, there weren’t many places that I couldn’t make it work and feel pretty good about it. Also, I found that I was really wanting a treat every night, but instead of cookies, Megs encouraged me to buy some really good dark chocolate and eat a few squares and really enjoy it. So I totally worked that in and still enjoy my 2-3 squares almost every night (and spend a fortune on really good chocolate…worth it!).

When our 8-week Transformation was up, I knew I’d had physical changes because of how my clothes were fitting, but I had no idea how many inches I had lost. On top of that, I felt stronger than I ever had and was finally feeling like my body was working for me! Maybe the best part of the whole thing was when I realized that I didn’t know if the 8-weeks was over or if we had one more, because I was not counting the days until it was over and I could “stop”. That was when it really hit me that I’d finally made that whole sustainable lifestyle change that I thought was impossible/sort of bullshit until it happened to me. That was in November of 2015. At that point, I had lost 12 pounds and 6.5 inches in the 8-week challenge! I was terrified that the end of the transformation, especially with the upcoming holiday season, that I would slowly revert back…but it didn’t!

Since that 8-week Transformation, I’ve continued to aim for 4-5 days a week at FUELhouse. I still take pictures of the boards and do the workouts on my own when I’m gone. I stopped food logging (but started again for Ignite!), but have continued to be really mindful of how much protein I eat and have limited my carbs (mostly) to those of the complex, whole food variety. But do I eat out? Heck yeah. Do I have cocktails? Definitely! Do I eat a delicious dessert now and again? For sure! I still do all things that I thought I would have to basically abandon in order to attain the goals I had when I first started, but I approach it differently without thinking about it anymore.

I signed up for Ignite because I want to maintain the transformation and increase my strength. There is still part of me that is afraid that what happened was too good to be true, so I wanted another reminder of all the great stuff that got me to going. Last week I asked Molly to do my measurements and take my pictures, because she did the very first set on that sad day after the dunk tank. I hadn’t done measurements in over a year, so I was curious. Then we dug out the “before” picture from that day and put it next to the pictures from last week…even though it’s my body, I totally surprised myself.

Since my dunk tank moment, I’ve lost just over 30 lbs., 18 inches (!!) and I can now do a pull up! I did have to buy all those new clothes that I didn’t want to buy before, but it felt a lot better doing it because I needed smaller clothing than the way I was headed at the beginning. I turned 40 last December and because of everything that I’ve learned and done at FUELhouse, I feel stronger and healthier than I ever have. So grateful for this amazing place!

-Brit Mercer