As a visibly ripped and fit food blogger, you’d never guess that Elizabeth Nyland of the blog Guilty Kitchen ever struggled with her weight. But in fact, before she ever hit her teenage years she was already well into a years-long battle with weight gain.
At age 18, Elizabeth stood at just 5 foot 4 inches tall and weighed 185 pounds. Now, at age 29 (and the same height) she’s down to a happy 125. But getting to that point wasn’t easy.
“I was not very active and I didn’t have a very healthy diet either. I don’t like to blame my parents, as they didn’t know any better. But the food I was provided with (canned soups, macaroni and cheese, heavy meats with fattening sauces, lots of rice and potatoes, frozen vegetables, too much cheese, bread, etc.) was not healthy,” she recalled. “At 13 I had surgery on my spine to correct a severe scoliosis curve and after that the weight really started to pile on.”
The biggest struggle Elizabeth had to wrestle with in achieving a healthy lifestyle was a healthy diet. “As a food blogger, chef and all around food nerd, I had a hard time giving up all the bad foods.” So when it came time to lose the weight, Elizabeth turned to various diets. Through plenty of trial and error, she eventually found what worked best for her.
“I’ve been on the road to weight loss for so long I’ve tried everything: Vegetarian, vegan, Atkins, Weight Watchers, specific macros, low fat, etc. The most successful diet choice I’ve made (the one that keeps me full and satisfied, doesn’t make me feel deprived and actually gets results fast) is Paleo,” she said. “I aim to eat the Paleo/Primal way for the rest of my life.”
While her diet allowed her to lose a significant amount of weight, Elizabeth turned to intense exercise to tone and strengthen her body. “I started with walking and roller blading, then yoga, running, weights, etc. I employed various Beachbody programs for a while, and now I am a staunch believer in CrossFit.”
On her blog Elizabeth recently wrote, “Then I started really looking into this beautiful world that exists on the periphery of fitness. A group of people that like to lift heavy things for short periods of time. Barely any of the dreaded cardio, only short bursts of running and workouts only lasted for usually no more than 30 minutes, tops. I dove head first into that world.” Proof of her success with Crossfit came when she realized how strong and lean she’d become, being able to do 20 even 30 push ups in a row no problem.
As a wife and a mother to two kids – a 4-year-old-son and a 2-year-old daughter – Elizabeth recalls having various support systems to cheer her on in her weight loss journey. “At first I was alone in my struggle, but I have my husband who is on a fitness journey with me now.”
For this fit-flutential blogger and Under Armour ‘What’s Beautiful‘ spokeswoman, Elizabeth’s “a-ha” moment came after a healthy dose of self acceptance. “Stop trying to be perfect. Stop wanting to be smaller and smaller,” she says. “I stopped being on a ‘diet’ and now I just eat. I want to be fit, strong and healthy and that’s what we should all strive for. We are all different packages and can’t pigeon hole ourselves. We are not all models and actors, nor should we strive to look like them.”
Being that weight and body image has been nearly a lifelong struggle, Elizabeth has much to say on the topic is to stay focused and never give up.
“Goals vary from person to person, but we all have the same desire: To get to those goals as quickly as possible,” she said. “Sometimes we forget that things don’t happen right away. If you’ve started a diet recently or a new fitness program, it takes weeks to see real results and even longer for other people to notice them. If you just stick to the program, eat well, exercise and get yourself moving, you will see the results you want.”
In addition, she stressed the importance of not obsessing over numbers on a scale and instead on how you feel. “When you start to feel those results,” she said, “it really is an ‘ah ha’ moment!”
Though she’d previously gotten down t 115 pounds, Elizabeth felt she was too skinny and wasn’t entirely happy with her figure. Her plan now is to get to at least 130 or 135 pounds and gain more muscle and strength in the process. Based on her incredible transformation and progress so far, this is a feat we have no doubt she’ll manage to achieve.