Before: 162 lbs
After: 124 lbs
In May of 2016, I was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life. I moved to New York City in July of 2013 and became completely career-oriented, which made it difficult to strike a work-life balance. I was eating anything and everything. I wasn’t necessarily in a dark or unhappy place to begin with, but my eating habits led to weight gain and that began to make me unhappy. I joined ClassPass in 2015 with hopes of finding a workout to fall in love with, but nothing was clicking. On top of that, I felt so busy at work that I was only going to three or four classes a month.
1/6 Blair Helwig
My journey began when I was asked to be a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding. The wedding was in November of 2016, but we ordered the dresses very early in May. I ordered size 10 and 12 in a variety of cuts, but I was unhappy with the way all of them looked. That was the moment I knew I had to make a change. I had plenty of time, so I committed to lose weight in time for that wedding, six months down the road.
I work in TV and originally heard of Kira Stokes because she trains Norah O’Donnell of CBS This Morning. I did some research and it just so happened that Kira’s barre class is on ClassPass. After hearing her praises, I decided it was worth a shot. I started going to that class every Thursday morning for a month before I got the courage to try her other, more intense classes.
It was actually Kira who encouraged me to try one of her Stoked360 classes, which were seriously tough. I told her that I didn’t think I was ready because I was new to working out at that level. She assured me that with practice, I’d improve.
2/6 Blair Helwig
After starting with barre, I worked my way up to Kira’s Stoked360 class, which is high-intensity circuit training. I’d never been in a class like this before where there are no real breaks and it goes for over an hour (75 minutes to be exact). In Kira’s world, jumping rope while she explains the next circuit is resting. With each circuit, we work on strength, cardio, or specific muscle groups. It was crazy-difficult at first, but as Kira said, the more I worked at it, the better I got. During my first month of working out, I also got a FitBit to keep me on track—I was that person walking around the office trying to get 10,000 steps in. (Speed up your progress towards your weight-loss goals with Women's Health's Look Better Naked DVD.)
As I continued to work out with Kira, I gained more confidence. This led me to try other workout classes like Barry’s Bootcamp, The Fhitting Room, and Brooklyn Bodyburn.
I took a pretty aggressive approach to my workouts after that initial month of trying to lose weight in barre class, I started taking Kira’s 360 class three days a week while slowly trying new classes. After a month of that, I began supplementing the rest of the week with other classes or a run consistently. Today, I still stick to this schedule of working out five to six times a week.
3/6 Blair Helwig
My eating habits didn't change drastically at first, I just implemented small changes in order to eat smarter. I'd start my day with a post-workout protein shake or oatmeal. Lunch was usually a salad with veggies and lean protein. I tried to incorporate lots of protein and complex carbs into my breakfast and lunch so that I maintained my energy throughout the day. Dinner was often veggie-based with a lean protein like salmon. I tried to avoid eating carbs at night because it makes me feel bloated the next day. This is the same meal plan I stick to today.
I also made a conscious effort to keep sugar and junk out of my apartment. I’ve found that if it isn’t there, I don’t eat it.
Now that I’m focused on maintaining my weight rather than losing, I've shifted my eating plan a bit. For example, when I was trying to lose weight, I wouldn't touch the bread basket at dinner and I steered clear of all desserts. Now, I’m able to eat those things in moderation—pizza, a scooped out bagel with lox and cream cheese, cheesecake, basically I love all the classic New York foods.
4/6 Blair Helwig
Being in tune with and listening to my body was vital to losing weight. About three months into the process, I pleateaued at 140 pounds. When this happened, I evaluated my workouts and eating habits to see where I could’ve gone wrong. I figured out that I was slacking on my diet a little bit due to my busy work schedule. At the time, I was working weekends and whenever that happens, the company offers catering. Those meals were not the healthiest—and it's really hard to say no to a cookie when it's right in front of your face! I just had to remind myself of my goals and lean on the support from friends, family, and coworkers. Everyone saw that I'd made changes to get that far, so they were super supportive.
Establishing a workout schedule was also huge for me because of my busy professional life. That's where planning ahead comes in. If I want to have brunch or go to happy hour with my friends, I do that, but I plan my workouts and eating habits the rest of the week accordingly. I'll balance my meals by having something lighter or cleaner after an indulgence, so I'm not eating excessively.
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5/6 Blair Helwig
I have more confidence in every facet of my life now, from my work life to what I wear. In six months, I went from a size 10 to size four and lost 38 pounds.
Now I’m healthier. I feel stronger. I’m even running a half-marathon in April! Running has never been a passion of mine, but it’s a new challenge for me. Because my weight is down, I’m willing to try challenges I never would have in the past.
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6/6 Blair Helwig
I learned that I am my own worst enemy. I had to be motivated and find that spark within myself. For me, that spark came from finding a method that works for me. Before Kira, I’d never found a workout that I truly enjoyed. But now I’m addicted to it—in the best way. I used to hate working out before her.