Lauren Marks was accustomed to always being involved in fitness, whether it was on a sports team or working out in the gym. Once Lauren got married and started a family, fitness was no longer one of her top priorities. Determined to get back in shape, Lauren accepted a friend’s invite to a local gym and never looked back. Continue reading for her full story.
POPSUGAR: What made you want to embark on your weight-loss journey?
Lauren Marks: Throughout my entire life I was involved in fitness in one way or another. I participated in sports from an early age and continued into my adult years, then life took over. I got married and started a family. Between 2011 and 2016 I had four beautiful children. On my journey to becoming a wife and mother, I lost my fitness routine and — let’s be honest — my body. I wanted to get back into shape, and a friend invited me to try SWAT Fitness with her. So I did, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
PS: How much weight have you lost to date and how long did it take?
LM: I started SWAT in June of 2017 at 195 pounds, and I am happy to say I just had my one year anniversary, and I am currently at 143 pounds. Over the course of that year I lost 52 pounds, 15 inches in total — dropping from a 14 pant size to a size two — and went from 33 percent body fat to 15 percent.
PS: How did you lose the weight? Did you follow a specific diet or do a specific workout?
LM: I accomplished my weight loss through the amazing guidance from the SWAT Fitness team. The workouts consisted of high-intensity interval training with some days of slower, heavier lifting. I believe the key to my success was consistency. I showed up every day, some days were definitely better than others, but I was there moving and pushing my body. I listened to the trainer preach, “Trust our system; it works!” — I did, and it did!
PS: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
LM: Diet did play a huge factor in my success. I typically try to eat clean as much as possible — no specific diet title or group. I just try to eat whole foods that come from the earth. This isn’t always 100 percent manageable with four kids, but I try to eat clean for 90 percent of my meals and leave a little room to cheat. I eat often and listen to my body. When it tells me “I am hungry,” I eat. I eat lots of vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy grains. I utilize a lot of clean-eating cookbooks to keep my meals interesting.
PS: Does your diet change on the days you work out?
LM: If my workouts are cardio based, I eat foods that are high in energy to fuel my body and recover, like nuts, apples, and lean proteins. If I am lifting heavier weights, I eat foods that help with muscle growth and recovery, like oatmeal, eggs, cottage cheese, and whole grains.
PS: Do you count calories? Why or why not?
LM: I have never been one to be able to count calories consistently over a long period of time. For me, putting the right foods in my body versus staying under a certain number of calories was more important. It is possible to stay under a specific amount of calories without providing the body with the actual nutrients it needs.
PS: What are some nonscale victories you’ve experienced?
LM: The biggest nonscale victory I have achieved is the [improved] energy, quality of time spent with my children, and the example I am setting for them in regards to fitness. It is so rewarding to see my children doing push-ups with me or wanting to exercise with me. Through our gym we had a 10-mile run challenge; my 6-year-old daughter wanted to support me and decided she would ride her bike alongside me. Halfway through I asked her if she wanted to stop, and she said, “No, Mommy, if you can do it, I can do it.” I was so proud of both her and myself. Finishing a 10-mile run is something I never would have dreamed of doing a year ago.
PS: What has been the most challenging aspect of your weight-loss journey? How did you overcome it?
LM: The most challenging aspect of my weight-loss journey was making the time. I work a full-time 50-hour-a-week job, I’m a full-time mom and wife, and somehow I needed to find the time in my day to work out. It was difficult at first to justify the time away from my family and my children, but my husband was a big support and a huge key to my success. He encouraged me throughout the whole thing. He also changed his whole diet and made dinners to support my weight loss and fitness needs.
PS: What keeps you motivated?
LM: I stay motivated through creating new goals for myself. I found a gym that I love and that creates a challenging environment that continually tests physical growth. There are constant measures of your physical success, whether it is max-effort weightlifting, timed speed and agility, or completing a super-intense cardio Monday! The gym is full of encouraging people at all different fitness levels rooting each other on.
PS: Do you have any advice or tips for people on their own journey?
LM: My advice for anyone starting their fitness journey is to find a fitness avenue that they enjoy doing. There are so many different ways to get in shape or live a healthy life. There are CrossFit gyms, traditional gyms, yoga, Pilates, ballroom dancing, bicycling, and so many more. I would encourage someone to find something that they enjoy doing and use that to reach their fitness goals.
Image Source: Lauren Marks