Hi, everyone! My name is Joanna, I'm 28 years old, and I am a professional weight loss coach. I have personal experience with losing a large amount of weight. In total, I've lost 130+ lbs– on my own, completely, without any kind of surgery or gimmicks. I've become an expert on nutrition, vitamins, supplements, & how to lose weight– and keep it off. It's my goal in life to share my knowledge of weight loss & nutrition with those who want to change their lives, forever. It was through sheer determination, a plethora of personal experience, and an enormous amount of research that I became the weight loss & nutrition expert that I am today.
I Can Help You Accomplish:
- Weight Loss
What to Expect
I will sit down with you and go over your current eating and exercise habits. We will review where you want to be and how you will get there. I will slowly transition your current eating lifestyle into one that will aim you towards weight loss and success. A typical training session will include exercise instruction, nutrition instruction, and general weight loss guidance. We will review progress, weigh-in, measure non-scale victories, and discuss all concerns. I will come to your level, meet you where you're at, and help you get to where you've always wanted to be.
Client Success Story
I wasn't always "heavy". As a child, I was incredibly skinny– scrawny, even. I participated in sports, ran track, and was relatively active. Then, in 2008, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on a medication– Depakote. I do not condemn the use of medication for mental illness. In fact, I believe that if someone finds a medication that works, that's absolutely fantastic and should be celebrated. Unfortunately, Depakote was not that medication for me. Over the course of 3 months, I gained 100 lbs. It gave me an appetite like nothing I had ever experienced before and made me swell like a balloon. It was nightmarish. By the time my psychiatrist realized what was happening, it was too late. It was the beginning of a slippery slope that I began falling down.
I began drinking alcohol as a way of self medication, smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day, was almost always off my medications, and used food as a way to cope emotionally. My life was utterly, completely out of control and I was incredibly unhealthy– both mentally & physically. It all came to a head in 2012, when I was hospitalized for my bipolar disorder. It was the first time that I began taking my mental health seriously. After I was released, I began group therapies, saw therapists, and began the journey of mental recovery. Slowly but surely, I developed coping mechanisms, became more self-aware, and eventually went into mental illness remission. I was able to quit smoking cigarettes but used food to replace the addiction and gained more weight because of it.
On August 23, 2014, my younger brother got married. It was the day I realized that I was the heaviest I had ever been. I was hovering at about 278, had edema in my feet and legs, and was on the verge of becoming pre-diabetic. I remember going on vacation with my mom & step-dad later that year and having horrible leg pain from walking up and down a flight of stairs and could barely walk down the street. I wished so badly that I could lose weight, now that I was stable, mentally. But I didn't even know where or how to begin. Losing over 100 lbs seemed like an impossible, daunting task. I had gained a total of 130 lbs since high school and thought that weight loss would always and forever be a secret wish of mine, and nothing more.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." –Lao Tzu
Two weeks before my 28th birthday, I came across an Authority Nutrition article. It talked about strategies for losing weight and watching what you put in your body. It sparked my interest and I thought to myself, "Why not? Why not try it out? I literally have nothing to lose, except weight."
I started my journey of a thousand miles with a single step the next day and I have never looked back.
It has been a tremendous journey. And I feel as though I have learned– SO. MUCH. The forums on My Fitness Pal were incredibly helpful and insightful. People sharing their stories empowered me to keep going.
Some of the things that I found most useful were:
–"Consistency is key." This has been the foundation of my success. I learned that if I could *consistently* eat well and exercise, day after day, that I would see results. It was like a formula– if I ate healthy foods + added exercise = I would see results. If one burns more calories than they take in, they will lose weight. Calories in VS. calories out.
–"Eat well to lose weight & exercise to gain muscle." Before I started my weight loss journey, I had no concept of nutrition or being aware of *what* I was putting in my body. I would sit in front of the T.V. and mindlessly eat, often until I was so full of bad food that I felt sick. I would eat foods loaded with fat, salt, & grease. I would eat out, all the time. Drive through to get my food. And I had no idea *what* I was putting in my body. It was a slow process of learning. I started incorporating more veggies into my diet. Started using less butter, less salt. I ate more fruits as opposed to chips and cut soda entirely out of my diet. I began drinking water and coffee, eventually opting to drink it black, with no creamer. I was absolutely determined and eventually learned to love it! Now, I only drink coffee & water. Sports drinks & fruit juice are loaded with excess sugar and pretend to be healthy but in reality are not. I learned to read the labels of absolutely everything I put in my body and overtime, began eating an entirely clean diet, consuming foods with as few ingredients as possible. I added in multi-vitamins, supplements, and became healthier and healthier with each passing day! It's the quality of what you put in your body and the quantity that determines weight loss. In combination, exercise can absolutely help you lose weight. Exercising promotes weight loss and burning calories but also builds muscle. And you can't outrun a bad diet. What you put in your body counts.
–"Keep your body guessing." You get bored with the same exercise, day in and day out– And so does your body. I learned that if I mixed it up, pushed my body and muscles in ways that kept it guessing, I would burn more and as a result, lose weight more consistently.
–"Too much salt = water weight." I learned early on that consuming too much salt meant water weight. When one digests too much salt, the cells in your body release water in order to balance out the massive salt intake. Our bodies are essentially like the ocean, in a sense. Once I began closely watching my salt intake, the weight began dropping off much faster.
At 278, it was incredibly difficult to move. I tried exercise videos like Leslie Sansone's "Walk At Home" videos, but it was extremely challenging for me. After years of being so inactive, I had little to no endurance and the amount of flesh on my body made it impossible to exercise at the rate I needed to lose weight.
I did some research and realized that I was going to need something I could do while sitting down, at least until I built my endurance, lost some weight, and could move around more easily. That was when I went out and bought a cheap exercise bike. At first, I could only do 10 minutes at a time, with very little resistance. But it was a start. I pushed myself hard and threw myself into it. Over time, I pushed harder for longer, started doing cardio, and lifting weights. I eventually started jogging and running. The more weight I lost, the harder I pushed. The harder I pushed, the better my endurance became. I was determined to stay consistent, to become the best version of myself. I was so tired of hating my body, of being so unhealthy, of feeling uncomfortable in my skin. So I changed it. I had become agoraphobic over the years, due to feeling so insecure. I wanted to LIVE my life, not just exist. With each pound I lost, with each new non-scale victory I saw, I became more and more empowered.
I learned that keeping track of the number on the scale is an important factor, but *NOT* the ONLY factor. It's like weighing a piece of fruit– The scale only tells you the weight of the fruit. Not the color, or if it's rotten or ripe, or the quality of it. The scale is a tool, a facet and lens with which to understand our bodies better. But people often become obsessed with the number. Often people lose inches around their waist without seeing a change on the scale.
Muscle weighs more than fat. If one is lifting weights or exercising, gaining muscle will happen. So often, in our society, there is such a great emphasis placed on the scale. But athletes often weigh much more, being that they have much more muscle. Bone density and the size of the frame of one's body can play a role in one's weight. I think it's so essential to be comfortable with one's weight, but most of all– to be healthy. The body needs food to operate. GOOD, healthy food. If you put bad fuel in your "car", your "car" won't run well. But if you put awesome fuel in your "car", it will take you to wonderful places, that you couldn't get to, otherwise!
There were days that were hard, definitely– Days that I had to PUSH myself to exercise and had to fight cravings for food. Days that I gorged on bad foods and felt incredibly guilty. I decided that, every single night, I wanted to go to bed and be PROUD of myself. To say that I made the MOST of that day. That I ate the best I could and exercised the best I could. Often people will say "I'll eat better tomorrow." And tomorrow never comes. NO! Eat better NOW! All we have is NOW. Yesterday is gone, a lesson we can learn from. Tomorrow may or may not come– it's not guaranteed. All we have is TODAY. Make the *MOST* of TODAY!
It gotten easier, though, with time and practice. The cravings stopped, my taste buds evolved, and soon I was steaming my veggies with no butter or salt added, not because I was being a masochist, but because I now prefer my vegetables like that. I learned to incorporate a variety of nutritious foods. I learned that it is so essential to have BALANCE. Balance is key. I broke my sugar addiction, learned how to balance my nutrients, watched my salt intake closely, and kept moving forward. Always moving forward. I was determined to not be stagnant and to be continually improving myself.
It used to be that I hated any kind of physical exertion. Now? I *crave* the challenge. I crave the endorphins. It's not so much that I want them, so much as I NEED them. It feels so wonderful to push my body and feel it operate like a machine. To know that what I put in my body enhances my performance, makes me move better. To choose food that makes me a better athlete. I always want to become better, faster, stronger. To become the best that I can possibly be.
Over the last year (since August 2016), I've lost over 100 lbs. The year before that, I lost about 30 or so. But the majority of my health transformation has taken place within the last year. It has been such an incredible journey. I've changed my lifestyle, completely. And that's what it is– A lifestyle change, not a diet. "Diets" end. You have to change your lifestyle, completely, wholly, entirely. And that's another point I want to address.
You *CANNOT* go from a 5,000 calorie a day diet that includes fatty, greasy foods and a plethora of unhealthy options directly into a 1200 calorie a day diet where you're only incorporating salads and the like. Unless there is an absolutely dire medical crisis where one MUST change their diet so quickly and drastically lest they die, I do not recommend a transition of that kind so suddenly. That is so often why people fail– They put their body (and mind) into shock. They need to adjust, and transition, slowly.
What I would recommend: Change your diet slowly. Allow your body & mind to catch up. If you drink 7 cups of soda a day, cut it down to 5 and then next week, 4. If you slowly transition, it allows your body to adjust, and your mind, as well. And if you're used to 3 or 4 thousand calories a day, don't cut it so low so fast. Slowly bring it down. Allow your body to adjust. It's just a suggestion, but I honestly feel that's one of the reasons I was able to succeed. I slowly weeded out the bad food, learned what good, healthy foods to incorporate and adjusted, with time. It's a bit of a shock to go from McDonald's to organic/1 ingredient foods in one day.
Overall, it's been a phenomenal journey. I feel as though I've learned so much, and I'm still learning. I never want to stop learning. I always want to become better, faster, stronger. I feel like my mental clarity, as well as physical, has transformed, completely. I think so much more clearly than before, I think in due part to incorporating nutritious foods, vitamins/supplements, & exercising so consistently. A goal of mine is to eventually walk/run in some 5ks! I LOVE to push myself, knowing that it improves me both mentally and physically. I'm building muscle and toning and always wanting to improve!
- My Home
- 12209 Willard Ave.
- Garfield Heights, OH 44125