I would guess that most people have a number on the scale that causes them to feel a sense of dread as they slowly see themselves approaching that number. No, the number doesn’t define our worth, but it often affects how we see ourselves. I hit my number right before my 39th birthday at the end of November. It was the most I had ever weighed while not pregnant and my dissatisfaction was bigger than just seeing a disappointing number on the bathroom scale. I could barely squeeze into any of the pants in my closet and I was tired of leggings being the only pant option that I could comfortably wear for an entire day. I carry all my extra weight in my midsection and I was starting to look suspiciously pregnant (despite my best efforts at hiding it) and coming face to face with that dreaded number was enough to convince me that it was finally time to start building healthier habits. I had been on a slippery slope of poor eating with minimal exercise ever since the pandemic struck last March and I finally vowed to do something to make me feel proud of this body that had grown, birthed, and nourished two beautiful babies, rather than feeling disappointed.
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To understand the full story of how I came to be so frustrated with my body, I need to take you back to late last fall. I was in surprisingly good shape after having Harvey, thanks to the forced diet that comes from managing gestational diabetes, and unexpectedly came out of my pregnancy weighing less than when I got pregnant. Then I stopped breastfeeding while we were getting to the bottom of Harvey’s dietary issues and COVID came along – which meant I wasn’t burning through my calories at the same rate, but I started eating and drinking more foods for comfort during a very stressful time.
The next thing I knew, summer had arrived and I found myself purchasing several new tops and shorts because I had gained a few pounds and wasn’t comfortable wearing any of my previous clothes. As I was starting to feel discontented with the ways my body was changing, one of my friends from the teacher-blogging world shared her experience and before and after photos of a program she was trying called Burn Fat and Feast. Her post caught my attention. This was a mom with three young children (including a baby younger than Harvey) that stopped complaining and start changing her lifestyle. I was intrigued, but I wasn’t ready to make any sort of actual change myself. Food, after all, has been one of the few comforts Rob and I enjoyed since the onset of COVID when everything else around us seemed to be changing and disappearing. I enjoyed my daily sweets and nightly cocktails way too much to set them aside.
I wasn’t ready for a lifestyle overhaul, but I vowed to get more exercise and take longer walks with the kids each day. It was a great plan, but it just wasn’t working. Mostly because Dessa was getting more headstrong and it became a daily battle to get her out the door at all, let alone ride willingly in the stroller. Taking an incredibly slow stroll around the block with a toddler leading the way was a far cry from pushing a 90+ lb. stroller at a steady pace with 2 children contained inside. Daily walks slowed to a trickle and became nearly nonexistent once cold weather rolled in. Meanwhile, I kept on eating, drinking, and watching the dreaded number on the scale approach.
As I watched my weight creep up on the scale, I seriously considered doing the Whole30. After all, the most challenging aspect of the Whole30 was always staying on track during parties and social events. It is no fun being at a gathering when you can just drink water or club soda and munch on a bunch of plain meat and vegetables. From that perspective, quarantine was the absolute best time to do a Whole30 because our calendar was clear and the Whole30 was always a success for me in the past. Each time I completed a round of the Whole30, I easily dropped 5 pounds each time without ever breaking a sweat and my clothes fit always better. In the end, I rejected the idea of completing another round of the Whole30 because it always felt like too much to give up for 30 days.
(If you’re not familiar with the Whole30, it’s basically a 30-day commitment to only put healthy foods and drinks into your diet. Participants cut out dairy, legumes, grains, sugar, soy, and alcohol from their diets for 30 days. There’s a lot of tough love and if you choose to eat one of the forbidden foods, you’re supposed to start again on day 1. The purpose of the Whole30 really isn’t to lose weight. In fact, another one of the rules says you need to stay off the scale for 30 days because the program is about making bodies healthier and removing any foods that might be standing in the way of feeling and performing your absolute best. Even though the Whole30 really isn’t designed to be a weight loss program, everyone who does the Whole30 ends up losing weight in the process.)
So there I was, continuing to eat and drink my way through 2020 when I stumbled upon a photo of myself with Harvey that was taken at last year’s Christmas party for the Moms & Tots group I belonged to with the kids. There were two things I noticed about the photo – how young the kids looked (especially Harvey) and how slim I was.
Seeing that photo prompted me to do a little digging. I scrolled through the notes I took on my phone each time I had a prenatal visit while I was pregnant with Harvey and saw that my current weight had exceeded what I weighed six weeks after Harvey was born. I weighed 8 pounds more as a mom of a 1-year-old than I did when my baby was a newborn. That hit me hard.
Just as I was feeling particularly defeated by my diet and lack of exercise, another blogging friend shared her experience three weeks after she signed up for Burn Fat & Feast. Much like the first friend, this girl was a mom of four young children, was in love with the program, was down 5 pounds, and already feeling results. Most importantly, she was raving about the fact that the program features a “feast” day built into the program every week. Workouts are still encouraged on Feast day, but all the nutritional rules are set aside for a day so that members can enjoy a guilt-free day of eating and drinking whatever they want. It was the Feast day that sold me. I’ll put up with just about any dietary restrictions and exercise six days in a row if I can eat whatever I want on the 7th day and not feel like I cheated or did something wrong.
Resolving to Make a Healthier Change
After months of watching my weight creep up on the scale, I had finally heard enough and decided to make a positive change in my life. I signed up for Burn Fat and Feast and haven’t looked back. I added some new workout gear to my closet with a little help from Wantable and Trunk Club (you can check out my Wantable Active Edit Try-On and my Trunk Club activewear review on the blog.) I also dusted off an old set of hand weights we purchased secondhand for a silly photoshoot with Rob and have invested in a few more sets – I love this set from Target and they have a great price.
UPDATE: Right now I’m finishing my 6th week in the program and can already see and feel positive changes happening with my body. I have more energy to get through the day, and I’m sleeping more deeply at night. My cravings are in-check and I don’t feel like I am constantly trying to satisfy my sweet tooth. I’ve been drinking twice as much water as I did before I started the program (usually at least 72 ounces a day). Best of all, I’m finally starting to shed the extra weight I had gained in the past year. Like everyone, my weight fluctuates a bit from day to day, but the number I see on the scale is consistently lower than any of the numbers I saw when I stepped on the scale before I started Burn Fat and Feast. I’ve lost about 7 pounds, but I’m gaining muscle as I’m losing fat and there is a notable difference in the shape of my body.
I also have to point out that I started Burn Fat and Feast the first week in December and managed to make healthy strides forward in the midst of the holiday season. I sometimes indulged in a small sweet treat – like the occasional sugar cookie or small slice of pumpkin pie, but I was careful to eat all of those items in moderation and always tried to meet my nutritional goals if it wasn’t a Feast day. Rob and I made the decision to spend our holidays at home this year and only saw our parents for intimate celebrations, which really helped me to stay on track with my fitness goals through a season traditionally celebrated with lots of unhealthy food.
If you want to take the leap and try Burn Fat & Feast for yourself, use referral code MGAVIN10 at checkout to save $10 on your membership.
What is Burn Fat and Feast?
Curious about Burn Fat and Feast and how it all works? Here’s a quick overview of the program:
Signing up for the program gives you instant access to the membership site. The program guides you through a “Prep Week” mini-course that provides 7 days of video training content to help you prepare for the healthy changes coming your way. Many of the videos are 5 minutes or less, and you don’t need to dedicate a full week to prep if you are eager to get started. I went through “Prep Week” in about 3 days, which provided adequate time for me to adjust mentally for what was to come and prepare my meal plan for my first week in the program.
The entire program has 3 phases (Phase 1: Heal, Phase 2: Fuel, and Phase 3: Ignite). Phases 1 and 2 each last six weeks and Phase 3 does not have a completion time since the goal is to maintain and continue in your fitness and healthy lifestyle goals. I’m currently in my fourth week of Phase 1 and was so excited to start seeing progress within the first two weeks.
Every single day of the program has a dedicated page on the membership site with all the information you need to succeed, including the day’s workout video and nutrition guidelines. Most of the days also include a bonus instructional video that explains the program’s principles a little more deeply. It’s a great method for getting new members into healthy habits right from day one without having to watch tons of videos or do a lot of reading before starting the program. This way, you get set up with the basic information you need to get started upfront and learn the rest as you go.
From a nutritional standpoint, Burn Fat and Feast uses carb cycling as a tool to train the body to burn fat faster and more efficiently, which basically means that the amount of carbs I consume varies from day-to-day. Some days have morning fasts, other days call for a long fast, some days are low carb, many of the days are “regular” with no special rules and once a week there’s a FEAST day! I was really, really excited about Feast Day, but quickly discovered that the first Feast Day of the program doesn’t actually occur until the end of the third week. I’m honestly not completely sure why that’s the case, but I suspect that it’s because the first two weeks slowly retrain the body and digestive system to tap into fat stores in the body as energy sources. The timing for my very first Feast Day was scheduled for the day after Christmas on my calendar. I shuffled my nutrition and exercise schedule around last week so I could enjoy the holiday without any food restrictions. It was glorious.
The fasting probably sounds like the least fun part of the program, but I can honestly say that those days really aren’t that bad and I sort of look forward to them. Our days at home are always busy and I don’t have to try to squeeze in a meal while juggling the kids while I’m fasting. I also get a big burst of energy during my fasts and look forward to the extra productivity while I take a break from eating. Those things are nice, but my very favorite aspect of the 24-hour fast is that they typically fall on a rest day, and I love any day that I get to skip a workout without feeling guilty.
My biggest issue during a long fast is making sure I don’t absentmindedly take a bite of food that I’m prepping for the kids and blow my fast for the day. The temptation to eat their food isn’t much of a struggle for me. I help prepare breakfast and snacks for both kids, spend time with them while they eat, and often work on cooking and prepping dinner for the evening during my fast. The food always smells and looks good, but I don’t watch my kids eat with longing or envy. They eat, I chat with them, and possibly do a little work, and it’s really not a big deal. Promise. I would much rather be fasting than working out. The only thing you should know is that I get pretty irritable during the last hour or so of my fast. I find myself getting annoyed very easily by Rob and the kids and have to make a very conscious effort to be kind and not snap at them for the smallest little thing. The end of a fast is the only part that is sincerely a challenge for me.
And PS, the goal is to make it 24 hours, but it’s perfectly ok if you have to stop a few hours short of the goal. Progress over perfection is basically the mantra of Burn Fat and Feast. No one does anything perfectly, and everyone in the program is just trying their best to be healthy each day.
If you want to take the leap and try Burn Fat & Feast for yourself, use referral code MGAVIN10 at checkout to save $10 on your membership.
My Experience During the First Week of Burn Fat and Feast
The first week of any new routine can be a challenge, especially if it is a lifestyle change. I was highly motivated during my first week of Burn Fat and Feast. I quickly started drinking more water and made the decision to switch to black coffee. I typically prefer to drink my coffee with lots of cream and sugar but have made the switch to black coffee on several occasions in the past. It’s not as fun or tasty, but making the switch wasn’t a big deal for me. Around the third day of the program, I started getting headaches. They weren’t caused by dehydration or caffeine withdrawal. I think it was my body adjusting to the sudden drop in processed sugar. I dealt with persistent headaches for a few days and haven’t had a headache since.
I started to consistently work out every morning during my first week with the program and was very sore from the workouts. The soreness was the hardest part. I’ll tell you more about the workouts in a minute, but I don’t even do the full amount of activity recommended each day. Even with my modifications, my body was sore for an entire week. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I didn’t feel overly hungry and wasn’t distracted by a lot of cravings. I was feeling really motivated and full from my meals to let the thought of unhealthy foods that I was missing bother me.
A Little About the Burn Fat and Feast Workouts
Before I tell you anything about the workouts in Burn Fat and Feast, there’s something that you need to know: I despise working out. It doesn’t bring me joy and I don’t find the activity fulfilling. But I know that it’s good for me and an important aspect of the program, so I’ve been sucking it up almost every single day and making time for a daily workout. The daily workout videos are fairly short; they probably average about 15 minutes long, but there are separate videos to warm up and cool down at the beginning and end of each workout, which increase the total workout time a bit. Most of the videos are circuit training and participants are encouraged to repeat the video 2-3 times, which would significantly increase daily training far beyond the 20-30 minute window that I was excited about when I first signed up for Burn Fat and Feast.
I personally find the workouts to be very challenging. Many of them use compound movements (in which you need to move a few different parts of the body in a single exercise). I’m out of shape and struggle with that type of coordination. My workouts are not pretty and sometimes I have to stop and take a breather in the middle of an exercise that feels too strenuous or complicated. But I keep showing up and trying my best. My time is limited, so I only do one round of the day’s workout, plus the warm-up and cool down. It may not be the ideal amount of activity, but it’s enough to get me out of breath and in a sweat. It’s also all that I can spare in my schedule at the moment.
One of my biggest concerns for any new exercise is how it will affect my joints. Just the thought of running makes my knees and ankles ache, and I want to do anything I can to keep my body free from pain. I’m happy to report that the Burn Fat and Feast program has been just fine for my joints. Sarah does a really great job of sharing modifications for all the exercises in her training videos. I always choose low-impact movements, which are joint-friendly, but still quite challenging to complete. I also decided to eat a mostly gluten-free diet since gluten can contribute to joint inflammation and I think removing wheat from my diet has helped tremendously.
Squeezing in time for the workouts is another challenge that I juggle as best I can. Mornings are the easiest window for me to fit in a quick workout, and it fits right into our family’s morning routine. I always fly out of bed to prepare breakfast for the kids while Rob helps them get changed and dressed for the day. Once the kids are settled and eating, I head upstairs to our playroom for my daily exercise first thing in the morning while the kids are still eating. Space is limited, the ceilings are low, and conditions are far from ideal, but I make it work.
Dessa frequently joins me after she’s ready for the day, which adds an entirely new layer to the experience. She always tries to talk to me when I’m out of breath, exerting myself, or when I’m concentrating really hard to hear the instructions in the video. She also has a knack for getting in the way. One day last week Dessa tried to climb onto my back while I was doing a plank and I had to convince her to go under my downward dog tunnel instead. It isn’t convenient at all to have Dessa join me for workouts, but I’ve made my health more of a priority and this is how I make it work.
How Burn Fat and Feast is Helping Our Family
Burn Fat and Feast is helping me to achieve my personal wellness goals, but it’s also having positive impacts on our family. I’m serving more vegetables at every meal and bringing fewer unhealthy foods into our home. Rob isn’t doing the program with me, but he has started paying attention to the foods he eats each day. He is making healthier choices, drinking more water than ever before, and has started tracking his macros and calories each day. Rob doesn’t work out and isn’t doing any carb cycling. It’s crazy though because he has already managed to lose 7 pounds just from the painless changes he has implemented to his diet these past four weeks. As a woman, I definitely need to work harder than that before I will ever see results, but the thing I love most about Burn Fat and Feast is that the program is sustainable. I don’t feel deprived, I’m not saying goodbye to all of my favorite foods forever and I’m not killing myself to exercise an insane amount every single day. Each day is truly manageable and it’s a routine I can see myself following well into the future.
Cheers to a happy and healthy 2021!
If you want to take the leap and try Burn Fat and Feast for yourself, use referral code MGAVIN10 at checkout to save $10 on your membership. Leave a comment to let me know if you join – I would love to hear what you think about the program!