Sydney Lost 114 Pounds Eating the Same 3 Meals Every Week and Working Out 6 Times a Week

Sydney Wolf has struggled with her weight since she was young — her first diet was Weight Watchers (now WW) the Summer before seventh grade. Her weight kept creeping up until she was her highest weight at age 25: 310 pounds. Now, age 29, Sydney used fitness to help transform her body and mind, and coped with emotional eating. Keep reading to learn about her inspirational journey.

Sydney's History With Weight, Food, and Fitness

Sydney shared "I have always struggled with weight and body image since I was young. My first memory of my body is a pair of size 13 jeans in seventh grade on the first day of public school that I had worked really hard to fit into that Summer by attending Weight Watchers with my mom." The next diet she remembers was junior year of high school, where she went to a clinic with her dad every week to get weighed in. "From there, a life of up and down dieting spiraled," Sydney said.

She graduated college and moved back home to start working before she turned 21. She had worked her last year of college to lose weight, had her first full-time job, and catapulted herself into her career headfirst. She was working more than 80-hour weeks, constantly on the road, traveling or on site for work, and had an extremely poor diet.

"My entire life I have been extremely capable, self-sufficient, and a goal-oriented individual. I'm an achiever. For as long as I can remember, I've taken on as much responsibility as my plate can possibly handle and then some," Sydney said.

She was always taking care of everyone else and stopped taking care of herself. She said, "I was so consumed with making everyone else in my life happy, and the growth and success of my career, that I completely lost myself, and that's when the significant gain occurred."

Sydney's Journey Begins

In May 2016, at age 25 and at her highest weight of 310 pounds, Sydney joined Weight Watchers to start losing weight, and in Fall of 2016, she started seeing a therapist to help with emotional management. "January 2017 was when I conquered a fear and stepped into a gym with a personal trainer for the first time," Sydney said.

To date, Sydney has lost 114 pounds, but she said, "The even crazier number is that I've lost a total of 63.25 inches since my first day in a gym on Feb. 2, 2017, including 13 inches off my waist and almost 12 inches off my hips." It's taken three years so far, and she's still going strong.

Sydney's Diet

"Food is still really hard. I don't want to pretend like I've got it all figured out — I don't," Sydney said. She tries to focus on eating the foods she knows will fuel her body. "When I'm struggling or want to eat my emotions away, I've tried to find other outlets to cope," she added.

Sydney is a big meal prepper, and on Sunday she cooks for three to four hours. She uses a food scale and cooks and packs every meal and snack for the week. "My trainer at Bodies by Burgoon, Jason Burgoon, and I have been working on sticking to a 1,500-calorie plan and tracking food via My Fitness Pal."

Sydney gave up soda in 2016 when she started her journey and said, "I used to drink Diet Mountain Dew every single morning to start my day," but now she's a LaCroix and club soda fiend.

Because of the nature of her job, she's constantly wining and dining clients and traveling. She said, "I've become a master at dancing around a restaurant menu to pick out the items that work for me and can dissect a hotel lunch buffet like nobody's business. I pack food in my suitcase when I travel to make sure I'm prepared."

What Sydney Eats in a Day

Every Sunday, Sydney decides on a breakfast, lunch, and dinner option for the week. She explained, "I eat the same thing for every meal throughout the week, and found it just works for my lifestyle." By removing any sort of choice from the equation, Sydney has been able to shift the way she views food to a more systematic and fuel-based approach as opposed to an emotional decision.

Here's an example of what she eats in a day:

Breakfast: One cup of black coffee, two scrambled eggs with fresh peppers and other vegetables mixed in, and three ounces of fruit, usually blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.

Lunch: This is where Sydney tries to incorporate the most variety to keep it interesting. She starts with four ounces of ground turkey or chicken as a base. She mixes up the flavors by doing an Asian stir-fry with broccoli slaw and soy sauce, a do-it-yourself burrito-style bowl, or an Italian version with veggie noodles. She pairs that with a portion of fruit and another vegetable side (carrot, celery, or pepper sticks). "The key to my lunches is adding fillers — vegetable noodles, broccoli slaw, or excess lettuce — to make the meals feel larger and more filling," Sydney said.

Dinner: Four ounces of ground turkey or chicken as the base with two vegetable sides of choice, with at least one more starchy vegetable to fill her up after a workout. "I don't prep with any sauce at all. I add that the day of to give me the choice of flavor such as mustard, sugar-free BBQ, or salsa."

Snacks: RXBar or Kombucha beverage. "I'll also typically eat a yogurt and one serving of almonds during the day."

For drinks, she incorporates both still and sparkling water.

 Sydney's Workouts

Working out has become how Sydney spends most of her free time. "I went from fearing the gym to now wanting to spend as much time there as I can!" Sydney said. She works out at Bodies by Burgoon three times a week. She loves the small group training and the open and welcoming environment. Everyone is at different fitness levels and has different skill sets, but they're all working toward improvement, and they motivate each other.

Typically, her workouts are focused on lifting weights with small bursts of cardio to get her heart rate up. Now that she's mastered the basics, she's starting to incorporate more challenging movements and lifting heavier weights.

Sydney has gotten really into running, and she's been training for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February. It will be the third time she's running the race. So right now, her workouts are three times per week at Bodies by Burgoon, three times a week running, and one rest day.

Sydney said it's been fun to incorporate working out into her lifestyle, and she now likes to sign up for a themed 5K to match the time of year. She also likes working out with friends and said, "I just started volunteering for Girls on the Run this last Fall for the first time, which was life-changing and a full-circle moment for me."

Sydney's Nonscale Victories

Running the Disney Princess Half Marathon for the first time in 2017 was a major accomplishment for Sydney. In 2010, she volunteered at the race, handing out all the race numbers, helping all the registrants get their materials ahead of time at the Expo, etc., and she remembers thinking what a dream come true it would be to run that race. But at the time, she couldn't even fathom that being an option.

Fast forward to 2017, and after she started losing weight and working out, there was a single, obvious goal. "I thought about that Princess Race more than I probably should even admit the last seven years," Sydney said. After six months in the gym, she registered for the Disney Princess Half Marathon that would take place in February 2018. "I was totally not ready or equipped at the time, but it gave me a clear goal to work toward, and to me was the absolute pinnacle of any sort of achievement in my mind," she shared.

Sydney trained and worked her butt off. "I literally cried for three entire days leading up to the race. My legs were uncontrollably shaking when I walked into the race expo to get my bib and I looked at the volunteer on the other side of the counter — the same place I had been sitting eight years earlier. I cried the morning of and at the start line. It was the most emotional weekend of my life, I think. I could not get a grip. I was so nervous — but I did it. I ran the race I had dreamed about for over eight years and achieved the goal of all goals."

There are lots of non-number-related goals Sydney had when she started losing weight that have felt great to make a reality. Things like not being afraid if the seatbelt on the plane would buckle when she was traveling for work, sitting cross-legged on the floor, and being able to wrap a regular-size bath towel around her body.

How Sydney Stays Motivated

Sydney's goals keep her motivated; her ultimate goal is to look in the mirror and feel proud and confident in the person looking back. Other short-term goals include doing an unassisted pull-up and chest pressing 40-pound dumbbells (because Michelle Obama can press 35s).

Her current long-term goals are to get to 170 pounds, to be free from food addiction and "not let food consume every thought in my brain," and to be healthy, confident, and strong.

Sydney's Advice

Here are some of the largest takeaways Sydney has had from her journey through weight loss:

She realized that you don't become overweight just because. Being overweight or fat is not the problem; it's a symptom of a greater issue. In order to lose weight, you've got to address the problem itself and get to the root of what is really causing the issue. What is making you unhappy in your life? What are you spending too much time on instead of yourself? What is making you emotionally eat? She said, "Solve the inner puzzle, and it will be the key to weight-loss success."

She added, surround yourself with positive, like-minded people and a team of experts (a therapist, personal trainer, dietitian, etc.) who will teach and support you in your journey. Join a group training community, exchange meal-prep recipes with friends, and hold each other accountable. Start a lunchtime walking group at your office.

"I am fortunate enough to have an entire team of experts that have led me through this journey and helped me find my way. You don't innately know how to ride a bike when you are young. You are taught this skill and have to practice over time, eventually ditching the training wheels and flying solo," Sydney said. She added: accept help from experts in their fields who can teach you how to properly move your body, manage your emotions, and consume the foods that will fuel your body if it's something you've never learned.

Be mindful of what's in front of your face every day. "Create a vision board and hang it on your fridge so you can visibly see what you are working toward," Sydney said. You can curate your Instagram and social media feeds and fill them with healthy recipes, weight-loss inspiration, fitness, and goal-oriented messaging to motivate and inspire you. Cut out negative or toxic people if they aren't willing to support you. "Be diligent about what you are seeing, reading, doing, and posting on a daily basis," Sydney said.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself and have patience. Remember that weight loss is not linear, and "it's a journey that will challenge you in ways you could never imagine. Accept that life happens and that doing the best you can is sometimes all that you can do." She added that it might be a slow progression, but if you remain steadfast in your goals and run your own race, you will cross the finish line.

Sydney's Final Thoughts

"My life couldn't be more different than when I began my weight-loss journey," Sydney said. She's excited to finally come to terms with all that's happened, and she's ready to share her story to motivate and inspire others to do the same. "It's taken me a long time to get to that point of feeling comfortable in doing so — but I'm finally getting there," she said.



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