Finding Balance: Interview with Challenge Participant Nicole G.
Nicole Guzzi, Registered Nurse, 27 years old
Weight lost 24lbs
In high school I was pretty athletic. Never worried about what I ate because I was so active. My diet was just whatever was in front of me and I never gained a pound. Then I went to nursing school and gained the freshman 15, second year of nursing school I kept gaining and was up over 30 lbs. I tried crash diets, special teas that were suppose to help you lose weight, excessive exercise, and any other trend that was out at the time. My weight would fluctuate constantly. I would lose it, think I was good to do whatever I wanted and gain it all back. This fall I was gaining more weight and almost reaching the heaviest I had been which was back in my second year of nursing school. So I had made a plan, I was going to Cuba in October and when I got back I was going to hit the gym and watch what I was eating. However, on my last night in Cuba I slipped on some wet tile and broke my right wrist. I was off work for over 8 weeks and I used it as an excuse to do absolutely nothing. I ate out because in my mind, I couldn’t cook with one hand. I couldn’t work out because of my wrist. So I did nothing. I felt gross. All of my clothes were tight. Even my “fat” clothes. I realized I needed some motivation. I needed something that was going to make me change and do it for good. No more crash diets, no more unhealthy ways.
I work with the last two winners of the challenge and saw first hand how it had changed their lives. They spoke so highly of Nadine and her programs. I looked Nadine up, read some testimonials of her clients, and realized that I needed to do this. I needed to create healthy habits and lose this extra weight in a healthy way and Nadine was the perfect fit!!
During the challenge, how did you manage to fit in eating healthy and training with everything that you do?
I work 12 hour days/nights. On my day shifts I would get up at 5am and workout. I attempted to workout after a 12 hour day shift but who was I kidding, I was beat.. My workouts weren’t as good after a shift. Also, I kinda became addicted to working out in the mornings. It made me feel so much better for my shifts!! On my night shifts I would workout at 5pm then get ready for work at 7:30. For meal prep I would prep all my food on my last day off for all of my shifts so I would not have to worry about that between shifts. There wasn’t enough time. However, this was a live and learn process. At first, I thought I wanted everything fresh day of and then I wouldn’t have enough time to workout because I was meal prepping between shifts. It took a little while but eventually I got into a routine and it worked so well!!
What was your biggest obstacle throughout the challenge?
At the beginning I felt that I was always missing out. I am a very social person and at first I avoided social environments because I didn’t want to cheat. But then something clicked, why can’t I go out, enjoy any environment with my friends and make healthy choices. I attended a family event with so much delicious Italian cooking. My whole family was telling me to eat (typical Italians! Haha) but I stuck to my diet. Packed my own food and I did not have a sip of alcohol. I even went out that night with all of my cousins dancing and had a blast without any alcohol and no 7-11 snacks after the bar. I woke up the next morning feeling great and even hit the gym. No hangover, no guilt about eating chips at 2am, and I had a ton of fun.
What was the hardest part about the challenge for you?
Do I only have to choose one thing?! Haha
The hardest part was changing bad habits. I’m a very social person. Going out for beers and nachos was a regular occurrence for me so not doing that was definitely a challenge. But I eventually got used to it. I would go out and order water and just hang out. I loved it. No hangovers, no feeling guilty about the beer and nachos. Just happy to be with friends and family.
The second biggest challenge was definitely my wrist injury. I broke my distal radius in October and I never really healed properly. So full push ups and tricep dips were out of the question. But I slowly learned what worked for me and what didn’t. Nadine helped out big time with different exercises that would work for me!
What was the easiest part about the challenge for you?
The easiest part of the challenge for me was the food. I found what I liked, what worked for my macros, and what was easy to make and I stuck with it. I like routine so making the same thing every day didn’t bug me. It made me feel prepared and I knew it worked for me!! Also, counting macros allows you to be flexible with your diet so if I went home to BC for the week and I couldn’t find the foods I was used to in Edmonton that was OK because I just made it work in my macro count!!
What was the one most important thing you learned from the challenge?
That I can do this… I can lose weight. I always thought that this was just how it was going to be. That this is how my body looked and I needed to deal with it. But with some hard work and determination I have changed and I know I can keep going to reach my goals!
What was your eating habits like before the challenge, what types of diets have you tried in the past. Why do you think you failed?
My eating habits before the challenge were bad! I ate out a lot. I was always working and busy so I always just grabbed whatever was fast and easy. At work it was hard because there is always a pot luck or snacks at the nursing station.. There’s fast food so close to the hospital so on my break it was easy to run out and grab something through the drive thru.
In the past I’ve tried crash diets, liquid diets, 3 days cleanses, no carbs, no sugars, soup diets. I’ve tried it all. I think they haven’t worked because they weren’t real life. Ya, you do a 3 day juice cleanse and lose some weight but you go back to your bad habits and gain it all back. This challenge has taught me how to be healthy and stay that way as a life change. Not just a 3 day change, a life change.
With the wrist injury, for so many that have had injuries or are injured and have developed that same mentality of the “poor me”, what is one word of advice you could give to them to help motivate?
Don’t let any injury stop you. It may slow you down but any progress is good progress. And if you don’t try you’ll never know if you can do it or not. I would rather try and fail than have never tried at all!
Looking back at your weight gains from university and working as a nurse, what is one word of advice that you could give to those in similar situations to avoid falling into the trap of weight gain?
Don’t always take the easy route. That’s what I did for years. I ate out, never meal prepped, ate whatever was convenient. Now I know my body deserves better. It needs better. Take the time for yourself. You deserve it. As a nurse, you give to everyone but yourself. Your worried about everyone else’s health but your own. There’s times where you just don’t have time to eat because it’s too busy. But we need to take the time or make the time for ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves now then we won’t be able to enjoy our time later in life!!
What is your motto?
Everything happens for a reason. I found this program at the right time for me. This is all meant to happen at this time.
Spicy Curry chicken from the eatFIT recipe book. Sometimes I even eat it twice a day!
How did others react around you to you being in the challenge and on a meal and training program?
At first everyone kept saying “you don’t need it”. But I did. I needed some help. I needed the guidance and knowledge that Nadine has. Others jumped right on board with me. Lots of people asked me to be gym buddies or wanted to workout together. I enjoyed being their motivation to be healthier! The diet was difficult for my family at first. We are very Italian and refusing food is almost sinful! Haha but they slowly got used to the idea and at the end became the ones encouraging me the most.
Now that you have finished the challenge and have learned how to eat using flexible dieting, how do you feel you will be able to handle family dinners and social events?
Everyone in my family understands. So I know if I ask for specifics they would cook it for me! Social events have been getting easier and easier. If I do order something I go for the healthiest option they have. Instead of nachos, burgers and fries I get fish tacos with a side salad or kale salad with grilled chicken. That way I get to enjoy the social aspect but I don’t feel guilty about it!
What is next for you?
I want to keep going. I wanna reach my next goals. I feel this challenge has given me the tools to do that. Especially now that I know it’s possible!!
What would you say to others that are interested in joining the challenge?
DO IT!!! Not only do you get results but you learn so much. The things I have learned from this challenge will only help me in the future and to meet my next goals! I can’t recommend this program enough!
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