Success Story- Riki Leavitt

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Name: Riki Leavitt

Fitness Practitioner: Chris Early

Start Date: July 27th, 2014

Results to date: Lost 44 pounds of fat mass, down 14% body fat

1) How did you hear about AFS?
I heard about AFS through coworkers and friends.

2) What/Who inspired you to take the first step toward getting in shape?
I was tired of being disappointed at myself for never achieving my weight loss and strength goals. Every year I would tell myself I’d be different, and then I’d beat myself up for never doing it or not following through on a commitment. I felt like I was compartmentalizing my life and that the “next chapter” wouldn’t start until I lost weight. I had a lot of fun with friends and loved to be an active traveler but I hated seeing myself in pictures and felt like I had to hide in my clothes all the time. I wasn’t happy and I knew I had to do something solely for me, so I finally joined.

3) What initially intrigued you about our program/why did you sign up?

Uh, Corbin all the way! 🙂 My first interactions at AFS immediately put me at ease. I loved that everyone is so good at remembering names. I didn’t feel like I was an outsider and I immediately wanted my friends to join with me and meet all these cool, compassionate, and funny people.

I never had a problem working out, but I didn’t push myself and could never seem to balance diet with exercise. I would previously commit to a program for a small amount of time, see success, and then reward myself for doing so well… and then I’d be back to square one 🙂 At AFS, the genuine communication, awesome environment, and constantly changing exercises appealed to me since it was exciting to show up and see what the day had in store, without dreading doing the same exercises. I love that the music and timing and stations are all set up so all you have to do is your best effort and de-stress from the day. Sometimes I show up in a not so great mood but I always end up smiling even before the warm up is done. The people are so nice in the classes and I always feel like I can make a friend that day so that we can power through together. 

4) How did you achieve the success you’ve seen thus far?
I had to let a lot of my preconceived notions about diet and exercise and calories go. I’m not sure I was mentally ready to lose weight before, if that makes sense. I think a lot of people with emotional eating and guilt about that can understand. I never thought of myself as an emotional eater, but looking back I can see I was definitely on that path. Avoiding problems for so long only makes you feel distant from yourself and loved ones. I was feeling really disconnected with what I wanted from life and how I was going to possibly get there. I decided to be nicer to myself, take one step at a time, be patient, and trust the process. I followed my trainer Chris Early’s advice on coming in for every 4 week assessments instead of 6 so that we could keep me on track since I told him I work better with deadlines. I was working out sometimes 5x a week at AFS just because I loved the endorphin’s and feeling like I was really burning a lot of calories. Well… turns out you actually have to eat less food than you burn. I told Chris during one of my better assessments that I “finally learned to trust the math” of calories in vs. calories out. I changed the way I eat entirely and I try to log my food before I eat it so I can plan my day better. I try to only eat when I’m truly hungry, and I start with small portions and drink a lot of water throughout the day. When I’m full, I just stop eating and box the rest up. I feel like my taste buds changed for the better, so now I just eat what I like and what works for me while trying to maintain a decent nutrient balance. My food log is far from perfect, but I never miss days and I appreciate that there isn’t food-shaming at AFS. It makes a big difference when you don’t have to look at food as the enemy.  I connected to Chris immediately since he’s so funny and energetic and truly cares. No one at AFS, client or practitioner, makes you feel bad about yourself or your limitations. I think having that support available really pushed me into the right mindset.

5) What changes have you noticed in your life since starting with AFS?

I’m so much more confident and energetic than I was when I started. I feel much stronger, more flexible, and I am nearly pain free. I had a lot of joint and back pain when I started. It was just a few months ago when I hit my 1 year mark at AFS that I realized during the ab segment that I was doing bicycle crunches and actually smiled… because it was the first time in my life I could actually do them correctly since my core was stronger. My fasting blood sugar has dropped, I breathe better, my blood pressure is back to normal, and I feel empowered to make the correct choices to continue my progress. It’s been a really long and slow journey for me, and I had to learn things the hard way several times in order to make doing things the right way finally stick. Honestly, most of the battle was mental. It’s hard to override years of bad habits and defeatist thinking. 

6) Advice you can offer others looking to make changes you’ve made?

Trust and be kind to yourself. Be patient. Understand that it will at times feel like a really lonely, long journey, but that your practitioner and friends who support you are truly there for you and it’s okay to ask for help. Oh, and don’t deprive yourself of anything. Try to learn how to portion control and ask yourself while you’re eating it, “is this really delicious, or is it just okay? If it’s just okay, I’m going to stop here.” Otherwise I think it’s hard to learn about balance and/or saying no in real-life food situations like at parties or when you’re out to eat. I never had cheat days, but I did have cheat meals or desserts sometimes. It was eye-opening when Chris told me that a cheat day, if I had one, should be only a few hundred calories over my standard calorie goal. I didn’t realize that just eating an extra few hundred calories a day really made such a big difference being as active as I was, but it did.

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Riki, we’ve loved watching you transform over the past year and a half! We’re truly lucky to have you as a client 🙂

-AFS Team

Want more info on Riki’s program?

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