My name is Nicole Feist (@fitandfeisty_) and I’m 27 years old. I live in Minnesota and work in sales enablement for a startup. By changing my eating lifestyle, going to Orangetheory Fitness, and doing Kelsey Wells at-home training PWR programs, I’ve lost about 45 pounds.

I never had an issue with weight growing up, as I was both active and involved in sports. In college, however, I developed anxiety and depression, and stopped caring about my health. This resulted in gaining 45 pounds in just a few months.

After graduating, I really struggled emotionally with the weight and stopped talking to friends and going out often because I was ashamed in how I looked and felt.

Eventually, I realized that I needed to take control of my health and lose weight, as it was becoming the main reason behind my depression.

For the first one or two years I really only did the bare minimum. I’d workout a few days a week, but I was still eating out a lot and “giving up” on the weekends. And yet, I was still getting discouraged when I wouldn’t see changes.

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One day, I was going on a trip with friends and while trying on swimsuits, I remember wanting to cry and feel so defeated in the dressing room. Because my weight was having such an impact on my mental health that I couldn’t even enjoy spending a vacation with my friends, I knew that I needed to take control and change something.

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I started my fitness journey by working out at my local Orangetheory and other at-home workout programs.

I started working out at my local Orangetheory Fitness and very quickly noticed physical endurance and strength improvements. OTF was was great because I had a coach telling me exactly what to do, and when to do it. I was also able to challenge myself with benchmarks, which was great for my competitive personality.

After speaking to one of the OTF coaches, I realized that I also needed to get my diet in control to see the maximum benefits. I was able to lose the first 30 pounds from increasing my number of workouts and learning how to cook healthier versions of the foods I love.

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Once the pandemic hit in 2020 and gyms shut down, I decided to try Andy Frisella’s 75hard program alongside Kelsey Well’s PWR at Home program. For the first time in my life I was consistent—not just on Monday through Thursday, eating whatever I wanted on the weekends, like I had in the past.

I saw results immediately. Within those 75 days I was able to lose more weight, start seeing muscle show through, and I ultimately realized what my body was capable of doing when I was fueling it properly and consistently doing resistance training. I had never felt that good mentally and physically before in my life, which only made it easy to keep going.

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When it came to food, I knew I had to change my overall eating lifestyle.

Learning how to make healthier versions of the foods I love was huge for me. Even though I wasn’t treating my body a best as I could before, I’m still not the type of person that can survive on chicken and broccoli every day, so I knew that wasn’t an option for me. That’s why finding ways to continue to eat things that I love was a huge help.

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I also realized that making sure I wasn’t just giving up because of a road bump or slip up would play a big role in my lifestyle change—I used to throw in the towel every time I went off track…Which meant weekly. I now realize that one supposedly bad meal or one missed workout won’t ruin my progress, as long as I don’t give up in the long run.

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Here’s what I typically eat in a day now.

  • Post-morning workout: Post-workout protein shake
  • Breakfast: Iced coffee with protein powder
  • Lunch: Leftovers from the night before or a hash with eggs, breakfast potatoes, onions, sausage, etc.
  • Dinner: Tacos, pastas, burgers, sausage and peppers, etc.
  • Dessert: Dark Chocolate Boom Chicka Pop

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After losing about 45 pounds, I’m both mentally and physically stronger as a person.

Exercising and tweaking my eating habits has truly changed my life for the better. I now understand that finding exercise that I enjoy is crucial for my motivation to work out. For example, I hate running, so if I was trying to run every day I would probably give up pretty quickly. Once I realized that I love strength and resistance training, it was so much easier to stick with a program. Strength training makes me feel strong and powerful, and mentally I have never felt better.

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