How Ashley lost more than 50 lbs with Rise

In less than 4 months, 28-year-old Ashley has lost more than 50 lbs with her Rise coach, Lauren. A busy student going through her residency, Ashley was choosing unhealthy options because she’s constantly on the run. “I was living off of fast food,” she says. Add in two health conditions that cause weight gain, Hashimoto thyroiditis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), and “the weight just piled on”  leaving Ashley at her highest weight ever.

Let’s hear it from her.

The dreaded scale

When I got on the scale in 2014, it topped out at more than 300 lbs and I was shocked. How did this happen? As a child model, I was involved in an industry that’s all about looking good; looking beautiful. But around 16-years-old, the weight gain started. It was still manageable in my teens, but once I went to college I gained 150 lbs in my first year. (This is when we found out about my PCOS.) Still, my family is fit and healthy and I felt like the ugly duckling. I felt trapped and would think, “This is not my body.” I knew something had to change.

Gain, lose, gain more, lose, repeat

I tried all of the yo-yo diets. I’ve eaten paleo and lost 50, but gained 70 lbs. back. I tried Atkins, a plant-based vegan diet… I’d get results every time, but the minute I stopped following the diet, I’d gain all of the weight back… and then some.

Fast-forward a bit and I was also diagnosed with my thyroid condition. I was getting a lot of pressure from my doctors who were recommending slightly extreme solutions to get my weight under control. I started getting really depressed, but I knew it was time to work on me.

I decided that I was going to do this. I have to go through this struggle so I can potentially help others. How can I be a doctor and help people with their problems, when here I am carrying around all of this extra weight?

Small changes

So, I started on my own with baby steps. (I do best with small, manageable changes. If I do an extreme change, I can’t sustain it.) So, I made the decision to “not drink soda today.” This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I was drinking 8 or 9 a day – not diet either. But I kept telling myself, ‘I can do anything for one day.’ I even avoided looking at vending machines with soda.

After that, I made a few new rules: No fast food for today. And then, no alcohol.

Small changes over a long period of time were the key. As of today, I’ve lost 112 lbs, and 50 of those were from Rise.

Enter Rise

I joined Rise because my weight loss – my baby steps – had plateaued. I knew I needed to take it to the next level.

I chose Lauren as my coach and I love her. In the beginning, I’d proudly take a picture of what I thought was a healthy meal and she’d say, “That’s great, but let’s try this…” She was giving me real-life solutions that I could implement.

Life-changing healthy swaps

I was eating I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, because it’s fat and calorie free! Lauren educated me about the chemicals and now I use homemade apple butter. I was eating yogurt, but Lauren pointed out that the type I was eating had a lot of sugar. So now, I do plain Greek yogurt and put fresh berries in it.

The other day I really wanted Chinese food. I NEEDED an egg roll. Lauren has taught me to ask myself, “Do you REALLY want this? If you do, find a different way to enjoy your Chinese.” SO, I googled “healthy Chinese food” and stumbled across Cauliflower Fried Rice and it was amazing. You can’t even taste the difference. You’re going to have cravings, you just need to come at them from a different perspective.

On days that I want bread – I do a lettuce wrap, instead.

I make apple chips so I can feel like I’m eating potato chips. (Cut them really thinly and sprinkle them with cinnamon and nutmeg and bake.)

I make banana ice cream and add in unsweetened dark chocolate.

For lunch, I eat mostly grilled chicken and vegetables – but I make it fun and spice it up. I also eat a lot of soup.

For dinner, I’m not depriving myself: scallops, mushrooms stuffed with green and yellow peppers and onion, etc.

I stay on track by keeping my fridge stocked with healthy options. It’s separate from my family’s fridge because their food can be a trigger for me. I don’t need that.

I feel SO much better than I did months ago.  I’m a size medium! Lauren has taught me so much about food, how to make good choices and about how to take care of me.

Looking ahead

This is only the beginning – I’m exercising every other day and I’ve run three 5ks in the past couple of months and am signed up for a 10k in January. I have 70 more pounds to go and I am SO focused on hitting my goal. I know I can do it.

Weight loss is hard. You didn’t put the weight on in a day, so it’s not going to come off in a day. Don’t get frustrated, but if you do – use that frustration to fuel you. Get upset. Get upset that your jeans don’t fit. The more upset you are, the more willing you are to change. When you’re ready, or if you’ve hit a plateau, reach out and get a coach. The accountability and the food knowledge you’ll get from your coach is awesome.

I don’t feel like Lauren is a nutritionist in my phone, I feel like she’s a friend who just happens to have more food knowledge than I do.

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We’re so proud of you, Ashley! You’re an inspiration, Keep going!

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For more information on how to work with Lauren or any of our coaches, click here.Lauren Mandel

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