‘I Incorporated Macro Counting In My Diet And Did Kettlebell Workouts To Lose 60 Pounds’

My name is Shweta Balasubramanian, and I am 35. I live in Pomona, California, and I am a marketing manager. After a wake up call in 2015, I learned to apply macro counting so I could continue to eat all the foods I loved, and got into strength training, and I’ve lost 60 pounds and feel like the best version of myself.

Growing up, fitness was never a huge value espoused in my family. I was taught to focus on my education and internalized the idea that I’d never be any good at sports or physical fitness. I also never had any South Asian sports/fitness role models to look up to, and never felt confident to participate in fitness.

Eventually, as life got busier, it became harder to prioritize my health, and it often was the first thing I sacrificed when I had to plan my schedule out. I opted for takeout over healthier home-cooked meals and worked longer hours rather than exercising.

I was 29 years old when I made an active decision to begin my health and fitness journey.

My wake up call was when my father was diagnosed with cancer and his subsequent passing in March 2015. I developed binge eating disorder as a coping mechanism and eventually realized: I only get one life to live. I didn’t want to spend mine by abusing my body and not feeling my best.


A post shared by SHWETA. (@fitwithshwey)

Changing my relationship with food has been the hardest part.

Growing up, and even today to a certain extent, the messaging I received from the fitness industry was that: salads and grilled chicken are healthy, cutting out entire food groups (like carbs) was necessary, and eating food that did not fall within the Western standards of acceptability, wouldn’t result in me becoming a healthier version of myself.

Learning how to decolonize my plate has been the most difficult aspect of my journey, and it took me a long time to understand that the traditional South Indian foods that my ancestors ate are not unhealthy. That was not something I had to give up to become “healthy.”


A post shared by SHWETA. (@fitwithshwey)

When determining what my meals should look like, I was clear about a few things from the outset: I wanted to center my plate around my culture, and I did not want to do any extreme dieting or deprive myself.

Having done 1,200 calories plans in the past, and aggressively minimizing entire food groups, I understood that it wasn’t a realistic or sustainable way to eat forever. I came across macro counting through the Macros Inc. Facebook group (which is such a supportive and educational resource!), and was honestly shocked by the macro/calorie goal that their calculator allocated.

Macro counting gave me the flexibility and freedom to enjoy the foods I grew up eating. I’ve learned so much about how to identify and prioritize protein sources, while still being able to incorporate richer desserts. Dieting does not have to be boring—and you can make all your favorite foods fit into your day! It’s still an ongoing journey for me, but one that brings me joy and feels sustainable.


A post shared by SHWETA. (@fitwithshwey)

Here’s what I eat in a day now.

  • Breakfast: I love having Kodiak Cakes pancakes before my workout, and a scoop of Form Nutrition’s Performance Protein mixed with creatine post-workout.
  • Lunch: My lunches are traditional South Indian meals that include quinoa with a yoghurt gravy or vegetable stew, and stir-fried vegetables. I usually eat loads of cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, green beans, okra, and potatoes!
  • Snacks: I opt for one to two items from the following: cottage cheese with fruit, nuts, cheese, Premier Protein shake, Rise Bar’s almond honey protein bar.
  • Dinner: I love experimenting with recipes for dinner! I usually cook Paneer Gravy dishes with a side of naan or rice, pasta dishes (mac & cheese, baked ziti, pesto pasta), or pilaf dishes (Biryani, Vegetable Pulao, etc).
  • Dessert: I love baking, so I usually try to fit in a slice of homemade cakes/bread. Recently it’s been Thalia Ho’s cakes!


A post shared by SHWETA. (@fitwithshwey)

As for exercise, I’ve always enjoyed exercising and preferred to hang out in the cardio section of the gym and zone out on the elliptical, treadmill, or StairMaster. I also loved going to group training classes, Spin, and barre studios around town.


A post shared by SHWETA. (@fitwithshwey)

After a year of sticking to cardio, in 2019, I decided to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone and try strength training.

I first started with Kelsey Wells’ PWR program through the Sweat app, and slowly started building an appreciation for it.As a competitive person, it was so fun being able to progress every week by lifting heavier, and I looked forward to my workouts every day.

When quarantine started, I felt very anxious about maintaining my routine, like most people, and tried to adjust by pivoting to the high-intensity offerings on the Sweat app. However, I started overtraining and the excessive amounts of HIIT always left me feeling exhausted. I also never quite felt the same joy or drive that I did with strength training.


A post shared by SHWETA. (@fitwithshwey)

Wanting to build kettlebell skills and focus more on strength training, I decided to train with Lauren Kanski (a WH advisor!) through her Body and Bell program on the Ladder app, which has been life-changing for me. I absolutely love how strong I feel when training with kettlebells and it has reinvigorated my appreciation for training!

A bonus perk is the nutrition counseling that Lauren offers, which taught me so much about how to balance life and healthy eating. I no longer think of exercise as something I have to do, but rather as something I *get* to do, and it’s a highlight of my day.


A post shared by SHWETA. (@fitwithshwey)

These three changes made my weight loss journey a success.

  • I learned how to make a commitment to myself and honor it no matter what came up. Things are always going to come up in life – work commitments, family obligations, impromptu social gatherings—but only the most important thing to me is being able to commit to some form of movement every day and planning out my meals as best as I can. One of my favorite quotes is, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” and issomething I try to abide by every day.


A post shared by SHWETA. (@fitwithshwey)

  • I stopped pressuring myself with unrealistic expectations and specific timelines. It’s so easy to look at social media and feel “less than” when coming across other people’s stories. Identify why you want to commit to a change and take your time with it because if you try to rush and take shortcuts, it will backfire on you. Put your blinders on and get to work; the results you want will come eventually!


A post shared by SHWETA. (@fitwithshwey)

  • I shifted from purely cardio-based workouts to incorporating weight training into my exercise regimen. Muscle mass is metabolic currency. When I first started my journey, I fell into the trap of thinking that strength training is something that only bodybuilders do and now I know that is definitely not true! I had to work hard to disassociate sweating with a successful workout; sprinting on the StairMaster definitely had me sweating buckets, but a workout that fatigues my muscles through controlled movements has a payoff that is far more valuable. I’m less prone to injuries, a lot more reactive when I need to jump or catch something, and the fastest and strongest than I’ve ever been.


A post shared by SHWETA. (@fitwithshwey)

To date, I’ve lost 60 pounds.

If there’s one thing people can take away from my journey, it’s that it’s never too late to start! Treat your body with love, and not a project to fix. This is a lifelong journey, and we may as well enjoy the ride!


A post shared by SHWETA. (@fitwithshwey)

Source: Read Full Article