If you’ve been following my Facebook page at all,  you’ll know who “The Amazing Helen” is.

Simply, she is amazing.

Helen has been working with me for about a year and I remember the first day she showed up.

She told me she was in pretty good shape except that she has two bad knees and needed to lose 40 pounds. She had been working out at Curves for quite some time and she said she felt strong.

We started her workout and she was relentless from the start.

If I asked her for 10 squats she did 11.

If I asked her to walk for 15 minutes on an incline, she wouldn’t come off the treadmill till she had walked a mile.

When I asked her to log her food she did it religiously.

In other words, she was the PERFECT client.

Even when her knees were bothering her, she pushed herself (harder than I did!)

When I challenged her to do a mini-triathlon, she didn’t even blink an eye.

Yeah, she’s that fearless.

And she completed that mini-triathlon with placing 3rd in her age group.

Helen and team at Mini - tri

Helen and team at Mini – tri

Again, that is why she is “The Amazing Helen.”

Yet it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns along the way.

Helen, like so many of my clients, had a hard time believing me about eating well.

I don’t espouse any special “diet,” I simply ask them to eat whole foods, and as little processed, fake food-like substances as possible.

I ask all of my clients to rid soda pop, diet or regular, from their drink choices and to not eat “fat-free” crap in a bag.

I also ask them to eat about 200 calories more than what myfitnesspal recommends for weight-loss.

Now you wouldn’t think these directions would be terribly difficult to follow.

Hit the produce section hard.

Skip the chip aisle.

Piece of cake, right? I mean, wrong, don’t buy cake!

Just keep your food simple.

Helen did okay on her eating in the beginning.

She adapted her meals to a reduced calorie load than she had been eating and began losing weight.

Helen's progress through the year

Helen’s progress through the year

Then she would show up to work out and be unable to catch her breath and recover from the exercises in a normal amount of time.

HMMMMM, what’s up here.

A quick peek at her food log showed me that cute little Helen was sometimes eating only 800 calories a day.


She was starving herself to lose weight.

We had a BIG FIGHT.

I threatened to fire her as a client if she didn’t eat.

But, “I want to lose weight,” she whimpered.

And I said, “But you’re not, right?”

“NO,” she complained.

That’s when I got to bust out my “I know better than you” look and explain that her body wasn’t going to let go of anything anytime quick because it was starving.

Not only would she not lose weight, but she’d also begin losing muscle mass.

“Oh,” she replied.

“OH,” I chirped back. “That’s all you got?”

“I didn’t know,” she replied meekly.

Fast forward, she began eating better and the weight came off.

She hit a plateau and dropped her calories again without saying so.

Again she showed up unable to do her workouts.

Again, I told her I would fire her and this was strike 2.

She started eating more, not less, and lost weight.

Of course, there’s more to the story but I don’t want to incriminate myself legally.

Let’s just say, she listens to me now without giving me any lip.

Here’s your takeaway from this story:

1. Helen’s a liar when you ask her if she ate a good breakfast.

2. She now knows the importance of eating well to lose weight.

3. You have to eat well to fuel your workouts.

Here’s what Helen says she learned:

1. You have to have a good portion of protein in your breakfast to fuel your workout and not be hungry before lunch.

2. Eating packaged food leaves you feeling like the crap you ate (I’m paraphrasing for her 😉 )

3. Don’t mess with Elyssa when it comes to being nutritionally prepared for your workout – eat before you go; she has little sympathy and will tell you it’s your own fault.  And who likes to hear that? (again, paraphrasing for her.)

4. Eating better food makes her feel stronger.

5. You can drink wine but not every night.

6. You don’t have to starve to lose weight.

7.  Oh, and don’t hold your breath when lifting weights. Elyssa’s been after me since day one to stop holding my breath.

Yes, Helen. Yes, I have.

And here’s the proof.

Helen and I both hope this helps you.





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