Not Just An After Picture
By: Laura Elliot
Oakville, ON, Canada
I started my journey in June, 2019. Over 6 months, I lost 20 pounds. Once the pandemic hit, I fell back into old habits – doing whatever it took to put one foot in front of the other. The weight came back over about 8 months for a variety of reasons. First of all, I ate “comfort” foods because I was feeling sorry for myself when I couldn’t see my friends or family, I ate what I felt would make me happy in the moment, and my job went from one of constantly travelling, being on the road and on my feet for days on end teaching, to one where I sit in front of a computer and teach on Zoom. I also noticed when my anxiety was bad – my food habits reflected my emotional state. On days I felt overwhelmed, I would eat foods that satisfied me in the moment, but would instantly regret once the meal was done – partly because they were high in calories, but more because they made me feel sick and uncomfortable.
Not only did I begin to emotionally berate myself, but I found I was becoming a version of myself I didn’t like – I was constantly negative, mad at the world and overly anxious and depressed. Unfortunately, things got worse before they got better.
In November of 2020, my childhood best friend passed away suddenly. My world crashed down around me. She was 27 years old. I was a mess. The thing about your childhood friends is they help to influence who you become. This friend was someone who taught me honesty, the importance of being yourself, but most of all – how to follow your dreams no matter how wild they are. She wanted to be a figure skater even though she was just a beginner– and ended up competing professionally. She wanted to be a ballerina – and ended up dancing at one of the top dance schools in Canada. She wanted to be a vet – and eventually got accepted to go to veterinarian school across the world in Europe. She accomplished more in her 27 years than many accomplish in 80. I grieved not only for the loss of a friend, but for someone who had so much to offer the world. On New Years Eve, I cried all day. I was releasing the year and everything that had happened. My partner hugged me and told me it was okay to grieve, but he asked me such a powerful question, “how did I plan to move forward?” In this moment, I thought of my friend. Of her passion and how she never took “no” for an answer. I decided right then I needed to get my life back on track in her honour.
That day, I re-signed up for Noom. In order to move forward, I needed to re-commit to myself. I then ordered a journal I had heard others talk about called “The Five-Minute Journal” so I could encourage myself to look at small positive wins everyday rather than focusing on all the negative ones, as I had been perpetually doing in the past year. I also knew something was up with my health as I was feeling so incredibly sick and worn down. I had tried working with my Medical Doctor to figure it out with no success. My answers came when I started working with a Naturopathic Doctor and my Medical Doctor in conjunction.
I learned I had a condition called Endometriosis, as well as a severe Vitamin D deficiency, and that the corticosteroid I was taking for my eczema may have been another reason I was gaining back weight so quickly. I have since started on supplements, Vitamin D and medication for my anxiety, as well as came off the steroids, and it has been a night and day difference. Not only that – but the weight has been melting off.
Prioritizing my health, while committing to the Noom program has been my recipe for success – with my beautiful friend who is now shining down from above cheering me on. It has been 3 months and I have lost 17 pounds. On days it gets tough and I want to give up, I turn to the beautiful community I have found in Noom. I started an Instagram account a few weeks after my “Noom Revival” - as I like to call it - called Noomnomnoms where I share recipes I make based off the Noom principles, along with some bad jokes and puns.
This account has connected me to people who not only inspire me, but who have supported me on my bad days, and cheered me on during the best days. People like Katie have become more than just another face on my Instagram feed, but someone who I genuinely enjoy talking to and who makes me want to keep going on this journey.
The thing about this community is they aren’t just an after picture. They aren’t just people who make you want to change because their bodies look different. They are people who have found themselves along the way. They are people who have realized they deserve to feel healthy, strong and confident.
Weight loss is just one thing we have gotten out of this program, but the non-scale victories such as friendships, confidence, strength and motivation are things I have found myself putting more merit in. Weight loss looks different for everyone. For me, I never could wrap my hand around elimination diets, crazy restrictions or too many “rules”. If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I truly believe in balance. My page is not just salads and low carb options, it is a tribute to the fact that I eat what I want – just in moderation or with substitutions. I have had so much fun cooking up what I call “La-Calorie” options (get it? Like Low-calorie but my name is Laura? Told you there were bad puns!) and taking what people are craving and finding a way to make it more calorie friendly. What we are doing here isn’t a fad – it’s a lifestyle choice. Want to know the secret to success? Believing in yourself and knowing you are worthy of change. And of course – a fabulous community helps the process as well. Find those who want to build you up, rather than tear you down.
I dedicate my inspiration for change to my beautiful friend who I have lost, but my success has come from me. I have to celebrate myself for choosing… well, me - and working every day to make myself better.
Thank you to Katie, who has created such a beautiful community, space to share my story and experience. I feel so incredibly honoured to be featured on her new page and cannot wait to see all the wonderful change she makes in the future.
My Favourite Recipes:
This “Buck it I’m Eating Cake” single serving cake comes in at only 175 calories for the whole thing, and is made up of mostly green and yellow foods with just a touch of red (chocolate chips and maple syrup). I am not ashamed to admit this was so delicious I licked the bowl when I was done 😏.
As always, don’t forget to measure and weigh for yourself.
You will need: -2 tablespoons buckwheat flour -1 tablespoon cocoa powder -2 tablespoons oat milk -2 teaspoons pure organic maple syrup -1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce -1/4 teaspoon baking soda -Touch of salt -1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract -1 tablespoon semi-sweet organic chocolate chips . Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt). In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients (oat milk, applesauce, vanilla). Mix the two bowls together until you have a batter like consistency. Grease a small ramekin to avoid sticking and pour your batter in then top with the chocolate chips. Place the ramekin on a cookie sheet, then pop it in the oven for 15-18 min. You’ll notice the top is springy when it is ready. Let it cool then VOILA! Trust me, you’re going to want a choco-lot of this dessert 🤷🏼♀️ Bon Appetit💁🏼♀️
Who doesn’t love a margarita with a delicious taco dinner?
That’s why I decided to make some “Hold the Tequila” margarita... tacos! These sweet and savory shrimp and lime crema tacos are such an amazing way to kick off the week. The best part - this entire plate is only 339 calories. But as always don’t forget to measure and weigh for yourself.
You will need: -4 small corn tortillas -Shredded cabbage -30 g of avocado -2 tablespoons lite feta . For the seasoning: -1 tablespoon chili powder -¼ teaspoon garlic powder -¼ teaspoon onion powder -¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes -¼ teaspoon dried oregano -½ teaspoon paprika -1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin -1 teaspoon sea salt -1 teaspoon black pepper -1/3 cup water . For the crema (yields more then you will need): -1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt -1 clove fresh garlic -1 lime -touch of salt . Start by melting butter over medium low heat. De-tail your shrimp and cook them in the butter. Once they are pink, mix your seasoning together and throw it in the pan with 1/3 a cup of water (you probably won’t need the whole seasoning mixture, just use as much as you want). While that is cooking, chop up your avocado and mix your sauce together. In the oven, warm up the tortillas for 2 min. Pull them out, top with the shrimp, cabbage, feta, avocado and crema and VOILA! You won’t even miss the tequila (probably)🍹 Bon Appetit 💁🏼♀️