In today’s “I Did It” Series episode, I have Melanie Almarez, who went through a reverse while in MACROS 101. If you’re thinking about a reverse, intimidated by the idea, or concerned about how it would work for you, you’ll get so much out of this conversation. Melanie shares about the fear she felt when she started her reverse, how she worked through that fear, and then how she was able to commit to the process and trust it, which ultimately brought her to where she is today. So, let’s get into the interview!
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/237
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- Reverse diet (1:13, 17:40, 33:08)
- Acknowledge that something that you are doing is not working (18:57)
- Do the work and commit to the process (18:57, 31:12)
- Get a coach and join a reliable program (19:42, 33:08)
- The beauty of having an accountability group (20:59, 23:59, 25:06)
- Realize self-worth and work on what makes you worthy (28:53)
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio episode number 237.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four. Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Amber B 0:47
Hey, hey, hey, welcome back to another Friday episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host Amber Brueseke and this is another one of our “I Did It” Series interviews where we interview past clients of MACROS 101 to be able to share their story, their triumph, their lessons learned with you in hopes that you will be able to learn from them and be inspired and excited about this process. And know that if you know one woman was able to do it that you are able to do it as well.
Amber B 1:13
Today's topic is one that I'm a big fan of and that is reverse dieting. And I'm such a big fan of it because it's one of those things that I just wish more women understood. If you are someone who has struggled, yo-yo-ing up and down with your weight, losing it, and then regaining the weight and then losing it and regaining the weight, the missing piece for most of those women is reverse dieting. This process of titrating up calories over time so that you're able to maintain the results and be able to eat more food. It's a game changer, it changes everything. But it can be super scary because that is eating more food is counterintuitive for most women. It seems like what that's that's the opposite of the direction I want to go right? eating more food means gaining more weight, eating less food means losing weight. So why the heck would I want to eat more food, it seems very counterintuitive. And there's a real fear for most women, as they go through this process. And it can be really hard to work through that fear.
Amber B 2:15
And so that's what I talk about with Melanie today. She's one of our clients who went through a reverse diet, who came into MACROS 101, went through a reverse diet and is on the other side of that experience, and can give some perspectives about that very real same fear that she felt as she started, and how she was able to work through it, how she was able to continue to commit to the process and trust it, and trust that it was gonna take her where she needed to go. So if you're someone who may be in the back of your mind, you've been thinking about the reverse, or part of you knows that you really need to reverse but it just is so dang scary, I highly recommend listening to this conversation that I have with Melanie because I think you're going to come away from this episode, being able to assuage some of those fears, and being able to take that next step into something that for most women ends up being one of the best things that they've ever done in their life. So that further ado, let's jump into the interview with Melanie Almarez.
Amber B 3:14
I'm so excited to welcome Melanie Almarez to the podcast. Melanie, thanks so much for coming on here to share your story with us.
Thanks for having me, Amber.
Amber B 3:23
I'm really excited about the topics that we're going to cover today. But before we dive into the specifics, let's just start out a little bit about you and introduce you to the podcast audience. So can you just give us a little insight into you and your journey before you started MACROS 101?
Sure. I am a wife and mother of one adult child. I have dieted on and off or dieted or fell off most of my adult life so many different diets and things I mean, you know, the biggest loser diet cookbooks, WWF, intermittent, various forms of restriction. Basically later in life, oh, I'm also I'm 52 by the time this airs, I may be 53. Later in life, I signed up with a coaching app through my health insurance and I lost about 30 pounds over a six-month period just counting calories and tracking. And then I was diagnosed with vocal cord dysfunction which took a long time for them to diagnose and I couldn't understand why I couldn't breathe. And so it basically it kind of restricted everything like I work a desk job but I would come home and all I could do was sit. I couldn't get up, I couldn't cook, I couldn't like I was just so–
Amber B 4:55
just because you’re like so hard to breathe to do like any like–
Yes, I felt like I could didn't get my breath and so I never had any energy. So then finally that got diagnosed and like, okay, I'm good. And I managed to maintain through that whole time. But then I saw like five pounds kind of creeping back up, and my year was going to be up. So I joined Weight Watchers through my health insurance. And I lost about 35 pounds over a six-month period with that, and I made a goal and lifetime with a goal weight that was set by my doctor and I was really happy with that. And then, I also started working out at a body-positive studio here that's locally owned by just a wonderful woman and that helped a lot. But then I maintained for probably a year, a year and a half, and then just the creep started again. And I realized that I was living at the same calories that I had been dieting with all this time. And I just decided I couldn't live like that anymore.
Amber B 6:08
Yeah, because this happens so frequently, it's like, so much of what is sold to us is on the weight loss. And then once you get the weight loss, that's like it. But what you know, now is like, that's not the end of the journey, like, there's a process that you need to be able to go through to maintain it, but like, that's not sexy and marketable, and like sellable. And so like it's not part of the deal.
Amber B 6:37
So we're gonna get into that and like, get into the reverse dieting and that process and what it's been like for you. But I'm wondering if you're willing to go back because you told me that you started your first diet at eight. And I think a lot of women, there are other women who are listening to it can bet can very much relate to that of like starting their first diet at 12 or 14, or like having that timeframe and that they remember that. Can you share with me some of your earliest memories of that?
I can. So at age eight, it might have even been seven. I don't know for sure. But I remember my mom putting me on a diet. And I was very frustrated, very upset. And mind you, I was not an obese child. I was probably barely overweight. But my sister had always been severely underweight. And so, I'm not sure exactly what my weight was, but looking back at pictures, I look like a pretty normal kid.
Amber B 7:41
Like a normal kid. Does your mom struggle with her weight?
No, never. Until now. And I remember just being really frustrated and not understanding why this was a problem, why I needed to be on a diet. And just waking up at night, I remember hearing something and going out into the kitchen. And she and my sister were in there, like sneaking food. Oh, and I was like, Wait a minute.
Amber B 8:15
Why I wasn't invited to this?
Exactly. So that's my earliest memory of dieting. And then just through my teenage years, just weird, like, not eating. And then eating only apples like just weird stuff. I don't know where I even got that idea. And then I didn't really ever stick with anything for very long, you know? Because that really sucks. But yeah, just always felt like I was probably wasn't the most overweight person in my little group of friends. But I also wasn't the thinnest and honestly, the people in my circles, weren't thin by the definition of thin that I'm seeing nowadays purported in the media and stuff. Like, that's a little scary.
Amber B 9:15
Like it's even moved further into like the extreme.
Amber B 9:18
Yeah, that's so interesting. And, you know, and I have to assume that the experience that you had with dieting, that's such an engagement and that being something that you kind of grew up, I have to assume that that really shaped you as an adult and your experience with your weight as an adult. Do you have any insight as to those early experiences shaping some of those challenges that you've had as an adult with your weight loss?
I do. I feel like a lot of it. You know, there was a little rebellion there. Like, go in the opposite way. Like I don't want to have to track my food. I don't want to have to watch what I'm eating. So I'm just going to eat whatever I want.
Amber B 9:59
Especially since it was your mom telling you that like, I think this is a really important thing to highlight is, and I teach this a lot in MACROS 101, like, there's a difference when somebody tells you to do something and when you make a decision that you're going to do something. And a lot of times, it's like your mom told you supposed to do it. And so that does come out for most of us that like, don't tell me what to do. I’m like, you told me to do something, and I'm gonna do the exact opposite, but that rebellious nature is present in most of us. And so it doesn't surprise me at all that you felt that rebelliousness of like, No, you can't make me do those things. And things start to shift when it's like, no, no, like, nobody else is telling me to do this, I'm deciding to do this, this is my choice.
And that's been a big theme. Whenever I've had like a health care professional, who, every time I've gone to them as harped on my weight. Every time those have been the times when I have struggled more with my weight. Then when I have a health care professional that is supportive, and basically kind of like, okay, if you want to lose weight, we can talk about what your options are, or I can, you know, I'll do anything I can to support you. And I've been very fortunate, the last two doctors that I've had for primary care have been very supportive. And the doctor I have currently is she's just amazing.
Amber B 11:23
What a great thing for any health care professionals to hear who are listening to this, because I have to assume that the intent of those positions is pure, like, they want you to be successful, they want you to be healthy like that's the intent. But what so many people don't realize is that the byproduct of that like harping on the weight of telling people what to do doesn't actually create the outcome that you want. And in fact, you said it created the exact other outcomes. It's like nobody you harping on my weight, it actually is making me go the opposite way. And I think when we can start to understand that just because your intention is pure, what matters is what it actually causes. And I think, as we start to understand that, especially for health care providers listening that as we start to understand that even if your intentions are pure, you have to see how that actually is impacting the patient long term, that we can start to change some of our approaches. And I think you're right that for a lot of women that like more supportive, not like a top-down, but like linking arms with you and being like, let's walk this together, instead of like, I'm going to tell you what to do, ends up producing a much better result for most women.
Absolutely. And it also I feel like affected my health care because what it took me do was not want to go to the doctor.
Amber B 12:32
So I wasn't going to the doctor unless I had a very serious concern.
Amber B 12:37
Yeah, I didn't go for a checkup. I didn't go for anything like that. So now I do.
Amber B 12:43
Yeah, there's actually a lot of research that shows that women or people and heavier bodies get worse health care, because of that very reason is that they don't go to the doctor unless it's really serious, because they don't want to deal with the stigma. They don't want to deal with being told that they like to need to do things. And so you know, that weight bias is absolutely present. And something that hopefully is, has been more addressed. I always feel like those things move slower than we wish they would. But that's a real thing. So first of all, how did you find me what was your introduction to me into the world of Biceps After Babies and MACROS 101? And what was that experience life like for you?
So I probably indirectly found you because of COVID. And that's because with COVID Weight Watchers had to transition to online virtual coaching and all of that. And my local person, he thought was in his jam, and bless his heart, he was a wonderful guy, but he was in his 70s. And he was not about to learn new technology.
Amber B 13:55
He's not about to learn zoom-
And no, thank you. And so I had to find another coach, and I found a coach out of Utah. And she was wonderful. And all of a sudden, she started talking about going through a reverse diet. And she actually was being coached by Katie Crocus. And so I started following Katie and then through Katie, I found Biceps After Babies, and that's when I was so excited. I am gonna get to learn all this for myself. I could learn this for myself. And so I digested like every piece of free content you had on your website, tried to set my own macros just not really understanding probably enough about myself and what my goal was, and of course, I was not in any mental state to start a reverse diet or I just was clinging to my goal weight like this. So, carefully at that point, I was just, you know, in fact, you and I interacted on social media right before I joined MACROS 101. I was waffling. So I had not joined Confidence In Your Numbers, and I wished I had. And I thought I would just wait around until it came back on special again. And then you were nice enough to let me know that everything in Confidence In Your Numbers was in MACROS 101. And so I wouldn't be missing out on anything. And at that point, I thought, you know, I'm not progressing. I'm not getting anywhere doing what I'm doing. And I had always seen the quotes that said, What got you here won't get you there. And so I thought, Okay, I've got to do this. And you kind of came back to me with a comment at the same time, I came back to you with a comment. And yours was something to the effect of, what if what you're doing is what's keeping you stuck. And mine was, okay, I'm doing it. I'm pulling the trigger. I'm joining MACROS 101 and the reason is that what I thought was my life raft turned out to be my anchor.
Amber B 16:19
Say more about that.
You know, I just felt like, this was the only time I had had true success in you know, in my mind, as far as losing the weight. And so I was so afraid to leave Weight Watchers. And even though my weight was going up, and I was still tracking, I was still using the app, still attending the virtual coaching, and doing all the things. I wasn't making any progress, and I wasn't gaining any further knowledge that was helping me navigate maintenance. And I felt like even though it was only five pounds, I felt like it was just this trajectory that was gonna continue if I didn't make a change. And so at that moment, it was like a light bulb went on. And I was like, oh, okay, this is what I need to do. And I knew I needed to reverse. I just was kind of, I was thinking, maybe I would try it on my own but I was pretty scared to do it on my own because I felt like, there would probably be a lot of mental work that I would probably need coaching for.
Amber B 17:36
Were you right?
Amber B 17:40
I remember you during the challenge, because you were super active during the challenge, like, in the classes, like I'm doing the homework like I remember your name popping up all the time in that group. And, I think you're spot on in this idea that a reverse, in and of itself is kind of a simple concept. But just because something simple doesn't make it easy. And a lot of the work that is done on that reverse is to address the fears and concerns that most women have like if I'm eating more food like that's counterintuitive. Why would I eat more food, I want to lose weight, I want to like, be smaller, and eating more foods seems like the exact opposite way to do that. And being able to work through some of those fears is such an important part of being able to dive into the process and actually give it the energy and attention that it needs to be able to get to the other side. So I'd love for you to walk people through because there are women listening to this who are very much in the space that you are we're in right they have this idea that they probably need to do a reverse. They're also terrified and scared because they're not at their goal weight or they're worried about what's going to happen when they eat more food. So can you kind of walk through your experience and how you kind of worked through those fears as you started through the program?
So I guess, the most important thing was acknowledging that what I was doing wasn't working. That was the best and most important place for me to start. Because as long as I tried to hang on to that, I wasn't ever going to really move forward. And so as I started going through the modules and doing the work, and that's the one thing I can say is do the work. Like do when you ask someone to stop
Amber B 19:39
then write something down, do it.
Do it. You know, and if you're listening in your car and you can't then go back and listen again. And when you can write it down and really dig deep and if and if you're writing it down and you don't feel something coming up for you like you don't know what to write down, then go on and get the coaching. And it helps and just that community, being able to post and get a response. And listening to the modules, listening to your podcast, and the coaching calls, you hear so many stories that are similar to yours in ways that maybe you didn't even realize, and maybe you go through it in and you look at the description, or you hear the name of the podcast, and you think, Oh, that doesn't have anything to do with me but it's next on the list so I'll play it.
Amber B 20:44
I'm a diligent student, so I'm gonna do it.
And then you play it. And you're shocked to find out that there are so many things in there that resonate with you and bring up things that you never even realized, maybe were an issue for you.
Amber B 20:59
Yeah, but I mean, honestly, that's one of the reasons that I've moved to the group coaching model because I did one on one coaching for a really long time. But the exact thing that you just said there, that when there is a community, and when you're hearing the questions and concerns and stories of other women, so often, they will ask questions that will elicit something from you that you had no idea was there. It's like they asked this question, it's so easy to see these things and other people, and so hard to see them in ourselves sometimes. And so the beauty I see of group coaching is when you have women asking questions, and having problems and having concerns, it allows you to receive the answer to a question that you didn't know. And you can ask questions about things you don't know, you cannot ask a question about something you don't know, you don't know. And I love that experience that and I've experienced it in group coaching, as well as like, I hear something and I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I need that as well. But I would have never thought to ask that question, or I would have never thought to bring up that. And it just becomes a really beautiful community to be able to work together and move forward. One of the things that you mentioned to me earlier is that one of the things that made a big difference to you was your accountability group. Can you share a little bit about that, and how that helped you move the needle during this process?
I can, and it's actually still helping me.
Amber B 22:21
I love it.
We're still connected, and we don't plan to stop connecting anytime soon. And it's really funny, because when I first went on to I'm like, Okay, I probably need to find an accountability partner or accountability group. And I looked through the groups, and it looked like most of the ones that were about reversing and that were people my age were already full. And so I thought about it. And I thought, well, there's one here that maybe I'll go ahead and I'll respond to it and just see, but it kind of looks like they're full, but I'll just see what happens. And then also just put out a call myself. And so I put out a call myself and I got this amazing response. And we ended up with six people. And it just, it was amazing, because we are all from different places in the country, we have more in common than we had any idea we had in common. You know, we were all most of us are about the same age, we have one lady who's a little bit younger, but we just ended up just being able to support each other so well. And we have one lady who's a nurse, and we have, you know, I'm kind of an IT person and very data-driven, right? So like I'm the one who reminded everybody about this spreadsheet,
Amber B 23:56
The numbers and you know, calculations and–
Oh, I don't even remember seeing that. But you're right, it is in there. And you know, I did a little tutorial on Marco Polo. And you know, and we just have everybody like has their little roll. But it's funny because we all go through the same things. And so we're posting on Marco Polo and then somebody a week later that had come to us and encouraged us is now going through something similar themselves. And we're able to come on and say hey, you know, Amber would say or you know, and just really meet each other where we need and we share about everything. We don't just talk macros, we talk life. And it's been amazing to have this group of people that I would have never met, if not for this program, and we're just, you know, we're just like, we're like we're friends. We've never met in person, but we're friends. Someday maybe we'll take a road trip.
Amber B 25:06
We've had accountability groups who have done that where they have like, met up and done like a meetup. My heart explodes when I see that because it's I just love the idea of I feel like so much of being a women woman is the world telling you that you're alone, and you're the problem and like you need to figure it out and nobody else has that issue. And I think that keeps us stuck, and it keeps us miserable, and it keeps us like subservient. And when we can find other women and be in community with other women, and not feel alone and recognize, oh my gosh, you think and feel the same way, oh my gosh, you struggle with the same thing. There is a power that comes with being able to group with other like-minded women and be able to rise together. And I think that's what your experience was was, we can only go so far alone. And when we join in a community of women, we can lift each other up, because you're doing good one day, and I'm doing good one day, and we can just continue to help the whole group to rise. You know, that scene of like, a rising tide lifts all ships. And I really see that when you get into a community of women who are all like-minded and going after a goal. So it just always warms my heart when I hear of those experiences. Can you walk us through a little bit of your experience with the reverse? What was hard about the reverse? What was maybe easy? What were some of the lessons that you learned throughout that process?
So I think what was hard about it was definitely seeing the scale increase. Because I am not one of those people who made it through the reverse without the scale going up, or who made it through the reverse with the scale going down. That was not my experience. However, I am progressive overloading. And I just keep reminding myself, that muscle has to go somewhere. And I have seen, you know, I did see a little bit of increase in my waist, but not much. And so I kind of, I'm like, Okay, well, we're gonna call it right here, this is going to be maintenance. And so I think definitely the mental part of it is the hardest part. Because you're just fighting that old mentality. And I have to say, my experience with losing the 35 pounds was, you know, how they say, Oh, this is how you think your trajectory should be straight down. And this is how it exactly actually is where it loops up and down and up and down. That was not my experience, my experience was straight out. So that gratification of stepping on that scale and seeing that lower weight every single week, or at the very least seeing it remain the same, was very real, and having to be able to step away from that and realize that that is not where I get my worth, that doesn't have anything to do with what I'm doing right now. That is not the goal, my goal is not to step on the scale and see it go down. My goal is to eat as many calories as I can without having everything go up. So that was a big part of what was hard about it.
Amber B 28:31
I'm gonna interrupt you because I know that there are people who are this, like, the idea of a number on the scale. Right? As you said, you were so attached to that number. And I was like, that's the number and that's a very Weight Watchers things like that's your number, you got to stay at that number. So how did you let go of that? How do you let go of that number and like the power that it had over you?
You know, I think a lot of it had to do with the work that I did in MACROS 101, and just realizing self-worth, working on what makes me worthy. Do I have to accomplish a specific thing to become worthy? Do I have to be a specific number on the scale to be worthy? And that and in combination with the fact that I go to a gym where it's a body-positive studio, and she's working with people to make sure that you get stronger, not that you get smaller. Those things really helped. And just being able to view it as data. And the way my mind works data thing.
Amber B 29:49
You know, like I got I get that I do that.
So once I could view it as data and I had this nice little spreadsheet where I put everything out there and see what was going on. And really put on that macro scientist hat. That really I think is what made the difference.
Amber B 30:10
So good. Yeah, that's gonna be really helpful for people because I do find if you find that, that question, I love the question that you asked, and I hope people latch on to that question and ask themselves the same question of like, if you do find yourself tied to a number of like what does that number represent to you, and for a lot of women, it is worth, it's like if I am that number, then I'm worth something. And if I'm not that number, then I'm not worth something. And you got to work through that of separating out those two things. Because we know innately that they aren't the same thing. But a lot of times that gets mixed up in our brain, and we do equate weight and worth, and being able to work through that helps you to separate those things back out and makes such a difference. All right, last question. If you could share, you could sit down with somebody who maybe is starting to reverse or thinking maybe they haven't started yet, because they're scared of it. They're afraid of starting to reverse, but they kind of know in the back of their head that they should, what would you tell that woman?
First, I would tell him to join MACROS 101.
Amber B 31:11
And get coached through the process because you're gonna need it. And then I would just tell them, you need to commit to the process, whatever, you know, if you're even and I feel like this even applies to a cut, you have to commit to the process. And you have to be willing to do the work that it's going to entail to get through that process. And if you can't commit to the work, then you're probably not going to be super successful long term. If you are going to be willing to do the mental work that it takes, and hang on because it is it's rough sometimes to hang on, and realize that you are going in the right direction, even though you don't necessarily feel like the scale is going in the right direction. If you're willing to hang in there and do that work, the payoffs are going to be huge.
Amber B 32:16
Yeah, and I think it's so helpful to hear from a woman who's been through that and is like, on the other side. So if you're listening to this, and you feel like you're back where Melanie used to be, I encourage you to like, listen to where she's at today, and recognize that her story can be your story, too. And I think that one of the things that I love most about the “I Did It” Series is when we can see it modeled and other people, it's like that community aspect, when we can see it modeled by other people, we can believe it's possible for us. And that's the power of people coming together and sharing their stories and sharing their experiences. We don't feel alone, and we feel like oh my gosh, she's doing makes it possible for me. And that's such a powerful experience to be able to have. So thank you so much for coming and sharing your story, Melanie. This is going to help a lot of women who are at that point where they kind of know what they need to do and it's that resistance that comes up. So thank you for being on the podcast.
Thank you for having me, Amber,
Amber B 33:08
What a great conversation. I think if you're considering a reverse, or you're in that process of making the decision about a reverse, I think that was an excellent episode to listen to, to hear kind of the other side. What life could be like, if you trust and go through with this process? And I hope that it's giving you some confidence to think about a reverse, think about that next stage. I mentioned it when I was on the call with Melanie. But I just want to reaffirm hear that this is the missing piece for most women in why they aren't able to maintain their results long term, this one piece. And if you've been successful, “successful losing weight” in the past, but then you keep regaining it and you keep telling yourself, oh my gosh, the diet works like I just need to do it actually do the diet. I want you to realize that it might not just be that the diet works to help you lose weight, but the diet might not work to help you maintain that weight loss. And there's a missing key piece and for most women, that is a reverse diet. So if you're not just someone who wants to lose weight but you want to lose weight and keep it off you want to actually have that transformation that lasts long term, you have to understand and go through a reverse diet. And it's can be a scary process but it doesn't have to be and you know something we coach our clients through a lot inside of MACROS 101, that's where I teach you this process in depth and coach you through and hold your hand through the process so that as those fears come up, we can actually coach through them and get you to the other side. We open doors to MACROS 101, very very soon on August 29. If you want to be the first in line when we open doors so that you can get your spot head to bicepsafterbabies.com/waitlist and put your name and email there. We'll make sure that you know when doors open it's always a short enrollment period. It's only a four-day enrollment period. Every year we have people who are like I missed it. Don't miss it. There are only four days from August 29 to September 1 when you can enroll in this round of MACROS 101. And if you're looking to go through a reverse diet, there's no better place to be. That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber, now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you can do anything.
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