'I Lost 100 Lbs. With The Beachbody Meal Plan After Gaining Weight From Graves' Disease'

Sarah Purvis, as told to Emily Shiffer
·6 min read
Photo credit: Sarah Purvis
Photo credit: Sarah Purvis

From Women's Health

My name is Sarah Purvis (@sarah__purvis), and I am 34 years old. I live in Pasco, Washington, and I work for the Department of Social and Health Services. After gaining weight from treatment for a thyroid disorder and dealing with postpartum depression, I turned to Beachbody's 21 Day Fix workouts and meal plan to lose 100 pounds.

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember, and I have tried every diet in the book. I had a very unhealthy relationship with food from an early age, often using food as a coping mechanism for emotional distress.

Back in 2011, I was diagnosed with Graves' disease, an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormone. I received radioactive iodine therapy a few years later to treat my Graves' disease, and while it eventually alleviated many uncomfortable symptoms related to the thyroid disorder, I gained a lot of weight that first year following treatment. (This is a pretty common side effect of treatment for hyperthyroidism.) My weight crept up to 264 pounds, which was by far the heaviest I’d ever been.

I started following a low-carb Atkins diet and taking cardio classes at the gym a few days per week to lose weight. It took about a year of following the diet very closely to bring my weight down to 185 pounds. While I was thankful to see the weight come off, I knew I would struggle to maintain this way of eating long-term.

Another pivotal point for me was when I got pregnant with my daughter in 2016. My mom passed away just shy of my second trimester, and I was in so much emotional pain and struggling to grieve. I gained 70 pounds during my pregnancy, not exercising and eating junk, causing my weight to go right back up.

After my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and was desperate to feel better physically and mentally.

So, I began my weight-loss journey on March 6, 2017. I wanted to feel like myself again. At six weeks postpartum, I decided to start working out from home following a Beachbody program called 21 Day Fix. I had started following a girl on social media who used Beachbody programs on her own weight-loss journey following the birth of her second son. I loved the convenience of working out from home, especially now that I was a mom to a newborn baby and working full-time. I would wake up early or work out after my daughter went to sleep in the evenings.

I also followed the accompanying 21 Day Portion Fix meal plan and joined an online accountability group for the added support. The Portion Fix meal plan (which I still follow to this day) uses color-coded containers to teach you portion control. You eat from an approved list of foods that are wholesome, clean, and fuel your body. I love the food I eat and don’t feel deprived. I don’t have to eliminate food groups, or count calories or carbs. The meal plan is super simple, and I’ve been able to sustain it for over three years now.

Here’s what I eat in a day.

  • Breakfast: Shakeology with almond milk, half a banana, and spinach, and a slice of Dave’s Killer Bread toasted with coconut oil.

  • Lunch: Salad with lots of veggies, a healthy fat (like feta cheese or avocado), chicken, a healthier dressing (either store-bought or homemade), and a sweet potato on the side.

  • Snacks: Apple with almond butter or hummus and veggies.

  • Dinner: Chicken sausage, a veggie, and quinoa or brown rice in a stir fry.

  • Dessert: Frozen grapes or Greek yogurt with berries and a few dark chocolate chips.

I went on to do program after program in the online Beachbody library while following the meal plan, and I lost 100 pounds within a year.

I was in the best shape of my life! I had never done weight lifting in all my years of going to the gym, but I found a love for it via the at-home fitness programs I was following. My favorite program to date is 80 Day Obsession, which combines weightlifting, cardio, and core work, along with the Portion Fix meal plan. I’ve completed it five times now and am planning to do it again this winter.

I wake up at 5:30 a.m. to workout before work. Most programs I follow involve working out six days a week, with a rest day. The workouts are generally 30 to 60 minutes long, depending on the program. I love programs that combine weight lifting and cardio. I love the convenience of working out from home and the variety of programs offered.

These three small changes have made a huge impact on my overall weight loss.

  • I focused on making mental health changes. Working on your mental health is just as important as working on your physical health. I read or listen to personal development books and podcasts daily, get outside for daily walks to clear my head, journal, and attend counseling. I also have a community of support. I believe these have all contributed to me having a better attitude about health and fitness, and have helped me live a more fulfilling life.

  • I focused on consistency. No matter what meal plan you’re following or workouts you’re doing, if you keep stopping and starting or quitting altogether, you will not achieve your desired results. I remembered that I couldn't be mad at the results I didn’t get from the work I didn’t do! Be patient, trust the process, keep a log or tracker for accountability, and do the dang thing.

  • I celebrated my successes and stopped comparing my journey to anyone else's. I had to find joy in the journey and celebrate my successes along the way, no matter how small. I took pics and measurements, instead of relying on the scale! I was my own biggest cheerleader, and I remembered that the only person I was competing against was myself.

My life has completely transformed in the past few years.

Overall, I have lost 100 pounds. What started as a desperate attempt to lose weight and recover from my grief and postpartum depression has turned into a new, healthy lifestyle that I love. I’ve found the most amazing friendships within my online community and have learned that when you love yourself, you open yourself up to so many more opportunities to connect and grow. Community and accountability is so important to me.

I now *crave* my routine. I love getting my workouts in each day, eating my favorite healthy foods, and making time to take care of my mental health. This lifestyle makes me feel strong and energized, and keeps me sane through the ups and downs of life.

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