'I Lost 42 Pounds With Mindful Eating And Kayla Itsines' BBG Programs (And Tons Of Positive Self-Talk!)'

Jodi Edmunds, as told to Alexis Jones
Photo credit: Jodi Edmunds
Photo credit: Jodi Edmunds

From Women's Health

My name is Jodi Edmunds (@whealthyguru) and I’m 28. I’m currently living in Durban, South Africa, and training to become an integrative nutrition health coach. After feeling unhappy with my mental and physical state, I decided to do Kayla Itsines' BBG workout program and adapt mindful eating tools to completely change my lifestyle—and lose 42 pounds.

A little over a year ago, I was at a point where I felt very frustrated and just fed up and uncomfortable in both my body and my mind. I had some nutritional knowledge and always knew that my lifestyle choices weren’t serving my body positively, and I had always felt uncomfortable with my weight. But when I started noticing that my mental health was dwindling too, that really kickstarted my desire to make a transformation.

I had never really experienced any kind of anxiety before and hadn't ever seen myself as an anxious person. But what I did experience, I didn't like. So I wanted to find ways to deal with it. I ended up seeing a mental health counselor for a bit, and it was during those sessions that I started to realize I needed to actually start taking care of myself mentally, which meant taking care of myself physically too. I remember my counselor saying to me, "It seems as if your mind and body aren't connected." I knew she was right and that I needed to make a change.

It took some time for me to eventually step into my own self-worth.But once I realized that I deserved to be a healthy human being living a happier, healthier lifestyle, it was easier to make the lifestyle changes I wanted to.

I started by implementing lots of small habits every day and being consistent with them.

Having discipline and being patient have been two of the most important parts of my process. I'd tried to lose weight before. But this time around I had a stronger, deeper, more meaningful reason for making healthy choices than just wanting to look good physically, which is what allowed me to stay consistent with these healthy habits:

  • Eating more whole foods and less processed foods

  • Exercising and moving my body regularly

  • Drinking lots of water

  • Practicing mindful eating

  • Practicing self-care

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How to satisfy your carb cravings, which carbs to choose and how much of them to eat: Want to know how to satisfy your carb cravings? EAT CARBS. No amount of anything else will do it. What actually makes all the difference is the type of carbs we eat. Carbs play a vital role in boosting our health. But the kinds of carbs we eat on a regular basis can either make us or break us. People often put me in the "she doesn't eat carbs" box because "carbs" are often associated with things like french fries, donuts, packets of crisps and things that are high in refined sugar. I actually eat lots of carbs. I just choose natural, nourishing ones over refined ones most of the time. Also, we tend to forget that carbs are also found in things like fruits, vegetables and legumes. Choosing natural, whole carbs over refined, processed ones with less added thingies is one of the biggest changes I've made on my food journey and it's made the world of difference for me. If I go out to a restaurant and I'm given the choice between french fries or mashed potato with my fish, I'll choose the mashed potato. Of course I eat cupcakes and pizza. I just eat them now and again and save them for occasions. Also, what's pretty cool is that the MORE whole, natural carbs I started including in my diet, the LESS of the other kind I craved. Now, how much? Firstly, we often think we need more carbs than we actually do. In many of my previous attempts to live a healthier lifestyle, the top thing on my to do list was to cut the carbs. This time around, I just cut them in different ways and it changed everything - I cut them into quarters, into halves, into slices into cubes and so on. Never cut them out completely, but just into smaller portions. And most of the time, they're not the base of my meals - they're the side dish, the topping or just an equal part of everything else on my plate that's nourishing me. Here's my "I Choose These Carbs Most Of The Time" list: sweet potato, quinoa, oats, chickpeas, lentils, peas, kidney beans, pumpkin, butternut, beetroots, bananas, carrots, apples, corn, brown rice, pasta (sometimes). There are many more options too. What‘s on your list?

A post shared by Jodi Edmunds (@whealthyguru) on Jul 15, 2020 at 8:45am PDT

And when I noticed that making healthier choices every day improved my health both mentally and physically, that kept me going and sparked consistent change. So while weight loss was a goal of mine, my main goal was very much to become a healthier, happier and more energized individual, internally and externally, now and in 50 years time.

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15 months of showing up for myself 🌻 One of the main reasons I've been able to stay consistent during my journey is because I've been showing up from a place of love, not hate. In all my previous attempts to lose weight, I couldn't stay consistent because I was showing up from a place of frustration, anger and resentment. As soon as I flipped this around and started showing up from a place of love, care and worthiness, everything changed and flowed so much more easily. One of the most common questions I get is how I've managed to stay motivated for more than just a few weeks. Showing up from a place of love is definitely a BIG factor but last week I also posted a 3-part series on my IGTV about how I'm able to stay consistent with healthy eating and exercise and exactly how I keep myself motivated. In my videos I talk about 10 things that have helped me stay consistent and motivated on my journey and I thought I'd leave a little summary of those 10 things in this post as a little bit of Monday motivation for you if you haven't had a chance to watch them. You can find the videos in my IGTVs on my profile. In the video series, I talk about each point in more detail and how I apply it to my daily life. How to stay motivated for a long time: 🌻 Do the 'heart work' to find your WHY (this is the most important thing - I share my WHY and how I found it in my videos) 🌻 Let go of the extremist mindset 🌻 Do exercise you LIKE and eat healthy food you LIKE 🌻 Set yourself small, achievable short terms goals and one big long term goal 🌻 Find multiple ways to monitor your progress, not just the scale 🌻 Start small, allow yourself to be a beginner, meet yourself there and build slowly 🌻 Find someone who can support you at every single step of your journey - my person was my lovely sister 🌻 Adjust your environment to support you 🌻 Make an extra effort on your “demotivated days” 🌻 Know when to be firm with yourself because sometimes being firm with yourself is actually being kind to yourself What keeps YOU motivated?

A post shared by Jodi Edmunds (@whealthyguru) on Jun 22, 2020 at 7:39am PDT

But the most important thing I did was change my *mindset* around food, fitness, and health.

That’s where the magic was. I became grateful for my food and realized that I’m fortunate and privileged to be able to make healthy choices every day. Not everyone is in a position to eat healthy, clean, or unprocessed foods.

I also made it a point to practice positive self-talk and started being grateful for what my body had always been, what it was back then, and everything it was going to be. I stopped letting “slip-ups” lead me into a downward spiral of guilt and trained myself not to think of my days as “good” and “bad,” but rather just another day of eating. And I realized that there will be plenty of opportunities in my lifetime to indulge—and I don’t need to take every single one.

I had also tried so many diets in the past, so I knew that wouldn't work this time around.

Instead of following a "diet" in the traditional sense, I focused on eating more whole, natural, and unprocessed foods. I ate less of the hidden sugars in things like salad dressings, cook-in sauces, dips, and marinades and started making my own with more natural, unprocessed ingredients. And I made it a point to drink more water. I mean, the second I woke up, I downed up to a liter of water and constantly had a water bottle with me throughout my day.

I also cut down on dairy. But I never restricted myself to any food groups or favorite foods, as this had never worked in the past. If I felt like a pizza, I’d eat the pizza. I just wouldn’t eat the whole thing and I’d eat it less often.

Becoming more aware of portion sizes and calories made me realize that I was eating way more than my body actually needed. And by combining portion control with a diet of mostly whole, nutritious, functional foods, that's what allowed me to feel my strongest, healthiest, and happiest, and ultimately helped me reach my health goals.

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The term "self-care" is thrown around a lot lately. What is it actually about and why is it so important? If you've kept up with my stories today, you would've seen that I've been having one big wonderful day of self-care! While taking one day once in a while for it is great, this isn't the only way to do it. The best way to take care of yourself is to make it a CONSISTENT part of your life. If you really want to experience all the beautiful benefits that self-care can bring you, here are some things to note: Caring for yourself is more than just making an effort to look good on the outside. While these can definitely be acts of self-care, it's not the only thing self-care is about. Your acts of self-care should nurture you deeply and feed you on all levels. They should light you up internally and constantly support you by bringing you joy, warmth and contentment in a specific area or several areas of your life. To experience the real benefits, you should commit to consistently including your chosen acts of self-care in your weekly routine. You should focus on areas of your life that you're feeling distant from or that you think you need to focus on (career, relationships, spirituality, physical health, mental health etc.) Then, identify activities you can include regularly to support you in a specific area. Depending on your current needs and stage of life, it's perfectly normal for your acts of self-care to change. What's important is that you're always making time and space for them. You deserve only the best. So make your acts of self-care high quality ones that you know will feed you on all levels and have a positive impact on you. See your carefully chosen self care acts as shiny bubbles of time and space that - if kept consistently nurtured - will transform your well-being and explode enthusiasm, love, and light on those around you. If you're kind to yourself, you'll create the space within you to be kind to others too.

A post shared by Jodi Edmunds (@whealthyguru) on Jul 7, 2020 at 10:34am PDT

Here's what I typically eat in a day.

  • Breakfast: Fruit smoothies with superfoods, boiled eggs with avo and smoked salmon, oats with nut milk and fruit, or seed bread with nut butter and sliced banana.

  • Lunch: Salad bombs (a.k.a. big bowls of functional goodness consisting of at least six different colored veggie-like ingredients). I usually like to mix in a protein like chicken, tuna, or beans and a healthy fat like avocado or nuts, and sometimes sweet potato, butternut, or pumpkin.

  • Dinner: Hearty, home cooked soups, chicken and veggies, or fish and veggies.

  • Snacks: Fruit (bananas, berries, apples, pineapple, papaya, kiwis), nuts and seeds, veggie sticks with homemade hummus, dark chocolate, nut butters on crackers or with fruit, or dates.

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Let’s talk about SALADS! Or, much better, NOURISH BOMBS. I eat a nourish bomb almost every day, either for lunch or dinner. Sometimes twice a day. Many people say they’re boring or bland and don’t fill them up and there’s a weird stigma about them being a boring “diet food”. Can I tell you why? Because most of them are just made up of tomato, lettuce, cucumber and maybe one other thing. NO. That’s not a salad. Lettuce, tomato and cucumber is basically just water and a little bit of sugar. Salads should NOURISH us. That’s why I prefer calling them nourish bombs because that’s what they’re meant to do - fill our bodies with natural, nourishing, energizing goodness. They can taste really good, too. I always try to include at least 6 different colored veggie-like ingredients (always ends up being more though) to ensure I’m getting a nice variety of micronutrients. I also always include a macro nutrient (a carb, protein or fat) and sometimes end up including two or all three macros in one salad. Here are some salad ingredients (other than lettuce, tomato, cucumber, tuna, chicken) that I often add to my NOURISH BOMBS. You can add other things but these are my staple favorites. Salad bases I like (some of these also count add macros): Lettuce (all kinds!), Baby, Spinach, Kale, Mustard greens, Cabbage (red or white), Rocket, Quinoa, Brown rice Other things I like to add: Sweet potato, Beef, Lamb, Tuna, Salmon, Trout, Lentils, Chickpeas, Boiled eggs, Beans (kidney, butter, black, barlotti etc) Avocado, Nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, brazil, walnuts, hazelnuts etc) Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds Everything else: Carrots, Peppers - all three colours, Mange touts, Sugar snap peas, Peas, Baby corn, Asparagus, Zucchini, Cauli flakes / rice, Broccoli, Butternut cubes, Pumpkin, Beetroot, Brussel sprouts, Mushrooms, Spring onion, Red onion, White onion, Garlic, Chilli If you eat dairy, add a tiny sprinkle or feta or mozzarella cheese. I don’t use store-bought or pre-made salad dressings at all. My dressings will usually be extra virgin olive oil OR balsamic vinegar and as much apple cider vinegar and natural lemon juice as I like.

A post shared by Jodi Edmunds (@whealthyguru) on May 4, 2020 at 8:17pm PDT

I also started exercising consistently, usually five or six times a week.

Before my journey started, I never worked out on a regular basis. I’d do a program for a few weeks and then not work out for another three weeks, then workout for two weeks and not workout for the next month. It was the consistent, regular exercise five or six times a week that made all the difference.

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Your mind and body are stronger than you know. Keep challenging yourself and you’ll keep surprising yourself. I’ve been putting off trying these for a while because they seemed quite intimidating and, to be honest, failure scared me a bit (which I know is a little silly of me). Today, I plucked up the courage. Deep down I knew I knew I could do it so I decided to trust myself. And I did it. Yay! *SELF-FIVE* 👏 Something I’ve done on my journey is continue to challenge myself. My challenges started off small. I’d challenge myself to do ONE MORE push up than the previous week or to run on the treadmill for 5 MORE MINUTES than I had been for the previous month. Challenging your mind and your body in any way is progress. Once I even challenged myself to adding a serum to my skincare routine (I hadn’t been using one mostly for the fact that it takes up extra time and when I’m tired before bed I want to get through my routine as quickly as possible). But I knew that including it was adding a little act of self-love to my evening and it felt rewarding when I eventually decided to do it. Whether it’s walking for 2 extra minutes, doing 10 more jump squats, running a full marathon or challenging yourself to include more veggies in your meals, any kind of progress is rewarding. What can you do to challenge yourself this coming week? You don’t only have to challenge yourself physically. Why not challenge your mind? Maybe you want add 1 minute to your meditation routine this week? Maybe you want to challenge yourself by saving 10 extra dollars this week? Or if you find yourself struggling for some of your own self-care time, challenge yourself to find those extra 5 minutes this week. Progress is progress and progress is rewarding. And if you don’t happen to achieve what you want, don’t beat yourself up. It’s unfair on you and it’s likely it’ll create blockages for your future tries. Give yourself a big high five for trying (you’re now one step closer) then try again the next week or month or year. And if you do achieve what you want, that’s amazing amazing amazing ✨

A post shared by Jodi Edmunds (@whealthyguru) on May 31, 2020 at 4:38am PDT

I started off doing Kayla Itsines BBG and BBG Stronger program. I just followed everything she said. I noticed that when I started doing her resistance workouts together with HIIT and LISS workouts that I started noticing a difference physically.

I also saw a personal trainer for six weeks about eight months into my journey because I wanted to learn a little bit more about form and how to do slower, more intentional movements. About a year in, I started attending barre classes too.

Now, I workout six times a week, which consists of doing a lower body resistance workout, an upper body workout, three barre workouts and a run (usually between four and six miles).

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Keep fighting for yourself. Get on your own team and FIGHT. Once you’re there, be your own biggest fan during the battle. That’s what’s going to make you win. REMEMBER: “You’re a warrior. Warriors don’t give up and they don’t back down. Pick up your sword and shield and fight.” ~ unknown. Sometimes starting is the hardest thing, but once you’ve picked up your sword and your shield and felt how good it feels, you won’t want to put them down. So, what does it actually mean to fight for yourself? Here’s what it means to me: 🤛🏿 Doing what you need to do to care for yourself 🤛🏾 Being in tune with yourself by making choices that actually serve you 🤛🏼 Asking yourself what it is that you really need 🤛🏻 Asking for help if you need it or simply just asking for what you need 🤛 Not letting anyone else dictate or influence your choices but you 🤛🏿 Standing up for yourself and your decisions 🤛🏾 Letting go of things that you know aren’t serving you 🤛🏽 Not beating yourself up for bad choices but instead showing compassion and understanding, seeing them as lessons and moving forward with pride for what you’ve accomplished already 🤛🏼 Being your own biggest fan (and yes, that includes fist pumping yourself in the mirror) 🤛🏻 Making sure you do something every day (big or small) that brings you joy What does fighting for yourself mean to you? Go. Fight!

A post shared by Jodi Edmunds (@whealthyguru) on Jun 30, 2020 at 8:28am PDT

I've lost a total of 42 pounds in a little over a year, but it wasn't always easy.

Doing the “heart work” and finding my *why*—the deep, meaningful, strong reason for wanting to lose weight—was the key to my successful weight loss journey. Your why should be so meaningful to you that nothing else will get in your way or hold you back. For me, I wanted to be an equally happy and healthy version of myself.

And because of that, throughout this journey I've learned more than just how to eat well. By practicing self-love, self-care, and positive self-talk, I learned how to accept and love my body for what it has been, what it is now, and everything it will become. Once you start loving your body more, you’ll want to take care of it more and healthy habits will become easier because you genuinely want the best for yourself.

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My journey all started with me telling my body I was going to be her friend. Here's how to be BESTIES with your body: 💛 Don't compare it to anyone else's. Nobody on this earth is exactly the same. We're not meant to be. LET YOUR BODY BE YOUR BODY. 💛 Don't ever expect it to reach perfection. Instead, allow it space to make constant, small steps of progress. 💛 Don't be so hard on it. It's only human. 💛 Don't blame it or shame it for having a "bad day". We all have bad days. 💛 Appreciate it for carrying you minute by minute through your entire life. 💛 Do at least one or two things daily that serve it (more sleep? meditation? more bananas?) 💛 Do your best to remove things that aren't serving it (stress? processed foods?) 💛 Give it whole, healthy foods it LIKES. If it doesn't like gluten, don’t feed it that. If it likes avocados, nourish it with them. 💛 If you need to, forgive it. 💛 Make it move in ways it LIKES. If it doesn't like squats, don't make it do them. If it likes running, run. 💛 Love it for what it was, love it for what it is now and always will be. LOVE IT BECAUSE IT NEVER SKIPS A FLIPPING BEAT. 💛 Talk nicely to it. Like you would to somebody you deeply love and cherish. 💛 Say "no" when you need to. Only YOU know what's best for it. Don't let anyone else dictate. Do you know what's best for their body? No. So they don't know what's best for yours. 💛 Apologize to it if you catch yourself criticizing it. Like actually say, "I'm sorry. That wasn't nice. You're beautiful. I'll work on having kinder conversations with you." 💛 Spend time with it by just sitting with it, feeling it, noticing it. 💛 Remind it that it is enough. Every single day. 💛 Celebrate any positive progress it makes, internally or externally. 💛 Make nourishing it a priority. IT’S YOUR HOME. Nourish it by feeding it foods that actually want the best for its future. 💛 Allow it to rest. We all need rest. So does your body. 💛 Challenge it! It loves a good challenge. Can it run further than yesterday? Do more pushups than last week? 💛 Lastly and very importantly, make the mirror a place it loves to be by giving it a compliment every time it walks past. How do you love your body?

A post shared by Jodi Edmunds (@whealthyguru) on Jul 13, 2020 at 8:32am PDT

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