It was Sian Ryan's New Year's resolution in January 2015 that got her excited to start her weight-loss journey. She told POPSUGAR, "I decided I had had enough of looking how I looked." After a few failed attempts, she finally lost 20 pounds, but then regained it back, plus some, by the time Summer rolled around. She said, "I was in a relationship where we ate a lot of food, dined out a lot, and spent a lot of time at the pub and going out drinking."
It wasn't until September 2015 that she got super serious about her journey. Unfortunately, it was under terrible circumstances. Sian shares, "I actually started what I call my weight-loss journey in September 2015, where I was dumped on a romantic weekend away. It was completely out of the blue for me and I was heartbroken and used the gym as a way of getting out the house and staying distracted."
What an amazing way to turn negative feelings into something positive! Sian signed up for a free 12-week plan from bodybuilding.com, trained seven days a week, and fell in love with weightlifting. "The feeling of building strength and the added bonus of weight loss kept me driven and focused and I completed the program and have never looked back," Sian said.
Sian began her journey at 261 pounds and has since dropped down to 174. Her 87-pound weight loss wasn't just about the scale, though. She went from a UK size 26 to a 12, and even her foot shrank from an 8 to a 6.5! She can also say that she can deadlift an actual human being and hit a one-rep max of 100 kg (over 220 pounds!). She loves having the confidence to go for what she wants and not hide in baggy clothes or be a wallflower. Sian just overall feels happier, is more outgoing, and has less anxiety.
At the beginning of her journey, Sian ate around 2,000 calories. She was just beginning to incorporate healthier foods, like more veggies, into her diet, and getting a handle on calorie counting and portion control. After more experience and more research, Sian now eats about 1,700 calories and currently follows a high-protein diet, counting her macros on My Fitness Pal. She aims to hit her daily protein, and when she does, she allows for some flexible eating to add in treats like chocolate and brownies.
Sian also uses intermittent fasting (the 16:8 plan) as a way to curb her hunger in the evenings. Her eating window starts around 12 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Here's a sample of what she has planned to eat this week for a typical day:
Lunch: chicken, tomato, garlic, and bacon pasta
Snacks: cucumber and red pepper with hummus, berries (like strawberries) and nuts, protein-rich Skyr yogurt, Fiber One Salted Caramel Brownie, dark chocolate
Dinner: cheese and onion omelet with a salad, turkey roll-ups with cucumber and red pepper, or protein shakes and bars
Sian shares that now she weight trains five times a week around at around 6 or 6:30 a.m. and tries to hit 10,000 steps a day. She stays motivated by doing exercise she enjoys and mixing it up. She sets small goals and crushes them and says she loves seeing herself getting stronger each week. She surrounds herself with like-minded and inspiring people, and this lifestyle change has made healthy living a habit, so it's easier to stick to. She also said, "Inspiring others keeps me going."
Her advice for others on their own weight-loss journeys is, "Don't be disheartened! Consistency is always key! If you had a bad day, bad week, or bad month, don't give up! Always get up fresh and start again! Our bad days build better days, and although the journey can seem long and like it will never happen, if you set small goals and take small steps you will get there." And most importantly, "Remember to be kind to yourself, no matter where you are in your journey."