Courtesy After taking diet pills that didn't work long-term, Tahirih Thach started the 80-20 diet, tracked macros with MyFitnessPal, and lifted weights to lose 40 pounds.My name is Tahirih Thach (@fit_withtt), and I'm a 29-year-old online nutrition coach and analytical data reviewer for a manufacturing company in St. Petersburg, Florida. After being prescribed appetite suppressants to lose weight, then regaining everything I lost, I started flexible dieting, tracking macros, and weight lifting. I've lost 40 pounds.
For as long as I can remember, my weight has fluctuated based on what was going on in my life. When college came, I dealt with sleepless nights and weekend partying and I gained the infamous Freshman 15, followed by the Freshman 30.
I struggled with figuring out my path in life. I went through a period of depression, and food was my outlet. Reflecting back on that period of my life now, I realize how poorly I treated my body. I would eat McDonald's every day, almost three times a day. It seems insane to admit that now, but with the stress of school and relying on school tuition for food, I didn't have much choice back then.
At one appointment, he talked to me about using appetite suppressants. I was so uncomfortable with my body that I would've done anything to lose weight. After starting phentermine (which is used as a weight-loss drug due to the way it suppresses appetite), I started losing weight so quickly that I was almost 20 pounds down in a month.
But as you can probably guess, using diet pills was *not* sustainable. And one day, I decided to stop the pills and try to maintain my weight loss naturally. As soon as I got off of them? My appetite came back with vengeance. I put all the weight back on, and then some. I weighed more than before I started the pills.
It wasn't until years later that I found out that this appetite suppressant was usually prescribed to those were who were morbidly obese and looking to lose weight before weight-loss surgery. I still don't understand why my doctor suggested the medication to me because I felt I wasn't in dire need of it at the time. I was disappointed in myself for ever starting the prescription medication, but also glad I could now educate women on how a quick fix will never work long-term.
I used to eat family size bags of chips most nights. I have been overweight most of my life. I was always the fat sister, daughter, friend. And I truly believed that that was my destiny. That I always going to be this way. I struggled with body image issues ever since I started gaining weight in elementary school. My self-esteem was always low. High school came around and I lost some weight around senior year. I was probably the lowest I've ever been. Then college came around. Having the lack of funds, lack of time and SO much stress, I gained so much weight back and then some. Fast forward, I decided I need to take my health back into my own hands. I went through years of appetite suppressants, yo-yo dieting, cardio, starving myself, binge eating and just creating a bad relationship with food that lasted years. I actually was weightlifting and trying to figure out nutrition on my own but when I started reaching 200 pounds, I knew I needed help. I hired a coach and it was the best thing I've done for my body. With his guidance and accountability, I was able to lose 30 pounds, transform my body and mindset surrounding food. I finally came to a place where I felt comfortable taking the reins. Through this process I fell in love with fitness and nutrition and really knew I found my calling. I went on to get my Master in Nutrition and Human Performance and got certified as a personal trainer. I wanted to be able to help women who had the same struggles as me. And I'm doing just that. I feel so fulfilled when I can just help one woman figure out how they can see their potential and how they create healthy habits for THEIR lifestyle. Like I always say, it's a process but not only should you fall in love with the process, you have to fall in love with yourself too . . .
A post shared by Tahirih | (@fit_withtt) on Dec 10, 2019 at 6:14pm PST
I tried to lose weight on my own after getting off the phentermine by upping my physical activity. But with the increased activity, I started to increase my eating because I felt like I deserved the reward of it. I added in cheat meals, which backfired in the end. Although I was doing more cardio, I was still gaining more weight. I was at my heaviest, feeling defeated. I knew I needed to change something.
I used to be an all-or-nothing type of girl with eating. But the idea of flexible dieting is exactly what it sounds like and includes the 80-20 rule, or eating nutritious good-for-you foods 80 percent of the time, and the "If It Fits Your Macros" (IIFYM) rule, which means you eat calories within your macronutrient (carbs, fat, protein) percentages. This way of eating is really a lifestyle change and less of a diet, and it really changed my thought process around eating.
Stress eating, mindlessly snacking, tired all of the time, and just hating the body I was in That's the person I was about 4 years ago. I struggled with my weight most of my life but 4 years ago, i just treated it so badly. I ate for comfort, for feelings, happy and sad, and sat on my ass complaining about how I looked. I knew I needed help but was scared to ask for it. Getting out of my comfort zone was not something I wanted to do but I knew I had to do it because I was done with feeling uncomfortable. After I hired my own online coach, I started to see results. I learned that food is not off-limits but rather there is a time and place for certain foods and that yes, I can enjoy foods and still make progress I fell in love with the gym From going from hiding behind an elliptical to now lifting some heavy ass weights, I felt so empowered Having the education, the structure and the BALANCE in my life, I was able to regain my sanity back. I was able to feel good about what I saw in the mirror. No, I don't have a six-pack. No, I don't have a big rack. But I do have an ass that won't quit hahaha jk but really #genetics Not that all of this is impossible but I'm okay with this. I love how big my hips are. How strong my shoulders are and how, just mentally and physically fit I feel. Life is too short, guys. Make one small change and never look back. Your mind and body deserves it . . .
A post shared by Tahirih | (@fit_withtt) on Jul 31, 2019 at 12:13pm PDT
Through my journey and education (I got my masters in nutrition!), I learned that in order to lose weight, you have to be in a caloric deficit. I learned that with increased activity, I personally ended up eating in a caloric surplus rather than a deficit (hence the weight gain). The flexible dieting lifestyle helped me recognize that a calorie is a calorie, and while eating nutritious foods is important, there's no reason to freak out over eating a "bad" food.
I stuck to the 80-20 and IIFYM rules consistently, though I still had days when I overate. But I never punished myself for thatI'm human. I tell people that I can have my cake and eat it too with the 80-20 rule. Eighty percent of the time I eat whole foods, veggies, fruit, etc., and 20 percent of the time I have treats like cake or fries.
This works for me because I never deprive myself. Depriving myself in the past always backfired. I'd eat salads all week and then binge eat chips on the weekend. But on this diet, I can have chips in moderation, and that little fix during the week is all I need.
I use the MyFitnessPal app to track my food and macros and that really helps me stay on track, even while eating treats.
Left: Sister #1's wedding circa 2012 Right: Sister #2's wedding 2019 Weddings are a celebration, where you get to see old friends and family It also can be nerve-wracking, considering if you're a part of the wedding party! In 2012, I was not ready to be in front of a large crowd. I was uncomfortable with myself and my body. I was probably the biggest I've ever been. You can't predict when you're going to be in another large event like this but at my other sister's wedding, this past weekend, I felt my most true and confident self. Change doesn't happen overnight BUT they will happen with perseverance, the right guidance, and a strong WHY. My WHY was because I was tired of feeling sorry for myself. I was tired of hiding my body. I was tired of being depressed. Instead of focusing on the scale, focus on how you feel, how you're clothes feel on you, how strong you are at the gym. If you are ready to transform, I am taking on one-on-one clients for the month of August. If you understand it takes time to make long-term progress and are serious about WHY you want to change, fill the link in my bio and we'll have a quick chat to see if I can offer you the right guidance . . .
A post shared by Tahirih | (@fit_withtt) on Jul 16, 2019 at 3:48pm PDT
But I realized that I was really limiting myself. When I started my weight loss journey, my brother had recently joined the Air Force and was in basic training, which meant lots of exercise in the gym to stay fit. He got me into the gym and helped me overcome my gym-timidation.
When he got deployed, I learned how to weight train using bodybuilding.com's exercise library. From there, I watched a lot of YouTube videos to perfect my form while lifting. I loved it so much.
In 2018, I received my certification in personal training. Now, I lift weights five days a week. I have one cardio/active rest day, and one complete rest day.
The stronger I got, the more confidence I built inside and outside of the gym. I do what people call "powerbuilding," which is a combination of powerlifting and bodybuilding. It is empowering as a woman to lift really heavy weights. I perform progressive overload in my training, which means I progressively add weight as I continue to get stronger. Lifting weights is my therapy.
It's been a rollercoaster of a journey. Some days I would take a few steps backward and find myself binge eating. But my habits were built by just trying to improve each day, whether it was by adding more weight to my barbell or eating an extra piece of fruit that day. Ive learned that quick fixes backfire, and the all-or-nothing mindset is what kept me stuck in the yo-yo dieting cycle.
Following the 80-20 lifestyle has really helped me heal my relationship with food. Any guilt I have around treating myself is short-lived, and I don't have food anxiety anymore. Focusing on macros and lifting weights helped me, too; not only am I physically stronger, my mind is stronger, too.
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