Treadmills, ellipticals, and weighted hula-hoops OH MY! This was my idea of health before my life with Clean Kitchen and Versus Strength and Conditioning.
Let’s not even get started on the endless weight loss attempts I’ve tried. From Weight Watchers to the Southbeach diet, I tried it all. Nothing worked… Well let’s rephrase that, I didn’t care for it to work.
In my mind I was always meant to be the girl with “big bones” and a “fluffy tire” around my waist that was too uncoordinated to walk on a flat surface without tripping on air. I had always been the heavy girl and constantly struggled with my weight. So, trying the new health fad seemed like a hopeless loss. I knew it would work for a little while.. but then what? Old habits would sink in and I’d find myself repeating the same toxic lifestyle.
There has never been a time when I did not struggle with my weight.
Before starting Clean Kitchen and Versus, I had tried everything under the sun and had some success, but the weight always came back. Throughout high school and college, I was eating out constantly and doing whatever I wanted without thinking about how it was affecting my body.
My guess is that if you are right here, right now – reading this – then you are probably on the fence of deciding if the Clean Kitchen Challenge is for you.
You’re probably trying to justify the cost, the time and all of the other variables we use during self talk when we’re trying to make decisions.
Can I help?
Because whether you’re the person who feels like a job/career is taking over your life, the person who is in a new relationship, the person who is grieving over the loss of something or someone significant, the person who is experiencing a monumental life change or the person who feels like there. is. never. enough. time… this program is for you.
And if you think you have too many chips stacked against you to think about you right now, then this program is definitely for you.
Your life will always include SOMETHING – a new normal, with new people who need new things from you.
But, if you don’t take hold of what YOU need and create a system that allows for it, you’ll always feel like you are treading water.
And if you are anything like me, you are rolling your eyes and mumbling, “You have no idea what I’m up against.”
Wrong. I have all the ideas and I absolutely know where you are. Our situations may not be exactly the same, but..
I know what it’s like to walk into the gym feeling like a zombie, but still exhausting myself JUST to check that box because it’s more of an obligation than a commitment to myself.
I know what it’s like to cram down a hamburger and some french fries in a spare five minutes because I had a hunger headache and ANYTHING was better than nothing.
I know what it’s like to make sure that all obligations are met while missing every single appointment I make for myself, because a list that is marked complete creates an opportunity for more things to be added to it.
I know what it’s like to let the day run me without a system to help me manage what I can control.
I hear you. I see you. I know you. Because friend, I am you.
Consistency is greater than intensity.
My journey through Clean Kitchen has been S L O W. I did my first stint in 2016 with a lot of great results, but I signed up for an advanced version in 2018 because I thought I wanted to tackle a level 2 approach with macros, food timing and a mix of carb cycling.
Hindsight is 20/20. What I didn’t know then is that signing up for 2.0 was the equivalent of me waving a very large white flag for where I was standing and how my relationship with food and stress had evolved.
Right before summer last year, I felt broken and tired. Work was the hardest it had ever been. While I knew that filling my habits was the sweet spot, I didn’t know how to get back to that space. I would buy all of the groceries, but they would be wasted because I didn’t make a plan to use them in a way my schedule would allow.
I would bring prepped food to work, but meetings would overrun my schedule and I just wouldn’t eat.
The proverbial road was blocked and I let all the dang excuses drive my car. If you’re here, you know that a tired brain feeds all of the cravings.
I needed someone to help me break the continual cycle I found myself circling. Knowing and doing are two totally different things, and I needed someone to coach me through the days that were throwing me for a loop. Pride is a hard mountain to climb sometimes, but admitting we need help is the only way over.
Over the course of the last 14 months, my coach helped me say the hard words I needed to not only say, but own. Sometimes (a lot of the time) it was uncomfortable. I had to get to a space where I was comfortable with being truthful with my coach and myself.
I was so conditioned to saying “I feel great.” as a response to “How are you doing?” By the end of my time with him, I was owning how I felt and why.
“I feel fluffy.”
“I feel stressed.”
“I could use a drink/something sweet/a Big Box from Canes.”
There wasn’t any shame in my Coach’s response, just a helpful approach to figuring out why I felt that way. Was it the food? Was it Mother Nature? Was it work?
In addition to the habits, we worked through my stubbornness, the fiasco my brain creates when I try to make things complicated and moving at the pace of a sloth to do something I wanted and needed.
And, it worked.
The monotonous food prep, tweaking the system so that it worked for me and owning my schedule instead of letting it run me – it all contributed to feeling like I’m in control again.
Sure, I lost the weight I wanted and pushed myself to new levels for performance in the gym. But, I also realized that I could do something for me for a change. And more importantly, that I had control over what my day looked like and the food I fuel my body with.
Busy is relative.
Busy is relative for everyone. Can I say that louder for the people in the back?
B U S Y I S R E L A T I V E.
When I got back on the Clean Kitchen wagon, I lived in a world where early mornings, late nights, things that go boom in the middle of the night and weekend events ran me ragged. But, I narrow mindedly thought my busy was an exclusive kind of busy that no one else could understand.
And when I thought I might be spiraling to a place where I was constantly sick and very tired, Clean Kitchen helped me help myself.
Daily, I’m able to tap into what I know to be true and use foundational habits that were drafted and adopted by me through the help of someone who could see the bigger picture when I couldn’t.
This program is not a solution or a quick fix, but a resolve for approach.
And when you get to that space or approach, you begin to experience life with a new perspective. And that – THAT – is where the magic of Clean Kitchen really, really lives.
Can I be obnoxiously loud for a second?
THE MAGIC OF THIS PROGRAM IS NOT FOUND IN THE WEIGHT LOST.
It’s a great byproduct, and you will move more and feel better than you ever have… but, the results really come from the program’s ability to draw a very clear path, encourage you to build habits that help you stay on that path and more importantly – help you realize that you are capable of way more than you might think.
There is SO much language in the general self-help space right now regarding mental toughness, preparing your heart for battle in the arena and living your life in a way that provides for boundaries and safe places.
And, I found none of the self-help language to be more helpful than the hard questions I was asked by my CK coach, the daily approach to encouragement I experienced with accountability inside the gym and the words consistently spoken over me.
It was never all about the food. It was about the systems I could take to make me feel better – holistically.
We cannot push, push and push on input/output if we don’t do a systems check on the actual vehicle – and in total honesty? This includes the heart and mind, in addition to the food.
I can’t say enough good things about what Clean Kitchen has done for the long game in regards to my health, but the mental toughness that was cultivated through foundational systems like habits, asking “Why?” and understanding that the journey is full of seasons — that’s priceless.
If you are on the fence – get off. Rip off whatever bandaid you have stuck on your feelings and do something for yourself. You won’t regret it. I promise.
“I just thought I’d share in my happiness because you are a huge part of helping it happen. Looking at everyone’s progress pictures from the recent challenge made me want to compare my then and now and see how much I have changed. I have continued to take pictures, because the scale is not my friend, ha, but I usually just compare to the most recent photo. I decided to go back to my CK challenge photo this time and I was shocked! Thank you for helping change my life and so many others! I’m a year and a half out from my challenge and continuing to see results.”
I signed up for the Winter 2017 Clean Kitchen challenge after my aunt invited me to a Clean Kitchen cooking demonstration. Honestly, I was not convinced that I could “do” Clean Kitchen with all the “it must taste good,” healthy alternatives and eat your “plants” 4-8 times per day talk from two extremely fit, beautiful women in pristine white shirts.
However, I had gotten to a point in my life where I felt like I had nothing to lose. I hated looking at myself, especially in pictures. I hated how hard it was for me to get around. I could barely walk up the small flight of stairs at work without getting winded. I constantly battled guilt for feeling sorry for myself and believing I should just be grateful. I have so many things to be grateful for – a loving husband, two beautiful girls, a supportive family, good friends and co-workers, a great job, health, home, etc. But, I wasn’t happy, and I found myself trying to minimize who I was in every way possible, and I hated that most of all.
“You could win $1000…” I told myself as I coughed up the $250 to sign up for the Clean Kitchen Challenge. Not that I actually expected to win! It seemed like such a big investment at the time, but I can honestly say that what I gained from the program was priceless. I had recently started working out at Versus Strength & Conditioning when registration opened for the 2018 Winter Challenge. I had just given birth to my second child and was dealing with some mild postpartum depression. I was exhausted, fat, and feeling hopeless. I needed something, and that something turned out to be Versus and Clean Kitchen.
One of the first assignments in the CK program was to identify my “WHY”. Well, I wanted to lose weight and feel better about myself. But I’ve always wanted that. That had never been strong enough motivation for me to make a long term change. I needed to dig deeper. Yes, I wanted to be successful for myself, but what I realized was that ultimately I wanted it for my family. I wanted to have the energy to enjoy my kids; I wanted to live a long, healthy life so I could watch them grow up; and I wanted to be able to set an example for them so that they could lead healthy lives. That is what makes CK unlike any “diet” program out there. It’s not a meal plan or some quick weight loss gimmick. They make you dig deeper because they know that’s where the real change has to happen (not just in your waistline).
With the support of my coaches and the CK community, I did win the challenge. But more importantly, I won a lot of mental battles throughout those 12 weeks – against negative self-talk, emotional food cravings, and all my old excuses. The winter challenge may be over, but thanks to Clean Kitchen I am prepared to win those battles every day. I am in the best shape of my life, physically and mentally, and it’s only going to keep getting better!
*Just a side note for anyone thinking, “There’s no way I can do this program because I’m a picky eater.” Yes, you can! Before CK, I had the palate of a toddler. My diet was full of processed/fast food. I NEVER ate vegetables. I kid you not, the first thing I did after signing up for the challenge was Google tips for making vegetables taste better. I read articles like, “How to trick your toddler into eating veggies.” It was sad. Fast forward to today, I’m eating SIX servings of vegetables a day and I only make bad faces sometimes.
About mid-way through the Clean Kitchen 12 week challenge, it hit me. I realized at that point in time, that Clean Kitchen didn’t just “change” my life in so many positive ways, I began looking at CK as “saving” my life. I began to realize how much this program was going to positively affect the quality of my life and actually help lead to a longer life as well. And by living a longer, healthier life, I thought about how many more great memories I will have now have spending time with my family and doing all the things I love to do. I realized that the nutritional habits we create today not only affect us in the short-term, but they most likely have even greater long-term affects.
“I came to a point where I wanted to make sustainable changes, but I didn’t know how. There are too many “diets” out there promising “this and that” which made the change I desired and needed way too confusing. So for years, I chose to do nothing.”
Traci Massey beat cancer. Then she beat any excuse to give up on her health. She joined Versus in October 2015, and the CK 12 Week Challenge Summer 2016. Now a year later she not only completely restored her body, but has a brand new outlook on life. Check out her story told by Traci herself!
If you have been wanting to take back your health, now is your chance. Click here for information on the next Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge!
Traci Massey Blood work in 2014, before Versus and CK, and then again in January 2017.
2014 Total cholesterol : 245
2017 Total Cholesterol: 206
(LDL, HDL, VLDL)
2014 LDL: 158
2017 LDL: 135
2014 HDL: 72
2017 HDL: 61
2014 Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy: 32
2017 Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy: 58.1
Updated 2019 transformation! In total she has lost 52 pounds, built a boat load of muscle, and transformed her body over the last 3 years. Check out her new article about continued progress here on the Versus Success Stories page!
Traci Massey before CK 12 Week Challenge in 2016 and after, January 2019
This is my story of where I started at Versus and ended up in the Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge. An honest account of what I thought I was getting into only to realize it was the complete opposite of all my assumptions.
By Julie Kitchens, Fall 2016 Challenge Winner
I’m an overachiever by nature. More often than not if I set my mind to do something it will get done and it will be done well. I can say that about most everything in my life except weight loss. Weight loss was always the one thing out of reach. The one thing that was most likely impossible. When I look back on how I actually got to this conclusion I think it comes from a lifetime of failed weight loss endeavors. Failed diets and failed fitness routines and failed self-talk ….Lots of FAILURE.
Tolstoy is quoted for saying, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
What sucks (for lack of a better word), is that I have the patience of a toddler and time is the only thing I always need more of. Or, so I thought.
I’ve been a member of Versus Strength and Conditioning for four years. I’ve also participated in the “I Am Versus” challenge twice. I say all of that to say … I was convinced I knew everything I needed to know about eating clean and sticking with the habits.
But I was wrong. Really, really wrong.
It didn’t matter how much I “knew.” What mattered most was action. And to be very clear, my daily actions were a grave miss for the most part.