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Shauna’s experience with Mission Nutrition has been different from most. She did it for a full year and went through a few cut cycles, maintenance and even a gains cycle. Read on and be inspired by this local super woman!
I am ecstatic with my Mission Nutrition results. I have lost 14lbs, gained muscle, and transformed my relationship with food and with my self-image.
I was on MN for a full year and my goals went through three phases. I originally wanted to lose “the last 10lbs” to look better, feel better, and perform better in the gym. I had achieved that by the fourth month and was so encouraged by how well the process worked that I set a new goal of building muscle to increase performance and muscle tone. To do this, Coach took me through a “Gain Cycle.” The training volume was heavy and targeted building muscle mass, and the MN goal was to fuel workouts and recover from the training load. I put about 10lbs back on, some muscle, some fat. The final phase was a “cut” to lean out while preserving the new muscle I had built. I used a powerlifting competition to create specific goals and to motivate me to stay on track. I achieved my MN and competition goals.
Some info about Shauna’s program that may be shocking to some:
Shauna was eating as much as 2800 calories during her gain. The lowest she ever had to get to on her cut was 1525 calories and she maintains her body weight of 125lbs at 2125 calories a day. She eats a balanced diet of protein, fat, and yes carbs. It’s pretty easy to go to social functions with these numbers and not have to worry about fat gain! Let it be noted that Shauna trains regularly and most of her training consists of weight training, which is why she gets away with eating so much food and completely transformed her body.
What has your past experience with diet/nutrition been?
I have not been kind to myself when it comes to nutrition. I love food, but have have yo-yoed between eating with reckless abandon and suffering through unhealthy dieting, never being satisfied with my appearance, performance, or energy level. I have tried low-calorie, low-fat, paleo, SCD and various 21, 30 and 60-day challenges. I could lose weight, but would quickly gain it back.
What have you learned from this program?
Mission Nutrition has empowered me to enjoy a flexible eating lifestyle that supports my performance, aesthetic and emotional goals. MN has given me tools to really understand how to meet my body’s nutritional needs and also to love and accept my body and the amazing things it is capable of.
I have worked closely with Shauna for a long time so I understand her doubts and fears when it comes to nutrition and body image. I asked her if the fear of gaining weight back after leaving the accountability part of the program is still there or if it has changed since gaining knowledge of nutrition from MN.
First, I better understand my cravings, energy level, and relationship with food. I am confident that I can maintain my body composition wherever I want to by adjusting my level of activity and training or adjusting my macronutrient intake. Second, weight doesn’t have the same value as a measurement to me that it used to. It is a useful indicator, but only one aspect of a healthy lifestyle.
Is there anything you learned or did anything happen while on MN that was unexpected?
The weekly “selfies” were a surprise. Taking them, at first, was embarrassing and uncomfortable. I never used to like pictures of me – my eyes were immediately drawn to the “flaws.” As weeks went on, I was surprised to realize how much I liked what I saw and how much more accepting I was of myself.
What do you specifically like the most about Mission Nutrition?
The most important thing for me was turning the decision making over to my coach. I over-think. When my coach set my nutrition targets and pace of weight-loss, it took away a lot of anxiety and allowed me to just focus on hitting my macro targets. I felt successful every day I achieved my targets and those little wins added up to a lot of confidence over time.
How important did you feel the accountability with your coach was to your success?
Accountability was key. Knowing that coach would be reviewing my numbers helped me stop and think before I made food choices. I looked forward to my coach’s email each week. There were suggestions, encouragement, and “you’re not alone” stories. It kept me connected with the process and helped me stick to my goals and the habits I needed to achieve them.
Did/do you have any struggles?
Yes, there were struggles. The first couple of weeks were really challenging, learning how to use the MFP app, and discovering the nutritional value of foods and which foods would help me meet my targets. It was mentally exhausting, just getting everything logged, but it got easier and is second-nature now. And the weeks where my macros were low were challenging. The funny thing is, looking back now, there were only 3 or 4 out of 50 weeks that were like that, but in the moment it seemed an eternity. During the struggles, the emails from my coach, the clarity of my goals, and the support of the MN community got me through.
Did you have any hesitations about signing up? Were you reluctant about anything?
My biggest hesitation about signing up was the cost. I now consider it to be an investment, worth every penny. I was frustrated and tired with “diet.” Good coaching can help us make the transition from where we are stuck to where we want to be, and Mission Nutrition did that for me. The coaches have the knowledge, the compassion, and the experience to teach the flexible eating lifestyle and adjust it to individual needs.
Aesthetics and clothes fitting better aside, what other things have you noticed with your success on the program?
The one-on-one MN coaching experience has increased my confidence and my communication skills. My coach accepted where I was at, encouraged the things that were working for me, and re-directed me without criticism when I fell off the tracks. Seeing myself through her eyes allowed me to be kinder to myself, and I learned to talk about my experience more openly.
You have done cutting, maintenance, and even a weight gain cycle on this program. How have each of these helped you understand nutrition for your body and perhaps see food differently?
Cutting taught me about consistency. The quickest and kindest way through the cut was to hit my macros, every day. I knew I was at a caloric deficit, so food timing was important, making sure that I was eating enough and at the right time of day to help me perform and recover from training sessions.
Maintenance is a great place to be. I still track my food intake, and eat simple and similar foods much of the time. I stick to foods that I know make me feel good (not just taste good) and I have lots of energy and sleep well. I know that I can enjoy a special meal or treat now and then without derailing my health.
Gaining was an eye-opening experience. It was pretty amazing to see the volume of food I was eating and how much effort it took to increase my weight. The Gain Cycle was what really changed my relationship to food. I no longer fear food or cravings. I saw that, as long as I chose health-supporting foods, I have a fairly wide window of maintenance that will work for me.
How fun was gaining? Take us down that road! Many women will never have the courage to take this on. Did YOU ever think you would be on a nutrition program to put ON weight?
Oh boy, gaining was fun. I love food and eating. I still mostly stuck to simple foods so that I could keep macro ratios on-target. I ate a lot, and had room for ice cream regularly. But honestly the most fun was in the gym. I had so much energy and absolutely crushed my workouts. It wasn’t sustainable forever, but it was sure fun for a season and I achieved good performance results.
No, I didn’t think I’d ever join a nutrition program to gain – I never thought I would need help doing that? But it wasn’t a free-for-all food fest. It was actually methodical and calculated, and definitely worth having the guidance of a coach in order to achieve the goals I had in mind.
How do you feel about going forward with your nutrition?
Nutrition is my friend. It fuels my performance and supports my health. I am happy with the progress I made, and I think it’s like any self-improvement journey – there’s always room for more learning and growth, but you can’t do everything at once. I took some shortcuts while I was cutting – things like artificial sweeteners and highly processed foods that met my macros. That was what worked for me and I am learning to be okay with not being perfect. The next phase of my journey will be about finding ways to improve my food quality, building on the knowledge from Mission Nutrition.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The whole coaching process was done through electronic communication and was very personalized and discreet. You could work with MN from anywhere around the globe and have great success. I highly recommend it.
Congrats Shauna! You are truly an inspiring woman, being an example that women do not need to do endless cardio and starve. Cheers to your endless quest of self-improvement!