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'Whole30 Was Exactly What I Needed To Get My Body And CrossFit Strength Back After Having My Son'

Women's Health logo Women's Health 1/10/2020 Simmy Hassan, as told to Emily Shiffer

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My name is Simmy Hassan (@barbellebeautyy). I’m 30 and I live in Dallas. I wear many hats, but my most important job is being a mom. I'm also currently a client relations manager and slowly working my way into the fitness industry. I did Whole30 to lose the weight I gained during pregnancy and got hooked on the healthy lifestyle—and I've lost 70 pounds.

Before my weight-loss journey began, I was probably in the best shape of my life. I played volleyball in college, and then after college, I started doing CrossFit. I attended CrossFit sessions at least six times a week, and my gym (or "box," as we call them in the CrossFit community) was basically my second home.

Then, life happened. I got married and had a baby. In my head, I always pictured myself as that pregnant lady working out and still hanging out at CrossFit. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening—because that was absolutely *not* my experience.

I did manage to work out at least three to four times a month during pregnancy but my diet was pure trash. I quickly fell into the eating-for-two mentality. I thought I could just splurge and eat whatever I wanted. I had my baby on September 13, 2018.

When I stepped on the scale after, I knew I needed to make a change.

I weighed 252 pounds after I had my son. I knew I wanted to lose the pregnancy weight. But at first, I fell back into the trap of making excuses. Friends and acquaintances would tell me things like, "Oh, if you are breastfeeding you can still eat whatever. It just falls off!" I would listen without questioning because it sounded easy.

I ate whatever I wanted, I didn’t meal prep, and I was dealing with a lot of change being a first-time mom. I was not happy with how I looked even though I felt like the same person on the inside.

The next time I weighed myself wasn't until December 10, 2018, and I was at 243 pounds. I had lost some weight, but I knew I needed to come up with a real plan to get down to business and return to a body I felt like myself in.

I began to work out slowly in my apartment gym and I started the Whole30 diet.

I kept working out but not consistently, and my diet was still not up to par. It took me a while to find a plan that made sense for me, but eventually the Whole30 plan sort of fell onto my radar right when I needed it.

I did some research on Whole30 after stumbling upon it online and decided to document my journey so that I could hopefully inspire others, and also to remind myself to keep pushing forward. I started my first round of Whole30 on February 17, 2019.

I had to mentally prepare myself by reading the books and creating a meal plan ahead of time so that I would successfully complete a round Whole30. I knew the plan was very strict—it's essentially an elimination diet that cuts out grains, sugar, and dairy—so I wanted to go into it with contingency plans. But Whole30 has worked so well for me.

#OnCloudTurknett

A post shared by 𝑆𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑦|𝐷𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔|🇱🇷🇳🇬 (@barbellebeautyy) on Aug 26, 2019 at 3:29pm PDT

I successfully completed the full 30 days of Whole30, and it helped me solidify healthy eating habits.

I didn’t even lose that much weight that first round! I started Whole30 when I was 230 pounds and ended up losing only 5 pounds. And for a quick second, I almost felt upset by the numbers, but then I realized that I felt amazing and I could see the results in my before-and-after pictures. It lit a fire in me and gave me the tools I needed to eat clean and practice discipline long term.

Here’s what I typically eat in a day now:

  • Breakfast: Egg scramble (spinach, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, turkey sausage)
  • Lunch: Salmon, sweet potatoes, and broccoli
  • Snacks: Rx bar, celery with peanut butter, or nuts (pistachios, cashews, or almonds)
  • Dinner: Chicken with a salad loaded with veggies
  • Dessert: Mint chocolate chip Halo Top ice cream

I started working out when I was cleared by my doctor after giving birth. I started off by taking walks outside.

Walking soon enough turned into me wanting to try to doing much tougher stuff (I'm competitive even with myself!). I remember trying to do a jump-rope workout with double-unders, and I was quickly humbled. I had to go back to doing single-under jump ropes. I wasn’t seeing progress, so I changed up my cardio. I ran my first mile on January 19, 2019, clocking in at 17:26.

I realized then that I had a ways to go with my fitness. I eventually signed up for a program called Street Parking because I was not ready to jump right back into a CrossFit box. Because I am a very competitive person, I didn’t want to go back until I built up some type of strength. I also joined a cycle studio for one month, and that help me out tremendously because I enjoyed it so much that it made me want to keep going back.

In July 2019, I joined Strong Fitness in Dallas, and I’m absolutely in love with it. I’m back to going into the gym at least four times a week and I’m starting to incorporate even more running. I’m proud to say my mile time is now at 13:23 (!). I have a long way to go, but I am so happy with what I have already achieved.

I have to find types of exercise that I actually enjoy doing. For me, anything CrossFit or any cycle studio keeps me going when it comes to working out. A lot of people who approach me and ask about how I stay motivated to go to the gym every day, and I tell them that I love lifting as well as the happy, satisfied feeling I have after a workout.

My husband even knows that if I don’t work out, my day is thrown off. So go out and try different studios in your area, and I promise you that you will find something you enjoy—and a tribe that will hold you accountable.

I’m so unbothered. Why would you try me? Why would you bother?✨

A post shared by 𝑆𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑦|𝐷𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔|🇱🇷🇳🇬 (@barbellebeautyy) on Jul 25, 2019 at 11:49am PDT

I used to give a lot of excuses during and after my pregnancy. Motherhood was totally new to me and I had to remember to take care of myself, too.

The truth is, there are going to be sacrifices that you have to make to lose weight. But the results make it so worth it.

Squats on squats on squats! Not a huge fan of front squats but I’ll take 97 kilos (215 lbs) x 5

A post shared by 𝑆𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑦|𝐷𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔|🇱🇷🇳🇬 (@barbellebeautyy) on Nov 14, 2019 at 12:18pm PST

For instance, I wake up before everyone in my home every day and I’m at the gym by 5 o’clock in the morning. I then have to get myself and my little one ready for the day. I admit, it’s a lot of work. It’s not just the working out, but the meal prepping too. I just say to everyone who asks that you must make your health a priority. That's it.

I'm also a big fan of treating yourself as you go after your goals. Buy new workout gear. Pay for a class you love. You will feel like a new woman, and it will help you feel good about yourself as you work out.

I definitely know that throughout my next pregnancy, I’m going to keep up with this lifestyle that I am thriving in. This journey has helped me find my purpose.

Y O U are your O N L Y limit. Show up, show out, and never give in! 👊🏾

A post shared by 𝑆𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑦|𝐷𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑎𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔|🇱🇷🇳🇬 (@barbellebeautyy) on Nov 25, 2019 at 10:01am PST

I have lost 70 pounds and I'm so proud of myself. And I still have work to put in.

I didn’t want to stay where I was, in a place where I didn’t feel so great physically. I wanted to be able to keep up with my baby and lift heavy weights again. Once I showed up for myself, everything fell in place.

But at first, I also wanted things to happen fast and quickly realized that I just needed to be patient to get to where I wanted to go. My journey has changed and is still changing my life for the better. I’m finally stepping out of my comfort zone and making moves so that I can start a career in the fitness industry as a personal trainer.

To everyone: Become your own permission slip and do what makes you happy. You got this.

For more amazing beauty, fitness, and weight loss transformations, check out the rest of our Transformations Week collection.

Video: The Whole 30 Diaries (Health.com)

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