One of New York’s Finest
Frances was a member of Bravo CF for about a year and I still remember how hard she worked in class. It’s great to see how far she’s come and believe me she’s just getting started. Please take a moment to read her weight loss success story below. She has inspired so many and hopefully she’ll inspire you as well.
Location: New York, NY
Before: 197 lbs.
After: 145 lbs.
What was the “turning point” that prompted you to lose weight?
As a police officer for the city of New York, maintaining your fitness is an important element to your field. Unfortunately, the stress plus working overnight causes many officers to gain weight – myself being one of them. After graduating the academy, working overnight definitely played a heavy toll on my body.
My turning point was the tragic story of police officer, now detective, Peter Figoski. The events that led to his on duty death served many cops as an eye opener of how dangerous our jobs can really be. He was murdered by a perpetrator who shot and killed him during a botched robbery. His partner, being a runner, was able to run after the perp and put over the radio details of his location; never losing sight. Because of his habits to maintain fit, he outran the perp and the perp was successfully placed in custody; Detective Figoski’s death was thus not in vain.
This event impacted me greatly. Remembering how dangerous this job really is and how moments of danger lurk around every corner. I realized that it is essential to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle; not only for myself but for my partner as well. Knowing that I “had my back” wasn’t sufficient for me, I needed my fellow brothers and sisters in blue to know that I also had “their backs” too – and the running began. I ran, kept running, and haven’t stopped.
When did you start trying to lose weight?
I attempted my journey in the winter of 2011. The weight loss was never consistent from 2011-2012; I battled with lots of ups and downs. I was learning what worked what didn’t. Then, in the winter of 2013 I figured it out, lost the majority of my weight, and kept going. Haven’t gained since – and my journey isn’t over yet!
How did you get started?
I started with running. Never liked it prior to this, never was good at it – matter of fact, I hated it! Even in the academy, I passed my 1.5 mile run by the good graces of God! So ironically, running kicked start my fitness lifestyle. I began with running three minutes walking one min; eventually working my way up to longer minutes with less walk periods. My happiest moment was completing my first race/run, it was the FDNY vs. NYPD memorial 5 mile run. Took me what felt like forever but I completed it. I went from not being able to run three minutes straight to running five miles straight! The rest was history from there.
What was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was the food. I’ve ALWAYS loved to eat. Even as a kid, infamous for larger than life sized plates overstuffed with traditional culture delicacies. I was never the candy junk food type, I was the rice and beans chicken and desert, brownies preferably, type of girl. So learning how to control my urges, control my portions, and make smarter choices, on a consistent basis, was my biggest challenge.
Were there any times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated?
Quit or give up? Sure, plenty of times. To this day, the urges to just live a “normal” life where pizza and McDonalds as a snack is the norm kick in, but what keeps me motivated are pictures. Not pictures of what I want to be, of what I could be or where I should be, but of pictures of myself and how I was. The past, the before photos of when I wasn’t happy or healthy. Those moments of looking back at a photo and remembering how you felt in that photo and knowing that that moment no longer exists as long as you keep pushing, is what motivated me the most. It’s empowering to be able to look at how far you’ve come rather than how far you have left to go. Looking back and reflecting on a daily basis of what I’m capable of is an extreme motivator.
If you reached a weight loss plateau, how did you break out of the rut?
Plateaus happen, that’s what many don’t realize. There actually normal. That’s your body telling you “Ok, we’ve finished this level, now let’s move on to the next.” Many see it as a negative, but really it’s a good thing. It’s an indicator that you’re progressing and your body is telling you that it’s ready for more. So when I’ve hit plateaus, I know it’s time to change my diet or my exercise routine. Depending on my goal at the time, I alter my diet to include different variations of what I need, or I change up my workouts. Add new moves to my cardio or try a new sport.
What’s your current exercise routine?
I like to dabble into many different sports and activities. I run, practice yoga, CrossFit, play softball and lift weights. My primary workout consists of the gym: an hour of weight lifting where I focus on a specific muscle group and I add 20-30 minutes of cardio every day at the end which involves a mixture of plyometric workouts. Once a week I attend a Bikram Yoga class to add with muscle growth and stretching. CrossFit up to three times a week. I run based on my races. Whatever race/run I have coming up is what my weekly running depends on; the miles and location are indicators of how many prep runs I have a week. Softball is for recreational reasons. It allows for a spring/summer season of fun with new faces and involves the feeling of team work that I love.
What’s your daily diet look like?
I currently eat six meals a day. I space them out about 2 hours between each beginning with meal one which starts as soon as I wake up. Breakfast starts with oats and egg whites, turkey and asparagus. Meals throughout the day consist of grilled chicken, ground turkey, tuna, salmon, sweet potatoes, green beans and peas. My macros are based on my needs that are planned around my physical activities. Everyone is different and it’s important that people, women especially, take note that eating more times a day and smaller portions are optimal for weight loss. A healthy metabolism is key and that includes feeding your body.
What’s your favorite healthy snack/meal?
One of my favorite snacks, especially for bed time, is cottage cheese! Cottage cheese has a slow protein releasing component that keeps you full while you sleep by providing your body with additional protein. It’s a light and healthy snack for those stubborn “bedtime snack” cravings.
Do you have specific suggestions for avoiding temptations?
What helps me avoid temptation is remembering how I feel right after eating it, even the day after. My kryptonite is baked goods. Brownies and cookies are my weakness. But I’ve been eating clean and healthy for so long even avoiding processed foods and wheat, that when I do cheat and eat it, I immediately feel my stomach and body disagreeing with the choice. I bloat and feel sluggish, heavy and constipated. So even though at the moment it tastes like heaven, the repercussions do not. It’s hard to keep those feelings in the forefront of your mind when you have a brownie staring at you, but remembering how you felt after helps with avoiding it completely.
What’s your life like after weight loss?
One word: amazing. Seriously, I feel like it’s the best gift that you could ever give to yourself. It’s empowering and it’s liberating. Being able to accomplish things not only physically, but mentally as well, is the best feeling of all. It’s crazy how much weight affects the body and mind; it deters your ability to enjoy life to the fullest. It hinders your confidence, your physical capabilities, and your overall health. Life after weight loss is wonderful, but the work is not over. The new journey is learning how to not only maintain your new body, but to aid your new life. Dealing with the struggles of people now saying, “Oh you’re too skinny, you need to eat”, or “you work out too much,” is another battle that you need to be strong to break through. Maintaining the weight loss is the easy part, the hard part is appreciating what you’ve accomplished, and that includes appreciating your new body and appreciating your new found confidence. Many fall victim again to the pressures of the negatives around them and gain what they have lost. The battle is staying strong against the negatives while appreciating the process and journey you embarked on. Once you realize that life after weight loss is a new journey and a wonderful one at that, the maintaining comes easy.
If you have any suggestions to others what would they be?
If there were anything I could suggest to others, it would be to find what fitness lifestyle you enjoy and do it. Don’t allow yourself to join a gym, a sport or activity just because it’s the newest fitness trend, fad, or because your friends and co-workers are doing it. Find out what fits with your personality and embrace that activity. Doing so will create an environment that you love and enjoy which will make weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle much easier.
Work up to a 1 rep max
B. For time
20 Hang Power clean, 155/105
10 Push press, 155/105
C. Bravo bonus (optional)
L-Hold, accumulate 2 min
Work up to a 1 rep max
B. For time
30 Modified Pistols
20 Hang Power clean, 135/95
10 Push press, 135/95
C. Bravo bonus (optional)
Tuck-Hold, accumulate 2 min
Work up to a heavy single
B. For time
60 Air Squats
20 Hang Power clean, 95/65
10 Push press, 95/65
C. Bravo bonus (optional)
Tuck-Hold, accumulate 90 sec