How I Got This Body: Losing Just ONE Pound to Totally Change How I Look and Feel

How I Got This Body: Losing Just ONE Pound to Totally Change How I Look and Feel
All photographs courtesy Carissa Seligman.

Welcome to How I Got This Body, our look at some of the amazing things the human body is capable of and the Washingtonians who put their bodies to the test. Want to share your transformation story? Email ccunningham@washingtonian.com.

Who I am: Carissa Seligman (@CarissaSweatstagram), 29, a technology consultant from Shaw

What inspired me: “I spent the majority of my life dancing. I was a dance major in college, but somewhere along the way physical movement became ‘work’ and ‘exercise’ to me. From that point, I exercised sporadically. Until one day, I was talking with a friend and acknowledged that physical movement made me happy, but I wasn’t doing much of it. I had seen some content on Instagram that inspired me, so I created my own fitness page for motivation and accountability. I’m still in awe today of that community and what it has given me.”

How I changed: “One thing I learned through this process is that weight loss is not necessarily a sign of fitness. From the time I began focusing on my health to now, I have lost maybe one pound. What’s even more interesting than that though, is that I look very different. Based on what I see in side by side photos, I can tell that I have gained a lot of lean muscle mass while losing fat. Today, I can move in ways I never knew I could. I lift heavy, run fast, and most importantly, keep going.”

One thing I learned through this process is that weight loss is not necessarily a sign of fitness.

My workout plan: “I started my transformation doing the at home workout ‘Bikini Body Guide’ by Kayla Itsines. I have seen the most change in my body by going to classes five days a week at MADabolic in Arlington. The focus of the workouts at MADabolic is everyday strength and athleticism. I also enjoy a long run or a spin class one day a week.”

My healthy eating plan: “I used to track calories and go through phases of starving myself then bingeing. That is not effective or maintainable. Thankfully, I learned about Whole 30 at MADabolic, and did the program myself March of 2017. From there, I have maintained a diet that mostly follows Paleo guidelines. I do not eat dairy, grains, or processed sugars.”

How I stuck to my goals: “Surrounding myself with a community of like-minded people has been the most helpful tool. We push each other. We encourage each other. And we hold each other accountable.”

How I feel now: “More than anything now, I am thankful for my body. I used to treat my body pretty terribly because I cared so much more about how I looked than how I felt. I now feel like my mind and body are working together, and that makes me feel peaceful.”

One piece of advice: “Start today. Don’t wait for the first, or a Monday, or until you get back from this trip or that event. If you really want to do it, just start.”

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Want to share your transformation story? Email ccunningham@washingtonian.com with details.

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Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.