Health

How I Got This Body: Eating More Carbs to Get Killer Abs and Lose Two Pant Sizes

Photographs courtesy Kate Maitland.

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: Kate Maitland, 32, instructional coach at DC Public Schools from NoMa.

What inspired my change: “I have always been intrinsically motivated, and I wouldn’t say that there was an event, person, or thing that has inspired me to change my lifestyle. This ‘change’ has occurred over time, in gradual steps. I am in constant pursuit to become the best version of myself. I would contend, if you feel comfortable in your skin and with your health, then it will translate to other facets of life i.e. career, family, relationships, etc.”

What changed: “Since I started this journey, I have gained three pounds of muscle, and lost one pound of fat. My body composition has drastically changed, for I am much more defined. I have gone down two sizes in my jeans and have purchased more sleeveless tops. Most important, I have noticed immense results in the gym. I am the strongest I have ever been; I am lifting more than I thought, and improve each day.”

How long I’ve been at it: “I started tracking my food, and counting my macronutrients in January of 2017. I am still counting my calories and weighing my food.”

My exercise plan: “I do CrossFit at CrossFit Praxis. That is my main source of exercise. I try to go to five to six of the regularly scheduled classes. I will do ancillary activities such as road biking and playing basketball. I will also attend a Bikram yoga class or CorePower Yoga when I need to stretch and be social with my non-CrossFit friends.”

I look back and think, ‘How the hell did I have any energy to work out when I wasn’t eating carbs?’

My healthy eating plan: “When I first started tracking my food, I realized I was eating way too much fat. I used to drench my food in olive oil because I thought, hey olive oil is healthy, right? Coupled with consuming too much fat, I was not eating enough carbohydrates. I thought carbs made you fat; boy, was I wrong. Carbohydrates, I believe, have given me abs and those defined shoulders. At present, I eat carbohydrates all the time. I eat cereal every night or pancakes right before I go to bed. I look back and think, How the hell did I have any energy to work out when I wasn’t eating carbs? Lastly, I wasn’t eating enough lean protein. Now I only eat chicken, ground turkey, and fish. When making food choices now, I ask myself: Will this food help me preform, give me energy, is it worth it? Sometimes indulging in that dessert is worth it when it’s from your favorite bakery. But is eating that stale doughnut sitting out at work worth all the hard work? Probably not. I find it much easier to say ‘no’ to certain foods and more discerning when saying ‘yes.'”

How I stuck to my goals: “When I first began, I signed up for my gym’s nutrition program, Praxis Nutrition. I worked with a coach who helped develop and support my goals. I participated in this program for three months, where I would receive feedback and confer and adjust aspects to optimize my performance.”

One piece of advice: “Changes do not happen in a day, week, or month. Changes occur slowly and over long periods of time. Start with something small and make that change a habit. Gradually, more positive habits will follow and then it will become second nature.”

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

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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.