How BBG Worked For Me

If you’re at all clued into my social media accounts, you’ve probably figured out by this point that I have been doing an exercise program called the Bikini Body Guide for the last three months (worst name ever, but for obvious marketing reasons because what girl isn’t going to want to peep something with that name?). BBG was created by a fit as fuck Australian woman named Kayla Itsines, who is very young, very tan, has 42 ab muscles, and makes exercise look easy. So basically, she’s a stupid bitch, but not really at all because she created this revolutionary program that has made hundreds of thousands of girls fitter, happier, and baller AF. 


The guide is 12-weeks long; for those of you who are slow to math, that’s three committed months of this program. Ideally, each week consists of three predetermined circuit workouts created for you by Kayla, and 2-3 LISS (Low Intensity Steady State, AKA moderate cardio) sessions. So, essentially, you’re working out 5-6 times a week. In summary, this program does not fuck around.


Because this was the first-ever workout program I’ve attempted and subsequently finished, I wanted to write a post about my experience with it: the ups, the downs, the easy (LOL), the hard. I can’t tell you how many girls have reached out to me via Facebook, asking all about the guide and wondering out loud whether or not they should try it. Well, I’m here to tell you as a semi-fit curvier gal who had been doing just OK with her own workout regime but wanted to see bigger and better results:


And not only try it, but DO it. And finish it. And fucking own it. Because if I can, anyone can.

So, here is my story behind BBG and my major takeaways from it:

After gaining about 13 pounds over the course of a year and a half, I had decided to buckle down and get my shit together. I started working out consistently in December 2014, but by March or so, had very little to show for it. No real definition or toning had appeared, just an overall feeling of relief that I was at least moving my body in anaerobic and aerobic ways again and hoping it would all be worth something eventually. I grew frustrated. Really frustrated. NOTHING was happening. Sure, I had dropped a few initial pounds that had basically been waiting for me to dismiss them with a wave of my hand (the first few always come off easily), but nothing very visible had happened and my clothes were still too snug. I was straddling the line between two sizes, and knew if I ended up having to go up a size, I would never forgive myself. So one out of who knows how many nights of sitting on my couch, probably eating something not great for me and cursing the entire notion of getting fitter, I started texting a friend about my frustrations. She mentioned she herself had just started BBG and maybe I should try it, too? The program sounded familiar to me, and it was then I remembered a friend had actually sent me the guide back in November. I had a hazy memory of opening the email, downloading the guide, taking one look at it, and saying NOPE. 

So, that night, I pulled the guide up again and this time, I really looked at it. Then I sent it to my best friend for review who’s been working out since she was 13 (soccer). “This is some intense shit,” she acutely observed. “But you can do it.” “What if I can’t though, Kelley? What if I suck and get so discouraged or physically can’t make it through some exercises or give up halfway through?” “Look,” she likes to start sentences this way. “We’ll do it for 4 weeks. Ok? You can do 4 weeks. And at the end of the 4 weeks, we’ll assess. Ok?” “Ughhhh….” I bemoaned the thought of failing. “4 weeks! You in?” “Okay. 4 weeks.”

And thus began my love affair with BBG.

Now, 12 weeks later, here are my top takeaways:

Don’t start it unless you’re ready to commit. This guide was built-out a certain way so it works a certain way, and if you go about it casually or sporadically, you won’t see results. Only press “start” when you have figured how it will fit into your daily schedule, and know you are ready to kick shit up a notch. Of course, life happens, so if you start BBG with the best intentions and end up missing a few weeks in a row, go back to the start. Keeping starting from week 1, day 1 until you get into a consistent rhythm.

Don’t waste time buying the eating guide that goes with it unless you’re just the absolute worst at portion control and balance and literally cannot trust yourself for shit. Every girl who has reached out to me has asked whether or not I followed the meal guide, and the answer is no. To me, meal plans/guides aren’t realistic and the only way I will continue with a big change in my lifestyle is if it has realistic checkpoints. Personally, it has been a goal of mine for the last (almost) year to just learn how to eat better for myself; to learn what fills me up, how much I really need of something, how to not eat until I’m so full that I hate myself, and just to conquer overall balance in my daily meal choices. It’s taken some experimentation and has had a few pitfalls (overeating or under eating), but I finally found eating patterns that work best for me and are realistic. I eat as impressively as I can 80% of the time and leave the other 20% of the time wide-open for ice cream, beer, wine, pizza, burgers, fries, tacos, queso, vodka, whiskey, TCBY… you get the picture. This balance is the only way I can stay sane.

DON’T. SKIP. CARDIO. The guide pretty much lays out your weeks for you: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are the prearranged circuits. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday should involve independent cardio sessions that range anywhere from 30-45 minutes. A lot of girls skip the cardio. DON’T. SKIP. THE CARDIO. I fully believe I would not have had the same results had I been lax about doing cardio on my own. A long walk with Cece, 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the elliptical, or whatever sort of low intensity cardio you like best — it ALL COUNTS. And it ALL HELPS. Doing just the circuit training won’t get you as far as you want, trust me. Don’t be stupid. Don’t skip cardio.

Around week 6, you’ll get discouraged. I don’t know what it is about this week in particular, but it seemed to be a pattern amongst BBGers. A month and a half in, you expect to see a whole new you in the mirror. And when you inevitably don’t, something snaps. “This isn’t working,” “I should just stop,” “Fuck this stupid program,” “I’ll never see results,” and “I want all the pizza that’s ever been” are thoughts that go through your mind during week 6. But hear me loud and clear — DON’T GIVE UP! It’s just the week 6 hiccup. Get over that hump, and I promise you that in a few more weeks, you’ll laugh at yourself for being such a brat.

Focus more on your form and nailing every rep of every exercise rather than how many times you get through the the circuit in 7 minutes. Sure, getting through it twice is impressive (and basically impossible?), but doing half-ass moves to get there isn’t awesome. 

• Create a separate BBG account on Instagram. What? I know. It sounds weird and awkward, but if you’re really serious about completing the program and holding yourself accountable, creating a BBG-only profile really helps. There’s an entire BBG community out there just waiting to support you, cheer you on, and be some of the greatest Internet friends you’ve never met.

• Stop counting calories, like, yesterday. It took me a while to let the whole calorie-logging thing go. I was a slave to MyFitnessPal for a while there. But finally, I somehow decided to just stop because I honestly think it works against you. It drives you insane and can be very discouraging. More importantly, counting every calorie every day is unrealistic and, as mentioned before, I only abide by overall healthy lifestyle guidelines that are realistic and have every opportunity to last and help you out. Stopping with calorie counting seriously helped me a lot. I’m convinced it might have fueled more results toward the end of my BBG journey. For real. Just DON’T do it.

And now, since you so patiently read through all of that ranting (and I’m assuming you didn’t just scroll down until you found them), I present to you my results! 




So, there you have it! Now go. Do it. Get it. Be about it. And pray daily to Kayla, the god of all things fitness.



What Happened When I Quit Social Media

On September 8, I did something drastic for my well-being: I deleted all social media apps from my phone. No, I didn’t delete my actual accounts — I’m not a psycho; I just needed a break. While visiting my sister in Chicago over Labor Day weekend, she challenged me to do this and take a breather from weighing my worth on likes and comments and views. At first, I scoffed because there was no way in hell I would ever do that? But after mulling it over for a few days, I realized she was right and this digital detox could be necessary for my mental health.

I love attention. Duh. I also love sharing my every moment of my every day with anyone who is willing to watch, listen, or read. That’s just how I am and how I’ve always been, truly. I think I’m interesting (sometimes) and can be entertaining (sometimes) and tend to find the excitement or edge in even the most seemingly mundane things. I guess posting as much as I do helps me feel connected? Or relevant? Or, just, I don’t know — heard? Or maybe it’s a validation thing, or an insecurity thing. We could probably analyze it forever, but regardless, my sister had a point and I took her up on that point by wiping my precious smartphone clear of Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter (does that even count since I don’t think anyone even knows I tweet?).

And it turns out, it wasn’t that difficult. Truly. Within the first hour, I habitually picked up my phone a few times to check my apps, only to swiftly remember “Oh. Yeah” and set it back down. But from then on, it didn’t happen again. My phone was only good for the basic functions: texting, calling, waze-ing, and exercise-logging. Oh, and passwords because who the fuck ever remembers their benefits or 401K login?! 

That being said, I also kept a mental/written list of things I wanted to post during those four dark days (yeah, I didn’t last a week. WHATEVER. I made it four days and then the weekend happened and it’s like, people need to see what I’m up to Fri-Sun and *I* need them to see). So here are all the things (big and small because Snapchat is the greatest vehicle ever for one-off nonsense) that I would’ve posted to social media during the darkness:

• How my dog couldn’t stop dragging her tucus around my parents house while I was in Chicago, which resulted in me having to take her to the vet on a rainy Wednesday morning only to be told her anal glands were all sorts of stopped up. “Like trying to squeeze toothpaste through a coffee straw” was the exact analogy the vet used. Wonder how long he had worked to perfect that line. 

• My reaction to playing my dad’s original Led Zeppelin record on my record player for the first time and all the feels it made me feel.

• My delicious and incredibly impromptu Wednesday night date with my best friend to a newly founded burger joint in my ‘hood. The name? Pints and Quarts. So cute, right? And the food was delightful, as was the setting. The 7-foot tall cashier sorta barked at me to not bring Cece inside (I was holding her in my arms and she has panic attacks when I leave her outside of establishments), which made me angry. But then he said my hair was pretty, so I secretly forgave him. 

• How I didn’t have time for breakfast one morning and was only able to manage coffee and a banana and it was terrible and sad (this would’ve been a Snapchat, obvi).

• I wanted to post this photo from my Chicago trip on #throwbackthursday because my impression was UNCANNY:


• My first day back at the gym after a glorious six days off. Being out of town for the long weekend and a super short, super packed week of work made getting to the gym harder for those 6 days, and I was paranoid I was losing my motivation. HOWEVER, I got back at it and had the sweat stains literally EVERYWHERE to show for it. 

• MY GOD. How INCREDIBLE Aziz Ansari’s book is. Guys. Listen to me. Read me. Are you reading me? Seriously, Modern Romance is amazing. It’s nothing like I expected. I guess I assumed it’d be like every other comedian’s autobiography about their fairly normal but slightly off-center upbringing, and their rise to stardom. No, guys. Modern Romance is quite the opposite. It’s a true study on the dating scene of today: research, focus groups, interviews, Q&A’s with sociologists, psychiatrists, scientists! It’s truly fascinating, and every page is chockfull of useful yet frustrating information. So much so, I almost want to take notes as I read. Maybe it’s because I’m single and am living the scene he’s writing to, but I find myself nodding in fierce agreement or furrowing my brow deeply at all the insight. If you’re between the ages of 24-38, are single, and currently attempting online/app dating, I HIGHLY suggest investing in this book. It’ll make you feel a lot better about life in general. And maybe not so alone?

• I wanted to post this outfit because #comeon. S’cute.

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• I wondered to myself and out loud to my friends if you accept a belated invitation to a pretty publicized event that you hadn’t been included in prior? That is, what do you do when someone you’re friendly with at work is all “Are you coming tonight?” And you’re all “To what?” And they’re all “You didn’t get invited??? You were on my list!” And you’re like “What?” And they’re all “I’ll forward you the invite now. You have to come!” Like, what do you do with that? Do you go? Are you offended? Do you believe the person? Is it sort of lame to show up like you had nothing better to do?

• My best friend wrote the word “polite” as “poloyte” and it made me question our entire friendship.

• I wanted to share how I’ve basically been referring to the last few weeks as “the end of summer” as an excuse to treat myself to as much TCBY as I deem appropriate. Because, like, everyone knows TCBY doesn’t taste nearly as satisfying when it’s not disturbingly warm outside. So I’ve got to take advantage of the last uncomfortably hot days, right?

• I dreamt that Ben Schwartz (Jean Ralphio from Parks and Rec) was in love with me, and I had never felt so happy. We met and both immediately felt the vibe, but he tried to play it off and pay attention to anyone but me. Although, secretly, he was all about it. Also, I was 20 in the dream? So that was kinda weird.

• And, lastly, I wanted to write on Facebook about how, while trying to plan a meeting, one co-worker goes “Is 9am okay, or is getting into work early too hard for everyone?” It made me laugh, a lot. Because #advertising.

I missed you guys. I hope you missed me, but I’M BACK, BABY!



If You Give A Girl A Glass of Wine…


If you give a girl a glass of wine, she’s gonna want another.

And if you give her another, she’s gonna want a third.

And if she wants a third, you’re going to have to listen to her debate out loud about whether or not she should have a third.

And if she decides to have a third, you’re gonna end up staying later than you thought.

And if you stay later than you thought, she’s gonna get hungry.

And if she gets hungry, she’s going to want pizza. So bad.

And if she wants pizza, you’re going to have to listen to her debate out loud about how she’ll feel sooooo fat if she orders it, but how badly she wants it.

And if she decides to order it, she’s going to eat two slices.

And if she eats two slices, she’s most definitely going to want three.

And if she has three, she’s going to blame you for letting her order this in the first place.

And if she blames you for the pizza, she’s going to force you to eat the same amount as her.

And if you eat the same amount as her, she won’t feel as badly about herself.

And if she doesn’t feel as badly about herself, she’ll consider you a true friend.

And if she considers you a true friend, she’ll tell you all her secrets. 

And if she tells you all her secrets, you’ll realize she doesn’t really have many besides the fact that she has fantasized about some weirdo celebrity before and sometimes doesn’t shower for days on end.

And if you question why she doesn’t shower for days on end, she’ll tell you it’s because she doesn’t want to have to wash her hair EVERY TIME she works out (which is at least three times a week, if not four-five).

And if she talks about working out, she’ll start to feel disgusting because of the pizza.

And if she starts to feel disgusting about the pizza, she’ll promise herself to go harder at the gym tomorrow.

And if she goes harder at the gym tomorrow, she’ll fret about it all day.

And if she frets about it all day, she’ll text you about it all day.

And if she texts you about it all day, it’ll be stuff like “Ugggghhhh, I DON’T wanna go.” “I’m so tired from last night’s wine. I just hope I get more energy soon.” “Is it so bad to miss ONE day?” “Is 3 slices of pizza and missing a day at the gym gonna ruin me?”

And if she sends you these kinds of texts, she’ll expect you to be the true friend she thinks you are.

And if you’re the true friend she thinks you are, you’ll guilt trip her about the gym in a subtle yet effective way.

And if you guilt trip her in a subtle yet effective way, she’ll end up going to the gym. 

And if she ends up going to the gym, she’ll spend half the time texting you about it.

And if she spends half the time texting you about it, you’ll gently have to remind her she’s at the gym and needs to focus.

And if you have to gently remind her, she’ll resent you for a split second before realizing you’re right.

And if she realizes you’re right, she’ll buckle down and do werk.

And if she does werk, she’ll be so glad she went to the gym.

And if she’s so glad she went to the gym, she’ll love you even more than she already did for making her go to the gym.

And if she loves you even more than she already did, she’ll invite you over again that night or the next for another wine night.

And if she invites you over for another wine night, you’ll obviously go because you love her.

And if you obviously go, you guys will split a bottle of wine she bought because she loved the design on the label.

And if you split a bottle of wine, that means she’ll have a sizable glass.

And if she has a sizable glass, she’s gonna want another.

And if she wants another, you’ll pour her another.

And if you pour her another, she’s gonna want a third.

And if she wants a third, the cycle starts all over again.

And if the cycle starts all over again, godspeed.



A Realistic Story About Weight Loss

This is a realistic story about a girl who isn’t stick thin and isn’t obese, but just sorta average with a few pounds to lose.

*Disclaimer: If you came to this post looking for my weight in pounds or before/after pictures, you’re fucking with the wrong girl’s blog.*


Although I never actively recognized it, I was thin throughout my youth. I never struggled with weight, not really. I was a naturally small girl. Sure, my breasts made their appearance at an age younger than what my peer group was used to, but it wasn’t anything explosive or anything I showed off. I just had B’s before my friends had A’s, C’s before they had B’s, so on and so forth. 

I’ve always had a naturally bloated belly. I don’t know why or how, but it’s just how it is and it’s my absolute biggest body insecurity. I can look at a piece of food, and my stomach extends. Unlike the majority of my best girlfriends whose digestive systems work properly resulting in always-flat stomachs, mine is like NAH. It’s been this way since I can remember. Smallish arms, smallish legs, extended tummy that I could give AP courses on how to suck in like a pro, and boobs. However, in the grand scheme of things, not all that bad of a hand to be dealt.

Literally the only time I’ve seen my stomach flat is during the saddest times of my life, when food wasn’t going into my mouth (AKA the rarest occurrence ever). Fortunately for my overall mental health but unfortunately for my body and stomach, there have been very few saddest times. So the flatness of my stomach was always short-lived. Almost like a dream that never happened.

My thinnest in adulthood was right after college, believe it or not. It’s like I woke up a few months after graduation and all the beer/pizza/shots/pizza/beer weight had just disappeared into fat air. On top of that natural weight loss, I was in a mind fuck of a struggle dealing with whether or not to remain with my college boyfriend, from which the anxiety was so intense, I was eating half as much as usual. So, in 2009, I was rocking 0’s and 2’s like it was nobody’s business. But, of course, I’m sure I still made statements like “I’m gross” or “I’m so fat” because I have a vagina and that’s just what happens. So.


^ That’s me in 2010, y’all. I was a TINY human. You know someone’s thin when they can tuck a form-fitting WHITE tank top into a pair of shorts and have absolutely zero qualms with stomach or love handle issues. This is a world I only knew for a very, very short time and will most likely never get to revisit. 

So, cut to a few years down the road into the real world, and I was a much happier person who had adjusted to a different type of lifestyle and was eating normally again, thusly putting back on some of that lost weight. But NBD. I knew I wouldn’t stay that thin forever, so I didn’t kill myself over it (clearly, because I’m here typing this).

But then. BUT. THEN. I made a career change. I went from being in the world of sales to actually pursuing my dream of writing and joined the twisted world of advertising. I went from an office with a built-in, very health conscious cafeteria, A GYM, and a building full of gorgeous, thin, 20something girls to a traditional advertising office full of beer, whiskey, and men who DGAF. Quickly and surely, my body started to adapt to my new surroundings. And by “adapt” I mean grow. At first, I didn’t notice. I was all “Whatevs! I can still fit into my clothes so who cares even.” The gym culture is not a popular one within advertising, so it’s not like I had coworkers running off to the gym every night after work, indirectly motivating me to go. They motivated me to have another beer, stay longer for more whiskey, or order food to fuel our fire as we worked late. 

And, a year and some odd months later, it blew up in my face. And by “it” I mean my jean’s button. Just kidding. That has never happened, thank the good lord. But I’m sure I’ve gotten dangerously close. They say to always go by the way your usual clothes fit, and the day I realized it was either stretchy pants or moving up a size, I knew things had gotten really bad. I hadn’t made eye contact with a gym in an embarrassing amount of time and was on a self-inflicted rewards program wherein I would have a few salads throughout the week, then reward myself with queso and dessert another few times a week. I was that girl. I just didn’t give a shit, I guess. It wasn’t anything out of control, but there was literally no awareness going on at any point of any given day. I’ve always been a 0% or 100% type of person: whatever I’m doing — be it healthy eating, frequent gym visits, Instagram stalking — I’m either all in or way the fuck out. 

But by this past December, I did the adult thing and came to grips that I was heavy… for me. 13 pounds heavier bad to be exact. 13 fucking pounds. Now, to the untrained eye, it was next to not noticeable. But to the eyes that know me, see me enough, and know how I used to look, I’m sure it was somewhat noteworthy. And I’m also sure that haters whispered to themselves, “Oh YES. She looks kinda like shit.” As I said at the beginning of this post, I fully aware that I am by no means “fat” or “overweight,” but if you’re used to being a certain way and you have done nothing to take care of maintaining that certain way, things inevitably change and it affects you just as it would anyone else of any size.

So, starting on January 1 like a true NYE resolutioner (but mainly because I like well-rounded, perfectly configured dates to start new things), I said NO MORE and buckled the fuck down. And guys…

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It’s awful.

What? It is. I’m not writing this to be like “And OMG, y’all. I don’t miss pizza AT ALL. Carrots are GOD and ice cream is the devil. Give me a heaping bowl of cucumbers for dessert, AMIRIGHT?” If it were that easy, everyone would be slender as hell. However, I promised myself on January 1, 2015 that this wasn’t just Emma on one of her health kicks. No. This is Emma now. This consistent workout schedule, subbing salad for fries at least half the time if not more, eating way more vegetables for dinner and snacks: This is my life now. It’s a lifestyle. As much as it can absolutely suck in every way imaginable, it’s for the long haul and I mean it. 

Every day since Jan. 1, I’ve eaten breakfast.

I’ve weened myself off sugar in coffee (although, I still use my Coffeemate fat-free hazelnut creamer because SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE).

I’ve mastered how to eat a pile of roasted brussel sprouts or cauliflower with a side of quinoa for dinner and halfway ENJOY it.

I’ve tried really hard to choose vodka over beer even though GOD DAMMIT I LOVE BEER.

I’ve woken up early 2-3 mornings a week to workout for the past almost six months, and made up for the missed mornings in the evenings and on weekends.

I’ve gotten fairly used to not stuffing myself at every meal. More than half the time, I leave some food on the plate to be sent to a place where uneaten food goes. This is huge for me since I’ve been a top ranking member of the Clean Plate Club since I can remember, and a firm believer in Louis C.K.’s method of eating until you hate yourself, not until you’re “full.”

I’ve subbed carrots for chips at lunch, and have tried my damnedest to reserve drinking alcohol for weekends only.

I’ve somehow convinced myself that a portion-size serving of healthy trail mix is filling (it’s not. It’s just a game you have to play with yourself).

The bottom line is: I’ve changed. I’ve changed the way I operate with food on a daily basis, and it has not been easy. In fact, it’s been incredibly hard, and the results have been slow to show themselves. As of today, I’ve lost somewhere between 5-6 pounds and maybe a half inch off my waist and hips. And I still have a long way to go (for me, personally).

It’s progress, for sure. But it’s not at all what I thought it’d be by this point. And that’s kinda why I felt inclined to write this. Because I want every other girl out there who might stumble upon this blog to have a more realistic idea of what it looks like and feels like to lose weight the “right” way. To not crash diet, kill yourself by deciding on a 1200 calories/day intake (which, by the way, is impossible. It’s like one carrot and a piece of air), or expect to be at your goal weight in just a few months. If you’re in it for the long haul, it’s the worst fucking marathon you’ve ever run. There are no short-cuts. There is no one BIG secret weight loss tip. It’s just you, making smart choices, working out as hard as you can when you can, and being mindful. 

But of course, you must cheat. Duh. The first step in ruining this for yourself is not cheating ever. That’s just dumb. Everything in moderation, right? It’s really 80/20, so Monday through lunchtime on Friday, you do the absolute best you possibly can. Eat those veggies. Choke down that water when all you really want is a soda. Then, come Friday night, all bets are off. You’re going to fuck up on weekends, ok? Just accept it now. Because if you don’t, you will make yourself crazy about it come every Sunday night. I mean, don’t spend Friday-Sunday literally taking shots of queso and doing lines of eggs benedict. Control yourself, but let yourself enjoy life. Then, get back to it Monday. Oh, and workout at least one weekend day. It helps distract your mind from what you did last night and what you’re probably going to do tonight.

If nothing else, remember this: you didn’t put the weight on overnight, so it’s going to take a while to get it off. But, done the right way, hopefully it stays off (that’s the goal anyway). Keep at it, don’t get discouraged, and keep in mind that you can only do so much. You’re a fucking human being who loves food and wants to have fun and go to dinners with friends and drink alcohol and LIVE LIFE. So let yourself have that by kicking your own ass at the gym, eating boring shit, and indulging when necessary.