Barry’s Babe Ari Palmer

Finding My Way Back to Fit

For so long I fixated on that ideal body weight number. The number that would make me happy. What I found was that I was happy way before I got to the weight I am at now. I found that my body was capable of so much more than I previously gave it credit and to me that is priceless. Also, I always hated seeing ‘before and afters’ because I’m so much taller than the average woman (at 6 feet) so shout out to my tall girls—at my heaviest I was 175 and now I am 145-150. Although when a little heavier than 150 I find myself leaner—heavier and smaller?! I’ll take it!

I am a SoCal girl all the way. I was born in Laguna Beach and now live in Newport Beach. I work full-time for a tax-consulting firm here in OC and travel a lot to an office in SF. I’m 24 and two years out of college so in that ‘millenial’ group who find themselves kind of shocked about where their body was and where it is now. The worst part is now it’s a little tougher with a 9-5 job and happy hours and friends waiting to do fun things on the weekends that most likely still involve diet-breaking foods and beverages. But we know we have to do something because all of the sudden that elliptical we used to spend all of our time on just doesn’t cut it anymore.

My story is pretty simple but one I think others can relate to—I was active growing up, always in sports, never having a real weight issue (though I’ll admit I’ve looked at myself with that “ughhh whyy” stare that wishes I could just snap my fingers and look like Tash Oakley!) Then I went to college and went on the roller-coaster of gaining and losing weight. Never super fat but never really fit… not wanting to say “no” to all the fun events that involved high-caloric drinks and usually late night pizza, I told myself “okay, once this is over I am getting serious about being healthy!”

And I did. Post graduation, it was easier to lose some of the excess weight by simple science. I wasn’t consuming as much as I was before and the scale dropped. But I wasn’t satisfied. I hadn’t found that passion for a workout like I used to have playing volleyball and other sports. I was in a rut! I thought I really liked the idea of running but when it came down to jogging around the neighborhood I could barely push myself to do a mile without making the excuses, “I’m not a runner,” “I’ve never been a runner – its too late to be good at running,” “I did track in high school but that was forever ago…” You name the excuse, I’d find it!

Then I found my thing. A new friend actually introduced me to Barry’s at the time. She asked if I wanted to go to this 1000-calorie workout and I was like umm, yes! Scared and nervous and excited, I had no idea that I would be making a life change. Right away I was hooked. I loved that it was dark and bumped the beats and no one could really see if I was running weird or gasping for air on the floor exercises. Day by day certain things that were brutal became doable but still challenging, which kept it interesting. I made a commitment with myself to be consistent and created a habit to go at least a couple times a week… which led to several days, and recently I completed a hell week! Never would I have thought I could do that. (keep reading below).

ari 2

I eat lots of protein! I’ve found that to be very important. I used to be vegetarian which was actually detrimental for a while because I started not being a smart vegetarian (filling up with bread and carbs). Then I incorporated lean free-range meats and fish and noticed a huge difference… and now I have some great veggie recipes from all those years sans meat. And my Vitamix is my bff!

The best part of this whole journey has been the way it has positively affected my life as a whole (attitude, work, relationships, energy, focus, happiness!) Not only do I feel better and lead a healthier life, I now get to say yes to so many things I thought I would never say yes to. I just completed my second half marathon ever (and within a year) with Team Barry’s Irvine! Side note: THE TRAINERS AT BARRY’S IRVINE ARE INCREDIBLE. I owe so much of my success to them and am forever grateful for the constant motivation, support, and kick in the booty to push it!!!

You have to want it! But most of all you have to be consistent. If you’re worried about missing a happy hour or a boozey night, don’t worry, your friends will still be there and there will always be another party! I have already have gotten several messages from friends and even acquaintances asking for advice and it makes me so happy that people can relate to my story and now I can pass on some bit of encouragement!!

You can follow Ari’s journey on her Instagram feed @safariiiiii (six I’s in there :))