Body Transformation: Rebecca Rausch Learned To Use Food As Fuel

Chained down by depression and anxiety, Rebecca Rausch fought back, struggled with anorexia, only to transform her body, strength and mind.
Editor's Note: Everyone is different and these results may not be typical for the average person. To achieve these results you need to be willing to put in the work both in the gym and in the kitchen. Use this transformation for motivation for you to make the changes you want!

Before Stats

  • June 2006
  • 198 lbs
  • 5'5"
  • 27%
  • Anti-depressants & Anxiety Meds

After Stats

  • Still In Progress
  • 135 lbs
  • 5'5"
  • 18%
  • Off Medications

Lifestyle Prior To Change

What was your lifestyle like prior to your transformation?

Throughout my youth, I ate whatever I wanted. By the time I entered high school, I was overweight, sitting at 198 lbs. I went on and off fad diets and refused to eat lunch at school.

What was your low point or turning point?

I was "gothic", miserable, had trouble sleeping, panic attacks and social anxiety. I was taking several anti-depressants and I hated my body. I was fed up, so I took it to the extreme and I lost 80 lbs in just over a year! I starved my body. It was at my lowest weight that I was diagnosed as anorexic by a nutritionist and a psychologist.

Rebecca Rausch Were there any unique challenges or circumstances that made your transformation particularly difficult?

The fact that my body went through such a rapid weight loss in such a short period of time. My lowest weight was 108lbs. My menstrual cycle stopped for over a year. I had to put weight back on and was terrified of turning into that 198lb girl again.

I had to learn how to eat and create a fit, healthy, functioning body. I began studying balanced nutrition and the exercise sciences. My fiancé, Scott, introduced me to weight training and that's when I began to see real changes in my physique.

I now see food as fuel and do not take a single medication. I completely credit weight training to relieving my depression and poor body image.

Please provide a timeline including when you started the transformation, and include major milestones:

  • Transformation Start: June 2006.
  • Milestone: I went from 198 lbs to 108 lbs in February 2007. I went from being obese to being diagnosed as anorexic.
  • Milestone: Realizing I needed to change. Researched nutrition on my own and put back on healthy weight in 2008.
  • Milestone: Met my fiance' and started lifting heavy. I was able to shape my physique and developed muscle I didn't know I had. I felt confident and sexy for the first time and was able to completely go off my medications.
  • Milestone: Finally seeing food as fuel and becoming a certified personal trainer in order to help others avoid the extremes I have put myself through.
  • Transformation End: Does it ever really?

Rebecca's Training Approach

What was your weight training approach and split during your transformation?

I didn't start weight training seriously until I met my fiance'. He taught me not to be afraid of lifting heavy. Nowadays, I love lifting weights. I will lift anything…if I can! I especially love to see the muscle working and get off on having a “pump.” I lift more than most girls I know and even some of the guys at my gym. It is truly empowering.

I consistently see increases in strength every couple of weeks and love to see my body adapt...adaptations and changes that with cardio alone would be impossible. Since beginning a heavy training program, I’ve never felt more confident or sexy. I feel better, look better and I’m stronger physically without adding “ the bulk” that so many women are fearful of.

Please add a workout that worked best for you:

Rebecca Rausch

Please detail your cardio approach during your transformation?

I was all about doing cardio throughout my heavy-to-anorexic stage. I would not leave the house to exercise. I would stay in and watch workout DVD's several times a day. I didn't want to be seen until I was at my, “goal weight.”

At this point, I do very minimal cardio. 2 days a week I might get on the stepmill for 35-40 minutes. I will do HIIT once in a great while. My weight training is very intense and I love lifting heavy, so I don't sweat it if I go a week without intense cardio.

Please list 3 things you learned about exercise, weight training and/or cardio during your transformation that helped you succeed:

  1. Cardio alone will not build you a sexy body. If dieting, you may lose a few pounds and/or get “skinny fat.” Don't be afraid of weights! Weights are what shape you. The heavier, the better...in my opinion.
  2. Your body adapts extremely quickly. Mix it up. Change your rep, sets, exercises or volume, etc. once or twice a month. Be sure to keep track of all your progress. Always strive to lift more or complete extra reps within form. It also keeps you anticipating your next workout!
  3. Training to failure and training for strength (5x5). These two techniques have allowed me to really understand my threshold for pain. You will experience pain, strain, tightness...this is all normal. These are the feelings I seek to realize on every single set. I train to failure 99% of the time and know that my body has made the most signification changes because of this.

How are you currently training, and has your training changed since the completion of your transformation?

My training changes all of the time. We DO always try to incorporate the three big lifts; squat, bench press, deadlift. Everything else varies, but the intensity is always nonnegotiable.

Rebecca's Diet And Supplement Plan

Rebecca RauschWhat was your diet/nutrition approach during your transformation?

I tried everything, from starving myself to ultra low carb dieting to get me down to my lowest weight. Through my research, I started eating less processed foods and focused on hitting my macronutrients (protein/carbs/fats). This really caused my body and progress in the gym to skyrocket.

Over the last few years I've experimented with various protocols on behalf of my clients to ensure what I ask them to do is a viable means to a healthy end. My focus is now on me, as I have aspirations of entering a competition this year, I currently follow the Lean Gains: Intermittent Fasting protocol. This allows me to not worry about preparing 6-7 small meals a day. I have a 8-10 hour feeding window where I can eat 2-3 large meals.

I love being able to focus on, and LIVE my life, instead of being miserable thinking of my next, unsatisfying meal. All I am concerned about is getting my macronutrients in for the particular training or rest day.

Can you give an example of what your daily meal plan looks like?

  • 5am: Coffee or water.
  • 7am: Train (May add BCAAs to my pre-workout drink).
  • 1pm: (First largest meal) Huge omelet and salad (or protein pancakes and oatmeal.) I'll also have with this a pudding made of Greek yogurt and a scoop of whey or casein protein, topped with raspberries and melted almond butter mixed with fat free cream cheese.
  • 3pm: (2nd small meal) 1 scoop whey, 4-5oz chicken breast, tilapia or cottage cheese, 2 rice cakes.
  • 8pm: (3rd large meal) Huge salad with 8-10oz chicken or tilapia, edamame and/or sweet potato, light yogurt ranch dressing. 1 scoop casein protein.

Were there any diet/nutrition mistakes you made that you learned from?

Starving myself, binging, eating too few carbs or just not eating enough calories in general. I have made every diet mistake you can imagine. I am thankful for this, as it allows me to be happy and satisfied with the way I choose to eat now.

Please list 3 things you learned about diet & nutrition during your transformation that helped you succeed:

  1. Eat clean, unprocessed foods 90% of the time. You will take in far less sodium and naturally feel better. If you have a hard time, find substitutions for the foods/food textures you love.
  2. Eat more protein (1.2g per lb of bodyweight and up!)
  3. Track all of your macronutrients and cycle calories, carbs or both if you want all of your hard work in the gym to really pay off.

255 Pound Deadlift

Did you allow yourself cheat meals?

At the beginning, yes. I would have one cheat meal per week. I always felt miserable afterward and realized it wasn't worth it to me. I work too hard for a little ice cream to throw me off for days. Now, I do not have “cheats”, I have higher carb days which always keep me satisfied and I never feel deprived.

What supplements did you use during your transformation?

Advice For Others

What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to make their own transformation?

  1. Never give up. Don't let one day of eating poorly ruin your whole week, or even one slip up derail a whole day. Just get right back at it! Why binge if all you did was nibble a piece of chocolate? Remember what you really want. Focus.
  2. Find substitutions for the foods you love. There are hundreds of healthy food blogs and recipe books out there nowadays. Subscribe to a fitness magazine and get some ideas for new recipes you can incorporate into your lifestyle.
  3. Be accountable to someone. Make sure your transformation is 100% FOR you, but having a partner or trainer that keeps you on track and reminds you of how far you've come (or how far you have to go) is HUGE.

How do you stay motivated? What advice would you give to someone who’s having trouble staying on track?

I stay motivated by loving what I do. I LOVE working out and I love being a personal trainer. I am able to touch other people's lives and that's all I've ever really wanted. I want to continue to be a role model and help others avoid the horrible path I went down.

I would tell anyone having a hard time to stay consistent, once you see the first signs of progress-remember how incredible it makes you feel. Don't let an Oreo ruin a wonderful milestone you've reached-keep it going!

Your Life Now

What is your life like now that you’ve made a transformation?

My life is wonderful. I live in Colorado Springs, CO. I wake up, run a fitness class, train with my fiance', eat, do research, answer emails, train clients. I couldn't ask for a better passion than fitness. I am very focused on getting into a NPC Figure competition at the moment and plan to do my first show in Oct. or Nov. of 2012.

What motivates you currently to keep improving yourself?

I aspire to be an IFBB Pro Figure, so that keeps me motivated each and everyday. It doesn't hurt that the gym I workout at has some serious bodybuilders, including Andy Haman.

Anything else you would like to share?

I'd like to tell everyone in the situation I was several years ago to begin focusing on a weight training program that not only allows gains in strength, but also provides reduction in body fat and increased confidence. Once you embrace your true strength and realize the efforts produced in the gym each day, your ability to resist temptations increases tenfold!

That’s when you start to see positive, permanent results. Changing your focus helps to encourage you to make better nutritional choices as well.

How Can People Contact You?

How can people contact you?

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Posted Sat, 11/15/2014 - 19:05
shay madry

i am in mental health I have a bad body image i really believe that when they say eating healthy and exercise can make a greater difference in how you function and i would be glad to get off mental meds u remind me of i feel in the before pics and u give me a peace about can u really get different if exercise from the low moods i haven't started yet but i keep saying could i get unrecognizable to hide the low moods or rid of u really give me hope you look extremely great

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Posted Sun, 08/05/2012 - 07:50
unsw1tchd

Hope you're still rockin' that Misfits shirt!!!

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Posted Mon, 07/30/2012 - 09:57
Carter

I'm a female who lifts very heavy. I only got back into it about a year ago. I had lifted heavy from about 1992-1994/5... but life changed and I got lazy. I'm back into it again and I'm much older, but I'm loving it. I'm always impressed with another female who loves training hard like I do, and I've definitely changed my eating habits for the better. Now, I'm not planning on doing any shows, so I don't need to be super strict, but I do see and feel the benefits of cleaner eating. But I mean this with the best of intentions...not malice...but when Rebecca made the comment about "a little ice cream," it struck me as a bit scary/excessive. That she's not going to let "a little ice cream" ruin all of the progress she's made. I just don't like to see people using exercise as a replacement addiction. Exercise is awesome, and great nutrition is too...and I'm all about high-caliber and hardcore, but I don't ever like to see it be a substitute for other issues, or the only thing that makes someone feel value-able. Anorexics use food as a way to have control, and I simply worry that some people do the same thing with lifting, exercise, and food regimens. It looks healthy on the outside, but their can often be an unhealthy origin on the inside. I just hope people are self aware and careful...that's really my point. :)