Trust the Process

At 37, Andrea Mishio was at her heaviest. She’s spent the past three years getting her health on track.

It’s taken three years to get to 145 lbs and it’s one of the most important things I’ve learned in my journey, that you have to pace yourself. My name’s Andrea Mishio and at my heaviest, I weighed 205 lbs. I think a lot of people assume that I wish I’d lost weight faster, but I have no regrets. When I think about it, maybe I’d like to have started concentrating on nutrition a little earlier in the process. But at the same time I don’t know that I was ready to make that shift either. I knew it would take time, and that it’d be a process. I also knew I wanted to make a permanent change and not have a quick fix.

I took it slow and steady. I began working out two days a week and over three years, I’ve built up to five days a week. In that time, I also trained for two half-marathons, but when I started out I was working with a personal trainer. As I became more confident, I did CrossFit and worked out at a gym.

It really sunk in that what I was doing was working when I started getting compliments at work. People were noticing the changes and the hard work I was putting in. But the most significant reaction was when my grade 8 students (mostly boys) were commenting on how strong I was. They would constantly make references to me being so strong and would compare me to Arnold Schwarzeneger. I knew then that I was making a difference.

Focus on Nutrition

I only really dialed in on my nutrition at the start of 2020. What really helped me get to the next level was working with a nutrition coach. It was while working with her that I noticed the most changes. I didn’t realize how many eating habits I had that needed to be changed or tweaked.

My diet was a major factor in getting me to where I am with my health now. I have always been active so the exercise part wasn’t hard for me. It was cleaning up my habits when it came to eating. I stopped emotional eating, I learned how to fuel my body properly and how to fuel it for what I was doing. I stopped eating ice cream and sweets every night and replaced it with drinking tea and having a better snack.

Overcoming Setbacks

Like most everyone in the world, the pandemic set me back. With no gym and trying to adjust to teaching from home, having one child doing online school and trying to keep a three-year-old entertained, it was challenging. The biggest setback, however, was when my mom suddenly passed away in August from a stroke. I overcame it by talking a lot with my coach and by just wanting to succeed more than regress. I was also doing it for health; my mom had a lot of health problems so even in her passing she motivated me to stay strong and healthy. Besides the setbacks, another thing that helped me keep the eye on the prize through this all was a fitness photo shoot I planned to do for my 40th birthday, which was this February.

My Three Top Tips

If I were to give advice to someone on a similar journey, I would say to:

Pace yourself and set realistic goals. Check in with a coach or mentor or just yourself to review your goals periodically; adjust and set new goals as you progress or as needed.

Don’t take shortcuts. Although there are numerous diets that promise that you will lose 10-20 pounds in a month, that is not realistically a long-term weight solution.

Do what you love. Incorporate what you love into your fitness plan. If you love to run, then run; if you love to walk, then walk; if you love to lift, go on and lift!

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Photos by Linda Dawn Photography

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