12/15/2015 01:01 EST | Updated 12/15/2015 01:59 EST

Weight Lost: Claire Lost 82 Pounds By Rediscovering Her Childhood Athletic Abilities

Fit Factory

Who: Claire Lam

Occupation: Owner of Kerzeri Corp., a boutique web experience studio

City: Toronto

Age: 31

By The Numbers: 210 lbs at my heaviest, currently 128 lbs, for a total weight loss of 82 lbs.

The Weight Gain: I was an extremely active kid — I won track and field events, played varsity sports and competitive badminton. I wasn't, by any means, the skinny kid, but I was fit. The weight gain began when I started working after university. I worked 100 per cent in front of a computer and was doing 12 to 13 hour days.

claire before pic

Final Straw: At first, I didn't have a goal to lose the weight — I just wanted to build my career and didn't worry about changing my diet.

But I was getting sick every month, I was smoking nearly a pack a day, working ridiculous hours and I didn't want the lifestyle anymore. I joined the gym, started taking group exercises classes and quit smoking. I've never looked back.

"I wanted to impact as many lives as possible with what I considered 'saved' me, and I decided to become a fitness instructor."

The Plan of Attack: I took group exercise classes and became more conscientious about what I ate. I loved it so much, I wanted to impact as many lives as possible with what I considered "saved" me and shortly after, I decided to become a fitness instructor.

claire before and after

In the first year, I lost 55 lbs in six months. I gained some weight back a few years later (~160 lbs) when I started my company and stress got to me. Since then, I have lost more weight and am the fittest I've ever been. In the last eight months, I have since lost 42 lbs, 16% body fat and 13 inches overall.

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The Exercise Factor: After university, my fitness was walking up and down one flight of stairs at work and getting winded.

When I found Fit Factory Fitness, I instantly fell in love with the style of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and core work. The intensity was exactly what I needed to really drive and fuel my passion for fitness again. Not only have I met the most amazing people, but I also can do more than what I ever thought I could be capable of. Coupled with a well-designed weight training program, it gives me well-rounded strength for both cardio and core.

The Food Element: I never counted calories. Once upon a time, I used to count calories and macros and got obsessed with the pursuit of perfecting my eating. Over time, this wasn't sustainable and by letting go and understanding what was good to eat, I stopped counting calories and was much happier.

I started eating more protein like steak, chicken and pork, and higher good fats like nuts and avocado. The hardest adjustment was removing sugar from my diet.

I cut out all sugar and white carbohydrates, all milk products, and all fruits except for berries.

claire mirror

The Current Day-to-Day: Continuing to sustain my weight and fitness level has been a lifestyle change. I have kept up with my food choices and take the time to do classes and change up my routine when I feel like I'm plateauing.

I'm so proud that this is the fittest I've ever been, and that I can make a difference in someone else's life by giving them the education of fitness and lifestyle changes.

The one thing I tell people is to imagine what you want to look like, and then try to keep that image long enough to reach the goals. Once you have a goal, focus on the process of the work and what needs to be done to get there. From there, it's 100 per cent a mental game — don't let any of your emotions take over what you want. The consistency of your mental strength will be directly proportional to the consistency of your weight loss.

"Once you have a goal, focus on the process of the work and what needs to be done to get there. Don't let any of your emotions take over what you want."

My four tips are:

1. Find a group of like-minded individuals that can help support your goal

2. Understand nutrition and educate yourself with fueling your body

3. If costs permits, find a good trainer/coach to assist with workouts

4. Lastly, find an amazing group exercise/bootcamp class that you love to do! If you don't love it, you won't do it.

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