July 14, 2018: A Houma bride is getting ready to walk down the sandy aisle to marry the man of her dreams and enjoy one of the happiest days of her life with family and friends along the shore of Destin, Florida.
But before she could do that, there was something she had to put aside.
“Instead of putting on my dress and feeling like a bride — the world revolves around me and it was my day — I felt like I really had to put my emotions aside about my physical appearance so that my loved ones could enjoy my day with me,” she remembers. “You grow up as a little girl wanting to put on a wedding dress and feel like a million bucks. And I didn’t.”
The day after the celebration, the bride vowed to return to that beach next July, feeling healthier and more confident — a decision that led her to lose 100 pounds in just a year.
Georgia Malbrough says she used to have an unhealthy relationship with food. “So the types of food that I was eating and consuming weren’t healthy and the amount that I was consuming was just astronomical,” she recalls. “I was just so stressed out and tired of thinking, I would just eat.”
“I felt like I didn’t know how to actually process my own emotions with physical activity,” she continues. “I would instead just eat because it was available; it was always there. We grow up surrounded by food. Throughout childhood, motherhood, all of it, food is a constant, and I turned to food rather than turning to myself because I didn’t want to deal with myself.”
The young mother also wanted to obtain a more fit way of life to engage in more physical activity with her three children without feeling exhausted after. “Honestly, a lot of my emotional eating snowballed from my physical insecurity,” Georgia shares. “I couldn’t effortlessly get up on the trampoline to join my kids and have a good time with them. And I wanted to be able to do that.”
So she began exercising; however, Georgia had to find a diet that could accompany her physical activity. Previously, she had tried different fad diets, but they didn’t give her the long-term results and healthy feeling she was looking for.
“I was so sick of it being a mystery to me: I had no idea how my body worked or what it did with the food that I was putting in,” she says. “It was just what everyone else was telling me based off of them making a profit.”
Not satisfied with the diets people were trying to sell to her, she decided to take the power in her own hands by researching medical studies and then learning how the body burns fat, what it does with the calories that are ingested and how to burn those calories.
Georgia says she then quickly put two and two together. “If you burn more calories than you eat, then you will burn fat; you will burn that excess body weight,” she explains. “But if you eat more calories than you burn, then your body’s constantly putting on a little bit…Even if it’s five pounds over a year, your body’s constantly at a surplus: you’re eating too much, your body can’t handle it.”
After looking up a basal metabolic rate (BMR) calculator, Georgia was able to estimate how many calories she could consume to lose weight from her three miles of walking for three days a week. She then invested in a Fitbit as her workouts progressed and she wanted more accurate numbers to calculate how much she was burning in her workouts and at rest.
“I think the first time I ever did that and calculated it, I had burned about 2,100 calories,” she remembers. “And my mind was blown that I could eat 1,700 calories because, in the past, I would eat around 1,200.”
By incorporating that lifestyle, which is often referred to as the CICO (calories in, calories out) diet, the Houma native was finally able to achieve the results she was looking for. She also found the right local gym, Melanie B’s Powerhouse, to help put her on the path to success as well.
“Working out there has put me in an environment where I’m pushed to succeed no matter how hard I fail,” she shares. “The daycare is also phenomenal, and the workers love my kids like their own. I count my blessings every day I show up there because it’s home now.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which she has been able to stay active during by using her neighbor’s home gym, running on her treadmill and finding different at-home workouts to engage in, Georgia would typically spend an hour and a half at the gym Monday – Saturday mornings.
Along the way of her fitness journey, Georgia has been able to inspire people from around the country. Her story got picked up by Women’s Health Magazine and Yahoo! News. One of her TikTok (@georgia_beth_fitness) videos received over two million views, and she has over 100,000 followers on her page. “Everybody is like, ‘How?’ and I’m like, ‘I have no idea; I aggravate myself,’” she laughs.
She continues: “I think honestly people are so sick of seeing people who have never had to struggle to be in shape selling and promoting weight loss. And it’s refreshing to see somebody who had the bare minimum and still made it work — who still has to struggle to do it and didn’t really gain anything except health and her own benefit rather than money.”
Her original fitness Instagram page, which had 13,500 followers, was hacked, and she was subsequently locked out of it. “I’m not that worried about the followers because the people who needed my page the most found me,” says Georgia, who shared that losing the documentation of her weight loss was what upset her the most. (Her new page is @georgiabethfitness.)
“These women message me from a place where they’re really vulnerable and really struggling and I can remember that place and how it feels…It hurts that I can’t help every single person,” she shares. “But a lot of women just say coming to my page helps, seeing that despite how many times life hit me, I got back up. And that means so much to me.”
A hundred pounds lighter, Georgia returned to Destin with her husband Brannon for their one-year anniversary and felt better than she did on her wedding day, she says. “It was so relieving to be there with Brannon and not think about what I was wearing, if my shirt was clinging the wrong way or if he thought I looked good,” she continues. ”I was just fully present. I’m glad we got that.”
And she still puts on that wedding dress every couple of months: “I know exactly how that dress felt when I first put it on, so I knew every time if it felt different that I was making either emotional progress, physical progress or just actual measurement progress.”
The local inspiration hopes that anyone looking for a healthier lifestyle can learn to fall in love with the process and doesn’t put any physical expectations on themself. “Just put in work that you know is your 100 percent best, and you will see results,” she says. “And don’t give up.”
“You have to fight yourself for yourself: like everything in your head telling you, ‘There’s no way I’m going to be able to do this,’” Georgia continues. “Just say, ‘I’m going to do it no matter what — because I deserve that.’” POV