Sloane Davis has always led a very healthy lifestyle, but despite all her efforts, she couldn't seem to get the toned tummy she always wanted.
"I was always taking exercise classes, but I really wanted to see my abs — as silly as that sounds — and I was always told that abs were made in the kitchen, so I thought that by getting leaner and leaner I would be able to see them," the 45-year-old told PEOPLE.
After trying every trick in the book, the mom-of-two decided to reach out to a professional and get some advice.
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"He told me that I was 'skinny fat,' that I wasn't eating enough, and that I needed to build muscle," she says. "That's when I found flexible dieting, [which involves tracking your] macronutrients, which are proteins, fats, and carbs."
Davis quickly realized that in order to gain the muscle tone she was craving, she would have to eat a lot more carbs.
"I learned that carbs fuel your energy and your workouts, and if you don't have enough you can't fuel a heavy workout," she says. "I learned that food is fuel. Instead of always trying to negate what we eat, I learned to use it to fuel a heavy workout."
Switching up her workout routine definitely helped, as she started to incorporate more weight-lifting.
"Over time my body definitely changed," she says. "Muscle takes up less space in your body, so you're able to become much leaner, smaller and tighter all around. Muscle burns more energy while resting. The more muscle you have in your body, the more energy you're burning."
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Her incredible transformation has inspired countless people, who've reached out asking how she did it.
"I really didn't have any credibility to tell anybody what to do, but I felt like I had a little secret inside of me that I wanted to share," she says. "I went back to school and got [certified to advise on] nutrition and personal training. I started a business on social media and have over 200 clients now in a year and a half. It's been great!"
Davis has since founded Pancakes and Push-Ups and continues to encourage others to get fit and healthy.
"It's never too late," she says. "And I think weightlifting is even more important as we get older."
More importantly, she weighs in on the importance of eating well, not less.
"People don't need to starve themselves in order to lose weight," she says. "When you make healthier choices, there's more volume in the food. You're able if you want that half a cup of ice cream at the end of the day. There's no foods that are off limits, so there's no reason to have an unhealthy relationship with food." Preach.