Grab your sneaks… this journey is long and the road is rocky.
I spent a lot of time debating whether or not a timeline of my fitness journey was what I wanted for my first blog post. I’m not entirely sure I’m comfortable with my debut into the blog-o-sphere being packed full of unflattering photos that get my insecurity juices flowing.
Ultimately, I decided that since fitness, heath, and clean eating play such a big role in my life and I will pass some of that on through this blog, it’s important that you can see where I started. I am not a fitness coach, trainer, nutritionist, or bodybuilder. I’m not certified in anything. OK… I guess technically I am sort of qualified – but the reality is, when it comes to committing to a physically active lifestyle and adopting healthy eating habits – I am the same as you. I started at the beginning too.
Left photo was taken Summer of 2011 at 23 years old, 5’4″ tall. Ok ok maybe it’s more like 5’3 1/2″ tall… and 164lbs. We’ll get to the after photo on the right in a minute.
I graduated PA school in the summer of 2011 weighing the most I ever weighed. For as long as I can remember, I was never thin. Curvy, yes. Then overweight. People told me I was a normal size, and truthfully, I rarely based my self worth off of the number on the scale. But wearing clothes physically hurt. I couldn’t jog much less run 1/4 mile without chest pain. Standing for more than 10 minutes hurt my back and knees. I shoveled anything I wanted into my mouth because food was for fun; a hobby and a vice, and what did I care about whether or not it was actually making me sick. After PA school, I was feeling like a fraud because who’s going to take advice from someone who doesn’t practice what they preach?? No one. That’s who.
I was in the poorest health I’d ever put myself in. So where did I start? You’ll be surprised…..
I was lazy and clueless. I knew two things: I wanted to be able to wear yoga pants and fit better in my scrubs. I didn’t believe in myself enough to care about changing my lifestyle.
I figured I would make a temporary change to my diet and start running. I didn’t give any thought to how I would manage myself after I hit my “goal weight”. I didn’t know a thing about how to count calories or what kind of physical exercise would be effective.
And this, my friends, is absolutely how NOT to go about weight loss and adopting a healthy lifestyle. But guess what? It worked for me.
It started with Nutrisystem. Nutrisystem took the guesswork out of the process.
I followed the instructions like a good little girl. With running 4-5 times per week and strict calorie limitations I lost weight, and lots of it. 10lbs the first week. And about 2 lbs every week thereafter. After 5 months I was down 44 lbs.
Lets all take a moment to admire some of the gifts from the Nutrisystem Gods:
About 3 months into my new Nutrisystem + Running journey I put on the shorts I wore in my before photo to document the difference. You have to do things like this to keep motivated. And it works.
After 5 months I hit my “goal”. I lost about 15 more pounds than I set out to lose and I looked like this:
Oh, and for the first time ever, I looked like this in a bathing suit:
And, so that we can appreciate the difference, lets just gander
at what I looked like in a bathing suit the summer before:
So that’s it? My goal weight had been 134lbs and there I was weighing 120lbs.
In just 5 months I had reached the finish line. Right?
The thing that no one warns you about is what happens after you’ve hit your “goal weight”.
You’ve tirelessly worked your tail off; sacrificed, sweat, and shed literal pounds.
Now you are left with the body you worked hard for. You’re in shape for the first time in years, and finally, finally, you don’t wake up and go to sleep feeling awful and nauseous because of what you had to eat during the day. And NOW you have to figure out how not to screw all that up. This is the hardest part.
It took me just 5 months to lose the weight. Just 5 months to go from not being able to jog to running 3 miles breathlessly.
It has taken me 2 years…. AND COUNTING to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Friends, guess what? You don’t get to lose weight and keep it off by just dieting and exercising. You get to be healthy by changing your life.
And when you fail, you keep trying. For at least a year, I’d revert back to my “old ways” of eating anything I wanted whenever I wanted. It would make me feel awful and I’d shamefully regret what I was doing to my body. I’d go back to “dieting” and exercising to loose the few pounds I’d gained. And then I’d “reward” myself and repeat the cycle all over again.
This continued until I’d made myself sick enough times. I’d felt guilty for not exercising enough times. And then, I committed to changing my life instead of focusing on the scale. One day, you’ll want water over soda. You’ll crave fruit over candy. You’ll pick foods based on what good they have to offer your body. You’ll accept that “bad” foods make you feel bad. And you’ll question why you ever punished your body that way.
When your nutrition improves, so will your energy. Your ability to exercise. You’ll see the changes in your body, and feel better, and that’ll be your motivation. I’ve learned that when you feel good, you look good. You can’t truly feel good if you aren’t fueling yourself properly. You can’t feel good if you aren’t keeping your body moving.
This is me before and NOW in the “before” bathing suit:
I don’t care much for the word skinny. Three years ago, if the word had come up in conversation I’d have told you how much I longed to feel skinny. Today, I’m healthy and active because it feels good. I still struggle many days and, like most journeys, I’ve learned so much along the way and I’m still working on it.
Will you join me?
DISCLAIMER: the thoughts and ideas expressed
in this blog are my own and meant for inspiration
and should not be taken as medical advice.