I have struggled with my body image for several years. I vividly remember the first time the topic of my weight was brought to my attention. I was thirteen years old, rocking Abercrombie gaucho pants, figuring out all things middle school. Moving into high school, soccer helped to keep me fit and trim, however I still struggled with how I looked – a never ending cycle of self-doubt and comparison to others.
College came and with it those freshmen 15 …. 20 …. 30 pounds – a dash of depression here, a sprinkle of sorority drama there and voila! you have the perfect weight gain sundae (literally ..pints of Graeter’s ice cream were my jam!) Entering my first years of teaching proved overwhelming and stressful and, instead of learning how to cope with these feelings in healthy ways, I continued to eat and drink my way through them.
In November 2016, a month before my wedding, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and began taking a steroid medication that didn’t help keep the pounds off.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? I have struggled with body image insecurities since I was a pre-teen. In high school, I was slim and fit thanks to year-round soccer – however, even when I was “skinny”, I was never happy with the way I looked. As the years progressed and the pounds packed on, I noticed myself buying baggier clothes to hide what I didn’t want others to see. It wasn’t until the past year or so when I really began to become unrecognizable, even to myself. I would shy away from photos and I would avoid events that I was worried I would run into old high school peers at. I was increasingly self-conscious.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? There were a couple “turning points” that caused me to commit to my weight loss journey. In April 2017, my husband and I weighed the same weight (207 pounds). That was SHOCKING to me …. I asked my husband as well as my mom to be honest with me about how I looked. My husband was reluctant (because who wants to tell their wife that they’re fat?! I don’t blame him for avoiding my crazy) but my mom was honest in that I didn’t look healthy.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I reached out to a local personal trainer, Vitorno Martinelli (the most Italian name ever, am I right?!). Vito and I met up for an initial consultation and, although I had reservations, I committed to a month of sessions. I began my Paleo lifestyle journey on April 8, 2017. I removed gluten and dairy from my diet (which helped to decrease my Crohn’s flare ups).
I consistently did cardio and I worked out with Vito four times a week over the summer. Once I returned to work, I decreased my sessions with Vito to twice a week and still did/do cardio. I continue to avoid gluten and dairy.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? I began my journey on April 8, 2017.
I lost 10 pounds within the first month.
From April 8 – July 28, 2017 I lost 50 pounds
From April 8 – November 16, 2017 I lost 90 pounds.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? I had to learn how to manage my Crohn’s Disease and take care of my body.
I had to learn how to eat in a way that would not only help me to lose weight but to also help keep inflammation down and not cause flare ups.
I had to change my mindset and develop as a person. I needed to learn how to love myself and my body …especially my body.
Never before had I spoken positively to myself about how I looked.
Never before had I coached myself and worked to change my mindset.
My family is awesome and has always been supportive. They have been there every step of the way and loved me through thick and thin (literally …. too soon?)
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? I definitely had a couple times where I would just get frustrated. Frustrated that I let myself get this way in the first place. Frustrated that I was spending summer days at the gym. Tired because of all the workouts. Sassy because I wanted a margarita … because who doesn’t want a margarita on a hot summer day?!
Buying clothes definitely kept me motivated! I go to a cute consignment shop and those ladies, I am sure, thought I had a shopping addiction because every Saturday morning after training I would be at the consignment, Americano in hand, ready to peruse the clothes!
Positive self-talk is HUGE! I never bought into that cheesy nonsense of “You can do it, Grace!” but boy was I proven wrong when it actually started to work and my mind began to shift in a positive way!
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? Recently, the weight loss has been slowing down. October and November have proven to be very busy with both work and personal travel plans. I was used to losing 4-5 pounds a week consistently, however lately it has been 1-2 pounds a week. Mindset is EVERYTHING! I turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts. I am not all sunshine and rainbows, but the way a person talks to themselves and loves themselves is HUGE in overcoming any obstacle.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? It took me 5 months to lose 80 pounds!
It took me 6 months to lose 90 pounds.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? I am going to run my 3rd half marathon November 26, 2017 and have been able to consistently run 9 minute miles with some 8:50s sprinkled on in there … I am hoping to do a sub 2 hour half which is HUGE for me … I used to struggle to run 10:30 miles. I actually really enjoy running now …. I love what my body is able to do and how I feel when I am out there with just my mind and my strength.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? Emotional. Emotional. Emotional. Ice cream – check! Alcohol – check! Fast food – check!
My senior year of college I ran two half-marathons to try to lose some weight. However, I maintained weight because a) I wasn’t eating a nutritious diet and b) I had already been struggling with Crohn’s symptoms since my junior year of college, but just thought that that was the way I was.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I knew how to workout from years and years of club and varsity soccer. However, once college started, I didn’t have the structured workouts that I had had with high school soccer which meant that I didn’t need to workout, right?!
When I first began working out again (lifting and cardio), one word for you .. YIKES! Who knew 45 minutes on the elliptical was the longest time ever?! I began to adapt to the workouts and the duration of them and now I hate missing a workout – it makes me feel better mentally and physically and I am a more leveled and balanced woman and teacher because of it.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- As a teacher, meal prepping was easy in the summer and crucial once school started again! It is such a time saver and a great way to know what you are going to be eating! It can get tricky thinking about what to make here and what to eat there … it simplifies everything!
- Surround yourself with positive people! Negativity and sour apples will only bring you down. At some point in life, you need to realize who is worth it and who is not. If there is one thing that this journey teaches you it is who your real tribe is! Those who support and love you no matter what. Green eyed monsters are real!
- This journey is about putting yourself first! I am the first person to admit I have a really hard time saying “No” to others … but how freeing the power of NO really is! You will need to put yourself first throughout this process and sometimes that will mean saying no to happy hour or to a night out … but that is OKAY!