I was always a pretty “average” sized kid. I stopped playing sports when I entered high school to focus on working towards an academic scholarship. Although I’d become physically inactive, I still ate like a middle school kid. I spent every penny I could on junk food, and exercise was something I didn’t even want to think about. During my first 3 years of high school, I gained over 70 pounds.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? After putting on so much excess weight, if I had any confidence before, it was gone. I was embarrassed of the way I looked. I was uncomfortable doing any type of physical activity. My skin suffered, and I developed severe acne. My hair was thin, brittle, and unhealthy. I spent many days feeling extremely sluggish, unmotivated, and even depressed. There were events and opportunities I missed out on because I didn’t want to be around people looking “like this”. I wore sweats everyday and really got down on myself. I was suffering physically, emotionally, and spiritually for a long time.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? One day at my aunt’s house, I stepped on the scale and saw a number that I couldn’t believe: 220. (Granted, I have definitely been heavier, but I’m not sure HOW heavy due to my avoidance of the scale.) After stepping off of the scale, I stared at my reflection for a long time in the mirror. Dramatic, I know…but it’s true. At that moment, I promised myself I would get things under control. I’d spent years feeling miserable, but this was the first time I truly admitted to myself that I needed to change.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? My mom is an angel. She’s been supporting & encouraging me since the beginning…really even before I was ready to change. My efforts started during second semester of my junior year in high school. We spent the warmer months walking outside. I started with 1-2 miles. I took up running for a short time. It’s a great workout, but I hated it and fell off. That’s when I realized I needed to branch out and find a type of exercise that makes me want to come back for more; I had to find my “jam”. About one year later, we started doing workouts similar to the football team at my high school: tire flips, agility ladders, bleacher runs, sprints, tire pulls, etc. This was it! I fell in love with the intensity, strength, and power components.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? Within the first year of “roller coaster” healthy eating and working out, I saw a pretty encouraging change. I don’t remember exactly how much weight I lost, but my junior year prom dress had to be taken in about 2 sizes senior year. (I wore it to a friend’s prom.) I was so excited! Although I wasn’t consistent with healthy living at the time, I still felt 10 times better than before. My mood, energy levels, and confidence began to increase during this time.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? There were two challenges throughout my journey that I really struggled with. First was my desire for quick results. In the long run, it set me back because I was getting sucked into so many “weight loss tricks”, diets, etc. that were not sustainable at all. They usually ended in a binge of some sorts, or I would just “quit” all together for a month or so. Now, I’m more patient with myself.
The second challenge I had to tackle was changing my eating habits. I didn’t truly change my perspective on food until my second year in college. It has taken years for me to make it a true lifestyle, which means balance is included daily. I eat “clean” (fruits, veggies, complex carbs, water, and occasional seafood) about 80-90% of the time. If I’m having a crazy week, it’s more like 50-60%, and I’m OK with that. With much practice and experimentation, I have finally developed a healthy relationship with food. It no longer stresses me out or makes me anxious. Balance and sustainable habits are key!
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? There were many times I wanted to give up, but I knew that wasn’t an option. I did everything I could to stay motivated. I put sticky notes with motivational quotes all over my room AND mirror. I forced myself to say 2 nice things about myself (out loud) every time I had a negative thought about my body. I journaled often so I could look back and reflect on my progress. And of course, seeing and feeling the physical changes was definitely a driving force to help me keep going.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? I’ve never focused heavily on my actual weight, but there were times when I noticed my body wasn’t changing like it had before. Switching up my workout routine and food always did the trick. Specifically, incorporating heavier weightlifting and eating a little more is what kick started things after a plateau. I had to learn to fuel my body for all the hard work I was putting in.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? My weight loss progress has been slow and steady, but the majority of the weight came off within a two year period. Now it may fluctuate a little depending on the goals of my training program. Gaining weight isn’t always a negative thing. Muscle weighs more than fat…and looks better too!
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? What started off as a journey to lose weight became a journey of self love and discovery. Since taking control of my health, I’ve been more outgoing and adventurous. I’m traveling and enjoying life now in ways I never would have before. I even turned my passion for health into a career! After graduating with my degree in Kinesiology, I became a personal trainer and nutrition coach. Now I’m starting my own online business and helping others achieve their goals too.
These are things I would only dream about before. I would have never actually pursued them. During the process of dropping the extra pounds, I was able to spend much needed time with myself. I figured out who I am and who I want to be. I discovered my true passions and now I’m living a more fulfilling life.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? When I was heavier, I ate non-stop. Even if I wasn’t hungry, I would eat. I’m not talking kale and carrot sticks either. I was in love with junk/fast food and sugary drinks. I spent all of my money eating out.
Emotional eating is definitely something I struggled with especially in relation to stress. If my anxiety was high, I would run to food for comfort. Cheesy foods and sweets were my downfall.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? Over the years, I’ve figured out what works best for my body and mind. I love weightlifting. I lift 5-6 days per week. I also do some cardio during the week. For cardio I still prefer higher intensity, shorter duration routines. This keeps me strong, healthy, and happy.
My mindset on training has changed dramatically since my heavier days. It’s no longer a burden or something I dread. Exercise is fun for me and makes for excellent stress relief. Instead of popping open a box of cookies, I hit the weight room and sweat it out!
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- “Emotional” Food Logs
I actually learned this tip in a behavior change course.Every time you eat or drink something, write it down. Put the item, amount, date/time, rate your hunger (scale of 1-10), and write down what emotions you experienced before/during/after.It sounds like a lot, but one-two weeks of logging this way and you just might discover things about yourself that you didn’t know before. This is when I realized I was a stress eater. I’d been doing it for years, but I never associated my binge eating with stress until the truth was written right in front of my face…multiple times!This is a great way to unveil subconscious patters so you can break them and really change.
- Water, Water, Water
H2O is my life source and things just aren’t right when I don’t drink enough of it.To spruce things up I like to add sliced fruit and herbs. I’m pretty basic, so lemon slices and mint leaves do it for me.If I’m feeling bloated, I’ll add a little ACV to my water to help flush out my system.
- Sleep The Weight Off
Getting plenty of quality sleep each night is so important. It gives the body time to repair, heal, and balances hormones.Before bed, I like to light some candles and put lavender essential oil in my diffuser. A nice bubble bath and a good book are also ways I like to relax. It really sets the mood for a good night of rest and recovery.