I have always been slightly overweight my whole life, and when I was in my late teens/early 20s I developed eating disordered behavior and became very restrictive, which didn’t help matters. When I did eat it was very unhealthy food and a ton of it and this just caused more weight gain. No one ever taught me how to have healthy habits and I didn’t care to learn, so things just sort of spiraled. I then got pregnant with my daughter and figured I’m pregnant! I can eat whatever I want all day, every day!
So I did and gained 60 more pounds. Right after I gave birth to my daughter I ended up getting pregnant with my son, and gained another 20 lbs. I found myself in a position where I was extremely overweight, new mom to a newborn and a 12 month old, and no healthy habits to speak of.
A year later and we got the severe autism diagnosis for my daughter and I used that as an excuse to eat even more. I’m an emotional eater and found comfort in food when I felt overwhelmed, depressed, and just all around crappy.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? I was extremely self conscious. I avoided pictures like the plague, I didn’t go out with friends, I didn’t even go to family events because of what people might say. I hated buying clothes so I just stuck to my usual leggings and oversized top. It effected my relationship with my husband as well because I never wanted to spend time with anyone. I just wanted to crawl in a hole.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? As a special needs mom, you have to go above and beyond for your children to make sure that they are getting everything they need, and I was so out of shape and overweight I was not at all giving my daughter the time or attention she needed because I just didn’t have the energy to do it. I came to the realization that this HAD to change.
We ALL had to change our diets as a family in order for EVERYONE to be healthy, in our bodies and in our brains. We all went gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and sugar-free and my children responded wonderfully. My daughter went from a severe autism diagnoses to a high-functioning diagnoses.
She now speaks, her sensory problems have almost completely disappeared, she interacts with others, makes great eye contact and is able to attend a general education classroom setting. My son (who had terrible eczema) now has clear skin, and also has started speaking fluently (he had a speech delay as well, undiagnosed).
I decided that I changed my diet, but was still feeling miserable and completely uncomfortable in my skin, so I started my own fitness journey and began working out from home (since I couldn’t make it to the gym with 2 small children) everyday. Fast forward to now and I am down 40 lbs and continuing my journey! Exercise has given me that time to de-stress and really has helped with my mindset. I feel unstoppable when I am done with a workout and feel like I can tackle the day.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? First thing we did was change our diet, which started more for my diet and her health requirements, but when we all worked on our diet as a family is when I really started to see some change in everyone. We went gluten/diary/soy/sugar free. When I started my fitness journey I just started doing workout videos in my basement. A friend suggested a couple workout programs that were doable for me at the time, and I started doing them every morning. I just made it part of my routine. No excuses.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? The first week I saw the scale move. I lost 5 lbs and then was motivated. After a month I lost 11 lbs and could tell my clothes were more loose. After 2 months I actually bought new pants, which before was a nightmare because nothing fit right, but for the first time in a long time I actually loved the process of buying new clothes. I can’t wait to hit my next goal so I can buy some more! 😄
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? Financially things were pretty tight because my daughter requires a lot of therapy for her autism and that costs money, so paying for a gym was out of the question, let alone paying for a personal trainer to actually teach me what to do because I knew nothing about working out. So I paid for my workout programs from home which were much cheaper for us at the time. I also HATED working out so I had to force myself to do it the first couple weeks. After that it was much easier to get up and do it because of the results I was seeing.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? Lots of times. You get discouraged along the way, life get busy, running around all over creation for your job/kids becomes too much. It happens. Most every morning when my alarm goes off I think to myself for a second, I think I’m gonna skip today. And immediately I think of my kids and I count down from 5, and I push myself out of bed and get ready to workout. Every time. And when I get started with my exercise, I am always SO glad I got up and feel amazing when I’m done.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? I haven’t hit one yet, but I’m sure one will happen and when it does I’m just gonna push through it. Maybe change up my workout routine to jump start my weight loss again. 🙂
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? I’m still on my journey, but the 40 lbs I’ve lost have been since August 2017, so a little over 4 months.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? Oh yes! Tons. Buying new clothes for the first time in forever was a big one for me. Losing inches is also lovely! Having WAY more energy to do what I need to do for my kids and my family is another big one. And way more confidence is a huge victory as well. 😊
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I am an emotional eater, so every time I would feel sad, depressed, overwhelmed, anything I would eat. And usually what I ate was something very carb-filled. Never ate veggies or fruits. Barely drank water! I drank Diet Coke on the reg and figured that was good enough! 😂
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I HATED working it at first. I had no motivation and decided it was gonna be pointless anyway and I was sweating for nothing. Then after my first week I lost 5 lbs. Then I perked up a little and thought, “hey! Maybe this activity thing isn’t so bad!” So then I kept going and in my first month I ended up losing 11 lbs. I was not motivated at all until I saw my first weeks results. Then I was hooked. I started with at-home cardio videos, then after a couple months moved to a combination of strength training videos and cardio videos. Now I mix up my week with strength, cardio, yoga, and Pilates and make sure I move everyday. Even if it’s just 20 min of light yoga, I always do something first thing in the morning before my day starts.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Meal prep! If I didn’t have healthy food readily available to me throughout the day I would have indulged in donuts in the teachers lounge about a billion times!
- Drink lots of water. It really helps EVERYTHING!
- Move everyday. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Don’t just sit on the couch and think I’ll get started tomorrow, because that “tomorrow” usually never gets here.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. If you fall off track, get started again! Just because you get a flat doesn’t mean you slash your other 3 tires! Change that tire and get back on the road!
- Remember your WHY. I haven’t given up because I remember where I was and where I want to be and WHY I want to get there. My kids and are my WHY. Figure out WHY you want to lose the weight and change your lifestyle and that will keep you motivated to keep going.