My (Slow) Fitness Journey:

I have never really worried or cared if I was ‘fit’ or not.
Until now.

As a child growing up I was usually one of the shortest people around, and I was skinny, and thankfully, healthy.

As a teen, my addiction to drugs kept me skinny skinny, not ‘fit’,  and very weak & malnourished.

I also had many hidden insecurities that had a strong hold on my relationship with my body image and with food.

Here I am at 21, 110 lbs:

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At one point I became very sick and I lost even more weight.
(I contracted MRSA from a surgery, and that is what led to my pill addiction)

22 years old, 117 lbs:

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After I got sober I did allow myself to put much needed weight on.
I gained some of my strength back.

I wasn’t eating pills, I actually ate real meals.
I wasn’t abusing myself for each bite that I took.
I didn’t stare in the mirror critiquing myself anymore.

Then, a few years after I got sober, I also quit smoking.
I gained around 15 additional lbs, and kept it.
I felt healthier, and certainly had meat on my bones.
I had FINALLY learned to love myself for who I was, and that’s what was most important at that time in my life. 
I was no longer obsessed with being ‘skinny’…
But I definitely wasn’t ‘fit’.

27, 135 lbs:

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I have been pregnant 4 times, and have gone through 3 full-term pregnancies.
Each time I gained between 50-65 lbs.

I was 18 here:
170 lbs
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Here, I was 26:
175 lbs
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And this last (and final) pregnancy, I was 31:
181 lbs
39 wks

I gave birth in February, 2015..
It wasn’t until July 2015 that I just felt like it was time to take some kind of action.

(and between a long healing process from a tubal ligation/c-section, having a newborn, learning how to breast feed and pumping incessantly- I just felt busy & tired; I was trying to stay focused on eating and staying nutrient rich for my milk supply, not getting back into old jeans.)

So on July 6th, 2015, my husband and I committed to making some changes.

June/July 2015, 32 years old:
160 lbs

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So, why now, what are my goals, what did I want from this?
My goal was to feel good, get fit, and if I lost weight in the process of this life change-
wonderful.
*My goal was not and is NOT to ‘be skinny’!

**I have also developed the utmost respect for ALL of you out there who have lost weight or who have stayed dedicated to any kind of body transformation! This stuff is HARD, and I have not even made significant leaps in the progress department!!!
I am only 6 months in and I have puked, pushed myself to the max repeatedly, wanted to quit numerous times, worked when I didn’t feel like working, and used Pinterest as my late night but kicking motivation when I was feeling defeated.

Here are a few things that I have taken away so far: 

1. The scale doesn’t really matter much.
There have been weeks that I have not lost one pound, despite my efforts.
My clothes have been my biggest indication that my body has changed.
Jeans literally falling off, are always a great sign- even if the scale doesn’t move.

2. We totally get what we work for.
I have talked about how Recovery has taught me the benefits of follow-through and honest hard work. It has felt good to see change in my body, as a result of hard work and dedication.

3. My body will never be whatever society claims is perfect. (and I don’t care)
I am already happy despite how tight my stomach is or isn’t or how big my biceps are or aren’t, and have a husband who thinks I am perfect as-is.
There are parts of me that have the beautiful tarnishes that babies leave and that makes my heart smile. I don’t have stretch marks, but I have stretched skin. I have wide thighs. I have a big butt.
And that’s perfectly okay.

4. Fitness should be a you thing.
For real. This is a battle that can get ugly or unhealthy if you let it.
This has to be about you being a healthy you, not a perfect you.
This is about you reaching your own realistic goals, meant for your body.
Not another woman’s body.

What changed in my daily life since July 6 when we began this journey?

1. I don’t eat beef.
First, I eat chicken everything- grilled or baked.
This started out as an accident, but has sort of become a thing.
The first month I did not eat anything but chicken.
I tried to eat beef and had some serious (serious) digestion/gastro issues.
It happened twice, each time that I attempted to eat beef.

2. I consume limited, very limited, amounts of cheese and dairy.
(I am lactose intolerant, so this wasn’t a crazy change for me)

3. I do track my food now. I keep my calorie count under a certain amount every single day.
I eat pretty much whatever I want, but I track my intake and cut myself off.

4. I do not eat fast food.
(Rarely did before July 6, but have not since.)
Yucky, wasted calories, fake food.

5. I don’t drink soda. At all.

6. Water water water.

7. I work out every day.
For me, it started with a cardio plan. I stuck to this for about two months or so, but have had more noticeable results with weight training. Plus I enjoy weights over cardio. It works for me.

8. I bought a fitness tracker.
It has seriously helped. I use it as motivation. I track steps each day to keep myself moving, and have a daily goal. I push myself to progress, and strive to beat my own records.

9. I schedule my workouts for a time that works best for me.
I am not into shakes, or putting this part of my journey in front of everything else.
For me, having 3 kids and other things going on too, are just as important as getting and staying fit.
I don’t usually work out until after my kids are in bed. (by choice)
I like to relax, take my time, and enjoy the sweat.

Advice to anyone interested in taking a fitness journey:

1. Don’t think that eating healthy is too expensive.
Listen, I am NOT a garden growing, lover of things organic. (Love my friends who are!)
But we have always cooked ‘real’ food for our daily, sit-down, family dinners.
I have just learned to cook a billion things using chicken, and began serving smaller portions.
Sometimes we will only have one side, and a protein. I just pick a healthy side that my kids love, and boom. They can eat a ton of steamed veggies, and a piece of chicken. They are happy and full, and I am not eating cheesy hamburger casserole (anymore) Ha!
So you don’t have to get fancy or crunchy if you don’t want to.
Keep it simple if that works best for you, your budget, your family etc.
But don’t let the ‘it’s too expensive’ stuff be your excuse for not doing it!

2. Keep pushing through even if you don’t see instant change.
Listen. I am a former instant gratification junkie! I like to see things right now, not later. It is hard for me to stay motivated if I don’t see any benefits.
I remember reading through Pinterest motivational quotes about ‘keep going’ blah blah, thinking, I could never do that.
But I did. I have and you can too.
It really is a matter of time.
So don’t give up.
Getting fit or changing your body doesn’t fall into a short-term-goal category.

3. If you’re like me, and you have a husband or significant other who is on this journey with you, don’t get discouraged when they lost 25 lbs in two weeks, and you are throwing yourself a victory party for rounding up to a 5 lb loss. It doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong, or aren’t doing enough. We lose at different rates than men do! It’s okay!

4.Don’t take my advice too seriously. I am a noob. 🙂 

Right now, 32 years old:
129 lbs.

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That means that since February 2015 I have only lost 51 lbs. (10 months post baby)
That means that since I changed my ‘lifestyle’ I have lost 31 lbs. (6 months and counting)

Right now, I am just trying to enjoy feeling myself get stronger and watching the changes that my body is going through, even if it isn’t reflected on my scale. 

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