Fitness is definitely something that hasn’t come naturally to me.
On the one hand, I used to be an athlete. Tennis, volleyball, dance, weight lifting – I did it all. But just a few years in to college, and I had dropped nearly everything from my routine.
In my mid-twenties I tried to get interested in something. I picked up yoga. I toyed with running. In fact, if you been reading this blog since the beginning (nearly SIX years ago!!) then you may remember my lack of dedication. My life would get busy and I would push exercise aside.
3 years ago I hit my heaviest weight. 183 pounds of unhappiness. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, but I also had no idea how to make a change.
My wedding day September 2011 – After a workout in 2013
In fact, I honestly felt that I couldn’t lose weight. It seemed impossible to me. I would set some crazy standard for myself – fail within a week – and then fall off the “Healthy Wagon” hard. Most importantly, I was barely active.
In March of 2011, I joined the YMCA. I started working out at least four days a week, and I met the Arc Trainer.
I made going to the gym a regular part of my routine. I aimed for three days and if I hit four then great. I packed my gym bag the night before. I organized my workout clothes to make it easy to prepare. I started reading Healthy Living Blogs.
I found that the more I moved, the healthier I ate. The healthier I wanted to eat. I made SMALL changes:
I cut down my potato consumption to once a week. (Twice if I’m really good) Potatoes are starch, starch becomes sugar, sugar can become fat.
I cut down on red meat to less than once a week.
I upped my veggie intake, and I upped my protein and fiber.
I drank MORE water and WAY LESS Redbridges. WAY LESS! I went from a 6 pack a week to less than one single beer a week.
I tried to eat smaller portions most of the time.
I switched from sweet tea to un-sweet tea.
I did NOT feel guilty for anything I ate.
It wasn’t easy. I’m not saying that I woke up every morning and thought, “Yay! Let’s go to the gym!” In fact, it was more like “Ugh. I just want to sleep……but get up. You’re going to the gym.”
In 1 year, I lost 15 pounds – and reveled about in THIS POST from March 2012.
I remember at the time feeling like nothing was happening. But really, I was losing a pound a month – and those pounds were never coming back.
But 15 pounds wasn’t enough. I stayed consistent through 2012. I didn’t push myself too hard – I was finishing my college degree for goodness sakes. Commuting down to Wilmington every week for 9 months.
I didn’t lose many more pounds that year, but I did maintain 3-4 days of activity.
In 2013, I made the decision to take it up a few notches. Luckily I ended up with a super fit co-worker who introduced me to Zumba. I fell in love!
With my new found confidence, I tried other classes. I became obsessed with Cross Training. Weight Lifting – Cardio – Pushing it to the limit. I LOVED Bootcamp classes at my local Y.
I started talking about fitness. ALL. THE. TIME.
Honestly, I probably lost a few readers along the way. I’ve definitely received my fair share of snarky comments on Instagram BUT I couldn’t care less. I LOVE finding motivation through other people’s successes, and what better person to motivate me than myself?
I was starting to workout 5 days a week. I was pushing myself and breaking down mental blocks. When I started out I couldn’t run longer than 60 seconds – by summer 2013 I could run 5 minutes without stopping. Then a mile. Then two miles. It all came with weeks and weeks of practice and work, but the further I realized I could run – the more determined I became.
I’ll never forget running with Parrish and realizing that we had just ran past three different spots on the trail that I used to stop and take a walk break at. I literally started crying – while running – I never thought I could be this person: a runner.
Just like my initial weight loss, it wasn’t drastic. I lost a pound a week. But within a few months, I would go down a pants size. And then a few months more – another pants size.
At the end of 2013, I signed up for my first NHerShoes Shred. I loved the idea of having a training schedule, and a meal plan during the holidays seemed like a good idea. Through the shred, I began working out HARD 5 days a week with 1 additional day of active rest. I was being active 6 days a week, and it really clicked for me.
Being active is what I love. Fitness and Exercise make me happy. Like…REALLY happy. I love trying new sports and activities. Sweat is good.
I’ve found a new freedom in being super active. I can eat a cheeseburger occasionally without the guilt. I still pay attention to what I’m eating, but the more active I am, the more healthier I eat. I crave salads – never thought I would say that!
Four months in to 2014, and I’m still exercising 6 days a week. But I’m also taking rest days when my body lets me know it’s time. A little over 3 years since I first joined my local YMCA, and I have lost 38 pounds.
I plan my life around getting exercise. On Sundays, when I finish planning my meals – I plan my workouts for the week.
And I’m still not finished.
I have four races this season so far. I’ve completed my first one, and couldn’t have been happier with my time.
While I’m still focusing on eating healthier foods, I’m not setting any weight goals for myself this year. I’m giving my body image a break and instead focusing on some non-weight victories I want for myself.
38 pounds ago, I felt helpless. I felt stuck. I felt like I was trapped beneath weight, and fear, and low self-esteem. Exercise set me free.
None of this is to say that this blog is going to change. I am still a Southern Girl WITH Celiac Disease, exploring new ways to live with a gluten free diet. But you will see more fitness posts. I have come to far to not document this journey in my life, and I hope you’ll stick around. But if you leave, you won’t hurt my feelings, because this is who I am now.
I am an athlete.
Want to know more about my journey with Weight Loss?