Friday, April 18, 2014

A Reflection on 38 Pounds Lost

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Want to know more about my journey with Weight Loss?

Read Balancing My Weight Gluten Free and Fitness Friday posts for more information.


Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for a little while now and I noticed an increase of fitness posts, and now I understand why! Congrats on your mind body transformation. You look and sound fantastic! I tune in for the GF stuff, but I think it's awesome to rediscover your inner athlete :)

Courtney said...

I feel like I'm stuck in your old cycle. This post was perfect and just what I needed to read right now. Congratulations!

CabotRD said...

This is SUCH an inspiration... and I think the fact that you've found your happy place on your blog mixing up fitness and food is wonderful! Being true to who you are and what you're passionate about is - for me - the golden rule of blogging :) And I love that you share it didn't come naturally. I think we often times read about marathoners, cross fitters, etc., and think they were born this way. Knowing that some of us have to grow into it, is inspiring. As my trainer tells me -- we have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable! Can't wait to meet you in May.

Anonymous said...

What a great post. I totally got goosebumps Marlow. I am really inspired by your story! I love fitness so much too. I am always afraid to talk about it on my blog because I am afraid of loosing readers too. So refreshing to hear your perspective! Rock it girl. Can't wait to meet you IRL next month at VCM!

KellytheCulinarian said...

Great work! And if you lost readers, it's their loss. Fitness is what we do for US, not anyone else!

Unknown said...

What an amazing post! You are so awesome and your story is so inspiring. I also rarely talk about exercising because it really opens you up for snarky, nasty comments and I have a nail blog...I don't think my readers want to know what I ate. Just what sparkles! Great work! You look amazing.

Candace Karu said...

What an inspirational post. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Your positive example will help keep me motivated for a long time!

Deanna - Teaspoon of Spice said...

Fantastic post (and so looking forward on meeting you in May!) I don't know how anyone can't relate to being "stuck' when it comes to weight and/or exercising. I like how you emphasize that the weight was slow to come off (sometimes it seemed too slow) but the key is because it wasn't ever coming back on. I, too, was that person who never thought they could run years ago and finally started slowly. Then I was stuck in "only running" rut for exercise for years and finally started doing a boot camp class a few yrs ago and really love how it changed my view on exercise.

Unknown said...

Wow, what a post - I had noticed all the fitness stuff obviously but did not realize how far you had come! I am currently at the other end of the spectrum, I gained a lot of weight after moving and taking on a new office job with a really restrictive schedule and hours staring at a PC. I go through bouts of being motivated - and ran my first 5K last year despite always thinking I hated running too - but my weight and size remain constant despite my efforts. You are an inspiration to keep on trying!