Nothing can bring back a rush of memories like stumbling across an old picture. An old fat picture! Have you been there? Or have you seen yourself in a picture and just felt disgusted with how you appeared? I don’t feel so much disgusted at how I appeared in these pictures I found…I feel more sad at remembering how bad I felt at that point in time. During these pics I was a Freshman and Sophomore in college. I was social, loved school, and had a great family, honestly no “hardships”…just a normal college student battling with my body and food.
I was living in Indianapolis and would frequently travel home for the weekends or go out drinking with friends. I had grown up playing sports, lifting and running, but now I was so confused on what kind of “diet” I needed to follow or what work out I needed to be doing. I never had to worry about it before, because I was so active in high school. All I knew was that eating less, meant losing weight (or so I thought). So I would often restrict my calories drastically through the week while I was at school “saving up” for the weekend…I would extreme exercise, sometimes leaving to go run late at night after having a few cookies or carbs. I felt guilty and needed to “run it off”… I would sometimes run 5-7 miles at night…then when I would go out and eat or visit my family on the weekends, I would eat everything I saw. I was a kind of a binge eater on the weekends….because I was starving! My body didn’t have the nutrients it needed and I was just hungry! I had been a yo-yo dieter for years in college and it had obviously gotten the best of me. It was a viscious cycle. I remember going to the gas station next to my apartment in Indianapolis when I was in school and buying a half dozen donuts on night. I’m not really sure why…I just wanted donuts! I ate almost all of those donuts until I was uncomfortably full, then felt guilty. That was the cycle. But the problem was, I had gotten to the point that if I ate ANYTHING other than a salad or something “healthy”, I felt guilty. But I didn’t worry about it, because I knew the next day I would get up and go run 5 miles to work it off. I think what escalated the guilty feeling, was the fact that my body WAS starving…so whatever I put in my belly, it hung onto, because it didn’t know when it’s next meal might come…therefore it was/is easy for someone who’s body is in starvation mode to gain several pounds in a few days, even if it is just water weight. I remember weighing myself several times a day. It was nonsense. I remember thinking…am I the only one doing this crazy stuff? The reality is, I wasn’t…and that’s why I think I made it seem ok. Extreme dieting was something that made it’s presence in high school and college. I knew friends that would go all day without eating etc. Why did we feel like this was ok? Because other people were doing it? I think I knew, deep down, it was bad…but I don’t think I realized how damaging it was to my metabolism.
I continued to yo-yo diet and used diet pills…one of which is now discontinued due to its ingredients. I knew it was bad for me, I wasn’t stupid, but I continued to do this to myself. Why? Because other friends were doing it and it made it seem “ok”. I knew people who would take Aderol to lose weight! I never got to that point, but I tried everything. A cabbage soup diet…ridiculous things. I knew people, and myself, would go to extremes before Spring Break…to make sure we looked good in our bikinis in front of our peers…then I would get back from Spring Break…start by eating a little more…and then BAM, here I was right back from where I started. Why did I do it? I wasn’t pressured…I just think it was an innate feeling all girls have, especially in college or high school. To be perfect. It definitely started small in high school and progressed throughout college. I remember being on a “low-carb” diet in high school. I played sports, I NEEDED CARBS…but it was almost Prom…and I wanted to look my best…
I remember taking a Nutrition class at the end of my Sophomore year. As we were calculating how many calories we actually needed and we were forced to track our numbers, I realized how much I was damaging my body by under-eating. I was moody, irritable, angry, and unhappy. I decided then, that I wanted to try and fix my damaged body and halted metabolism, but I didn’t realize how long it would take. Not only was I starting to fix my body, but I needed to start fixing my mind. I needed to tell myself to STOP going to extremes and feeling guilty for eating one piece of cake…which then lead to eating another piece of cake…because, well, heck, I already ruined my diet! I started eating more nutritious foods and eating more often than before. At first, I put on weight and of course that discouraged me. The thoughts of cutting back calories again crossed my mind…but I decided to push on. I got back down to my previous weight by adding more good calories and running. Running was really the only exercise that I felt like worked. I hated running. Hated every single minute of it, but it was all I knew. We didn’t have any nice gyms or classes around where I grew up or where I lived. No support system or group of healthy individuals helping each other learn about these things through a gym setting or group fitness, so I just sticked to steady state cardio…running…lots.
I made it through two years of the dental hygiene program and graduated about my normal weight. I’m looking back now just proud of myself for not yo-yoing as much through the stressful program or going through so many extremes. I felt so much better. Less lethargic and moody. After graduation, I landed a job near Louisville and moved down to a new area. I met someone who was completing the P90x program and he was telling me to try it out. I borrowed the DVDs from him and started. It was addicting. It was so different than what I was used to. It was finally something competitive. I was competing against myself. This was 3 1/2 years ago. I didn’t complete the program, but I did make it through month 2. At that point, I had joined a large gym. They had Zumba and all kinds of different classes to join. I, again, became a cardio queen without running. I hate running..did I say that already? 🙂 I thought that was what it would take to get the body I desired. Cardio, cardio, cardio. Sweat, sweat, sweat. When I hit a plateau, I started running again on the treadmill, cycling. Anything cardio I was doing, but God forbid I pick up a weight! I had the typical thoughts that every female has… We don’t need to lift weights, we will look like a man, etc. So, if I ever did lift weights…it was 5lb dumbbells and I was doing about 3o reps! I did this for about a year and decided I needed a change. I had read about High Intensity Interval Training and the way it transforms bodies. I saw the Insanity informercial and decided to try it. I loved everything about it. (Second time I fell in love with a Beachbody product). I noticed actual differences in my body and continued. I felt I had lost weight and gained muscle finally. After the program, I turned back into the steady state cardio queen and was spinning 3-4 times a week.I had hit a wall again. Nothing would change my body…I was “in shape”, but I was still what you would call a “fat skinny” I just had this jiggle that wouldn’t “tone” up…or stop jiggling 😉 Then, I was introduced to a Hight Intensity Interval class at my gym. The instructor, Amanda, was such an awesome trainer and I kept thinking…I would love for her to train me, because I’m stuck! My boyfriend, so graciously, bought training sessions for me with her.
The first day I met with her (End of October 2012), she evaluated me and I weighed in at 27% bodyfat. She looked at my diet and the first thing she told me was you need to eat more and more frequently and STOP so much steady state cardio (running and cycling for long periods of time)…do more High Intensity Interval workouts and lift weights! I thought she was crazy. First thought: I am going to gain weight. Second thought: I’m going to look like a man. I had no idea what fitness as a lifestyle was, but I was about to fall in love with it. Over the year learned so much from her about nutrition and fitness and watched my body transform. Not only did it transform my body, but also my mind. I felt more in my own skin than I ever felt before. I felt like ME. I had eventually stopped all those guilty feelings and bad thoughts I used to have…and I finally didn’t have the sinking, guilty feeling anymore when I ate a carbohydrate! I wasn’t hungry and I couldn’t believe it. I had started eating “clean” and enjoyed making healthy meals and sharing clean recipes with others. I looked forward to cooking and still do! I was eating 5-6 meals a day packed with fat, carbs and protein in each portion. I loved HIIT exercises, not only because they were short, but because I actually felt more energized after them. I had started to get a little bored with my current HIIT workouts I was doing at home and my work schedule had changed and I couldn’t attend Amanda’s HIIT classes anymore…I needed something at home, but I was the type of person who needed a schedule to follow and a program to guide me… and THEN T25 came out this past summer. I bought it before it’s release date because I knew this was exactly what I needed to push me over the edge and “get lean”. I’ve been doing Focus T25 since I received it and can’t say enough good things about it. I feel that it pushes me hard, for 25 minutes and helped me lose the extra bodyfat I was holding onto. I am now down to 14% body fat! I continue to do Focus T25 and lifting 3-4 days a week in the gym, by following a lifting program. I plan to move onto the other Beachbody programs which are all centered around strength training, nutrition and HIIT exercise.
At this point, I am extremely happy with how I feel. I want to inspire others to get out of these “ruts” and make themselves the best versions of themselves. I think we focus too much on what other people look like and try to achieve their bodies. The reality is, we will never look just like them…and most of the time, those pics we see in magazines or on tv…are altered…so just try to be the best version of YOU.
I think the most important thing to make a serious change…is BALANCE. My boyfriend for over a year, Jason, taught me this. He also taught me how to smile and laugh as much as possible…it really is the best medicine. Having complete balance in your life can make a huge difference. Don’t get so infatuated with one workout program, that you forget to go to your favorite Yoga class. mixing it up keeps you body and mind going strong. That’s what I love about Beachbody products…there’s always going to be something new and challenging to keep me entertained.
I also believe in the 80/20 rule…your diet needs to be ON POINT 80% of the time…the other 20%…allow yourself a cheat meal every now and then. It confuses your body and allows for greater success. By cheat meal…I mean ONE meal…not a whole cake 😉 Jason and I try to make sure we eat on point throughout the week and are never hungry..then on the weekend if we go out for dinner, we will almost always split a dessert…his fault 🙂 Eventually, your body will stop craving these things because you’re finally giving yourself all the nutrition it was previously begging for…or when you eat those things, your stomach REALLY disagrees with you and you just won’t want to feel that way. Remember to stay positive and ask for support from those around you! Keep moving, keep smiling! If you want me to help you, just ask!! Send me a message on FB or through this website.