A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Fotor1106180710

64_515091600464_8657_n

largeNothing 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. I was fighting a losing battle with food, exercise and myself. 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 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. Mentally and physically. It was a viscious cycle. I remember going to the gas station next to my apartment in Indianapolis and buying a half dozen donuts one night. I’m not really sure why. I just wanted donuts! I ate almost all of those donuts without realizing it. It was like a blacked out. Like they were my form of crack! 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, homemade saran skinny wraps, cleanses…ridiculous things. Friends I knew, 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. At one point, I ate a type of salad for every meal (including breakfast). I hid it from my parents, because I knew they would have immediately intervened. This was insane!

In college, 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, why not have another?! 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 normal body 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 stuck 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 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 in the area. 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? πŸ™‚ 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! (insert eye roll). Β So, if I ever did lift weights…it was the Β mighty 5lb dumbbells and I was doing about 3o reps to “tone”! (Another eye roll to my past self). 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 jump starts your metabolism and increases fat loss. 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 some muscle finally. After the program, I didn’t know what to do next. So, 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” and my endurance was awesome, butΒ I was still what you would call a “fat skinny” I just had this jiggle that wouldn’t go away…or stop jiggling πŸ˜‰ I had no muscle. Then, I was introduced to a High Intensity Interval class at my gym. The instructor, Amanda, was such an awesome trainer and pushed me without making me feel down. I kept thinking…I would love for her to train me, because I’m stuck! She seemed like someone who would motivate me without making me feel weak! This was a big step for me. I was always the “figure-it-out-yourself” kind of person, but I knew I needed help and her knowledge, experience and attitude would give me the tools I needed. I kept talking and talking about it, and then for my 25th birthday, my boyfriend, so graciously, bought training sessions for me with her. Best gift I ever received.

The first day I met with Amanda (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! Heavy weights! I thought she was crazy (shame on me). 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, I learned so much from Amanda about nutrition and fitness and watched my body transform. Not only did it transform my body, but also my mind. Exactly what I needed. For the first time, I felt more in my own skin than I ever felt before. I felt like ME. I was confident again and self-doubt was an attitude of the past. I had eventually stopped all those guilty feelings and bad thoughts I used to have. I finally didn’t have the sinking, guilty feeling anymore when I ate a carbohydrate! I knew what my body needed to stay fueled and work at peak performance. 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. 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 great things about it. I feel like I’m in Amanda’s HIIT class every day. 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 in the future, but right now T25 is perfect for me and I love the gym, so this allows me to still do my lifting (AKA therapy ;)).

Fotor08281214161463197_10103474093984669_2071330540_n1451496_10103434875783259_1549000639_n

At this point, I am extremely happy with how I FEEL and look. I don’t wake up and step on the scale every morning like I used to. I don’t stand in front of the mirror and pinch every single piece of fat I can find. Yes, I still have goals to reach, but they are healthy goals and I’m using healthy methods to try and achieve those goals. No more extremes for this chick. I want to inspire others to get out of these “ruts” and make themselves the best versions of THEMSELVES mentally and physically. Not the best version of someone they idolize. 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. I’m so lucky to have met him. 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 or have dinner with a friend. Mixing it up keeps your 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ™‚ 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 anymore. Remember to stay positive , believe in yourself and ask for support from those around you! I was too stubborn to do this sooner! Support is so important! Without meeting someone like Amanda, I’m not so sure I would have escaped from my negative ways. If you don’t have someone, message me! I’m all ears!

Keep moving, keep smiling!

 

Brooke

 

Profile photo of Brooke

Author: Brooke

I'm a lover of life, fitness, food and sharing my story with others! I love helping others smash goals and gain confidence, while creating a life they love!

Share This Post On