Photo from July 2014
On August 1, 2014, Mike and I committed to each other to, for ONE MONTH, make significant change in our daily lives to see if we were “capable” of really locking down and getting this thing done. We both DESIRED to live healthy lives. What follows is an overview of my story, now several years after that initial *big* decision to be committed once and for all.
Back in January 2014, I was a completely exhausted mom of two young kids weighing in at 200 pounds. I ate food that was awful for me and collapsed at the end of the night to “treat myself” with sweets upon sweets. I was terrible at making time for myself, asking for help or voicing what I needed in order to achieve some balance in life as a mom. Food had ALWAYS been my crutch, and in what felt the most stressful and demanding season of my life thus far, this was no exception.
I decided I wanted to change the way I felt. I didn’t want to feel burned out and exhausted every day with nothing left over to pour into the people I loved. I wanted to be happy and I wanted to feel more confident, as wearing maternity clothes four months postpartum was NOT helping. I wanted life to feel easier because it felt VERY hard. I wanted to be in a place where I woke up well rested and had enough energy to last me through the day without totally emptying the tank. I wanted to be a good example for my kids and to have good habits to pass on to them, instead of trying to feed them what I wanted them to eat and then hiding in the basement to eat my snacks away from them. My goal I set for myself was get down to my pre-baby weight. I was at least 20 pounds overweight BEFORE I ever got pregnant with my first child, but losing all the baby weight felt like the most logical place to start.
There were a lot of things that made this a difficult process for me. I was struggling with making time for myself. I was struggling with putting myself first before caring for the other people. My past was full of over a decade of stories of yo-yo dieting that involved crashing to lose the weight I wanted quickly, only to put it back on and usually with a little extra too. I told myself this time “there was no back”, and I needed to find a way to lose the weight in a way that it would STAY OFF for good.
Below, some photos showing my struggles with weight over time, even before kids.
I was introduced to the idea of “clean eating” in the summer of 2014. This included foods that were whole and nutritious, with no added sugars, not bathed in sauce, etc. This was revolutionary for me! I loved frozen foods, convenience foods, potatoes in a box you could add milk or water to, etc. Little by little, I worked on swapping one thing at a time out as I unpacked this lifestyle people raved about.
In August 2014, my husband and I really dug into eating whole, nutritious foods and instantly slashed the amount of processed carbohydrates we were eating. We told ourselves it was for just one month. But after feeling amazing and both losing some of weight we wanted to kiss goodbye, one month became two, two became three and we began closing in on Thanksgiving as our “end goal” for our strictest season of being “locked in” with food. We took a trip over Thanksgiving and, looking back, that was the first time I can remember eating “treats” in over three months.
Before this, if you would have told me I would spend more than three months without desserts and pizza and other things that had been my crutch for so long, it would have seemed like forever. But now, several years later, three months was nothing. A blip. I took that time to rewire my eating habits, lose almost all of the weight I needed to lose to achieve a healthy weight and set my family on a trajectory of a healthier lifestyle for the course ahead. Three months well spent, I would say! I have pizza from time to time now, and treats, too. But I plan for them and they don’t lead me to throw in the towel on all the other healthy choices I make. The next moment, meal or day I’m still on track and the weight hasn’t come back.
It wasn’t until after that Thanksgiving trip I even began working out. Mentally, I couldn’t handle thinking about more than just overhauling my food as that was a big enough task for me. However, once I felt better and was encouraged by my progress, it was a natural next step for me. And THAT is when I fell in love with exercise for the first time in my life. I was feeling good about myself, I was not overwhelmed and most importantly, I felt READY for it.
Nearly 65% of people who lose weight gain it back (source) and in my opinion, they gain a few extra pounds with it and gain it back very quickly. I am determined to be in the minority here. I tell myself “there is no back”.
Below, my tracker from “My Fitness Pal” of the months I was losing weight.
When I first begin coaching someone, I encourage them to “lock it in” with their food for 21 days. I know it sounds like FOREVER without treats or your favorite things but I’m telling you, the time you give your mind and body to rewire and process the changes you’re trying to make is time well spent for your life moving forward. The only thing I would change about my journey is I would have started it a lot sooner if I would have known just how much it would have changed things for me once I did it!
Where am I now? I never expected to be here, at a much more comfortable weight than I was even when I first got pregnant. My energy is through the roof and I’ve fallen in love with fitness so much that I became a group fitness instructor in 2015. I have built a business I can work from home that allows me to help people all over find healthy lifestyle habits, stay accountable and even help others out themselves along the way. I was able to leave my part time job outside the home to focus my efforts on this business and gain even more time with my family at home.
My bucket is full a lot of the time thanks to a regular rhythm of personal development and PLENTY of me time now. I ask my husband for help when I need it and clearly communicate what my goals are and what I need to do to achieve them. My kids eat healthy, nutritious foods and it is all they know. Seeing people truly find their way out from under years and years of unhealthy habits and settling into a “new normal” is an honor and privilege I have as a coach. And I feel the best I ever have, on top of it all.
Are you interested in talking with me about setting your goals for a healthier lifestyle? Click here to send me a message and I’ll be sure to follow up with you in the coming days!