My workout journey began in 9th grade as a way to cope with my parent’s divorce. I didn’t know it then, but it would become an addiction I still feel today. I played sports at the time, so the gym was in addition to practices/games. It started with miles a day on the treadmill until I got severe shin splints training for soccer season. Soon enough my workouts would consist of at least 45 minutes on the elliptical and minimal weight training.
I continued this routine for several years. Imagine my surprise when I ended up GAINING 20 pounds in about 2 months while in grad school. This crushed me since I was staying so disciplined. Several frustrating doctor appointments later, I was advised of a potential thyroid issue. Determined to lose the weight, I began doing Insanity and T25 workouts in the morning and a gym routine at night. The weight would not come off and this became a several year process at this point. I kept trying, kept working and nothing was actually changing.
I moved to Florida in 2014 and began incorporating more weight training while still dedicating at least 30 minutes of cardio into every workout. I was also playing in kickball and soccer leagues. My body shape still would not change. I then decided to try a High Intensity Training program, going about 6 days per week. I LOVED the program and noticed small changes, nothing major but something. I began to accept this must just be what my body is supposed to look like.
During high school I started dieting. I restricted foods. I did not let myself eat desserts or pizza. I put peanut butter and jelly on graham crackers instead of bread because I thought it would save carbs (because I heard they were bad for you). I also went on the ‘no fat/low-fat’ diet. For a couple of years I would not eat anything that was full fat. I even made ‘no fat’ Christmas cookies and apple pie! During college I tried the ‘Special K’ diet.
Then from college until about 2016, I would eat healthy from Monday through Thursday and go crazy the rest of the week – believing a reward for my hard work was in order! This behavior caused me to really beat myself up though. I would enjoy the food but punish myself and worry about having to work that much harder in the gym. A cycle ensued of feeling better on Monday through Thursday and worse Friday through Sunday.
When Changes Started Really Happening
While I cannot pinpoint the exact time my body really started changing, I know it was after I quit pressuring myself. I began to let myself eat foods without guilt. I would take Saturday off from the gym. I started being happy and positive about how I was, not how I wanted to be. This created a massive transition of losing 30 pounds. I couldn’t believe it! How could eating what I wanted and not being SO hard on myself make me lose weight? My family would tell me it happened because I was started to be happy, not fake happy, real happy.
The Journey Now
I am still a work in progress and over the last two years I have gone through several changes. My workouts now consist of weight lifting with very minimal cardio. I now use the 80/20 rule with eating – 80% of the time I eat to fuel my body and 20% is food I just want to eat! I now view my diet through the thoughts of “how is this going to make me feel when I eat it” instead of labeling the food as “good or bad”.
I still believe the biggest factor to contribute to these positive changes was my mindset. Your thoughts have total power over your actions, mood, and reactions. I try to maintain positive emotional and mental health first and allow that to contribute to my physical benefits and health. Every day I am learning how to be a better version of myself. I am taking the time to listen to my body, what feels good and what does not feel so good. Life continues to be a beautiful journey.