I’ve started to write this post a million times since I started this blog. It always seems to get pushed down my list, mainly because it’s opening up just a bit more of myself and will require a picture of a not so lovely time in my life, but it’s important. It’s important for you to see that I’ve been through a season in my life where I struggled with my weight and with food. So, here is my journey. My prayer is that it encourages you to do whatever it takes to get healthy and fit for LIFE, not just to be skinny. Let’s just rip this band aid off shall we? 9 years ago…..
Before I get to this whole transformation thing, I want to make one thing clear. This is NOT about picture #1 being wrong, and picture #2 being right. This is not a how you should look post or please look at me and my body post. I have cellulite ok? And stretch marks. Imperfections. We all do. I’m ok with it. I’m not on a mission to have a body that is flawless, and I hope you aren’t either. The purpose of these pictures is to show a lifestyle change.
I know the desire to be thin can be a huge struggle for women. I know it’s a giant trap we find ourselves in and it leads to self doubt, insecurity, comparison, and a lack of true appreciation for how God has made us. Being thin. It’s become an obsession. So, I’m going to share my story with you in hopes that you see someone who chose to make being fit and healthy a lifestyle. It wasn’t about losing weight to be eternally skinny, it was to live better. And now, I get to share it with you and hopefully reach you in a different way because I’ve been in this place of insecurity and struggle.
When we got married I was in decent shape. I’d always been active. I rode horses competitively and was a pretty good little basketball player. I hated to run but that’s beside the point. I was pretty fit. I worked out a ton in college and rode and swam and biked. I was getting by. I was engaged at 19 so obviously in my 19 year old mind, I needed a wedding dress worthy body.
Who were those teenagers?!?! Oh wait, that was us. Wrinkle and kid free.
I started working out regularly and felt better than I had in years. I had the time. I was engaged, living at home and taking classes at a local college. Rob was in Dallas in school at SMU.
We got married, moved to Dallas, and started our junior years of college. We were broke and I had no idea how to cook. So, we ate out. Since we had very little disposable income, we ate out on the cheap. Fast food for the win. Not really. It became a habit and I found myself with that freshman 15 I never got in college.
We had planned to start a family around the time we turned 26 or 27, so when we got pregnant with Jake at 24, we were shocked. But the pill was kinda optional so I guess we weren’t all that surprised. Duh. We were living in a loft apartment and Rob had just gotten his first job out of college. I had taken some time off and had gone back that year to finish my degree. To say we felt stressed and ill prepared to be the parents of an actual human would be a drastic understatement.
During my pregnancy I was sick for the first 20 weeks, yet I still found myself gaining weight. I was throwing up almost daily and yet my body seemed to like gaining pregnancy weight. Once I got better and the morning sickness subsided, I helped my body gain the weight by eating burgers and fries whenever the heck I wanted. Not the best strategy.
I’ll never forget my OB looking at me and saying, “Well, your weight is just ok.” I’m sorry come again? Am I gaining too much weight? What the what! I had no idea what was normal and what wasn’t. I just ate what sounded good. I was shocked at how my much my body and metabolism changed during pregnancy. Still, I kept on keeping on. I was on a roll, why stop now?
I found myself giving birth to this pretty amazing chunk of joy with 45 lbs of pregnancy weight and about 30 lbs of unwanted extra weight that had come on before I got pregnant. How did this happen? I’d always been active and by all accounts a fairly healthy person…with the exception of the past couple years of course. So, I decided this wasn’t how I wanted to live. It wasn’t that I thought being skinny would make me happy. I have joy. I know where joy comes from and I know well and good that true joy doesn’t come from how I look. But, I wasn’t healthy. I didn’t feel good in front of my husband and I was tired and sluggish and not myself. I wanted something more.
Ya’ll…I can not get over how young we look. Crazy!
I wanted an active life. I wanted to play with my kids and go on adventures with my husband. I wanted to live a life of adventure and fun and activity. So, I joined the YMCA and started kicking my own butt. I totally revamped the way I ate. I restricted my calories to my detriment and did as much cardio as I possibly could. I lost 75 pounds. In just under 5 months. Crazy.
Jake was 7 months old in this pic, and that was me about 75 lbs lighter than the one of us bringing him home from the hospital. It was fast. But it wasn’t healthy. I didn’t know what in the world I was doing but I knew it was working. I found myself about 10 lbs under what was healthy for me. I remember coming to a point when I realized that I was kinda miserable. I was hungry all the time and I had headaches. I was becoming a runner then but I wasn’t a trainer or a nutritionist. Still, I knew enough to know I was being too restrictive. I wasn’t giving my body what it needed to run, or to thrive.
So, I started to gain some perspective and change some things. I had become a runner during this weight loss journey. I had totally fallen in love with the sport so I started researching nutrition and racing and how to fuel my now runner body. I started lifting weights, doing spin classes, triathlons and racing. I started eating chocolate chip cookies when I felt like it because life is just too short. I started eating burgers on occasion and finding some boundaries with food. It was freeing.
It was the only time in my life I’ve ever been so restrictive and while I lost the weight, I found a much healthier way to live after the weight was off. It’s been 9 years and 2 more pregnancies. The weight is still off and I’ve gained some of the extra pounds back in muscle. I love food. I love cooking. I don’t want to be a slave to a certain style of eating so moderation is what works best for me.
Sometimes I eat this…
But I also love to do this…
Hear me. This post is NOT about a size. It’s not about being skinny or being a certain weight on the scale. It’s just not. It’s about being healthy. It’s about seeing that you are beautiful and valuable and unique. It’s about making choices that help you and your family and your future.
It’s not a “hey look at me and what I did!!” No. It’s me sitting down with you(figuratively speaking of course) and looking you in the eye and telling you that you are valuable. You are worth making healthy choices for. You are not defined by your size or how much muscle you have or don’t have. It’s not about how clothes fit you or how you look in a bathing suite. It goes deeper. It’s about your life.
It’s about feeling good and having energy and the know how to take care of yourself. Eating fast food 3 times a day isn’t healthy. But neither is eating an extremely restrictive diet and not giving yourself the calories you need. Find the boundaries that work for you and make sure it’s with the intent of good health. Not perfection.
I can’t life in absolutes. I can’t say I NEVER eat Oreo’s or burgers and fries. I can’t say I ALWAYS eat clean or I NEVER buy processed foods. I’m human and figuring this out just like you. But, I’m trying. I’m doing my best to live a life that’s healthy not only for me but to set a good example for my kids. But sometimes, when you’re watching Blacklist and sitting on the edge of your seat, you just need a bowl of ice cream.
I hope you see my heart in this post. I hope you see someone who wants the best for you, even if we’ve never met. I hope you see someone who is rooting for you and who is cheering you on to be the very best version of yourself that you can possibly be. This runs so much deeper than outward appearance, however, I have found that taking some simple steps to better my health has had a drastic impact on other parts of my life. So friend, today is your day. Take the steps to get healthy and if I can help you with that in any way, I’d count it a privilege.
“It’s at the heart of everything we struggle with in life: longing to be valuable, to be accepted, to be prized, to be worth something to somebody, to have a life that matters, and God’s saying ‘You matter! I didn’t make anyone else like you. You’re not a reprint or a lithograph. You’re a one-of-a-kind, original creation of God.”