I have never considered myself a ‘great’ writer. When it comes to describing why I do something, I’m even worse. But this is a story I feel that needs to be told. I’ve never been into fitness and the thought of eating healthy just didn’t appeal to me. There are so many other things I would rather do that workout. I loved food entirely too much to give up all of the tasty things out there.
But when you are 30 years old and can barely walk up a flight of stairs without being in excruciating pain then you know it’s time to make a change. Not being able to play tag or hide and seek with the kids because I couldn’t run- the look of disappointment in your child’s eyes as you sit on the side was enough to make me finally make the change.
I never really struggled with my weight in the early years. In fact, it wasn’t until I had children that I begin to notice the weight wasn’t falling off like it used to.
That didn’t stop me from living life carefree and happy. I loved my body. Yes, I had a few extra pounds, but it never got in the way of me living so I continued on.
2010/engagement photos (182lbs). (Photo: Leslie Williams Photography)
2011 shortly after the birth of my daughter. The moment I hit 200.
Trial & Error
Don’t get me wrong I love cooking!!! I would cook dinner four nights a week while we spent Friday-Sunday eating out. What I didn’t know (and would soon come to find out) was that I was not cooking the right things.
Over the years I tried diet after diet. I never actually got into working out (eh) but I called myself doing all the fad stuff. The Lemonade Diet (or Cayenne Pepper diet), Vegan for 14 days you name it. I did it. While the diets did what they supposed to, I always hit the wall soon after. It wasn’t uncommon to hear me say “I lost all the weight, I’m good.” I soon fall right back into the trap and before I knew it, the weight and then some had come back.
I lost 20lbs in two weeks with the Lemonade diet in Jan/Feb 2013. At this point, I was 145, down from 165.
The Breaking Point
In January 2014 I traveled to North Carolina to shoot a wedding. It was on a mountain and involved a lot of walking. The walking never really bothered me at weddings. I always wore comfortable shoes and just expected to have a little pain at the end of the night.
This particular night began just like any other. I did my photographer duties: posing, directing, fixing dresses, styling accessories…you know the usual. As the night began to wear on, I began experiencing pain in my leg and my side.
My husband accompanied me that evening and at the end of the night, I took a picture. It was the first time I had seen myself. I did not like it!
January 2014. At my heaviest of 205lbs.
It wasn’t until I looked at this photo that I realized I needed to make a huge change. Not only just my eating habits but my lifestyle as a whole.
It wasn’t just the photo that did it. When I looked at myself, I never saw a ‘big’ woman. I saw me. I was happy, no major health concerns.
So why now?
The answer was quite simple: My children.
I noticed my then 5 and 2-year-old were beginning to pick up my same horrible eating habits. After moving around so much, by Christmas 2013 I feel into the fast food trap. We were eating out on such a regular basis that it become second nature for them to expect McDonald’s for dinner (or breakfast or lunch).
At the time it didn’t bother me any. After all what could be more convenient than a drive thru?
My once wonderful eaters quickly became the pickiest of picky eaters. No longer eating vegetables, trading them in for chicken nuggets and french fries.
Slowly the reality of the situation began to set in. What was I doing to my family? I let convenience get in the way of common sense and it needed to stop.
Making such a drastic lifestyle change took time. I began working out February 1, 2014. I continued on a strict schedule four days a week/four hours a day; I did this until May 24th. When I hit my wall. I lost a total of 30 lbs in that short amount of time. I cut out all sodas, drank only water and quite processed foods.
I was happy with my progress. So I stopped. Which is what I always do. But I genuinely loved what I saw!! For the first time in a long time, I was able to run outside with my children. We played football, tag, hide and seek, you name it we did it. I felt accomplished. I felt free. I felt wonderful.
Photo courtesy Click Chick Photography
During the summer of 2014 life kicked in work, kids, and other responsibilities so I 100% stopped working out. But what I did not do was go back to dark sodas. I continued to limit a number of times we ate out (once every 2 weeks) and I started looking more closely at my food choices. I was down from 205lbs to now 165lbs–making much better choices. And toying with the thought of working out again.
Fast forward to the end of 2014- I was now 150lbs. I had completely stopped working out. But made the commitment to continue eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and getting rest.
Health wise, I no longer had the shakes (which had gotten really bad due to my need to drink a two liter of soda every day for almost a year), I was sleeping comfortably and I was happy!!
This photo was taken December 31, 2014. I told myself starting January 1st there was going to be a new me.
After having a pretty successful 2014, I decided to take 2015 head on by jumping right back into working out. Due to the change in my schedule, I knew working out would be a challenge so I had to adapt the best way possible. There will be a future blog on how to adapt to sudden schedule changes–but for now, just know that I made it work.
I would start my day as early as possible and head right to the gym. My routine became strict. I would work out twice a day, 3 hours in the morning and 2 hours at night, five days a week.
Photo: Landon Jacob Photography
My intense workouts were amplified by those crazy squat challenges that you find on Pinterest. I did this religiously from January 1 until April 4th. Then I hit my wall. AGAIN………
This time it was severe. I began my wedding season and just stopped working out. There was no rhyme or reason to it, other than I just stopped. And it stayed that way for a very, very, very long time.
October in fact.
By this time we had moved Boston. With no friends or close family around the only thing, I really could do was a workout. That doesn’t mean that I did. But at least I acknowledged that it was an option.
Those lifestyle choices….psshhh. That went out the window too.
I spent the rest of the year focusing on work and not really caring whether or not if I ate healthily or worked out.
Here’s a little secret about myself: I only check my weight once every three months. It’s a just hard fast rule I’ve always had for as long as I can remember. I don’t know why or how it started but it did. I guess I never really cared to know the number.
When I weighed myself December 21, 2015, I was shocked to see that I was back up to 160. Since I did not really check my weight throughout the year (April being that last time when I hit 135) I never really noticed that I was gaining. Either that or I just didn’t care. Probably the latter. I cut out sodas again and stopped putting cheese on everything. It made a difference and helped mentally prepare me for the new year.
Workout resolutions never sat well with me. I thought they were pointless and no one I knew ever stuck to them. Besides, I was fine–I wasn’t carrying as much weight around and I felt great.
In February I did like any other parent and started signing their children up for winter and spring activities. Ballet, football, running club, tap, gymnastics, and parkour. I was out running around 5 days a week with no end in sight.
We are members of our local YMCA–spending just a few days in the lobby reading a book while your kids complete their lessons gets old real quick. What better way to kill time than to workout?
Feb. 28 2016-1 week into my workouts. 155lbs
So there you have it. I began this round of my journey working out due to sheer boredom. I didn’t try to force this on myself like the last few times. I really only started because I hated sitting there waiting for the kids to finish.
Maybe that was the kick start I needed. Some people are able to tell themselves “they have to do this” and it gets done. Not me. I like to think I’m like most people and take a little bit more convincing. I love food, I love sitting down.
Healthy living was never on my radar. I decided this time around I would not hold myself to any real goals. I don’t desire to lose weight, I wasn’t trying to get faster-I just wanted to workout while the kids were having their lessons.
The first two weeks it was hard. I even forgot to dress in exercise clothes once and made myself workout in jeans anyway. But once I started getting into the groove it was so easy. After all, I was going to be there any way I might as well do something.
So that’s where I am today week 6 of a 21-week workout plan. I’m toning up muscle, eating healthier, drinking more water and most importantly getting plenty of sleep. As a creative, we are so tempted to spend all night editing, as a business owner your work day is never really done. Getting plenty of rest is essential to being able to function efficiently throughout your day.
Here’s a new beginning, healthy living and being happy. If I can use this blog to inspire just one person. I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something. Leave your Instagram or website so that I can follow along. Let’s document this journey together!