I hadn’t written a “Before/After” post up to now so I thought I would share a little with you guys. I don’t offer any of this to lift myself up but to hopefully encourage you that losing weight and becoming healthy is completely possible for you too. Whether you are overweight like I was and need the inspiration to get started, or you are needing a push to continue to become stronger and healthier I hope my journey inspires you on yours.
I started my weight loss journey in July of 2010. I remember being in San Antonio visiting family and going to the gym with my sister Jenny. 10 minutes on the bike and I was dying wondering if my sister had been sent by the devil to kill me by exercise-overdose. When I tried to do a squat I seriously couldn’t stand up…at all. It was baaad, really, really baaad. I specifically remember sitting down on an exercise ball to do sit-ups IN FRONT OF A MIRROR, goodness I hate those stupid mirrors, and realizing just how big I had become. I had just had my 3rd child 5 months before and I was at my biggest. I decided right there and then that I was no longer going to be okay where I was and that things were going to change.
I started out by counting calories and eating low-fat processed foods. I bought a lot of boxedmeals and snacks and counted every stinkin’ calorie that went in my mouth. Obviously, this is what most people do and it certainly is what I was encouraged to do, although of course I see now that this is sooo not the way to go. But hey, even though it wasn’t perfect it got me started on the weight loss road and that was the push I needed, and I’m thankful for what I learned during that time.
I finally developed some self-control as before then I had none! I also grew to love the discipline of exercise. I always thought I didn’t have time or I couldn’t do it and once I set my mind to it, I got my butt to that gym and eventually made it a habit. I counted calories using an online calorie counting tool and exercised at my local gym. It was definitely the game of trying to eat as much as I could with as little calories in them as possible and then spending an hour on the elliptical machine to then cover an overage of calories. I was very much attached to my phone with entering in calories and exercise and calculating, calculating, calculating. I couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning to weigh myself and see it go down by a few ounces daily and head to the gym again. Very hamster-on-a-wheel but I will say that I very much appreciate the knowledge it did give me on serving sizes and the food/exercise relationship.
Somehow my wheel work did pay off, I got the ball got rolling and I lost 37 pounds.
Until I hit a plateau. I was smaller thankfully, but not fit. I would say I was skinny fat. What that means is I was smaller but not strong. I am all for being small, but healthy! Skinny is not my goal, strong and healthy is.
So what did I do? I started eating paleo and the last 20 pounds fell off QUICKLY. But… I was still counting calories WHICH IS REALLY REALLY BAD! You cannot eat paleo and count calories and my friend had been telling me for months. I finally listened and I feel FREE!
I got on a Whole30 and did not once count calories, I ate more than I have ever eaten before, I feel better than ever and I DIDN’T GAIN OR LOSE A POUND. I say that in bold because there are many of us who would be worried about not counting calories and then gaining, or even losing, weight. Let me tell you: THIS WORKS. Obviously you guys see what we eat, and we eat A LOT and A LOT of fat.
Instead of the low-fat processed foods, I now eat whole, clean, healthy foods. We eat at home a lot more and have become very creative with new ideas and recipes for getting in all the vitamins and nutrients we need. We eat grass-fed meats, we shop at our local farmers market, we make desserts full of whole foods, and we sometimes go without. I love where I am and where my family is now.
My weight does not fluctuate, which confirms to me that this is where my body wants to be. I truly believe that by eating paleo and whole30 your body finds where it WANTS to be and finally is able to be there. This is where I was MEANT to be and I love it! So obviously, these whole30′s are not intended for me to lose weight any longer, but to feel better along with my whole family. And I do!
I also was recently diagnosed with a gluten-sensitivity so eating paleo is really the only way to go for me. I have made a personal decision to not eat processed “gluten-free” foods just because they’re gluten free. I have chosen to eat foods that are naturally gluten free, which for me means: I eat paleo. And my insides are thankful for it.
I actually only figured out I had a gluten issue, and was later diagnosed by a doctor, because of changing my eating habits. When I stopped eating wheat I felt great not realizing I used to feel bad. It was something I had lived with for so long I didn’t realize I was living with constant stomach pain. When I ate, even a small amount, of wheat I FELT AWFUL.
My stomach would swell up, my back would hurt horribly, and I realized just how bad I used to feel and how wonderful I feel now. I went to the doctor who did blood work and confirmed that I am on the road to developing celiac’s disease and he highly recommended that I discontinue eating gluten from now on. Although this can be frustrating at times, I feel so good that it’s worth it to make these changes for my health.
I continue to workout but I do not OVER-WORKOUT. I purposefully plan my workouts and I know I am stronger now for it. I started with doing TRX twice a week and have now transitioned into Crossfit. (In the present time I am only working out at my local gym due to a rib fracture but I will be getting back to this workout regiment asap.) Not only are these really fun and totally different than anything I’ve ever done, but these workouts make me have MASSIVE muscles! TRX is such a great workout and really helps me to focus in on one individual muscle at a time. I love that my muscles have become more compact and lean because of this.
I have also taken up running which I didn’t think I would ever say. I don’t over-run or have much of a desire to go long distances. I enjoy doing 5k’s at the most but mainly stick to very small sprints and hills now. I love being outdoors and taking advantage of the God-given courses to tackle versus running forever on a treadmill.
So, although this is a quick, rough, run through of where I’ve been I hope it encourages you to get off the hamster wheel and get healthy. Every day has new opportunities to make healthy decisions, to be active, to move away from temptations, to be strong, and to be healthy. You can do it, I know you can.