The High School Years
Ever since I can remember I have always been a little chubby, but I have always been very active. I was a cheerleader in 9th grade and then quickly switched to cross-country and water polo because I didn’t feel comfortable in a short skirt! My mother and father have always taught me to be health conscious, but in high school I made my own diet.
I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. I figured I was running or swimming all the time and burning so many calories that this would be OK. Well, I was wrong. I always felt like the chubby friend especially since I had two of the most beautiful skinny models for best friends. They were so tall and so thin. I envied them for being able to eat whatever they wanted. Why wasn’t my metabolism like theirs?!
The College Years
I went into college at 5’5 and 155 pounds (I lied on my driver license and put 150 because that seemed smaller to me). I started my college education as a Kinesiology major because I wanted to be a PE teacher one day and this was how I thought I would lose all the weight. Well, I was partially right. I began to exercise a whole lot because all my classes were exercise classes. I had yoga in the mornings, Akido in the afternoon and kickboxing in the evenings. I was also taking nutrition classes and learning a little about what the right things were to eat. I slowly started knocking the weight off, but I wasn’t doing it the healthy way.
I remember people saying to me, “Man you look great, keep it up”. I was so happy, but started to get depressed. I knew that I was messing with God’s temple. The breaking point was when I got down to 10 wheat thins and an apple a day. I was starving myself. How could have I have gotten this far? How was I justifying this? I was falling apart. I got some help and started developing a better relationship with food… better, but not great.
My sophomore year of college, I moved to Memphis, TN, a state ranked 3rd in highest obesity. Don’t get me wrong, they have some great food in the South, but a lot of it is full of grease and salt. I knew what to eat and I tried to stay healthy, but college got the best of me. I had one too many beers and free pizza dinners. I gained all my weight back plus some. I was in a size 12 and still fighting to get down to 15o lbs (which I thought was fine for my frame).
I finally decided to bust out the old running shoes and start running again. I took it easy and got back in to running shape… well, at least I could do a good three miles without dying. I then started to get inspired and motivated. I loved the way I felt when I ran. I was born to run! I have and will always love it. I knew that I was going down a path to freedom.
My senior year of college I decided to do my first marathon, The St. Jude Marathon. I started training with a friend, who had to drop out, so I finished the training on my own. I didn’t have any kind of plan. I just ran when I could and did long runs on the weekends. I had no idea that I should be taking “goo” or doing interval training and yoga was out of the question. I still ate OK, not great. Had those late-night Chili’s runs and the oh-so-often Happy Hour margaritas!
I ran that marathon the best I could and hated it. I remember hitting 18 miles and wanting to run off that road and go home! I ran the whole thing and got a 4:20 and was proud of myself. Never thought I could do any better.
The Post College Years
After the marathon, I developed a bad case of foot spurs (probably from those cheep shoes I wore). So I got a gym membership and started doing kickboxing four or five days a week. This was it! I was shedding weight like crazy. I quit the alcohol consumption and started eating real healthy food. I didn’t need free meals anymore because I got a job and was making real money! I gave up all white breads and sugar and I couldn’t believe how much weight was falling off. I got a personal trainer for two months and he taught me how to use free weights at home and how to eat at least five small meals a day. I had gotten down to a size 9 and I was so happy.
Later that year, I met and got engaged to my hubby. He fell in love with me at first sight. He never thought I was overweight, but I knew I still had a couple more pounds to lose before the wedding. I got down to a size 6-7 on my wedding day and can you believe I had to get my dress taken in 3 times?!? I looked stunning!
It’s been several years since the big day in 2007. I am now TEACHING kickboxing, personal training, running on a regular basis and completed my first Half Ironman! I am down to a size 4 (smaller than I was in high school) and for the first time in my life have stepped on the scale and I am in the 120’s!!!! I never thought I would be here, writing about health and helping others get in the best shape of their lives.
I have friends from high school that don’t recognize me because of how much I have changed. People ask me all the time, “How did you do it? How did you get so small?” It’s because I treat my body like God’s holy temple. What goes in my body is very important to my spiritual walk and how I take care of it is an example of how much I appreciate this gift of life. I want to continue helping others discover the beauty in a healthy mind, soul and body.
Mix it up! Work out at least four-to-six times a week and do what works best for you! My body did not change when I just ran. I had to do something that brought my heart rate up and back down.
Eat REAL food. Get rid of all the processed crap! Lots of fruits & veggies and get rid of the white breads. Make dinner at least four-to-five days a week and when you go out, don’t order anything you couldn’t make on your own. Plan your menu for the week on Sundays; you are more likely to stick to good foods if you have a plan!
Quit the quick diets. They don’t work in the long run. I did weight watchers points and that was good, but it was a way of life diet and takes off the weight slowly. It helps you develop a better relationship with food instead of seeing food as the enemy. Don’t do anything that guarantees quick weight loss, slow is good.
Have a training buddy and a goal. It can be anything from a 5k’er to a marathoner. If you have a goal and a buddy, it will be more fun for you to get out there and do it!