This isn’t your typical transform or life story. I was never overweight because of bad choices, genetics, etc. I didn’t wake up one day and find the fitness life. I didn’t wake up trying to do fitness competitions and dedicating my life to a healthy lifestyle. I was always an active teen and 20 something year old, always slender with no weight issues. The first pic is of me in college.
In my mid 20s I became very ill. I was admitted to the ICU and at one point the doctors told my family they didn’t know if I would make it. Eventually they diagnosed me with Lupus and I spent an entire month in the hospital trying to recover. I was given chemotherapy (the short hair fat pic lol) and high doses of prednisone a very nasty corticosteroid. I gained 40 pounds within 1 month topping out at 200 lbs. Between my hair falling out, the weight gain, the stretch marks the quick weight gain had caused I felt the most unattractive, and thought I would never get into a bikini again. I was on prednisone for almost 2 years. During those 2 years I tried desperately to lose the weight, working out but not changing my diet. I was able to drop 20 of the 40 pounds but was never happy with the way I looked. While planning my wedding I was desperate to finish dropping the weight I had gained but did not succeed, the weight I did lose I gained back because I had not yet learned it requires a lifestyle change.
With my height I had curves in all the right places (and a belly) but looked great in my clothes. Always getting compliments. It was without my clothes that I was ashamed and embarrassed. It was when there was an outfit that couldn’t hide those problem areas that I became upset.
I discovered clean eating soon after and tried it. In two weeks I lost 10 pounds. I was down to 170. It was here that I was again OK with where I was. Not happy just OK. I still had a bunch of cheat meals but still tried to eat clean as much as possible. Still sporadic with how often I ate and indulging more often than I should I didn’t reach my goal.
In early 2012 my husband and I entered a Bodybulding.com competition where we really learned about changing our lifestyle, eating clean and all the things we were doing wrong and the foods that slowly kill you that we were consuming. In the third pic this was my size when I entered the competition. My husband @thefinalten has amazing discipline and self-control. I like the average person said oh a cookie here a piece of cake there won’t hurt, I’ll just burn it off at the gym. I would get off track; get back on track get bored with the food fall off the wagon again. In the back of my head I always knew well I look great to everyone else so if I fail no big deal! But every day I looked in the mirror I was unhappy. After a few vicious cycles all year of off the wagon / on the wagon It wasn’t until I really came clean with myself, stopped with the excuses and realized no one can do this for me, no one can make me stop eating junk, no one can push you. For me the gym was always the easy part I LOVE working out and the “high” I feel post workout. It was the food that was keeping me from achieving.
I realized 3 problems: 1. I become bored with food easily – I needed new ideas and new recipes to keep me interested in eating clean. Eating clean does not have to be boring. 2. You can’t out exercise a bad diet. I had such a great metabolism in my 20’s my diet never mattered until my body was put thru the ringer with this disease, the drugs, my age etc. so what worked for maintaining my weight back then isn’t going to work now 3. How bad do I want it???
Late in the year when I realized another year was pretty much over, another failed resolution I dedicated myself to eating clean. Dedicated myself to the lifestyle change, no more cheat meals, shortcuts. I committed to making it my LIFE. Look at me now!!!!
It took time, a few fails but I got back up and I know most people struggle with sticking to it. You have to believe in yourself, once you stop eating the bad food you won’t crave it, it’s easy to say no when you eliminate it from your diet.
If I can get up and make it to the gym doped up on Chemo and prednisone you can too. There really aren’t any excuses! Many people I know probably would have just accepted what the drugs did to them and did nothing about it and stayed 40 pounds overweight…. NOT ME!
Although I am not sure I believe I have what they diagnosed me with I DO BELIEVE that my clean eating and active lifestyle has tremendously helped put whatever it was in remission. I have not seen a symptom since I started this journey. Even when I wasn’t eating the cleanest I still was hitting the gym 5-6 days a week, exercise provides so many benefits to your health outside of just looking great. After researching what I was putting into my body I realized how much inflammation processed and junk foods cause your body. I couldn’t help but to wonder if those foods helped contribute to sparking this disease in my body that I had zero symptoms of before.
My journey took a while I made gains along the way. I wish I would have woke up sooner but typing this now I learned so much about myself during the last few years. I understand what it’s like for other people to stick to the lifestyle change and hope that my story inspires you to give it another shot if you have given up or stay on track if you are wavering. Everyone has to take their own journey when they are ready. People often ask me why I work out so much and why can’t I eat this and that and the simplest answer is I love my body. Trash in will be trash out. I look at how much more energy I have than people 10 years younger than me. I see how well I sleep at night. I love my body and it’s the only one I have so I am determined to take care of it. Most people not in this lifestyle don’t understand and that is why I am so thankful to have found this #fitfam on Instagram. I am so proud of what I have accomplished so far. When I started this journey it was all about losing weight but I have seen some amazing women on IG that have inspired me and now I’m off to shape my body. I’m not done yet!