BEFORE MY TRANSFORMATION
I was always a “big girl,” but I vividly remember the day I KNEW I had to make a change. It was the day of my college freshman formal, and my friend had a hard time zipping up the formal gown I had rented four months ago. Granted, this dress was the largest size I had worn to date, and I was trying to literally squeeze into it. I had taken my high school crush as my date, and when I went to sit down to eat dinner, my dress ripped up the back because it was too tight. I was mortified. Luckily the lady who owned the home our formal was held at was able to stitch it up, but I had to practically stand still the entire night. That following week, I stepped onto the scale to a number I had never seen before, and I vowed right then and there I had to make a change.
My initial goal was to be skinny. I had always wanted to be able to wear a two-piece bathing suit with confidence and not have to worry about my “stomach showing.” From my highest weight, my goal was to lose at least 80 pounds. Now, however, my goal is to be healthy, to be able to go off my blood pressure medicine, to feel good in my own skin and to continue to challenge my body by changing up my workouts with my online gym.
WHAT I DID
I literally had to start from ground zero. I began by using my fitness pal to track my food and worked out over an hour each day five to six times a week. However, once I moved to the Gulf Coast to start my career as a marine biologist, then fell in love, I quickly realized that I could not sustain that lifestyle (especially now that I am a football coach’s wife). So now, I have an amazing online workout service I use and balance an 80-20 healthy lifestyle (80 percent of the time, we eat healthy, nutritious meals that we prep for the week, and 20 percent of the time, we enjoy ourselves with a glass of wine or slice of birthday cake). I also meal prep every Sunday so we are less likely to eat out and have healthy meals for the entire week.
HOW IT WORKED
To date, I am more than 70 pounds lighter, and I have gained muscles I didn’t know were there. I also have dropped five pants sizes, three shirt sizes and six dress sizes. Mentally, I am in a much better place. My stress levels are lower; I sleep better, and I am more energized during the day.
WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART
The most difficult part is the mindset — to not get discouraged if the scale isn’t moving as fast as you’d like, or at all, and to remember a health journey has no destination. Success is measured in many ways on a health journey, and it’s not just a number on a scale. There is never a “perfect” time to start, so take that leap; you literally have nothing to lose!
HOW I FEEL ABOUT MYSELF TODAY
Today, I now can say I love myself in both of those photos below. It has taken me a long time to accept both images and to know no matter what, my health is a priority. One of the most exciting things is that I used to only be able to shop in certain stores because of my size, and it made shopping a terrible experience. Now I can go into almost any store and be able to find cute and affordable clothes.
MY ADVICE TO OTHERS
No matter where you are in life, you can do anything you put your mind to. You can do those hard, scary things. If you change your mindset, your body will follow.
As I continue my journey, I also am changing the lives of other women by mentoring them in my online challenge groups as a health and lifestyle coach. I teach others to work out and balance healthy, delicious meals with that occasional cookie or glass of wine.