And so here it is. My fitness journey. I never knew I'd be writing a post like this but here I am...
I should preface this by saying, I've never been athletic. I was that person chosen last for the team all the way back in the first grade. It was one of those things that hurt a little but ultimately it just wasn't my thing. As a result, I often never really attempted anything much athletic. I felt incompetent and unable, and I usually wanted to just blame my asthma, which admittedly did. I was always active but athletic type of activities just wasn't something I felt the need to pursue. Especially running, I hated running.
I guess you could say my fitness story started back in high school. Midway through those four years, I decided exercise was something I ought to incorporate into life. I aimed to do 60 sit ups and jumping jacks in the morning before school. In the afternoons, I'd often swim laps or ride my bike. Anything but run. I hated running. My eating habits then didn't change, but I did begin to slowly feel a little bit better about myself.
College came and I stayed motivated to work out every now and then at the school gym. I rode my bike to almost all my classes, even the ones off campus. At the gym, I liked the elliptical or the bike. I avoided the track like the plague. Running was the last thing I'd do, ever. However, my eating still continued to be what it had generally had been with a little of what I "thought" was "healthy". I wasn't over weight ever but I definitely wasn't in shape. Still, I had fairly good self confidence.
Then senior year came. With a wedding approaching, I began to focus on my fitness more determinedly. I began waking up hours early before class or work and doing in-my-apartment-work-outs. And then for some reason, I started trying to run. I slowly, slowly began to run on a short path outside the complex. Why, I still don't know. I topped those efforts off with enrolling in a gym class as part off my final semester hours (and a belly dancing class!). One of my friends encouraged me to actually run the track, and before I even knew it, I was running a full mile with no walking. I also focused on foods at this time. I didn't do research but I did start choosing less snacky foods, eating less sweets, and making salads a part of my regular lunch.
I felt more in shape than ever and the numbers on the scale said I was safely within average. I felt good, but not great going into that honeymoon with a bikini on in June of 2012.
Into married life, Kevin and I went about "semi healthy eating" or what otherwise looked like macaroni and cheese boxes with some fresh green beans,. I maintained my early morning work outs and continued to run. That first married fall, I ran my first 5K and felt on top of the world when I timed out just under 30 minutes. One of my good friends and I worked on the Jillian 30 Day Shred and felt so strong after. Kevin and I Wvery slowly started really looking into what we were eating over time and tried plenty of healthy dinner options, some good and some bad (ahem, cooked cauliflower- mac and cheese style). Following our first year of marriage I felt awesome. I smiled when I looked in the mirror and I felt confident. I still had things to learn about food but I was on a good path.
Then I began studying for my certification exam, On top of that I changed jobs, and I changed my birth control. I went from being sorta active in my work day to being mostly sedentary. I went from active weekends and evenings to studying on my bum consistently. In moments of stress about the exam, I went for the sweets. Overall, I thought I was eating pretty healthily, I ate a salad for lunch almost every day and our dinners were generally in the right direction. The deeper I got into studying, though, the less time I spent planning our meals and the less motivated I was to maintain my workout routine every day.
In April of 2014, I took those exams and felt like I had a life again. Samantha asked me to do the Tone It Up Bikini Series with her and while I was a little intimated I thought it would be good to at least give it a go. After those exams finished, I looked in the mirror and nearly I cried. I had gained a lot of weight. I stepped on the scale and realized I'd gained somewhere around 20 pounds. I did the bikini series eagerly and with serious determination. I worked on my snacks, I chose foods wisely, and I seriously cut my sweets. On top, of this I maintained a good work out regime. 8 weeks later, I lost not a single pound.
I hit a low point after that. I was frustrated and unhappy. I felt awful in my clothes, worse naked. I prayed to God for me wisdom or enlightenment. I cried to Kevin about it too. Yet no one, none, really knew what was going on or how I really felt. I've never been particularly thin, but this was the heaviest I'd ever been in my life and I felt so trapped. I read blog posts and website articles endlessly about people who'd overcome their weight. I felt like I had to be missing something somewhere. I was trying so hard!
I spent the rest of that summer trying to eat better and being diligent about my work out schedule but still saw no change. At the beginning of the fall I realized something really had to be wrong. Kevin agreed that I should see a doctor. My doctor's first reaction was to tell me to join Weight Watchers. This made me mad. My mom had mentioned that my thyroid could be a potential issue so I mentioned it and my Dr did agree it could be worth looking into.
In the meantime, I decided to start logging my food into myfitnesspal because I wanted to take it to my doctor and show him I'd been doing really well on food. However, I found that whiel I was eating well my quantity was above what I ought to be consuming. Portion control! At this point, I shared just a snippet of my pain with my small group just how much I was struggling and asked for prayer. After a few months of blood tests, my doctor diagnosed me with a hypo-thyroid. I literally rejoiced at this news! It was the first glimpse of hope I felt that my weight could still change. I turned a new leaf and I felt confident that I really could conquer this weight gain.
My thyroid finally got leveled out, but after several months I still wasn't seeing any weight change. My frustration had grown and I finally really started to share with some of my close friends. Before, I never wanted people to know before about my attempts to lose weight because I never wanted people to see how much I would fail. But I was realized more and more that I couldn't do this myself. One of my friends encouraged me to pray very boldly and command any symptoms to flee from me, and any lies holding me back, which were surely only from the enemy, to be erased. The very next day in my car, on the way to work, I prayed out loud fervently and I declared God to be in charge of my body. I proclaimed His power over me and spoke with confidence.
It felt so freeing! That week I lost four pounds.
I didn't change a single thing about my eating or work out habits that week.
That week was all God telling me, He heard me, He sees me, He has me.
That week was all about me finally cluing in on the real problem, the heart problem I had of believing the lies of the enemy instead of chasing out the truth about myself from God.
|Source. Found it on Etsy, a great print to put up in your home!|
With my heart finally in the right place, my thyroid medicine regime settled, and my determination stronger than ever, I got back to my daily work outs even harder and began working on my portion control. I got back on track with plugging my foods in myfitnesspal and learning the right portion sizes. I cut out a lot from my diet since April and continued to learn what else I needed to re-work. I found I could to say no to sweets sometimes. And I also found that I could still indulge every now and then. I back tracked sometimes and found myself discouraged too often, but I kept boldly proclaiming Gods power over me out loud in my car. By the time Samantha messaged me about TIU Bikini Series 2015 starting I was down another couple of pounds. And I was feeling readier than ever to go strong into the series with her and some other friends for a new 8 weeks.
Samantha and I began a new email chain with Liz to honestly share our meals and fitness for each day. By the middle of June I had officially met my goal weight for the bikini series! I was down approximately 15/16 pounds from my heaviest weight a year prior. Clothes that were tight last year fit much better now, of the ones I had kept. I ended up tossing many (or donating) because they just made me feel more discouraged. I got to share with my small group the great news and as a result was able to connect with my many of them even more.
All because of Jesus, that husband of mine, and the support group of girlfriends and other friends.
My biggest cheerleader through the entire year, and the one who has seen every win and fail was my wonderful husband. Kevin encouraged me in the most gentle way always, to say no to the unhealthy things and has kindly allowed me to remove certain items from our home. He's gotten up at 5am to work out with me, and never complained when we did a TIU video. He never once stopped telling my I was beautiful and amazing. He loved me through every step of it.
So here today my fitness journey is on-going. I can't believe it, but I actually like running now and somehow signed up to run a half marathon with some friends. Healthy foods feel better in my body, and I've found that fried foods now make me feel sick sometimes. My nails have never been so strong and my hair is growing faster. I'm still working on my skin but for the most part I can tell my whole body is happier. My self confidence is way stronger and I feel so empowered to keep chasing after being the most fit me that I can be. My dream, connects deeply to this journey because I want to be a fit mom. I want to be a mom that plays and is active over the years, plus I want to honor God with a healthy lifestyle.
I still have days of discouragement. I reached my goal weight but honestly, I still fluctuate. I'm learning to understand food more and more. I'm working against the "good and bad" talk of food. Some food is nutritious to my body and some is just tasty and worth eating every now and then. One unhealthy meal doesn't give way to a whole unhealthy day. I should be able to have the will power to choose nutritious foods more. I need to work on giving myself active rest days. I also need to continue to work on self talk. I've made big changes to my life but sometimes I still struggle when I look at myself in the mirror. My goal is to keep working on these things, keep learning about food and fitness, and above all put my self-confidence in the way Christ sees me.
I was so nervous to write all this and share it with the world. Who's going to read it? People I know in my every day life? Co workers? Old acquaintances? Will they judge me when they see me go back for that second cookie? Is my story worth sharing? It's not like I lost all that much weight. But the more I thought about it, the more I knew the Lord was leading me to share it. We women struggle with our body image. It is a battle I believe we almost daily fight, but God has better plans for us! We've been taught false things about food but that doesn't have to be the end! As I've heard often, there is always room for improvement. It's never too late and there aren't secrets to getting fit, but you can do it! It really is as simple as listening to your body, feeding it well, and moving those muscles.
My story is not your story but I hope my story encourages you.
Tomorrow I'm sharing my goals and associated Bible verses for them on being more fit. And perhaps, I'll share a little about foods, things I eat or have taken out of my diet, etc.
What's your fitness story?
Support from Family/Friends
Tone It Up
My Fitness Journey Series:
I'm happy to report that while I'm still learning, today I am down 26 pounds from my heaviest weight! Meaning, I've not only lost the weight I'd gained during that study season but I've lost more than that. I weight 7 pounds lighter today than I did on my wedding day! And I'm definitely more toned. God has done a miraculous work in my body and in my heart! Though I still daily have to work on my self-talk and recalling His authority in me, I know that change is possible!