Making the Choice to Change

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 4.06.30 PM
“There will be set backs, there will be struggles, you will have bad days and pig out on pizza and chocolate. You will want to give up, but will it all be worth it! Just never give up!”
Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 4.06.30 PM
“There will be set backs, there will be struggles, you will have bad days and pig out on pizza and chocolate. You will want to give up, but will it all be worth it! Just never give up! Always believe in yourself.”

I was never a thin girl. I guess you could say I was one of the chubby kids in school. After I graduated high school, I tried the fad diets and lo

st a bit of weight only to put it right back on as soon as I went back to my regular eating habits. I eventually just accepted the fact that I was a fluffy girl. Never in a million years did I think that I would be able to actually be one of those “fit” people.

After the birth of my first son, my weight continued to climb up the scale. I remember going to the park with my son many times and not being able to slide down the slide with him, chase him around, or climb the rock walls with him and that just killed me. I didn’t want to be the mom who sat on the sidelines at the park eating chips and drinking soda while my son played by himself. After the birth of my second son, I was at my all-time high of 218 lbs. When I had to say the words out loud that “I’m 218 lbs.,” I knew that was the last time I would ever say that. I was going to make a change this time. I was not going to let this little boy play at the park while his momma sat on the bench. And so my journey began…

My youngest son was 1 week old when my mom and sister came to visit and they looked amazing! They had both been on Weight Watchers and they gave me a crash course on changing my eating habits just enough to make a difference by cutting calorie intake and portion sizes. Five months later, I had dropped about 25 lbs. and that is when a friend asked me to join the gym with her.

Joining the gym was the hardest thing for me. In my head, I was thinking “I’m too big to go to a gym, everyone would be staring at me, I don’t belong anywhere near a gym.” How silly for one to ever think that, but I did. Having my friend with me was my saving grace. She made it less stressful every day walking in with her instead of alone. We joined the classes they offered and started attending classes five days a week. We alternated between step aerobics and body pump. That along with counting my calories on the greatest invention ever, the My FitnessPal app, the weight just started melting off. Who would have every thought that just a little diet change and exercise would do the trick? Ha! I certainly thought it was going to be a lot harder than that. By my youngest sons 1st birthday I had lost 73 lbs.! I weighed 25 lbs. less than the day I got married and the smallest I had ever been in my entire life, I had never felt more amazing in my life. I had more energy, confidence, and for the first time – I believed in myself. It truly was like I was I was a hermit crab carrying around this shell my whole life, but not anymore I was free, and there was no stopping me now. Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 4.06.55 PM

In 2011, another fitness interest sparked in me. In high school being the chubby girl, I had never ran the mile in school. In fact, in my entire life I had never ran a mile straight through. So I challenged myself to start running. Not long after that challenge I was running 5K’s and winning in my home town races. I started training for a half marathon and fell in LOVE with running. I had found an outlet! Running was how I cleared my head, took out frustrations, talked to God, recapped my days, and truly had my “me” time. By 2013 I had run two sub-2 hour half marathons another personal goal to myself.

I have to say that having a strong support system is a huge key to success. My mom and my sister were my running partners, my friend that joined the gym with me held me accountable to be at the gym every morning. My husband at first was not so happy about all the healthy cooking but soon saw how important it was for our whole family. Also online support is always great. I created a group on Facebook (Flex it Pink Fitness) that is a great support system for ladies in their fitness journeys.

I had lost more weight through running but wanted another challenge. So I started lifting weights along with running. I followed Jamie Easons Live Fit program at the gym. This has transformed my body to what it is today and I am so thankful to have found this love for lifting. I was terrified the first time I walked over to the weights section at the gym but that fear soon left just as fast and I started seeing results from the weight.

I have lost a total of 80 lbs. and gained so much strength and confidence in myself. The loss of the weight doesn’t compare to the changes in my life that have come from my new healthy lifestyle. My children now have a healthy mother, a mother to lead a strong example for our family. The most rewarding feeling in the world that comes from this new lifestyle is that my children will not be the chubby kids in school. When I see them making healthy choices, I know every bit of struggle in this journey was worth it. I know for a fact if I had not changed my life, my unhealthy habits would have passed onto my children.

I now am a certified personal Trainer, co-own a motivational fitness company for women and have a Transformation Feature in the 2013 October Issue of Fitness Magazine. My life is never in a million years how a pictured it being but boy how amazing it has become. All thanks to a little dedication and commitment to change. The choice is yours – YOU just have to make it!

There will be set backs, there will be struggles, you will have bad days and pig out on pizza and chocolate. You will want to give up, but will it all be worth it! Just never give up! Always believe in yourself. Do it because you love yourself and your body not because you hate it! Do it for your family or future family. Especially as women we are the healthy leaders of the families we buy and cook the food. The choice is ours – we just have to make that choice.

The most important thing to remember is not to compare your journey to anyone else. We all have different body types and we all start at different stages and we all have different kinds of support systems. As long as you are always moving forward, don’t let one bad day get the best of you and don’t let comparison steal your joy. Remember that your nutrition needs to be a lifestyle change and not just a quick fix. Learn to eat for fuel. not for pleasure, and find what you enjoy whether it be lifting, running, yoga, cycling, walking, swimming, anything that you can do for at least 30 minutes a day that gets your heart pumping and DO IT!!!!

You can find Elisha Villanueva at:

Facebook I Blog I Instagram