I was never a small child growing up. Being overweight burdened me through high school. Despite trying to lose some of it before prom, I didn’t get very far. I refused to wear an open back dress that night, afraid that others would make fun of my back fat. Years passed and my weight continued going up and down. After high school I found myself doing a lot of eating at fast food restaurants. By 21, it became a bad habit of partying and eating all the wrong foods. I never actually knew my weight until walking into the doctors’ office for a check-up. When the nurse asked me to step onto the scale… I was 308 lbs! My stomach turned in disgust of how much weight I gained. Leaving the appointment with not much else being wrong (except being anemic), I decided I needed to make a change in my entire life.
My first visit was to a weight loss clinic where I learned about portion control and drinking water. I left with a goal of losing only 100 pounds and my journey had begun. I returned the following week to weigh in and had already lost a whole 15 pounds! I was so happy and everyone at the center was excited for me too, however… they never told me that I needed to exercise. One of the employees actually told me it wasn’t even necessary! So I lost weight at first by just eating proper portions, but I was flabby and still not satisfied. Needless to say, this company went out of business about a year later.
Once I started nursing school I began to learn more about the body and its many diseases caused by being overweight. I didn’t want to fall back into the extra pounds, as nursing school can be pretty stressful, so my advisor suggested using the gym at the school. I began to workout, but was still fairly uneducated on the nature exercising and routines, so I did only what I knew, which was walking and biking. Cardio was my new thing everyday and I began to lose weight again.
Once finished with nursing school, I decided to go and get a membership at a local gym. Their on-staff sales associate asked me what specifically was I looking forward to doing. I talked about cardio and that once I hit my goal weight I would do some weight training, but I didn’t want to be bulky. He laughed and explained that weight lifting doesn’t make women bulky… it gives them curves! He also explained that I could be thin and still have fat stores because I don’t lift weights. He told me I might not ever be satisfied with my looks from cardio alone, then demonstrated a few of the assisted weight machines. From that day forward I’ve included weight training into my regimen. This sparked an interest in the different classes at my gym, which only helped me get further outside of my comfort zone and trying new things.
I liked one class in particular so much that the instructor and I became great friends. We worked out with each other during class, outside of class, doing 10Ks, and big races like the Spartan! I started to meet plenty of new friends who wanted the same thing as me: to be healthy and enjoy life. We all push each other and challenge one another to do more, to be more, and it’s what keeps me going. Never would I have thought that in a place where I was once so intimidated would be the same place I’d be finding new friends. Surrounding myself with people who are on the same mission helps me stay focused.
My current weight is 170 lbs. and anyone that knows me knows I love the gym and I take eating healthy serious. I say “eating healthy” because it’s not a diet… more like a way of life; to help your body to defend against so many diseases. I hope that I can help someone find their inner strength to change their life to a healthier one.
Five Tips I Learned Along the Way:
– Use a food scale and measuring cups to help you learn portion control!
– Surround yourself with like-minded individuals.
– Ask others at the gym about equipment and weights. Most people are willing to help!
– Find healthy snacks with protein. Eating right all day and then snacking on a donut can ruin your efforts. I use Quest Bars as a snack so I can stay on track
– Use exercise as a way to deal with stress instead of eating. During some of my most stressful times I found it therapeutic to work out and leave the stress in the puddle of sweat.
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