Technically, my journey began in college. Or if I want to be completely accurate, my journey started sometime around my fourteenth birthday. Or maybe when I turned nine and realized I was a bit ahead of the development curve in my peer circle. However, since I lacked awareness of development and puberty and all the things that come with blossoming womanhood until later, we’ll start with my college years.
I had already been a woman for several years by that point and had grown accustomed to the way my body handled food. It felt like I could just LOOK at a piece of cake and gain five pounds on the spot. My cycles were all over the place and often a major hindrance to my activities of daily living. My health was so-so and my energy reserves almost non-existent.
By the time I finished my freshman year, I’d gained the “freshman fifteen” and beyond. Discouraged, I looked to exercise programs and diets to “fix” my body issues, still unsure just what issues I actually had. Oh I knew I ate more than I should and on the less healthy end of the food scale. I was a college kid. A broke college kid.
A broke college kid with weight issues and a crummy self-esteem. I couldn’t afford a gym membership and my “diet” consisted of rice, cheese, and whatever meals I could beg from my friends at church and in the community.
So I signed up for ROTC. I LOVED it. While I never got the opportunity to sign on as a full-time military member, the program called for early morning PT five days a week. I started losing weight and gaining muscle. I had a team around me who encouraged and supported my desperate attempts to get and stay healthy.
At my best time health-wise, I was 117 pounds and running four miles a day.
But my diet was still unbalanced and my energy still flagged. I suffered migraine headaches and my hormonal cycles were seriously inhibiting my ability to function in school.
Then I got married. Last semesters of college and I gave up ROTC to finish my degree in Nursing and spend time with my new husband. While I NEVER regret that choice, I do regret not continuing to improve my health goals and manage my weight. By the time I was pregnant with our first child, I was 220 pounds and gaining. I felt like I would ever control the downward spiral.
After she was born, I tried to get started with exercise and healthy eating again. I cut out most sugars and processed foods and walked regularly. I lost a few pounds, but would gain it back faster. I moderated my portion sizes and tried to limit my eating out.
But I still suffered depression and severe fatigue. I went to specialists and OB/GYN doctors to try to explain why I gained more weight even while dieting and exercising regularly. They ran blood tests, urine tests, and a dozen other procedures, all turning up nothing. One doctor told me I was too young to feel this way. I burst into tears and told her I knew that, but I still did feel that way and would she just tell me why.
I made progress, but it was slow and discouraging. Even though I wasn’t 220 pounds anymore, I still felt like I would never feel healthy and energetic again. My husband tried to support me, but he suffered with his own effects from a serious car accident in his late teens and he wouldn’t join me when I tried home exercise programs. So I pressed on alone without answers and with very little active accountability from those around me.
Shortly before my second was born, I finally found a doctor who discovered what was going on in my body. She diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and told me I could either be on hormone treatments for the rest of my life, or I could find the correct diet and exercise program to manage my weight and the symptoms. Fatigue, depression, rapid weight gain, trouble losing weight, irregular and heavy cycles, insulin resistance…the list of symptoms went on and I had them all.
Instead of getting discouraged though, I felt instant relief. I FINALLY knew WHY my body struggled to stay healthy. And I could finally get more intentional about finding the right plan and the right food to get the results I wanted. Mainly, to lose weight and keep it off.
The next three years, I researched and educated myself on what PCOS was and how to combat it. I came up with meal plans and threw away the processed grains, making my own bread and using alternative sweeteners like honey and agave nectar instead of the white sugar and all-purpose flour. Though it still sneaks in at times (particularly around holidays) I have steadily decreased all the unhealthy foods in my diet and started using better supplements.
I started running. That first 5K was devastating and exhilarating all at once. I was so sore and exhausted, but I felt like an Amazon Woman afterward. Now, every time I cross a finish line I bawl my eyes out, because a few years ago all I wanted to do was give up and not care anymore.
Then my sister invited me to join her BeachBody challenge group. Actually, she asked me several times because I was oddly reticent. I had excuses. I can’t do it alone. (We don’t live close together, so it still feels a little isolated). My husband won’t join me so I won’t do it. I have kids. I don’t have the money for it.
Finally, this last November and December, I got stupid and binged on all the foods that are the worst for my body and my health. And I realized that all my excuses were just that. I couldn’t afford NOT to commit to change the rest of my life. And neither could my husband.
So I told her I would join her challenge group in January as long as my husband joined with me. He refused to join without HER husband. I lost SEVEN pounds in the first two weeks. That’s the fastest I’ve EVER lost weight and I’m still losing it. I’ve got a partner in crime to workout with me now and the motivation is incredible. Even on my REST days, I want to get up and move. My energy levels are rising and I’m kicking the cravings for unhealthy foods.
The rest as they say is history…or is it?
Because I decided to take one more leap of faith and change the rest of my life for good. I decided that I wanted to share my story and my transformation with others. So I signed up to be a BeachBody Independent Coach. And I decided that I needed to share my story with the world.
I’m chronicling my journey here so that others can see the honest struggle and the reality of fighting and overcoming the odds. I am SO excited to partner with and encourage others. No matter where you are on your journey, it’s NEVER too late.