My Journey to a Happier, Healthier Me!
One of my most requested topics through my blogging journey has been my weight loss and fitness routine, so I thought I’d take some time to share what I’ve done through the years, what I’ve learned and the steps I’ve taken to get me from where I was, to where I am now. First and foremost, please remember that this did not happen for me overnight. It didn’t even happen for me in six months or a year - It happened through years of work, years of dedication, and lots of blood, sweat and tears.
A Little Background…
Let’s go back to 2007. The boy I was dating, who I was convinced was my “forever,” broke up with me, unexpectedly. He had given me a promise ring, we had made plans, and then one day, he decided he was done. So, there I was, newly single, 21 years old with a broken heart and I had no clue where to turn. I felt lost and alone. So I turned where many girls my age would – food, alcohol and boys. (BAD COCKTAIL I might add). I was drinking too much, eating way more than I ever had, and spending time with boys, who didn’t have the best intentions for me. All to fill this gaping hole that was left in my heart, when my ex walked away. Now, I can’t blame all of my weight gain on him, I definitely was at fault as well, with the choices I was making at the time. Yes, what happened HURT, but I made the choice to take on the “victim” mentality that I did.
I was going out with friend’s way too much, eating food that I knew was not good or beneficial for my body, and dousing the burning pain in my heart with alcohol. Now here’s the thing with food and alcohol – it’s a gradual gain. It doesn’t happen overnight - It’s one late night meal, followed another late-night meal, followed by drinks with friends, and then one day, you go to put on a pair of pants and they just don’t fit anymore and you wonder, “HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!” But more than anything you wonder, “how do I change this?!”
It took me reaching a weight of 175lbs, before it really hit me that something needed to change. I was unhappy with the girl looking back at me in the mirror – not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually, as well. I had allowed myself to get to where I was. I was depressed, sad, and hated who I had become.
The Turning Point
In early 2012 I chose to make some much needed changes. I chose to do something about the place I had allowed myself to get. I chose to see a doctor about getting on anti-depressants. I chose to hire a personal trainer. I chose to really dig in and get healthy spiritually. I picked up my Bible again and started in church. You see, for me, it took all four things working together – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, to REALLY GET HEALTHY. For me, they’re all connected.
So what did I do? Well first of all, I found a program that made me want to workout. A program that kept me accountable, and that I didn’t have to think about. That program was Kayla Itsines BBG (Bikini Body Guide). It was to the point, it told me exactly what to do every day and it left me FEELING GOOD ABOUT MYSELF! It pushed me physically, it challenged me, and I saw results after just 12 weeks. Not only that, but I was also seeing that working out had a huge effect on my mood and my emotional well-being. Overtime, through staying consistant with my workouts, I was eventually able to come off my anti-depressants! That’s a HUGE WIN! I still resort back to BBG as a guide when I’m feeling unmotivated or don’t know what to do for my workout that day. It’s a great go-to!
For my fitness routine these days, I do a healthy mixture of weight training, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and cardio. If you follow me on my Instagram, then you know we recently got a Peloton Bike. So, most mornings, I will start my day by doing 30-45 minutes of cycling on the Peloton or, 30 minutes of walking at an incline on the treadmill. In the evening, (depending on how motivated I feel...) I’ll do 30 minutes of weight training or a short HIIT workout. Once again, this is what I’ve found works best for me, this is by no means, me giving you any kind of workout routine.
As far as nutrition goes, I cleaned up my eating A LOT. I cut out excess alcohol and now limit my drinking to the occasional weekend and special occasions. Alcohol contains lots of extra calories, so if you’re trying to cut back or slim up, I would first cut out any extra drinking. Nutrition wise, that part is so different for every single person, because we all have different nutritional needs, based on our level of activity. So I’m not going to try to give nutritional advice. I will say, if you’re trying to lose weight or tone up, locate someone who can help you find what’s best for you, long term. Something that is maintainable and something that you can stick with in the days, months and years to come. Here’s what my daily nutrition looks like:
Breakfast - .5 Cup old fashion oats with 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp peanut butter, and some organic berries.
Snack – (one of the following) half of a Perfect bar, an apple with a slice of cheese, or a kind bar.
Lunch – half of a sandwich or big salad with chicken and veggies.
Snack – a handful of trail mix or 1 cup of Smartfoods white cheddar popcorn.
Dinner – Chicken with veggies and rice, a big salad with Chicken and veggies, stir fry, salmon with rice, etc.
I also try to drink anywhere between 80oz and 100oz of water a day! PRO-TIP – Drink 16oz of water before every meal! It acts as an appetite suppressant.
Lastly, if you think you might be dealing with depression or anxiety, please seek help ASAP. There are so many resources available these days, that it doesn’t make sense to continue to feel the way you do. I know the feelings you’re walking through; I know the emotions you’re feeling, and I know the lack of desire to do anything, most days. I also know though, that there is life past depression. There is hope, and there is joy that is waiting for you on the other side.