fitness

Repost – Personal Story

When I first made the decision to start a blog, I wanted to direct it towards both health/fitness as well as traveling.  I quickly realized, however, that those are two completely different topics and there aren’t a TON of people like me who have passions for both. That is when I decided to make this blog, my Feed Your Cravings brand, and stop posting fitness articles on my other page, Wanderlust & Wine.

That being said, there are some posts that are still on that page that have not made their way over here. In an effort to show some consistency and have everything in the same location, I’m slowly going to start moving those original posts onto this blog.

I wanted to explain that because some of you have seen these posts already and I apologize for that.

The post below is my own personal lifestyle journey.

The Journey of 75 Pounds

My weight has always been an issue for me. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been “chunkier” than everyone else. The earliest memory I have of actually being bullied for it was in the 6th grade. I had a crush on a boy in class, of course one of the “popular ones,” but he had no interest. One of his girlfriends was talking to me about it and she told me that he didn’t like me because I was “bigger.” And I didn’t even know at this point that it was a bad thing!

1455553903.pngIn 8th grade, one of the “popular girls” physically bullied me in Tech Ed class. We were building houses out of toothpicks and hot glue guns. She put hot glue on the end of one of her tooth picks, turned around and slammed it right on my wrist. I still have a scar. And her exact words were “that’s what happens when you’re fat.” I despised that woman throughout my high school days, and I still do. If she ever gets near me while I have a hot glue gun handy you better believe I’m getting revenge.

I don’t think people realize that being overweight is not only physically bad for your health, but a lot of it is mentally exhausting. It’s not an easy thing to deal with. When I was in high school, my mom always used to tell me that she “didn’t want me to end up being a 200lb 18 year old” – so she made me run up and down the stairs, or made me walk on the treadmill. I hope you’re picking up the key words here – “made me.” If I didn’t exercise, I was punished, and that was the end of it. I get where my mom was coming from and I know she was just trying to help, but in hindsight, it didn’t help. It made things worse.

 

You see, my parents got divorced when I was 9 years old. It’s a long story and I could go Pictureinto detail but I won’t. It needed to happen, I’m glad it happened, but it was still messy and it was still emotional. My sister and I lived with my mom majority of the time. When we were old enough, she would go run errands after work or go out with friends, etc. I would be bored home alone so I would eat… and when I say eat I mean I would eat an entire frozen pizza, or a whole bag of pretzels. I was young and I didn’t care. I also don’t really think I realized what I was doing to my body. I used to hide food in my room, hide the evidence of things I ate; that was for everyone else’s sake. I could care less if I ate an entire box of Zebra Cakes (yes, this happened, on more than one occasion). Food was an outlet for me, it made me feel better, it made me happy and it gave me something to focus on. It was an addiction. If you’re not familiar with food and what it does to your brain, every time you eat something satisfying or rewarding, your brain releases “feel good chemicals” such as dopamine. You get addicted to that feeling, or that high that it gives you, and it takes over.

I was never diagnosed with food addiction or a binge eating disorder, but I’ve struggled with both. Hell, I still struggle with them today from time to time, but I’ve learned to control it much better than I used to.

PictureWhen I was 15 years old I started working at Cousins Subs part time. I think that’s when my weight really started to get out of control. I could have unlimited soda whenever I was working (my parents had not allowed this at home so it was always a treat – and a goal to drink as much as possible during a 4 hour shift). I also got money towards food every time I worked, which I always made sure to use. I’d say at least 4 days a week I was eating subs with mayo & cheese, and French fries, and cookies. It escalated pretty quickly.
The older I got, the worse it got. I could drive so I was always eating fast food. I started drinking coffee and would buy a large French vanilla cappuccino every single day. I started drinking alcohol and eating pizza late at night. Bring us to college – I’d eat Ramen and Mac & Cheese on a daily basis. I’d go grocery shopping for myself and would always buy the cheap junk foods. Long story short, I developed more unhealthy habits as the years went on. I noticed that my weight was climbing but why care? I still had lots of friends, I could still fit into clothes (even if some were plus size), I still had a pretty face, I had boyfriends, I  got decent grades; nobody else cares that I’m fat so why should I?
I graduated from college in May of 2012. The day after graduation I studied abroad for 3 weeks with about 15 other people that I didn’t know. We went to Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and France. Honestly, that trip changed my life. It’s where my love for travel began, but more importantly, it’s when I had my first “I need to change” lightbulb come on.

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Within our Europe itinerary were tons of gorgeous old castles and cathedrals. Castles and cathedrals require a lot of walking and a lot of stairs. Overweight people typically have difficulty with both of those things – I freakin hated it so much. And it was extremely embarrassing. I could barely breathe, I was always sweating, and I looked ridiculous in the clothes that I wore (it was warm so it was typically tank top and shorts). The day after I got back from Europe I purchased a membership at Planet Fitness and started making the gym a daily part of my routine.
PictureI set a goal for myself: 150lbs. I wanted to reach this weight by the time I was 24 years old. To get out of the “overweight” BMI category I needed to be at least 155lbs, but I wanted to beat that. I changed my diet, learned how to cook, tried several different types of exercises, and really dedicated myself for the next year and a half. When I got down to the 160’s, I joined Weight Watchers because I needed a little push.

I didn’t reach my goal by my 24th birthday. I was 158lbs when I turned 24.  I was bummed but I was SO CLOSE that I didn’t let it bring me down. It wasn’t until about 14 days later that I finally hit the mark: 149.8lbs.

That’s the first and last time I was under 150. And I’m ok with that.

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After I hit my goal, I loosened up a little bit. Being restricted on calories and food; basically everything good in life, made me very crabby. I was obsessed with my weight. I was obsessed with counting calories and cutting carbs and working out. I was missing out on a lot of great memories I could have been making with my friends because being disciplined was always #1.

PictureIt was a difficult mentality to get out of and it was a slow process. But eventually I got back to enjoying my life realizing that it’s truly about balance. That was about 2 years ago now and I currently weigh around 165lbs consistently. I could drop weight again if I really wanted to, but at this point I believe 165 is where my body needs to be in order for me to live a happy, balanced life. I still drink. I still go out for tacos. I still eat a brownie once in a while. But I also work out 6 days/week. I prep my meals. I choose healthier options when I go out for dinner. I’ve learned a lot over the past 4 years about food and health and my body, but also about myself.

Weight loss is not only a physical journey, but a mental one as well. It’s something that you have to decide to do for yourself. You need willpower and you need willingness to get out of your comfort zone. It’s all worth it in the end.

 

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