I'm blogging about my "fitness story" because I've had a lot of people asking me lately how I lost all the weight I've lost. But it's a lot longer of a story than just losing 15 pounds overnight, like I seem to have done!
My fitness story is an relatively long one. I'd always had weight issues growing up. I was never obese, but always kinda chunky. After my freshman year of high school, though, I had reached a high weight and knew I was heading in a bad direction, so I began the consistant attempt to lose weight. I spent a whole summer and much of sophomore year starving and binging and working out 6 days a week some weeks and not at all others. It was a bit of a yo-yo diet, wrapped up in self-esteem issues, and very unhealthy, though I did end up dropping about 15 pounds.
Hello, 15 year old Lynette.
However, that weight loss only lasted until about senior year of high school, when weight slowly started to creep back on. By the time I was in the middle of my freshman year of college, I had gained a whopping 35 pounds. I had better self-esteem at this point and didn't really notice the weight gain too much until one day, in April 2010, when I saw this photo of myself:
OK, despite the fact that this is the most unflattering picture of myself ever.. I was so disappointed.. I hadn't realized how much weight I'd gained. I attribute it to leaning on food as a crutch. Whenever I was depressed or upset about something, I used unhealthy food as a vice. During this time in my life, I was in college heading toward a career I knew wasn't what I really wanted to do with my life and was in a place I was not satisfied with. I'd taken the status quo of everything in my life: the status quo education, the status quo level of motivation and vision, and the status quo relationships, even with God. This picture reflected to me that I'd given up on reaching for the stars.
I knew things needed to change, so I started a low-carb diet. I worked out 4-5 days a week and stayed consistant, and within about two months, I'd dropped about 17 pounds. I was still 15 pounds heavier than I was in high school, but it was a start for me. Here I am sometime that summer:
I also instituted a lot of personal change, getting rid of fruitless things in my life and getting back on the course I knew God wanted me on. I'd always loved and served God since I was a child, but I started spending more time with Him, dedicating the rest of my life to Him and whatever He would have me to do. And this is when He brought upon my relationship with Matt! We'd been friends for about a year at this point, but by fall of 2010, we were essentially dating, even 1400 miles apart. This was just the beginning of the incredible journey God would set me on, but more about that later! Let's stay on the fitness track. :)
I maintained my weight from June 2010 until July 2011, which is when I moved to Texas to pursue Bible School. I was still using food as a crutch at this point, I was just slightly more controlled with it. I wanted to lose more weight, but this emotional relationship with food prevented me.
I lived without a scale from July 2011 to December 2011, and frankly didn't even have time to focus on a diet, with Bible school, Matt and working almost full-time. But I was eating less frequently simply because I didn't have the money to buy fast food or all the groceries I wanted, and Matt and I were taking hour-long walks 3-4 nights a week. By December when I came home for Christmas, I'd lost 6 pounds. I was excited, because I hadn't weighed this little since high school, but definitely wanted to lose more. This somewhat motivated me to get to work on my body, so when I went back home after Christmas, I began working out in the gym more and sticking closer to the low-carb diet again.
In March of 2012, Matt proposed to me! :) At this point, I had lost another 7 pounds and was feeling better than ever. From March until I moved back home in May, I maintained my weight and focused more on preparing for Matt & I's marriage and new life in Michigan. The total weight loss at this point since April 2010 was 30 pounds. I was almost back to my high school weight. But with my pending nuptials, I wanted to look my best, and I still didn't feel healthy. I had stomach issues often, feeling nauseous or tired a lot. A low-carb diet, in my experience anyway, is great for dropping weight when you're heavier but wasn't working as well for me when I didn't have as much to lose. In a low-carb diet, you are missing out on some grains and definitely a lot of fruit, and I missed the occasional sweet!
So starting this past May 2012, I started devoting myself to learning everything I could about a healthy lifestyle, focusing on what my body needed to maintain the optimal level of health and strength. I did it the old fashioned way, counting calories, eating between 1300-1600 calories a day and working out 5-6 days a week. I focused mainly on cardio, since I was trying to lose weight, with a little bit of strength training. With my diet, I try to focus a lot on healthier grains, fruits, veggies, lean meats, some dairy and high-protein foods like eggs, beans, etc. I also recently attended a meeting at my church with Dr. Don Colbert, who talked about how wheat and sugar can have such a negative effect on your body, so Matt and I went about a week without either and couldn't believe how amazing we felt! So I will be pulling back on wheat products and sugar products a little bit.
Aaaaaand here I am today! Literally, just took these pictures five minutes ago, haha..
Down 17 pounds since May, and down a total of 47 pounds from my highest weight two years ago, and happier and healthier than ever. :) I actually stepped on the scale a few days ago and realized I'd met my "wedding goal weight", which was a weight I havn't been since MIDDLE SCHOOL!
I know that it can be easy to look at a larger person and ask, "How could they ever get that big?". But I have never thought that, because I completely understand, and often am surprised that I never reached obesity. I was totally emotionally addicted to food. Any depressing day or moodiness or rejection that I faced absolutely had to be soothed with food. Even today, this is still hard for me. At the end of a stressful day at work, I don't want to go home and control my flesh by eating a healthy meal. I want to eat an entire plate of pasta, and four breadsticks, and a hamburger, and a bowl of ice cream. It's been a stressful, emotionally exhausting journey facing the fact that I was emotionally addicted to food and learning to sever that relationship. I've had a lot of people criticize what I'm doing, too, saying that I'm going too hard on myself or that I don't need to be "that strict", but to me, an addiction is an addiction. I may not have been addicted to drugs or alcohol, but food is just as bad a killer as any other addiction. Maybe some people can keep candy and junk food in the house and not eat it all in one sitting but at this point in my life, it's very difficult for me not to. So now, I try to choose my foods for myself, for the right reasons. I choose to eat fruit and lean meats and clean food because it makes me feel good and gives me energy and heals my body. And I choose to eat a little ice cream or a side of french fries here or there as a treat, not because I "gotta have it" or "just can't help myself" or I "deserve it". I also don't want to be obsessed with being a certain weight number or size, and don't want my entire life revolved around dieting and working out. I just want to be healthy, inside and out, and feel good, and take care of the healthy body God has blessed me with!
Just in case you all are starting to think I'm a stuck-up health guru saint, I'll have you know that while writing this, I'm eating a delicious, sugary apple fritter that an elderly gentleman at work bought for me (who can say no to a sweet old man with enticing Autumn pastries!?). But this does mean I will watch my sugar intake for the rest of the day and follow up the sugar with high fiber veggies, like carrots. I'm not saying I never mess up or have a bad week! But always within reason, and I always snap back into place. :)
As you know, everyone's body is different. I am in no way suggesting that you should adhere to the diet that works for me, because what works for me may not work for you. I suggest always consulting a doctor, nutritionist, or at least Google (lol, but seriously) before beginning an entirely new nutrition and fitness plan! :)