How did I get to where I am at? I suppose my journey to health and wellness began in middle school as a competitive swimmer. I started swimming in 6th grade and was pretty good from the beginning. I worked hard in practice but not really ever to my full potential. Swimming was more of a social thing for me. I consistently got 2nd place across the board and a few 1st place ribbons here and there. Why try any harder when I was enjoying myself and doing well? (Man, I sure wish I would have had my competitive streak back then that I have now!) All through school I was never a top athlete at anything other than swimming. Any sport that involved a ball I wasn’t too good at. I lifted weights, biked and ran here and there to complement my swimming and enjoyed it but really I only showed up to those extra practices for the boys. (well, that and the wrath that my coach would have hammered down on me if I didn’t show). When I went to college the only thing I did was drink and eat too much. For my jobs I always life guarded and taught group exercise classes so I was in pretty good shape for those things but never took them seriously. I got married early (12 days before my 20th birthday) to a Marine. 4 months after we got married, he deployed overseas (again). Of course I wanted to be smoking’ hot for him when he came home so I took advantage of the free gyms and personal trainers on base and worked out like crazy. I would look great, he would come home for a few months and the workouts would stop and we would eat more than we were both used to during his deployments. Right when we would start to put on some weight, he would deploy again and so we both worked out like crazy agin – and so the cycle continued for almost 4 years.
My Marine became a civilian and we moved to Tennessee and experienced a complete and total life change. Neither of us worked out too often but luckily we had great genes (right?) and still managed to look pretty good considering all the beer and pizza (and my lack of cooking skills). I ran a local pool, taught swim lessons, and a few group exercise classes and enjoyed it but the schedule didn’t work well with the husband’s typical 9-5. I eventually quit being paid to be a full time gym and pool rat and I put to use my degree in psychology and became a family counselor/case worker. With the new job also came a few new pounds and “softness” I had never seen in my normally toned body. Lucky for me, I got pregnant a few months later and I looked adorable with the extra weight of a baby bump. By probably 8 months after I had the baby, I looked better than I did before I got pregnant. I am certain that nursing for a year definitely helped. I worked out minimally and I did a spin class once a week. I looked great.
Awhile later, I got pregnant again. When I found out I was pregnant the second time, I weighed 117 (121 by my first doctor appointment) and felt very comfortable with how I looked. I specifically remember by 6 week post-partum check up I weighed 126. My doctor made a comment something along the lines of “Oh, you’re doing great! You are going to bounce back to your starting weight in no time.” I was never one to worry about my weight – especially after having a baby and I didn’t think much of it. Besides, I had absolutely no problem looking good after my first daughter was born. I guess all of that gave me secret permission to eat whatever I wanted. Well that was the last time I saw 126. By the time my youngest was 2 I was stuck at 130lbs. Now I know that doesn’t sound like much but that is definitely extra weight on my small frame. I was eating healthy (based on what conventional wisdom was telling me) and my weight wouldn’t budge. I got my YMCA membership and started training for triathlons. I worked out 6 days a week, 8-9 workouts: 3 runs a week, 2 swims, 2 spin classes, 1 coaching session (lifting weights and sprints) and sometimes a road bike session. I was in shape for sure but the scale never moved. I was beyond frustrated. I was doing well with my triathlons, getting age group medals in most of my races, shouldn’t I have a smoking hot triathlete body?! Nope, apparently not. My husband kept telling me “Diet is 80% of body composition. You need to change what you eat. Be happy you are maintaining your weight and not gaining.” Whatever. I told him over and over he was wrong and did’t have clue what he was talking about. How on earth could someone go from practically sedentary to training as much as I did without losing weight? Clearly my body was broken. What happened to those “good genes” I thought I had?
A little over a year into my triathlon training, I switched jobs and became a school counselor in a different county, which meant I lost my gym, my coach and all my training buddies. I knew that I was certain to gain even more weight so even though I hated running, I signed up for my first half marathon just so I would have to keep working out. I ran and ran and ran and still lost no weight. I finished my fall half marathon (loved it) then took a break and hibernated for the winter. A friend of mine was selling this magical pink drink that promised effort free weight loss. Again my husband chimed in saying “There are no biological freebies. It won’t work.” I told him again he had no clue what he was talking about and he just needed to be quiet and support me. My body was broken, I was fat and uncomfortable and I was going to try it. So I spent way too much money, started drinking the drink…. and…. GAINED 8lbs. What the hell?!?! I was up to 138 and more uncomfortable than ever. This was November/December of 2013. I just resigned to the fact that I was old and a mother of 2 and there was nothing I could to do lose the “mommy weight.”
Fast forward to April 21, 2014…. enter Paleo. I didn’t know a whole lot about it but my brother in law had crazy weight loss success with it so it peaked my curiosity. I only intended to do 30 days to see what it was like. Holy Freaking Cow! It was AWESOME! I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I didn’t feel bad any more. The first week I lost 5lbs – I was eating a TON of food and even more bacon and I was losing weight and felt amazing. By July 4th, 2014 I saw 126lbs again – loss of 14 lbs in just over 2 months- I was sleeping through the night (which I felt like hadn’t happened since the birth of my first child in 2008), my moods were better, my skin was better, EVERYTHING was better.
So a year later, where am I? Currently I can say I have been on again off again with Paleo, mostly on again but during the times I fall off the wagon, the weight comes back on really fast. Every time I am on again I say I’m not going back off because I feel so amazing when I cut all the processed junk out of my body But, I am human. I am not perfect. Each day is a new day and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I am a work in progress and now that I’m in my 30s I am finally starting to figure out how to take care of my mind, body and soul. My weight may not be where I want it to me but more important is that I feel okay with it and as I learn how to take better care of my health, I feel better mentally and physically and the number on the scale doesn’t seem that important anymore.
Where are you at on your journey? Share it with me! Let’s be ideally imperfect together!