Let me start off by saying thank you. Why? Because those of you who know me now think I have always been in good shape and never had a weight problem. In fact I’ve been accused of being skinny, which I am not. I never wanted to be skinny. Wait, erase that, I used to want to be skinny. But when I became skinny something happened that I didn’t expect. I didn’t like it! YEP! I would rather be chubby than skinny. Why? Because I didn’t look good. My skin hung on me, I didn’t have good muscle tone and I swear it made me look older! Plus I was skinny fat…not sexy, not one bit!
So here’s my story. In 2000 I had my first child. After he was born I couldn’t seem to lose weight & the scale hung around 195 pounds. I worked out, tried to eat good (or so I thought) and would lose a few pounds but it would always come right back. So for the next year I started cutting back, eating less, skipping meals and doing all the unhealthy things one does when we are trying too hard to get “skinny” (I really don’t like that word). I managed to drop about 35-40 pounds and was happy about that. Then something went wrong. I rapidly gained over 60 pounds in less than 4 months. At this point nothing was taking the weight off and I was depressed. My cycles became irregular more than normal and then stopped altogether. I had lost my medical insurance and my job so I wasn’t able to afford to go and get properly checked out by my Dr. 9 months passed and nothing was changing, and I was desperate! I finally got a good job with benefits and the 1st thing I did was get checked out. It turned out that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and was borderline type 2 diabetic. I got treated for these things and lost 40 pounds, just enough to get pregnant again. After my 2nd son was born things went sideways. A month before I had my son we had been in a car accident that injured my shoulder, otherwise everything else was ok. But after my son was born my body began attacking itself and shutting down. I had no energy and could barely function. The dr’s all said it was normal for a new mom with a newborn and a 4 year old but this was far from normal. I was in constant pain. It was like my skin was on fire! I couldn’t sleep well despite being inexplicably tired all the time. My diet wasn’t great, but I felt so bad all the time I just didn’t care. And the brain fog was like being in a NyQuil walking coma all the time.
After a few months a friend recommended their PA to me so I made an appointment. She tested my hormones only to find out that they were all out of whack. At first they thought I had typical low thyroid and attempted to treat it with supplements. When that didn’t work I was referral to a Nurse Practitioner that specialized in hormonal disorders. She sent me to see a Rheumatologist based on the fact I was in horrible pain with swollen joints and based on my medical history they wanted to test me for Rheumatoid arthritis. After the blood tests came back I was told I had an autoimmune disease, but they were not sure what it was yet. My antinuclear antibody (ANA) test was 4x higher than it should have been so they thought it could be Lupus. They gave me more tests and determined I was in severe inflammation. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia thought to have been caused by the damage from the car accident and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroiditis). In a nutshell total body chronic pain and inflammation that was causing my body to attack itself and my thyroid. After a few years of treatments, blood tests and thyroid medication adjustments plus a change of nutritional habits I was finally starting to feel better. My weight was around the 170-175 range and I had 2 more babies, a boy and then a girl. After my daughter was born in 2008 I had my tubes tied but within months I began having severe lower abdominal pain. My cycle was vicious to the point of disabling now. In 2009 I was a bridesmaid in a wedding and I remember hating how I felt in the dress I wore. When I saw the photos I knew I had to make a serious change! I was back up to 180 pounds and feeling terrible. I joined the gym and began walking on the treadmill 7 days a week.
I slowly started to lose the weight but I was getting bored. I had joined an online calorie tracker, in fact I signed up for 3 of them, and was restricting my calories so I would lose more. I got sick of the treadmill and started using the elliptical machines. I tried out the stationary bike but I didn’t like it so I stuck with the elliptical. A friend suggested I try the group fitness classes so I started going to PiYo & LOVED IT! It was a bit slow for my ADHD self, but I was so inflexible and weak it was good for me.
I ended up having a hysterectomy in June of 2010 because I had adenomyosis so bad I had no choice. Uterine cancer runs in my family and there was no reason to take chances. Within a few weeks I was feeling better than I had felt in over 10 years! I returned to the gym and started taking Zumba® classes. I fell in LOVE again! That’s when I realized I wanted to teach fitness classes so I started training to become an instructor. I also started weight training a few times a week, but I was still locked into the skinny mindset so I wasn’t eating properly and in fact was under eating. I dropped down to 145 pounds but I still looked in the mirror and saw my 235 pound self. I was working out several hours a day 6-7 days a week. I had become obsessed with working out and getting “skinny” (should be a 4 letter word). I got my Zumba® license and started teaching classes. My mentor & trainer had been coaching me all along to take better care of my body and I wasn’t listening enough. I started getting injured. First my upper back. Then my hips. Then both. I took some time off and started digging deep into why.
That’s when I met my coach and we started talking. A lot! She too was an instructor and had some really amazing input. By this point I had been learning to clean up my nutrition and eat properly but I still felt like something was missing. She introduced me to my first challenge group, a free 4 day focus in which we would check in daily and earn points. She recommended Shakeology at that time, but I had this awesome Whey (insert sarcasm here) and I swore I was doing just fine with my $30 investment. I ended up winning with the most points and moved on into a 2nd group. Part of my reward was a week of Shakeology. I gave it a try and my first taste – I didn’t like it! I KNOW I SHOULDN’T SAY THAT! But it’s true. I just dumped it into water and shook it up to drink it….and well it wasn’t so tasty. But let’s just be honest here – there’s plenty of foods out there that taste not so great without adding something right? Plain chicken boiled in water tastes pretty bland and unappetizing too! So my second shake was thought out more. I added unsweetened almond milk, some peanut butter and a handful of ice into the blender & BOOM it was DESSERT! But I noticed something else. I had WAY more energy. My belly bloat was gone & my digestion was regulated in a few days. They whey never did that by itself. In the 2 challenge groups I lost 10 pounds and gained energy, strength and endurance I didn’t have before! What I didn’t understand up until this point was that whey protein is really just a filler without the required carbohydrates necessary for the body to actually use it. Plus, the American diet is severely lacking whole nutrient dense foods. What I was eating may have been ok, but it wasn’t enough. (See my first post Shakeology – What’s in it & Why). When I added this one shake a day it was a total game changer!
Over my 10+ years on this journey I have learned a lot from the massive mistakes I made. I have lost 85 pounds and have kept it off for close to 6 years now. Here’s what I learned:
1- Success is created by making mistakes
2- It helps to connect with someone who understands and can help you by being supportive & motivating plus keeping you accountable
3- You MUST eat and you MUST eat real foods. Yes, Shakeology is a real food (see previous post)
4- In order to lose weight you must combine exercise and healthy nutrition. Abs are made in the kitchen!
5- You can’t out run your fork no matter how hard you TRY!
6- Working together with a group of people with similar goals is incredibly motivating
7- Having a coach that helps you with nutrition, exercise and accountability coaching creates more successful weight loss that without. In fact, people who work with a coach that incorporates these things have are 89% more likely to keep that weight off 1 year later as opposed to those who do it alone.
8- Shakeology is great for anyone and fits into all nutrition plans. It changed everything for me & killed my cravings!
I have lived the struggle, in fact it almost killed me. I spent many years overweight, depressed, sick and miserable. I tried several things but where I went wrong every single time was trying to do it alone. By not reaching out to others I had nobody to motivate me when I didn’t want to work out. I didn’t have someone to suggest something that might work better, or share a great healthy recipe with, or to share my successes with. So time & time again the weight came back.
Here are my pics. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but to me they say everything! Earlier this year I had a setback and gained 20 pounds. I wasn’t happy about it so I did something about it – 21 Day Fix & PiYo. I became a PiYo Live instructor and have never been happier, stronger or healthier with the combination of fitness, nutrition and the support of my amazing coach.
I’m staring a new challenge group for 2015, but space is limited. Mainly because I want to ensure I can be available to all the participants in this group so they can be successful. Send me a message with your contact details & say I’M IN! We can do this, let’s talk!