This blog is not about me. Or at least that isn’t my motivation in writing it. My story and my experiences are not that dissimilar from those of so many people. Life befalls us, with its ups and downs; happy moments sandwiched between sorrows, stressors, and sleepless nights. We all get bogged down in the muck and mire of life at some point; losing sight of the good; losing hold of what matters, and getting a little lost, sometimes to the point that we don’t even recognize ourselves any more because of weight gain, aging from stress or unhealthy habits like eating and drinking too much; or letting people into our lives who bring us down instead of lifting us up. This blog is about all of that, but mostly its about leaving that negativity behind and choosing to live positively stronger.
Through this blog I’ll be sharing glimpses of my daily efforts to live a healthier life and be positively stronger. In January of 2018, I joined a challenge/accountability group that my fit friend Bridgette of BHappyFitness was hosting. Along with a handful of other ladies, all with our own “why” motivators, I decided to take on Autumn Calabrese’s 80 Day Obsession. I had ballooned up to over 250 pounds, again, and as the winter holidays of 2017 came and went, I had to face myself in family photos in which I dwarfed everyone.
Despite the happy smile, I hated that I had gained back almost all of the 70 pounds I’d lost between 2013 and 2014. I wasn’t, however, surprised it had happened, as I’ve gained and lost and gained again a few times in my adult life. Likewise, I was never a skinny girl as a child. I’m pretty sure I woke up one morning sometime between 5th and 8th grade with a DD bust, and I know my mom struggled to find girls clothing that fit my womanly proportions.
I maintained a healthy weight growing up by being active; riding bikes, walking and playing sports throughout middle and high school. Fast-forward to senior year of college, I had ballooned from about 160 to around 225. I’d gained the freshmen fifteen, plus the sophomore, junior, and senior fifteen. I started Weight Watchers, tracked my points, and took up walking daily. I dropped back down to 189. Then I got pregnant, got married, had a baby, started teaching, and the weight crept back. From 2005-2010, I fluctuated between 205-225. Then I got pregnant again, and I was pushing 290 pounds when I gave birth in January of 2010.
I lost some weight after giving birth, but I was fluctuating between 250-260 for a few years. Then, in the spring of 2013, I was laid off from my first teaching job and my marriage came to an end. Armed with time on my hands, the self-reflection that often only starts when a relationship ends, and the powerful motivation of a photograph of me with one of my students at her graduation ceremony, I stopped neglecting myself and began eating clean, tracking what I ate using the iTrackBites app, and exercising. I lost about 33 pounds in six months.
Over the next few years, with the encouragement of Bridgette, I joined a LiveFit challenge at the Cardio Club, signed-up for a Warrior Dash in my area, and was logged over 500 miles walked using the MapMyRun app/website.
By 2014, I was teaching again and had met someone, and for awhile I was living positively stronger. Unfortunately I allowed myself to be consumed by a toxic relationship, that ended with me slipping into a sad state for awhile, followed by a recovery fueled by bad habits; late nights out with my friends, all the fried appetizers, pasta, shots, beer, wine, and Moscow mules. I might have logged a couple short walks a week, but that’s likely an inflated memory. I was happier, but not healthy.
In 2016, I started dating a great guy, he loved me curves (rolls) and all. But, more late nights, more Moscow mules, lots of video game marathons, lots of snacks, and only an occasional hike or walk resulted in my clothes getting too tight; my ankles, knees, and hips throbbing constantly; and me worrying (like most women do at some point) that my great guy might start looking elsewhere if I didn’t start taking better care of myself.
I’ve lost 34 pounds and over 40″ since January 2018, when I teamed up with Bridgette @ BHappyFitness. From January to April 2018, I cut out alcohol entirely. Did I mention yet that I teach middle school, and wine is basically a requisite survival tool? I resisted my kids back to back birthday ice cream cakes. I meal planned, prepped, and rarely ate out and stopped eating the so-called nutritious lunches from the cafeteria. I exercised 4-6 times a week from 30-60 minutes a day. I was sore. I was cooking, a lot. Washing dishes, a lot. I even cried a little (not over the dishes, just to be clear). But mostly, I flexed my new muscles, marveled at how my body was changing, and embraced this new lifestyle in which I am living positively stronger.