Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Fitness Journey

A year ago, I started a journey that I had no idea I was beginning, nor did I realize where it would take me. A friend of mine, Megan Potter, was regularly posting pictures, quotes, and motivational blurbs on Facebook about how she had lost weight over the previous year. As these images and words passed in front of me, I started to wonder if I could have a similar experience or results. She talked about her journey and said things like, "I lost [x amount of] lbs in 60 days. What could you do in 60 days?" I was SO tired of not just being fat, but also of feeling fat. It wasn't just a physical feeling - it was emotional and internal. I hated how I looked and sadly, I let that affect how I felt about myself as a person. I know it's not right or ok, but that's where I was. So after all of her indirect encouragement, I began to think...60 days? That's nothing. I can do anything for 60 days. And so I decided to jump into it.

I bought a Beach Body Challenge Pack that included Insanity workouts, Shakeology, and an online membership. I never actually used the online membership because in the beginning of May I joined one of Megan's challenge groups. There was something really great about being in that challenge group. I could never motivate myself to stick with something long-term. I owned a great gym membership, but had only every gone sporadically. I think what helped me start this journey was that there was a goal in place - 60 days. Complete the Insanity program in 60 days. And then, having a group of people that I felt accountable to was huge. I felt like if I missed a workout, I wasn't just letting myself down, I was letting other people down.

Well that first day was a fit test. I thought I was going to die. Quite literally. I wanted to vomit and I told Megan I didn't think I could make it. She encouraged me to continue and I did. I finished Insanity and I was surprised that even though I was exhausted and hoped to never touch an Insanity DVD for a very long time, I wanted to keep working out and being active. I took a short break (due to getting the flu and taking care of a very sick baby) and then started doing the first month of Insanity again. After another month, I heard about T-25 (a 25 min Shaun T program) and jumped into another challenge group with Megan. I finished that and then moved on to P90X3 (a 30 min Tony Horton program). Shortly after starting P90X3, I joined a health group with another friend, Natalie Robison. Basically it is a competition where you put money in a pot at the beginning and can win money at the end by getting the most points (earned by making healthy choices such as: staying under your calorie limit, eating fruits and vegetables, drinking 64 oz of water, not eating any refined sugar, getting enough sleep each night, etc.) or by losing the most weight. I didn't win the first round, but chose to do it again because it was giving me great results. I also finished P90X3 and here I year later from when I started this madness. And yet, it's not madness at all. I couldn't be happier.

No one is more stunned by my results than I am. My physical results alone are huge. I have lost 42 lbs, at least 27 inches, and have gone from a large size 14 to a size 6/8. I honestly cannot remember the last time I wore a size 6 in anything.

I'm not gonna lie. It's a bit embarrassing to show these pics. 1) Because I can't believe how big I let myself get, and it's not flattering, and 2) because I'm showing a lot more flesh than I'm used to. ;)

These first pics are at my heaviest and lightest:
These pics are prior to starting Insanity and after completing T-25, but before P90X3. Apparently I never took after photos following completion of that program or my health challenge groups. Oops. But the difference is still noticeable.

What's crazy to me too is that I used to think I was so fat in high school compared to the size 00 to size 2 girls that I knew. A year ago, I would have DIED to be the size I was in high school. And now I passed that up and I'm even smaller! I started by ideally wanting to lose 25-30 lbs. Once I hit that, I was honestly happy. But I kept working out and making healthier choices, which has led me here. People ask me what goal/weight/size is I'm trying to reach. I'm not. I have no goal. I am 100% content HAPPY with where I am. Sure, I could be more toned and have more muscle. But who cares?! I'm healthy! I have never felt so capable in my body as I do now! I feel invigorated and strong and healthy!

I remember feeling as though at the ripe old age of 30 I was feeling old. I could tell my body was aging and was incapable of doing the things I could in my youth, or even my 20s. Psh! What a load of crock! I just wasn't taking care of myself. I didn't realize how I was truly sabotaging my health and the best years of my life by not exercising and by eating like crap. I've learned a lot of lessons about health and food along the way. Maybe I'll save that for another post. But I really am grateful for this huge learning experience.

The most important part of all of this though is not my physical change - it's my heart and my mind. I still don't like that some of my feelings of self-worth are connected to how I feel about how I look. That is a life-long work in progress. However, separate from that I do feel more confident. I feel capable. I feel dedicated. I feel at peace. I feel PROUD. I like who I am and I like that I recognize I am worth the effort to take care of this incredibly ABLE body my Heavenly Father gave me. I could have been born with impairments or disabilities. I could have acquired them through life. Yet I have been blessed with a strong, able, healthy body. Why should I hurt it? Why should I abuse it? Why should I throw it's abilities away? No more. I want these changes to stick for good. So this journey will not end. It's a journey of a lifetime.