Transformation…we see a lot of that in social media from all sorts of health, wellness, and fitness coaches, trainers, gurus. And if you are like me, you wonder…how did they do it. And yes, I have those transformation pictures as well. But I thought I would start here telling my before story.
I don’t even know how far back to go. All I know is that when I was young, I didn’t give two hoots about my health and fitness really. I wanted to be “fit” or at least be able to do aerobics, because, duh, who doesn’t like headbands, leg warmers and body suits? But most of us then (and probably even now) equated healthy with weight. I was skinny. Really skinny. Not because I tried to be, just because I was. I survived on french fries, chocolate bars, pasta and maybe the occasional can of green beans. This is not a bash on my mother’s attempts to provide nutritious meals, but back then it was fried everything and veggies came from a can. (Ok, there were occasionally a few salads and fresh cucumbers and tomatoes). However, this was the foundation of my nutrition. I ate what I wanted, didn’t care about the labels or nutrition and only on rare occasions did I even look at calories.
This also was my experience with body image. I didn’t have the sexy curves like my friends or other girls my age. And yes there was a lot of teasing around the my missing body parts (mainly my boobs). Picture this, a strapless, white lace tea length dress for prom (equipped with the white lace gloves) and you guessed it…I couldn’t fill it…so I had to have it taken in. Back then it was just as hard to find clothes that fit for us small girls as it was for the plus sized girls. This is where (at least in part) my self confidence got lost. That feeling of not being enough. People say that “body shaming” happens to larger girls, but it also happened to me – because I wasn’t large enough.
But let’s not misunderstand, I am not holding grudges or lamenting that my life growing up was bad. Just some pieces to the puzzle I call myself. If we fast forward, in my early to mid 20’s I discovered that eating whatever I wanted and how much I wanted caused weight gain. Not horrible, but it was a bit of a new concept. Then I was blessed with pregnancy. I only gained 28 pounds, and it came off pretty easy (Thanks Billy Blanks and Ti-Bo). But again…I worked out, but really didn’t think a lot about nutrition.
Now that I was a wife and mom, I did attempt to prepare healthy meals. However, my husband traveled a lot and my kiddo was picky. And because I worked too, I found solace in convenience foods. Years of this (and some attempts at a quick fix and yo-yo diets) packed on the pounds. I went from about 115 pounds at age 18 to 147 at age 46.
Let’s take a time out here…between the ages of 28 and 46 I was raising my son. At a young age, he was what we determined to be “spirited.” Ok…he was difficult. But there was a reason for that. He was diagnosed (when he was in middle school) with ADHD and when he turned 14 he was diagnosed with depression. This beautiful boy with so much passion suffers so dearly (still does today). This is a situation I wouldn’t wish on anyone. As a mom, you have a constant heartache. The stress I allowed myself to have during this time only made my health and well-being worse.
So to sum it up…I didn’t learn the importance of wellness (in any sense). I certainly had no idea about how or what I should eat to fuel my body so it would work at it’s best, and I allowed stress and all the outside influences affect my health. The diagnosis was weight gain, high cholesterol, chronic fatigue, headaches, and acid reflux, and probably undiagnosed depression. This was no way to live. I was miserable. So I made a change.