My Fitness Journey:
I was very active in high school. Growing up in a small town I was able to play all sports. I could eat like a pig and still be a "string bean." I played basketball, volleyball, golf, track, cross country and was on our school dance team. Once I got to college, my activity level decreased significantly. I also adopted some "bad habits" like drinking alcohol, staying out late and eating fast food. I took full advantage of having a drive-thru just minutes from my apartment, that's for sure.
I never had that growing up, as the small town I lived in did not have drive-thru fast food establishments and only had one restaurant. Going out to eat was a special occasion for me growing up, so once I was in a college town, I had fun with it.I enjoyed meeting friends at restaurants and once I was old enough to drink, I indulged in several happy hours every week after work and school. I was busy, but I was not physically active other than going dancing with my friends on the weekends and the occasional cardio session.
The weight snuck up on me. I am a tall woman, 5’10 to be exact. I graduated high school weighing 130-135 pounds. At my heaviest weight in college I weighed about 180 pounds, or at least that's when I lost track. I could not believe I had put on fifty pounds. I had always eaten what I wanted and had no problems with my weight. I graduated high school in a size 4 at age 18 and I ballooned to a size 14 by age 20.
The day IT all hit me was a HUGE reality check for me. I overheard a guy refer to me as a "whale" and that's when I realized I was on an unhealthy path. I was unhappy with my body and I actually went shopping all the time, always looking for that "PERFECT" outfit to make my body look better.In fact, I ran up about $8,000 in credit card debt searching for that perfect outfit. I finally realized that when you have a great body, everything looks great on you! Once I was honest with myself and mapped out my goals, I started making small changes here and there. I also made a plan to be credit card debt free.
I went out to eat less and started working out two to three days a week, at first. Sometimes I just went for a walk. Anything to be active. I took baby steps because I didn't want to give up. I was never the dieting type because I hated that feeling of "starving." I loved food far too much. I knew there was another way to do it. A healthy way.
Once I met my husband and we got married, we eased into a schedule of working out five days a week. Notice I say "eased" because being that dedicated did not happen overnight for me. Luckily, he liked fitness so he encouraged me on tough days and I did the same for him. When we got married I had lost most of my weight from college and I had paid off my credit card debt. Slowly but surely, I was making progress.
t took me several years to lose most of the weight only because I did not understand the value of a CLEAN MEAL PLAN. I look back now and realize that what took me several years to do, could have been done in a matter of a few months had I only known the right way.
I found that nutrition determines 80% of your results.
Once I was at a healthy size eight and about 24% body fat, I hired a nutritionist. That was the point I knew I was ready to take my fitness to the next level. I wanted to be able to SEE my ab muscles I was working so hard for. No, abs aren't everything, but I wanted to see a return on my hard work. I knew my nutrition was not exactly where it should be and actually found out I was under eating, which can make you hold extra weight.
My husband and I started our new lifestyle in March 2010 and our bodies drastically changed within just three to four months of consistent clean eating. We kept our workouts the same, about 4-5 days a week, for about an hour each session.We found that we didn't have to work near as hard in our workouts when our nutrition was on point. Before long, strangers were stopping us at the grocery store to ask our opinions on food, labels and asked what we did for fitness. It was amazing the response and results we got from simply following a meal plan consistently.
We still eat the same way today, almost five years later. Guess what? It still works.
Even after having my baby and gaining about 30 pounds with pregnancy, I found this healthy lifestyle to be a life saver for me. It really makes all the difference with my energy levels to keep up with my baby girl.
I love living a healthy lifestyle year round. I give myself weekly goals to get in the gym and write down everything I eat in my planner. I eat every three hours, five to seven meals a day. I'm not a calorie counter because it takes up too much time, but I do know that I eat between 1,800 - 2,000 calories per day. The calories I eat are healthy now, not junk. We often cook in bulk to have meals on hand because it's tough to cook all the time with a new baby. We still have our "treat meals" but we usually plan for those once a week so we can maintain our preferred level of fitness. We basically eat for our goals.I love lifting weights, as they give me the most results. Muscle tones your body and helps your body burn calories all day, even while resting. Performing cardio alone just makes you a smaller version of yourself. I believe a combination of lifting weights and cardio will give you the best results. You don't have to spend hours in the gym.
Now that we have our sweet baby girl, we organize our schedule so that we can take turns working out. Some days I catch a quick workout at home while our baby naps. You really just have to do what works and realize that no day is the same with kiddos, usually. As long as we keep our nutrition consistent, it works.
I hope this helps you in some way.
(Couple photo taken in March 2010 and the right is our results just 3-4 months later from eating clean. I went from 24% body fat to around 15% and Kent went from 24% to 6% body fat).
(Photo by Bryan Anderson Photography- Baby Brinkley at 8 months)
Photos below - Taken in June 2015.