There have been ups and downs.
Trials, and most definite errors.
There have been triumphs and utter failures.
Lessons learned. Lessons forgotten. Lessons relearned...and again...and again.
I grew up dancing. Since I can remember it was straight from school to dance for hours and hours. I loved it. I never even considered it exercise because I was so passionate about it. It was so fun. When I got to high school I tried out to be on our school's competitive dance team and the showcase dance team. I made both and continued dancing for hours and hours a day.
(Can you spot me? Fourth one from the right, back row.)Now on top of the hours of practice, the anti was upped. For our competitive team, our training required running. Until that point running had been more of a form of punishment than anything, but I learned to love it. Healthy eating was always a part of my growing up years. My mom is an excellent cook, and was always providing us with extremely healthy food. I was also a definite sweet tooth. I ate my share of sugar, don't worry. However, I was dancing like a fiend, so it didn't effect me much. I did always feel like I was the bigger girl though. My junior year I went to a dietitian who helped me to dial into perfecting my eating and it was an awesome experience. She taught me some great information, and my love for nutrition began. I did an internship with a personal trainer my senior year of high school and got the bug for exercise as well.
Enter Brigham Young University. Megan decides to major in Business Management. Wow...college life is crazy, right? No sleep, eating like garbage, and my dancing slowed down quite a bit. OK...my eating wasn't total garbage and I still was working out probably 5 days a week but my body suffered a total shock. My sophomore year of college I coached and taught dance classes, but sitting in front of a dance class somehow doesn't have the same calorie burn as taking the dance classes. Go figure.
Less activity + more ice cream = weight gain
I hated hearing the term, "freshman 15" and I swore I was not going to fall into that category. However, my calorie expenditure just wasn't what it was previously. You can't fool the body with things like that. So, I totally gained weight. I'd say like 15-20 pounds. Having grown up dancing, I have always been VERY conscious of my body. It is hard to hide anything in a spandex leotard...just saying. I started to hate the way I looked more and more. I think my depleting self-confidence probably showed too. Don't get me wrong, I loved my first two years of college. I had great friends, TONS of fun, and I was happy. BUT...I just wasn't comfortable in my own skin. I lacked confidence. To make matters worse, I had a lot of friends who could eat whatever they wanted and it didn't matter. I haven't ever been one of those lucky ducks. The bottom line is...It is hard to not dislike the way you look when you gain weight that hasn't ever been there before.
Exercise Science with an Emphasis in Fitness and Wellness Management. Boom.
Enter the love affair with Megan and anything health/fitness/wellness related. I seriously found my true love.
This same time that I started getting into my health classes I also tried out for a professional dance team and it was back to the spandex. I was less than confident about it. I can tell you that much. I didn't have the same body that I had back in the day. I felt gross. Something needed to change.
I started learning more and more about exercise, nutrition, and resistance training. I wanted to practice what I was learning. I kicked my exercise regimen into gear. I started changing the way I was eating. I started running more. Benita and I decided we wanted to run a half marathon. We signed up for the Salt Lake City Half Marathon and training was a go. I started to drop some of the pounds that had made a home on my mid section, but I still wasn't feeling like I was on top of my game.
sugar and I were going to have to break up. I fell in love with a website called fitday.com. I kept up my running. I started lifting weights on a regular basis. I finally started to see some changes.
After graduating I landed a job managing a private gym, (which later merged with Elevate...best thing that ever happened to me) and doing personal training and nutrition counseling as well. I LOVED it. Everything about it. I loved helping people to achieve goals and gain confidence. I was still sugar free, and my eating was pretty dang clean, but I think I was just eating too much. It doesn't matter if you are eating an excess of carrots and broccoli. Excess calories = excess weight. I still didn't I felt comfortable in my own skin. I decided I'd had it. Although I was in great shape, I didn't want to feel like I wasn't living proof of what I was teaching all of my clients. I started doing at least sixty minutes of cardio a day, and I started seeing some more results. Little by little that extra college poundage was coming off.
About a year later I decided I wanted to run a full marathon. Training was rigorous, but awesome. I craved my long runs. I loved feeling like I had just burned a bajillion calories. I felt strong and athletic. I finally started to feel good in my own skin. Not perfect...but milestones of improvement. I was eating good, still no sugar, and cardio was my B. I completed the Salt Lake City Marathon, and crossing that finish line was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had.
I also have come to the realization that my body is just going to give me a hard time with my weight. For whatever reason, I'm not one of those people who can lose five pounds by looking at some broccoli. In fact I'm pretty sure if I look at a piece of cake I gain five pounds.
Fast forward to this past January.
Still no sugar, aside from a few holiday cheat days.
Still lifting 3-5 days a week.
Still cardio-ing it up 60-90 minutes a day.
Still tracking my food. Unfortunately, I have tracked my food for so long, even if I don't enter it in the computer I track it mentally.
Enter the protein phase of life. You may remember the weight loss challenge at my work. I realized that even with my healthy eating habits I wasn't getting enough protein. I am not a meat eater. It is really hard for me, and so I had to REALLY make an effort to change this. It has helped SO much. It finally helped me see some actual results.
I'll be completely honest with you about a few things. I know that I am in good shape. I have worked really hard at it. I know I have muscle definition. I know that I have made some awesome improvements in my lifestyle, and my knowledge of good nutrition has increased. I have put A LOT of time into trying to figure out what exercises are most effective, and how the body reacts and why it responds the way it does. I have learned a lot, BUT I do still I feel like I have some improvements to make until I feel like I'll be at my prime goal weight for me. I know it is extra hard for me, for whatever reason. I tell my clients it's to keep me humble :) I'm not telling you this to be fishing for compliments, or for a pity party, or even so you'll agree with me that I do have a waze to go. I'm telling you because I want you to understand that I know how hard it can be. I am not just telling you what I think might work for you. I am telling you what I've seen work, what I've felt work, and in doing so I hope you can see some results of your own. I can tell you this much...
- living off of 4 hours of sleep doesn't work.
- snacking all day
- having your main sources of food come from Wheat Thins, Dreyers Grand Light Ice Cream, cereal, and Cinnamon Bears
You know what does work?
- interval training and circuits
- being willing to put in some good cardiovascular time. If you really want something you have to work at it. ESPECIALLY when it comes to exercise.
- Food is 80% of the health battle. That is a big percentage. Get your nutrition in gear and you will see results.
- planning your meals out, eating clean, and watching your portions.
- getting rid of grazing and snacking
- eating enough protein, a lot of fresh veggies, good fruits and whole grains.
- LIFTING WEIGHTS. I can't even tell you the difference this has made in my life. EVERYONE should lift weights. Yes GIRLS, WOMEN. FEMALES. Especially you! I feel like it is my personal mission to make sure you know this.
- Cutting back on your sugar. If you really want to see results, get rid of the sugar.
- finding exercise that you love and making it a lifestyle
to name a few...
Like I said...this life is such a learning process. I am continually learning, but I do feel like I have come SUCH a long way. I hope that in doing so I can help pass some of my knowledge on to you to help you achieve great things...because you are capable of SUCH great things.
What are some things you have learned along the way that have helped increase your health? It is amazing how sometimes it's the little changes we make that make big differences. What are some things you still feel like you can work on?