I want to take you through my weight/health journey over the past few years. Before I do, I want to preface with this soapbox moment:
it is not all about the numbers!!!!!!!!!!
Don’t ever let the number on a scale or even the size of your jeans dictate your worth, health, beauty, or anything else about yourself. You are MUCH more than those numbers will ever be. God did not create you or me or anyone else in the image of a number. He created you, me, & everyone else in HIS image & that makes us all a beautiful & wonderful creation of God. Hallelujah!
sidebar: I am an incredibly candid person. I don’t mind sharing details -like my actual weight- with people. It has never bothered me because I realize that those numbers have more to do with body composition than “fat”. Muscle, bones, liquids, fat, etc all has a weight associated with it, so the amount of each determines your scale numbers. I am putting my story out there because I believe that in order to do what I do, write about what I do, & teach about what I do, I have to live what I do & I have to be completely honest about my own life & habits.
I have wanted to share this story for a while & I will get to why, but first….my weight loss/gain/loss/gain story & a few pictures to prove it.
I have always weighed a little more than most woman I knew that where my size, but I was also a lot more muscular than most woman I knew. Working through college as a personal trainer & fitness instructor tends to do that to a woman. I was always pretty comfortable with myself. Of course I had my days, but I was okay with weighing a little more. That was until I started working full-time during the day, going to school full-time at night, & having a photography business on the side, my weight started to creep up a bit. Over the course of two years of doing that I gained 23 pounds landing me at 173 pounds (I tried to find a picture from around that time but didn’t). I remember that weight so specifically because it was how much I weighed at my first OB appointment after finding out I was pregnant with my son. The picture below was one of the first “belly” pictures I took at 20 weeks (so half way through).
I didn’t go crazy during my pregnancy, but I realize now I did develop some really bad habits. After two years of working & going to school full-time while having a business on the side, we where eating out a lot more than we should have. For years, I didn’t drink coke or eat french fries, but for some reason when I was pregnant those where my two cravings. I had them multiple times a week. I also had a desk job. Those factors did not help my weight gain. By the time I had my son, I weighed 235+ pounds. I gained 62 pounds that I knew of [I stopped looking at the scale at the dr’s office after I gained 40 pounds, but accidentally caught a glimpse during one of my last 4 appointments].
(235+ pounds. The morning I had my son)
Like most moms, my focus wasn’t on myself but on my son. So I didn’t really pay too much attention to my weight or anything like that until we had our first family pictures done when my son was 9 months old.
(9 months after giving birth- around 190 pounds)
It was within the next 6 months that our lives began to change when our son was diagnosed with food allergies. I was learning so much about food & our food system that it changed me from the inside out. Without even trying (I’m not kidding I did not workout…I didn’t have time & when I did have the time, I didn’t have the energy to workout. I may have snuck in a workout here & there but it was nothing more than 20-30 minutes & probably only a few times a month). By the time the next spring rolled around, I was down a size to a 12 & weighed around 170-175 pounds- back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
(sorry, this is a phone picture from Facebook on Mother’s Day)
I changed my diet to closely mimic my son’s & it was around this time that I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. By this point my diet had changed completely. I was mostly organic & had seriously cut down on processed food & eating out. I had cut out almost all dairy (I kept milk for cereal & lattes) & almost all bread because my son couldn’t have wheat & I didn’t care for the alternatives. I started making a lot of stuff at home instead of buying it or buying pre-made (boxed cookies, cakes, etc). I was also adding in a ton of fruits, vegetables, ancient grains, dairy alternatives like almond milk, & cutting back on meat.
By the time my first OB appointment rolled around, I was down to about 165 pounds & just starting to show.
(11 weeks along with pregnancy #2- about 165 pounds)
My weight gain during this pregnancy was totally different from my first & I felt so much better, which was good because I was chasing around a toddler the whole time- which was the majority of my exercise. I did exercise a little bit more consistently during this pregnancy, maybe once or twice a week, but it was to slow down the weight gain & try to keep the aches & pains at bay. I gained much slower this time & by the time birth day had rolled around I had only gained 35 pounds as opposed to 62+.
(200 pounds- The morning I had my daughter)
Trying to go with the theme of pictures, I am going to fast forward through the next year. My diet continued to evolve & I had continued to cut out more processed foods, add in more organic ones, switch to different kinds of grains, cut out fast food, & cut out soda & Starbucks (an ongoing struggle for me). By the time my daughter’s first birthday rolled around I was down to 145 pounds. I was 145 pounds the day I got married.
(Baby girl’s 1st birthday- 145 pounds)
(Since the last picture wasn’t a great representation, I wanted to include one where you could see me a little better. These were taken just a few weeks apart)
In March, I challenged myself (& therefore my family) to eat out as little as possible; we where eating out maybe once or twice a week. I wanted to see how big of an effect it would have on our budget, but it ended up having a huge effect on my weight. I lost another 10ish pounds & weigh less today than I did when I was 19 & teaching 9 aerobics classes a week. I also started doing about 20 minutes of yoga in the mornings a few times a week & drinking a lot more water.
My purpose of this post is very cut & dry. I want you to see what a major effect food & the source & quality of your food has on your weight. Rather than just giving you my numbers, I wanted to walk you through my journey because, yes, two babies did make me gain weight, but it was my change to real food, whole food that allowed me to lose the weight.
Back when I was training/instructing, I would tell people, the way you look is 20% what you do & 80% what you eat. I can honestly say I didn’t believe until I started to look back on my journey over the last few years. I will admit this was in no way easy. For us, it was more about preserving our son’s health than anything, but it became a way to preserve & increase the quality of life for all four of us. Be on the lookout for posts to help you start this journey to whole food. My greatest desire is to help people & the number one question people have is how to start.
Stay tuned, but chew on this….
Our neighbor has a sign in his garage that I think applies perfectly to weightless/healthy living…
“you can choose 2 of 3 options: Good, Quick, or Cheap: if it is good & quick, it won’t be cheap. If it is good & cheap, it won’t be quick. If it is cheap & quick, it won’t be good”. Remember that when you think about fad diets or quick weightloss, if it is cheap or quick it probably won’t last.