⚠️ WARNING ⚠️ I am about to get really vulnerable….
Growing up I was a big girl. I was always taller and chunkier than my classmates, making it tough for me to feel good about myself. I hated being tall. Being so much taller than alot of the guys was embarrassing and uncomfortable for me. I was never really bullied, but I was always getting inside my own head and constantly comparing myself to other girls my age. I wasn’t skinny like most taller girls tend to be.
As the years went on though, I stopped comparing myself so much to other girls and started embracing my height. I had to stop dwelling on something I couldn’t change. My weight however was something I COULD change. I was always chunkier growing up, then I kind of thinned out a little and then towards the end of highschool/beginning of college I really started putting on the pounds. I was eating alot of takeout and I was drinking alot of beer. Loved my beer. Something had to change.
I had tried weight watchers and other fad diets in prior years but nothing worked. Now that I look back it was probably because my commitment level just wasn’t there. I wanted to lose weight but wasn’t willing to put in the full effort it took. I had always exercised too but again, never really tried too hard before quitting because I wasn’t seeing immediate results.
Turning My Life Around
I was talking to my good friend Jen one day about wanting to make a change but I didn’t know where to start. She told me I should start running. I think I might have laughed in her face! I wasn’t a runner. I was the kid who picked daisies on the soccer field. She said ‘no seriously!!’ She showed me this app on her phone that tracks her distance and time when she runs. That got my attention. An app that kept me accountable, showed me my stats and gave me fake medals when I reach a certain amount of kms? Love it! (so me). I downloaded it that day and starting running that night. Well, when I say running I mean jogging/walking/dying!! It was brutal. I was so out of shape. I walked/jogged 5km that first night and never looked back. It was in writing, I couldn’t quit now.
It took me a good couple of months of running every day before I started noticing results and feeling better. Of course I had to change my diet as well. I was a carb whore. I loved carbs. Bagels,pasta,muffins, waffles,you name it. I ate it. It was awful. I knew if I wanted to see changes I had to quit cold turkey. So I did. It was so hard!! I knew that exercise alone wasn’t going to work. I had to start putting healthier foods in my body. After a couple of weeks of no carbs, I felt so much better! I had alot more energy, I felt less sluggish and was less moody. I didn’t realize how much of an affect eating those foods had on my body.
I used to be really hung up by the number that showed up on the scale. I weighed myself often and I was the kind of person who got really discouraged when it didn’t show the number I had hoped for. This made it really hard for me to keep going with my journey because I felt like I was putting in so much work and I still wasn’t where I wanted to be. It took me a while to realize that the scale is just a number. My pants were feeling looser and I could feel the muscle building in my arms and legs. I knew I had been making progress.
After about 9 months to a year, I was finally at the weight I had hoped for. I had lost 40 pounds and went from a size 12 to a size 6. This was the smallest I had ever been in my adult life. I felt amazing!! Being ‘skinny’ was never really my end goal. Being healthy and feeling better about myself was. Mission accomplished✔
Maintaining My Weight
I didn’t go on any crazy diets because those just didn’t work for me. I needed something that I could maintain so that I wouldn’t fall off the wagon and go right back to where I was before. Literally I just started eating better. I cut the bad carbs(still eat them sometimes but in moderation), I am eating more greens, substituted pasta for quinoa, eating lots of protein and healthy fats. I used to crave fast food and crap food but I don’t anymore!! I love fueling my body with delicious and healthy meals. Eating healthy does not have to be boring or tasteless. There are so many delicious, healthy recipes out there.
My reasoning for cutting the carbs completely is that I kind of have an obsessive food personality. It’s all or nothing for me. I either ate all the carbs in sight or none at all. I am in a good place now where I think I have a good balance of eating healthy and eating the odd treat but I didn’t have that before.
There is definitely still room for improvement in my diet but I am at a point in my life where what I am doing is 100% maintainable. I don’t even really think about it anymore. It’s just my lifestyle now.
Back to running. I finally got to a point where I started to love running and wasn’t just doing it to lose weight. I actually enjoyed it. So much so that I entered into my first half-marathon in 2015. I was pretty nervous as I didn’t really train hardcore for it like most runners would. I had no idea what to expect. 21.1kms is a longgggg way to run. I started off slow and was doing really well but by about 18kms I was POOPED. My legs felt like jello and my body was just exhausted. Not to mention the mental exhaustion. I didn’t know if I could make it.
Rol had to work that day but my Mom, Aunt and Oma traveled with me to watch me race. I was about maybe 3kms from the finish line and I look over into the crowd and Rol was standing there!! He left work early and traveled down to Toronto to be there for me. Seeing him at that 18km mark when I was completely exhausted gave me that drive to keep going and to finish the race!! I did it. I ran 21.1kms. Holy shit. Biggest accomplishment of my life. Of course I was on a high after finishing that race and went on to do another one that Spring and another after that the following Fall. My family didn’t miss a race. They were there to support me every step of the way.
The last race that I ran was in Ottawa in the Fall of 2016. We were getting married in June 2017 so with all of the wedding prep and stress, I didn’t want to add any extra stress by signing up for a race so close to our wedding date. I had planned to run one in Fall of 2017 but we got pregnant! We had Lincoln April of this year so it has been 2 years since my last half-marathon which is crazy to think about. I now plan on hopefully being able to run one in Spring of 2019.
Before I got pregnant I was at my ideal weight and felt great in my body. Fast forward to post pregnancy, I am not at my ideal weight BUT I still feel great in my body. Going through a pregnancy and delivery has given me so much more confidence than I ever could have imagined. I love my body, not necessarily for how it looks right now but for what it has been through in the last year. It housed and delivered a baby. Pretty amazing. I am struggling like most new mamas I’m sure, with the fact that my old clothes aren’t fitting like they used to. They fit but they are a little more tight in certain areas. This has been so frustrating! I am still wearing some maternity pants and shirts btw. 1.Because they are comfy AF. 2.Because that’s all that still fits comfortably right now.
I was finally fed up with this a few weeks ago and decided to go shopping. It’s annoying cause I’m in that ‘in between’ stage of not being big enough to fit into my old fat clothes but being too big to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. So, I was trying on clothes and I found myself just grabbing what I liked and not really paying attention to the sizes. I was generally a small, sometimes x-small or medium before I got pregnant. I used to be a large or x-large years ago. I grabbed a medium and a large shirt off the rack a few weeks ago and the medium was a bit too small but the large fit. I didn’t even care. Usually that would have bothered me pre-pregnancy and I would have bugged me for the rest of the day but not this time.
If it fits, it fits. That’s it. I did not get hung up on the size of the shirt. Instead I bought it and I now wear it comfortably. My body and weight is still a work in progress post-baby and that is okay. It took me almost a year to get the 40 pounds off before. I gained 30 pounds during my pregnancy, with a healthy diet and exercise(yikes to what that number would have been if I didn’t eat well and exercise). The extra weight is obviously not going to come off right away. It is going to take time and maybe even more time than the first time. That is okay!
Just to be clear this was not some sort of self-pity post or a reason to be congratulated or celebrated even. Just me, telling my story and how I got to where I am today. Running has become a stress reliever and a great outlet for me. I still struggle every day with diet and exercise however, my motivation level is good when it comes to exercise. I make it a priority in my every day schedule no matter how busy the day might be. That is my “me” time and it sets my mood for the day. I am so cranky if I don’t get my workout in!
My Continuous Journey
There are so many ups, downs and interruptions in life. My journey is not always going to be perfect but I have learned what a healthy balance is and now enjoy my relationship with food and exercise. It was always kind of a dark subject for me because it always related back to my weight but not anymore! My advice to you if you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle is to find a balance and achieve something you can maintain. Don’t think of it as a long term diet just make it your lifestyle. Easy as that. Even the smallest changes can make the biggest impacts. I have learned how to feel confident in my body no matter what. I hope you can too!!