How did I get here?

In my blog, I share so much about where I am now; how I’m doing with my current progress in my fitness and health journey and tips and ways to help you succeed in your own personal fitness and health goals.

But today, I thought I’d change it up. I thought it would be a great time to reflect on where I started and why I started. You might be dealing with your own struggles along the way and I always find it helpful when I hear from others on the issues and stories that transformed their lives so that I know I’m not in this alone.

And neither are you.

I’m asked from time to time, how much weight I’ve lost; how long I’ve kept my weight off; how I juggle my goals with my at home coaching business and my family life. But the latest question I was asked had me stop and say hmmmmm

Screenshot 2015-09-20 at 8.22.23 PM

And to make me stop and reflect on anything has got to mean something! 🙂

I was asked, “What was the reason you started to exercise and eat right?”

Like the actual reason?

Wow! What a question, indeed! Why do any of us actually start to watch our weights, to start a new diet, to embark on a new fitness program at all? For me, I have to go back to where the pain began. Because for most of us, we start a fitness and health plan to move away from pain or uncomfortable situations.

For example, if you just thought about losing weight one day, how likely are you to start making changes that very day? Most of us wouldn’t bother until we found the best plan for us; picked the  best day to start (and it’s usually a MONDAY) and then procrastinate for awhile still. But what if you went to the doctor and he/she told you that you were on the brink of a health issue or were in serious risk of developing a disease? Now, how likely are you to start now? 

See the difference in the scenarios? We tend to want to move away from pain versus moving towards pleasure more rapidly. Sure, looking and feeling good sounds like an awesome idea but do we really want to start sweating and feeling uncomfortable in starting a new plan NOW? And what about cutting out our favorite foods? Who really wants to give up leisurely sitting on the couch and watching our favorite tv shows while enjoying our favorite foods as our chillax time? Not many..

So back to the question I was asked…what was my deep rooted reason???

I grew up in a large and happy family; the eldest of five children. I was shy and reserved and felt a bit “odd” at times to most as I felt my family life was a bit “different” and “old fashioned”. I felt that I couldn’t keep up with the trends and social status among the other kids my age. I was a major introvert. I would have rather just eat my lunch alone at school and play on the playground jungle gym in my own aloneness at recess…

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My first grade picture; before the insecurities were formed

But that wouldn’t seem cool or “normal”… I had to have at least one or more friends. And I did. But just as childhood friends go, they can be fickle and hyper-critical of anything different and there I was, all different and stuff.

Now, this could have all been my own perceptions and maybe not even accurate in the least but nonetheless it was my truth. I seemed to find the “friends” who were just as insecure as I was, and then be swayed in another direction from some of the “bullies” and “divas” instead. I know it was a long time ago and my childhood memories are a bit sketchy, but I was usually the one student left out of the main cliques. I always wanted to be part of the “IN” crowd but I also knew that would never happen because I was so NOT the in crowd. I wasn’t even part of the “side” crowd; if there is such a thing. I can almost bet that I probably hardly spoke many words to anyone at school since I was so awkwardly shy; but in my memories, I was mistreated by so many so-called “friends”.

And so it began, my youngest memories of feeling insecure and without any confidence or confidants. I would just hide my feelings from everyone, even my family. What would they think of me anyway, not having friends?  I had to hold on to my status in some way or another. So I just pretended and imagined everything was “fine”. I would fake being sick many days so that my mom would just let me stay home; away from the drama and the trauma at school. I know, now it sounds almost ridiculous but to a child; these issues are ginormous.

It was during my 5th grade year that I remember being the first one in my class to develop.  I was taller than most everyone in class. I hovered over the boys and felt like a ginormous monster. Not cool for an 11 year old girl.

I did all that I could to “fit in” but as I wasn’t quite comfortable in my own skin, it never came across in the right way. Now I know you’re probably thinking, “seriously? this is what your first memories of struggles are?” and to that I say YES! What we struggle with as young children stick with us in such a strong and permanent way; since these are our “development” years. So, in essence, I was “developed” into my struggles with food.

I would come home and EAT. Eating soothed my insecurities. With foods, I didn’t have to prove anything. I felt wonderful; I felt loved and I felt comforted from my life’s childish stresses. Now, this wasn’t a terrible problem for me until I hit the age of 14; and noticed in a picture of some of my peers that they were now as tall as I was…but I was quite a bit ROUNDER than they were.

This was horrifying in a whole new way. I tried “hiding” my thighs in clothing that wouldn’t accentuate my lower heavier self but it didn’t make much of a difference. Obesity has grown in recent years but when I was a young teen, this “shape” didn’t seem quite “normal” and here I went again on my insecurities of standing out. Some of my “friends” would even go as far to say that “boys like thinner girls’ bodies…and not ones like yours”….

I would have been happy to hide behind others and never be seen.  Yes, I know at that time of my life I was too scared to speak up and allow others to hear the ridiculous things I had to say. I preferred to be quiet and enjoy the chatter of others, who were more confident in their skins.

I set out to “right” my eating issues. I would restrict all that I ate and reasoned that just as eating too much allowed me to gain weight; the choice to eat too little would remedy that and I’d lose the weight again and be “normal” among my peers.

Not so much. This was the time that my starvation/binge period began. I’m thankful that I never resorted to “rid” myself of what I would binge on but it would start the awful cycle of starving myself for as long as I could handle it…or until the next bout of depression/anxiety and emotional issues would hit. At this point, I could eat the entire refrigerator contents and not blink an eye.

It was at this point, my mom saw what I was struggling with and decided to sign me up at the local gym and at Weight Watchers.

It was at these centers, I finally belonged. 

I heard stories from other women and young ladies who struggled in much of the same issues I was. At the gym, we attended small group exercise classes and the women in those classes accepted me in; just as one of them. I was invited, quite frequently, to choose my favorite move and “lead” in front of the class.

oh em gee

I was hooked. It was my place. I was finally one of the “in” crowd.

This was also the time I realized I could feel good about myself and still lose the extra weight that I had been struggling with. I lost my first initial 20 lbs and was recognized and celebrated among the other women in our weight loss group and it was a HIGH.

If I missed a class at the gym, the other ladies would actually notice and ask where I had been. So, this is how it felt to be accepted!! I couldn’t believe how wonderful this new world was! I wanted more! I wanted to SHARE with the world!!!

I looked up to and followed one of the fitness instructors and trainers; Syliva.

She was my ultimate role model. She embodied fitness, helpful tips, personality and vitality. She put up with this “pesty” young girl, following her around after classes, asking tons of training questions and food tips. Sylvia was so amazing with me that she even accepted to show me the “other side” of the gym; aka: weight room. Now, how many women do you know who actually go into the weight room? This was the area that seemed off limits because it was predominantly men who spent most of their time there. I wanted to be the exception to the rule. And so Sylvia marched me proudly into the weight room and showed me how to utilize the machines and free weights.

I remember the feeling of finally finding my “calling”. My heart was pulled into learning more about this side of life. How is it possible that I had believed for so long that just eating more or less would allow me to reach my ultimate goals? How was I not aware of this side of the world before?

Now, I realized that I had the power to tone and strengthen up my body to become fitter and healthier versus “good and bad” on my current “diet” mentality. It was about empowerment in all areas of my life; my beliefs and my confidence. Whatever you love; go out and do it whole-heartedly and you’ll never be the same again.

That’s my early story…and I’m sticking with it! Although, that is not the end of my struggles, it helped to shape my newfound passion and calling in life. I knew I would be helping to empower other women to find the workout plan for them and meal plans that best suited their needs and help them achieve the goals of feeling confident, beautiful and powerful.

What about you? 

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