Please tell us about your story:
Growing up, I was never over weight. Even in High School I was a good weight (115lbs). I was always into sports and dance, I considered myself to be very active. I never worked out but up until about 18 my weight ended up taking a turn for the worse. The loss of my grandmother in May of 2000, took a big toll on me. I became an emotional eater and only found comfort in food. My boyfriend at the time, (who is now my husband :)) would tell me to stop eating out so much that he could tell I was gaining weight. I should have listened but since it was only a 10lbs difference at the time, I didn't see it as a big deal. On top of that I just had started college at Robert Morris University and I enrolled full-time. So being a full-time student and a full-time employee at a Law Firm, I had no time to eat healthy. I became addicted to fast foods, especially the caramel fraps at McDonald's, I drank two every day! The years passed and even though I was happy I had graduated from college and continued working at my Law Firm, I was still not happy with myself. I knew it was because I had gained so much weight. I tried signing up for a membership but always found excuses not to go. I became comfortable and complacent with the way I was and I almost had accepted that this was how my life was going to be now.
At the age of 26 I got married to my childhood sweetheart, who thankfully still loved me no matter what size I was. At the age of 27 I got pregnant with my first born son named Josiah. I thought to myself well if I breastfeed, I'll definitely lose the weight since I heard it burns over 500 calories. Thankfully, I was able to do it for 8 months but still I didn't see the results I wanted. I was so naive thinking I had to eat certain foods for the baby and being pregnant I ate whatever I wanted and told myself I would worry about it after I had the baby. What a rude awakening that was because at 30 years old I decided to weigh myself for the first time in years and the scale was not very nice to me, the scale said I was 173lbs. I cried, I felt horrible, like what kind of life am I living? I always knew I wanted to be healthy, I wanted to live long for my son and husband. Diabetes runs high in my family and I told myself that I refuse to continue to allow myself to go in this direction. I had to make a change for myself and for my family. So determination was planted in my head and God would give me visions of me being and looking healthy, so now that my mind was set, my actions needed to follow. April 28th 2012, our Firm was having a seminar called Fit26. It was a health challenge that would take place for 26 days. Our Firm would pay half and we would pay the remaining $35. I decided to embark on this journey with my co-worker/friend Wendy and we decided to take a leap of faith and invest in ourselves. From that moment on, our lives have NEVER been the same. We followed the food program which was eliminating dairy, grains, sugar, wheat, and caffeine. You're probably thinking what's left to eat, well I'm glad you asked :) I decided to repeat the 26 days as doing it for a total of 3 months and that included veggies, protein and water. It was hard, the first 3 weeks were the hardest. I would get headaches, feel nauseous, and wanted to quit a few times but this time I was dedicated like never before and having a friend by my side to go on this journey with me gave me more motivation to continue. I wanted to not only do this for me, but for my family and friends that are all over weight and wanted to make a change but didn't have the tools or the right influence around them to make the change. I wanted to be someone's fitspiration :) During those 3 months, I took a few pictures, kept a weight log and also incorporated Cardio. I had been working at my company for 7 years and always new they had a mini gym but I just started using it. This gym has also been a blessing to my life, no membership fees, convenient and it doesn't interfere with my wifely or motherly duties. After the 3 months I started to incorporate almond milk and Ezekiel bread into my diet. I love dairy and I love carbs. Now that I have the knowledge, everything is in moderation. I've learned what to replace so I can have a variety of things to chose from. My church started a fit program called Storehouse Fit that was very motivating and helped me on this journey as well. This has been one of the best, hardest and most rewarding journey's of my life! I never liked running. Running 0.50 distance I would feel exasperated but little by little my endurance started building and in November I decided to enroll in a 15k race with my friend Wendy. That was one of the happiest days of my life! I was so proud of us being able to conquer 10 miles with the help of God. Not only did we finish the race but we came in an awesome time. I finished at 1 hour and 33 minutes, to God be the glory! 7 months later I've lost 50lbs!!! I am now 123 lbs and I feel great, I sleep better, I have more energy and I love eating right and working out, I can't see myself ever living without great nutrition or doing some kind of exercise. But I didn't do this all on my own, I definitely have to thank God first and for most, I would always repeat Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens me". My husband for his encouragement. My Pastora and parents for always pushing me beyond my limits. My sister-in-law Rachel for always pushing me to join a race. I started doing 5k's with her last year and now she's pushing me to do a half marathon with her later this year! We'll see how that goes :) My friend Wendy for being my weight loss journey partner. I also want to thank my boss for buying me fruits and vegetables for Assistant day, it reminded me how soon I needed to start this journey. Last but not least, for my son who without him knowing pushed me to be the person I am today. Although my 50lbs goal has been reached, I definitely want to incorporate weight training so I'm excited to see what's in store for me next :)
What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story? *
It's important to put yourself as a priority. Stay dedicated, determined, driven and committed. You are your biggest competition, you never know what you are capable of until you push yourself to your limits. With God all things are possible!