For most of my life I have struggled with my weight. I have been obese, physically fit, and underweight (too thin). My weight was a never-ending rollercoaster operated by what was happening in my life. Growing up, I did not participate in sports. I thought of myself as “athletically-challenged,” since I couldn’t run fast and I felt uncoordinated. I led a very sedentary lifestyle. Food was the center of family and friend gatherings and it was easy to overindulge. I also used food as a negative coping mechanism to deal with stress.
I tried many fad diets that promised “quick” results, but they ended in failure. When I graduated from high school I was 220 pounds, and by age 24, I weighed 275 pounds (my highest weight). By that time, I had difficulty walking up a flight of stairs. I was short of breath and my right knee was sore, “clicking,” and “crunching.” This was my wake-up call. My 5 ft. 7 in. frame could no longer support the weight. An orthopedic surgeon told me a knee replacement and other health problems would be in my future if I didn’t make a lifestyle change.
I joined a gym, met with a dietitian and developed a good relationship with food. I managed stress and other negative emotions by exercising regularly. In one year, I lost over 100 pounds. I was happy and self-confident for the first time in my life. However, I did have setbacks. I did lose too much weight at one point due to exercising too much and eating too little. Thankfully, with professional guidance, I was able to regain a healthy weight, and for four years maintained a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
In 2012, I changed careers. I went back to college to become a nurse. The nursing program was intense and demanding. I did not make time to exercise and I stopped caring about what I ate. I worked permanent night shift during my first year as a nurse, which messed up my metabolism and sleep schedule. Between nursing school and my first job, I gained 50 pounds. I could see my “old self” returning, which scared me. Once again, I knew I had to take action.
In January 2015, I joined Strength for Life. I had known Jim and Ed in the past, and that they are highly regarded fitness professionals with many years of experience, who could help me “get back on the wagon.” It wasn’t easy starting over again. I was embarrassed by my appearance, and I felt like I let myself down. I couldn’t believe how deconditioned I had become in almost three years!
Where am I now?
With Jim and Ed’s support and guidance, I have committed to exercising 3 to 4 times a week, as well as eating more lean protein and vegetables, and reducing sugar in my diet. I have lost between 10-15 pounds, went down a dress size, increased my strength, and improved my balance tremendously. I am also more energetic and alert when working at night. My goal is to continue what I started. Not to give up. I have worked so hard to get where I am now that I cannot wait to see what I can accomplish in a few months or even a year!