BY HEATHER ROBBINS
...I really neglected myself. There was “no time” to work out, there was “no time” to prepare healthy meals, there were just so many other things going on that took priority.
Sound familiar? Let me start from the beginning; let's begin a few years earlier...
Throughout my childhood and into teenage years I really enjoyed an active lifestyle; heavily involved in competitive synchronized swimming and cheerleading (#basic). I carried a fit and tiny build from my training and never put much thought into my 'nutrition' or separate physical activity outside of my individual sports. I eventually made the transition from an athlete to a coach in my early twenties, but this came along with post secondary studies and new employment obligations; nevertheless, my 'health and fitness' took a backseat to life.
Does the following sound familiar to any of you?
I didn’t “have time” for physical activity
...and I was hitting a drive-thru ordering take out, or going to a restaurant almost daily.
By the time I started my fourth year of university I had gained about 75 pounds and was so unhappy with my body. That year I started going to the gym and cleaning up my eating habits and by the time graduation rolled around nine months later, I had lost 40 lbs and was feeling pretty darn good about myself. I had been spending 2 hours a day between the gym and cardio and was eating an EXTREMELY calorie restrictive diet. Being in that “comfort zone” with my weight, I eased up on my training and my nutrition, it truly just wasn’t sustainable to continue with what I was doing, and started a vicious cycle lasting the next 10 years.
I gained & lost the same 25 pounds following every “diet” I saw advertised on TV or promoted by celebrity trainers, and owned probably every fitness DVD ever produced. I thought I 'got results' with everything I did, but never found a maintainable lifestyle in any of the programs I tried. I’d get bored with the DVD workouts and stop doing them, slowly start incorporating more “treats” into highly restrictive diets, and end up right back where I started. It was a rollercoaster of weight loss and gain that I was living literally every year, sometimes twice a year. During this period I actually got married and honeymooned (at 165 lbs!... my lowest weight since high school), had my beautiful daughter, and then year and a half later...
... I got separated!
My weight rapidly dropped back to 175 lbs and I began the process of picking up all the pieces of my life and put them back together (with my weight yo-yoing all along the way.)
I spent almost three years focused entirely on my daughter, working every hour that I could to support us while trying to finish my graduate degree, and eventually slowly getting back into dating and a “normal” life. In 2013 I met my now fiancé and life really started to turn around. I was really focused on trying to build a strong relationship with my new love and a solid family life for us and my daughter. I started a new career, sold my home from my first marriage, bought a new home with my boyfriend, and life really just got crazy again. Good crazy, exciting crazy, but just plain crazy. I was so focused on everyone that was important to me and all the wonderful changes happening that I really neglected myself. There was “no time” to work out, there was “no time” to prepare healthy meals, there were just so many other things going on that took priority.
All of a sudden we fast forward to the beginning of 2015 and my life is wonderful. I have an amazing, supportive man that loves both me and my daughter unconditionally. We have built an incredible life together accompanied by friends and family that love us. We are 'healthy', happy and have so much to look forward to in the future.
…..so how come I am not feeling happy about myself?
Where is my confidence? Why am I so exhausted? Why do I feel like I have no time to do anything? My to do list is 9 million items long and I spend all day every day ticking off items but feel like it’s not getting any shorter. I’m stressed. I’m tired. Oh, I am also incredibly unhappy with the way I look and feel, back up to tipping the scales at almost 200 pounds.
Something NEEDED to change.
I needed to stop this horribly unhealthy cycle of weight loss and gain I had gotten myself into. I needed to be happy and healthy feel like a role model for my daughter. I needed to take some time and focus on me so I could be the best me that I could be for my family, friends, coworkers and anyone else I came across in my life. I needed to make a big change in my life and making a News Years resolution to lose weight (again, for the 11th million time) just wasn’t going to cut it. I decided that in 2015 I was going to be SELFISH. I was going to take some time for me everyday, that was just MY time, and I was going to start by cleaning up my eating and getting back into the gym.
I started by taking an hour or so on Saturday while I was enjoying my coffee, to look through magazines, 'pinterest' and a few other healthy food blogs/websites for recipes that I could try in the upcoming week. Sundays I would make my breakfast and lunch for the work-week and pack them into the fridge, then plan a few new suppers that I could make during the week.
I started going to the gym in my building at work on my lunch break every day. I started slowly. It was surprisingly manageable. I wasn’t really following any type of nutrition plan or diet, mostly trying to make wholesome food choices and stay around that “magic” 1200 calorie/day mark.
Every week I was doing three days of full body circuit style training using body weight, free weights and a few machines (40-50 minutes long) along with a few cardio sessions. In about 2 months, I lost 22 pounds and was ecstatic! YEAH! (insert happy dance here)
But wait………….I’d been here before. This is where & when I would traditionally get in my weight loss/fitness attempts; I would get comfortable, ease up on the restrictive diet, start introducing “bad” foods back into my diet, start skipping workouts, until all of a sudden, I was back to eating out (think McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Wendys, Tims, and all the Nachos, Potato Skins, and cheesecake I could fit in my belly) multiple times a day, and finding all the excuses I could to keep me from working out.
I didn’t want to go back to this.
Not this time.
This time was going to be different!