I write this VERY FIRST BLOG POST with some nervousness and lots of excitement. Yikes!!! Before I start, I'll tell you that picture above - that's me today. I am not perfect; in fact, I have many imperfections. But I am better today on the INSIDE and OUTSIDE than I have ever been in my life, and that's what this first post is about.
Perhaps it's silly, but I've dreamed of being a blogger for a number of years. I am a writer; I've written articles, even a dissertation, but I just couldn't seem to latch onto anything passionately enough to write about it (and stick with writing about it). Then last year, I became a fitness coach. And frankly, at first, I was a little embarrassed. (This may be a whole other post in itself, but I had a major hang up with being a "fitness coach." I do not look like a fitness guru, I am NOT a gym rat, and I am NOT a salesperson. Well thank gosh, none of those things are requirements OR even desirable in a coach! More on that issue later. I must get on with THIS post. [smile]
I've had a long and storied relationship with my health, and I've never been fit. You see, I was a "fat kid," felt like the "fat girl" in high school, and was certainly a "fat woman" at different times as an adult. (I've also struggled with anorexia and been terribly and dangerously thin. Again, another post.) So while I've "dieted" MANY times in my life, I have never been healthy. About 18 years ago, I lost over 100 pounds and since then, I've fought with the same 10, 20, even 30 pounds. I've gained it. I've lost it. I've gained it... Well, you get the picture. Much of that loss came in very unhealthy and punishing ways.
A few years ago, I was doing better - eating a bit healthier and even running 2 miles several mornings a week. Then... I changed jobs. I accepted a position that gave me a nice promotion and a raise. But (there's always a but) it also required a long commute, included many work hours, and caused tons of stress. I suppose any new position is stressful (especially if you're a freaky perfectionist), but this one ranks above average in that area and "that's all I have to say about that." (Imagine my best Forest Gump voice.)
During the first year of my new gig, my health took a nosedive and fast! I stopped running completely, so I was sitting at a desk (or in endless meetings) and getting zero exercise. When I ate, which was usually only dinner and always very late, it was fast food. I did not drink water. And that really means, I did not drink anything unless it was lots of coffee and/or lots of Pepsi (thinking I "needed" the caffeine to survive). I quickly gained 10 then 15 then 20 and ultimately about 25 pounds! I FELT HORRIBLE both physically and mentally. I looked in the mirror and HATED what I saw: "fat" thighs and stomach, bulging hips and a muffin top, and a haggard and tired face. Worse... I was SO fatigued, exhausted, and generally sick feeling that many days when I got home, I put on PJs and went to bed. On top of all of that, I suffer from debilitating migraines, and I managed to make those events MUCH worse by not taking care of myself. I had a severe migraine almost daily - some so extreme that I experienced the worst side effects ever! (I won't go into all of the gory details, but trust me when I tell you that it was a BAD time.)
Last year, I got it all on track for the first time in my life. But it started with a breaking point... I knew I HAD to make a change. The weight, the fatigue, the stress - it all had to stop. I had to just start - that's really the hardest part for me. So I did, and I was making good progress with my nutrition (or so I thought). I had given up the fast food, quit drinking all soda, and added lots of water to my intake. I saw some success, too. I dropped a few pounds. But I STILL had no energy, I hadn't completely committed, and somewhere deep down I questioned if I would "really do it," feeling like the journey I faced was LONG. And so, I was still frustrated.
I didn't realize it then, but several events coincided to change my life. One weekend, I sat on the couch flipping channels, and I landed on an infomercial (which I NEVER stop for), but this one, I did. On that program, "Mary" talked about how she lost 60 pounds using the 21 Day Fix program. She explained the program as a "lifestyle" of eating healthy real foods and exercising. It rang true to me... In my heart and head, I knew eating right and exercising was the ONLY healthy way to lose weight and keep it off. I listened and even hit "record" to save the program. The next weekend, I saw "Mary" on TV again. And again, I stopped surfing and listened. And again, her words resonated. Then it clicked... A few months earlier, a fashion blogger I followed had talked about quitting her "real job" to become a fitness coach; she said she was coaching people as they worked to get healthy using fitness programs. I immediately wondered if she worked with the program Mary used. I had read her blog for a few years, but she had no idea who I was. I just FELT like I knew her because…and this is important... because she wrote so genuinely, sharing stories that showed she was a normal, NOT a perfect woman. Her "realness" allowed me to trust that she would tell me the truth. So… I messaged her, shared a few things about my "story" that I'd NEVER told anyone, and I asked her about the program and if it "really" worked. She talked openly with me and seemed to care, and she did not try to "sell" me on anything. We chatted, she told me about her challenge groups, and she offered to help me. I KNEW this is what I needed... to get on track for real.
Funny... I joined that first challenge group, and I was ready, but even then, I did not completely commit. I followed the meal plan, learning that I had to eat MORE food – the RIGHT kinds of foods - which seemed so weird to me at first. But I read about nutrition and learned about cutting out sugar and preservatives. I (re)educated myself about so many things! To be honest though, I wasn’t doing the exercises. During the first round (of 21 days), I did about three workouts, and they were hard! I was SO out of shaped that I huffed and puffed even during the warm-ups. But something started to happen… the more I engaged with the women in the challenge group and saw their results, the more motivated I was to get those results for myself. They talked about their energy and how great they felt, so I pressed play and worked out on more days in the next round, and I made sure to drink my Shakeology. Pretty soon… I was excited because I felt great! In the group, I shared my little daily "wins" (and struggles too), recipes I was trying, and ultimately, my before and “in progress” photos. I realized that I was changing… not only on the outside, but on the INSIDE too. As my body became healthy and fit, my mind and behaviors also transformed. Stress wasn’t affecting me in the same negative way. I wasn’t getting angry as quickly. I was just kinder to people around me. And I started realizing that I was generally and genuinely happy! Oh, and I lost 30 pounds too! Woo-hoo! :)
So I am back to the beginning…
I've had a long and storied relationship with my health, but I wouldn’t change any of it for many reasons! I was never really healthy or fit before, but I AM BOTH NOW! That journey to fitness also led me to coaching. And with that, I finally understand what it means when people say, “Find what you love and make that your job. If you do, you’ll never WORK a day in your life.” I LOVE coaching! It keeps me accountable to my own health and fitness, and I coach Challenge Groups now where I get to help others realize THEIR goals too. I wake up STOKED for life now, and this “job” never feels “work.” That’s worth all the sweat and squats in the world, folks!!! Oh, and I am finally a blogger too!
Thank you for reading. I really appreciate it more than you could ever know!
Hi, I'm Lori!
I'm a wife, mom, grandma, former college professor and VP, turned weight loss and fitness professional passionate about helping busy, professional women lose weight and manage burnout levels of stress, so you live comfortable and confident in your own skin - and never diet again.