My Health Journey

Spring time always has me feeling reflective about my health journey, so to speak.  My epiphany came one Saturday evening in April 2012 while I was eating a vanilla cupcake.  I remember sitting at my desk in front of my laptop & feeling miserable as soon as I finished it.  I had watched Curtis shed a lot of weight by following a ketogenic diet so I thought maybe I could do something similar.  I finished my cupcake & immediately headed to the grocery store where I proceeded to buy lots of low-carb foods & made the decision to start the next day.

But first, let’s back track.  I was never an athlete in high school or college and rarely worked out.  I think I had a pretty good metabolism and could eat just about anything without gaining weight…. until my senior year of college rolled around.  I was 21 which meant more drinking along with lots of fast food & just an overall unhealthy lifestyle.  I would workout occasionally by doing some group fitness classes but I never changed my diet.

My poor habits continued post college when I started working full time & living on my own.  I worked second shift (3pm-11pm) so I was staying up until the wee hours of the morning & then sleeping until noon or after.  This was BAD BAD BAD.  I joined Anytime Fitness & had these grand plans of working out after work.  This only lasted about a week or so & I gave up.  Going before work was out of the question because I was usually sleeping!  Along with not working out, I was also eating like crap.  I would eat fast food several times a week and drink nearly a gallon of Mountain Dew every. single. day.  I would snack on things after I got home from work or even hit up the drive-thru on my way home.  I knew I was eating junk & knew I needed to exercise more but I just didn’t have the will power to change anything.

I never owned a scale so I’m not sure what my true heaviest weight was.  I weighed myself occasionally at Curtis’ place & remember 168 being the highest number I ever saw so I’m not sure if was ever above that.  I think the summer/fall of 2011 was probably my heaviest just by looking at pictures.   Keep in mind that I’m only 5’6″….

May 2011
August 2011
February 2012

The bad habits continued on.  Still eating junk & still not exercising.  I can only imagine what I would have looked like if I worked a sedentary job (my job was pretty physically demanding & I was on my feet nearly the entire shift).  I remember trying on bridesmaid dresses at David’s Bridal with Alice who was getting married later that year.  I hated how I looked.  I hated that I was having to grab a bigger size than what I thought I should be wearing.

It also hit me at that time that my stepsister’s wedding was coming up in just a few months.  I guess you could say that her wedding was a huge motivator for me.  I had cancelled my Anytime Fitness membership awhile back & wasn’t planning on signing up at another gym because I was trying to find a new apartment in a different part of town.  So, I started walking in the mornings before work.  Amazingly, I would get up before noon & walk about 2 miles.  (I’m not a runner nor have I ever been a runner so walking was the best I could do).  After about a month of consistent daily walks, I was feeling pretty good.  The night before my cupcake epiphany, I stood on the scale at a friends house & saw 154.  So, I had lost some weight from the year before.  But it wasn’t enough & I still wasn’t happy with how I looked.

As I mentioned above, Curtis lost a lot of weight by following a ketogenic diet so I started following something similar.  As in, I could eat whatever I wanted as long as my carbs didn’t exceed a certain amount.  I drastically cut the number of carbs I was eating per day but definitely not as low as keto.  That first week was miserable.  My body was detoxing from all of the shit I had been putting in to my body for years.

A few weeks into the start of this “diet”, I moved into a new apartment & joined an amazing gym.  I was still working second shift but I started getting up even earlier in the mornings to attend a 10:00am weight lifting class on Tuesday/Thursday/Friday that was similar to Body Pump.  Other days I would try to get up & do a kickboxing class but that rarely happened or I would just use a cardio machine.  I also started playing volleyball on Wednesday evenings after work with a bunch of co-workers.  The weight literally fell off me throughout the summer & fall.  I felt amazing!  My clothes fit & actually felt comfortable.  I was so happy with my progress & felt good about how I looked for the first time in my life.  I remember my lowest weight being 132 in December 2012 which was when I felt the best.  

And then I started a new job in January.  A desk job.  I went from being on my feet & constantly moving to sitting ALL day.  While I needed the job change for my own sanity & mental health, my weight loss completely stopped. But I was able to attend more classes at the gym which I really enjoyed.  Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday was my weight lifting class while Monday/Wednesday were kickboxing or a HIT class.  Since I was adding in more cardio, I stopped being super strict about my carb numbers.  In the spring of 2013, I did a 60 day challenge at the gym where they took measurements/weight at the beginning & the end.  While I gained about 4 pounds during this time, I actually lost inches overall which was a huge eye opener.  I had become so focused on the number on the scale but this challenge showed that it really doesn’t mean anything.

Fast forward to today, five years later.  

I’ve kept up with working out about 4-5 times per week.  I moved to Omaha in 2013 which meant leaving that amazing gym that was such a huge part of my life (they don’t have any Omaha locations…YET!).  I discovered my love for boot camp style workouts & have kept them up as long as I’ve been living in Omaha.  Our Y offers a similar class that I’ve been doing on Tuesdays & Thursdays ever since I moved here.  On the off days, I’ve done everything from Body Pump, to cycling, to other HIT classes, and just making up my own HIT/tabata workouts.  I’ve also discovered kettlebells & incorporate them into just about every workout that I do on my own.  I tried Crossfit for the first time about 6 months ago and while it was an awesome workout, I don’t have plans to make it part of my routine.  Lastly, I’ve trained for & completed Trek Up The Tower the past two years and plan to make it a yearly event!    The one thing you will never see me do is run for fun!  Give me burpees over running any day.  

At the health assessment for our insurance last month, the scale says I weigh a lot more than I think I actually look .  I like to think that it’s because I’ve put on a lot of muscle over the years.  😉  I stopped following a low carb diet quite awhile ago as I needed balance in my life.  To be able to eat pizza & drink beer without feeling guilty.  To enjoy going out with friends and not worry about how many carbs are in a slice of cake or chips & salsa.  I’m not back to my old habits of guzzling several cans of Mountain Dew every day or eating huge plates of spaghetti for every meal but if I want some bread, I’ll eat bread (in moderation), etc.  While I’ve given myself some grace with the things I eat, I know I can improve, that’s for sure.  I don’t eat near enough vegetables & probably drink too many Michelob Ultras on the weekends.   I never weigh myself & let my clothes dictate whether or not I need to make any changes.  I’m bulkier than I was a few years ago which makes that fun & I’m constantly questioning if my pants are tighter because of fat or because of muscle.  Learning to accept how I look has been a work in progress which goes along with giving myself some grace.  I’ve always had bigger legs than everyone else I know and not to mention having cellulite since I was 12 years old.  Obviously these things are not going to change overnight, if at all.  Thanks genetics!  But seriously, accepting these things is something that I am really trying to do these days.  I don’t mean to sound ungrateful or ‘woe is me’ but I think a lot of women can relate to what I’m trying to say.  Especially with social media being such a huge part of our lives these days.  

One of my goals for this year is to find a health coach and/or trainer.  Someone who can maybe give me a little more direction as far as workouts go, meal prepping/macro counting, etc.  Maybe someone who has been in my position.  I’ve been feeling like I’m in a rut for far too long and it’s time to get myself out of it!

Phew, this has been a novel!  If you stuck around this long, thank you for letting me ramble!     

8 Comments

  1. liz
    May 23, 2017

    I love these posts! I’ve thought about doing one again, even though I know I’ve written about it! But my 8 year CrossFit anniversary is coming up next month, which I attribute a lot of my fitness to! And I started working out just over 9 years ago, but before that, was totally inactive and unhealthy. I never gained weight, but I was so unhealthy and had no idea how good I -could- feel. I love that you don’t really weigh yourself and focus on how you feel instead.
    liz recently posted…Almost Ready for ICELANDMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Megan
      May 23, 2017

      8 years?! Wow! I did that one week of Crossfit last fall which I really liked the workouts but it was definitely tough! 🙂 After the past several years, I can’t even imagine going back to where I was before. Remembering how miserable I felt before is definitely a reminder to not get back to that!

      Reply
  2. I love this! you look fantastic and I totally agree with you re: not looking at the scale.
    kathy @ more coffee, less talky recently posted…May 2-4 long weekending & shizz.My Profile

    Reply
    1. Megan
      May 23, 2017

      Thank you! And yes, that scale is such a liar!

      Reply
  3. Stephanie
    May 23, 2017

    Congrats on your healthy journey – you look amazing! You looked beautiful before but look at those toned arms! 🙂 I just hit the same thoughts the other day of where I start to reevaluate my health, it’s always at this time of year when you think OH NO, it’s swim suit season.

    Way to go again, your journey is inspiring!

    Reply
    1. Megan
      May 23, 2017

      Thank you! It’s definitely an ongoing process of making changes, finding what works, what doesn’t work, etc. Swim suit season is definitely a motivator too!

      Reply
  4. Jessie @ Just Jessie
    May 23, 2017

    Absolutely love this! It’s such a good reminder to me that the scale means NOTHING. I’ve been focusing on that shi* for too long! Love seeing your journey and how it worked for you. Plus you look fabulous!
    Jessie @ Just Jessie recently posted…Weekend Recap: Parking tickets, weddings & puppy shoppingMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Megan
      May 23, 2017

      Thank you! I really really hate the scale. I was so obsessed with it at first & focused a lot on that number. It’s hard NOT to, you know? Like, it would be nice to see that low number again but I KNOW it’s not everything!

      Reply

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