I’m so grateful for those of you that read my words each week. I know my thoughts get tangled and my sentences run on forever.. but I am so blessed that y’all still choose to do life with me!
This weekend my husband and I had the best time getting poured into at a leadership training conference.. it was such a refreshing day reflecting back on how blessed we have been in the last 5 years since we began focusing on our health and coaching others to do the same. It reminded me of all the real, raw emotions of not liking my body..how desperate I felt to find real, lasting change and how much joy I experienced watching my body transform.
Still, I think there’s something that I have failed to share with most people because let’s be honest the victory is a whole lot more glamorous than the journey. Five years ago, before the Army plucked us from our small town roots I was DESPERATE for change. I was working as a hair stylist and my fast paced life had led to a significant weight gain. The truth is I knew that my clothes were bigger than they use to be and I had a feeling that I had gained some weight but I had avoided truly looking in the mirror, I avoided being naked like the plague and I hadn’t stepped on a scale in quite some time.
Finally one night after I realized that even my husband’s t-shirts were too tight I needed to change. Together we decided to get fit and we joined up at the local gym and I stepped on the scale.. I was SHOCKED, honestly I thought the scale was broken because it was reading 50 pounds heavier than I had been telling people I weighed. I was crushed and confused and all at once defeated. I tried my absolute best to stick to our new healthy plans I would dress in uncomfortably snug gym clothes and get all the way to the gym parking lot.. sometimes I would go in and try to keep up in a class but end up sneaking out to puke from over doing it and sulk off to my car. Other times I would drive all the way to the gym and just not have it in me, I didn’t want Chris to be disappointed so I would sit in the parking lot and wait until the hour was over. Even just typing that ugly truth is hard, because now I am the one teaching classes, I think this humbling start helps me to offer up grace after grace with the women I lead. I know what it is to feel defeated and I know what it is to overcome!
I know exactly how it feels to say “I’m going to get healthy” over and over and over until even you don’t really believe it. Even though I was occasionally going to the gym I just had no energy and my nutrition consisted of McDonalds 3 times a day.. gag.. I wish I was kidding but I’m 100% telling the truth, the gal at the counter knew my order and I gave her complimentary bang trims. Chris was going to a supplement store one day and I decided to tag along.. I walked through the aisles praying I’d find a bottle that said “eat what you want, look like a model” and just then an extremely fit woman walked up and grabbed 3 bottles of a supplement and I overhead her tell the cashier “the bottle says take 1 a day but I take 2-3” I was SOLD. I took my bottle up to the counter and I couldn’t wait to be skinny!
I decided I would take 3 because I had a lot of work to do so for months I took 3 capsules a day and at first I was in love.. my energy was through the roof, I could make it through a workout class ( still puked at the end though) turns out I didn’t need to even eat while taking 3 capsules.. I had entirely lost my appetite.. and I no longer needed sleep either. How great, no sleep, no food and I was down 30 pounds on the scale. It felt like a total win, until it wasn’t. Soon after I could no longer get out of bed without taking my morning capsule Chris began to worry about what I was taking. He did some research and discovered that the “supplement” I was taking was actually a diet pill containing banned substances.. but it was too late, I couldn’t have cared less I finally found something to help me lose weight and I wasn’t about to turn back.
It was several months into my new “diet” that we were driving home from the beach and I noticed my hair felt a little dry, I combed my fingers through my ponytail and sat shocked that 3 inches of my hair remained in my hands. I was devastated, I wanted to be thin but I didn’t want to be bald. Even after getting some “results” I knew absolutely nothing about nutrition or fitness the saddest part was because the pills were making me starve my body I was still in the same size 13/14 pants I had always been in, my body was chewing away at all my muscle tissue so I weighed less on the scale but felt like a squishy, tired, blob of a woman.
One of my close friends had mentioned on facebook that she loved “helping people” feel better and lose weight. I really didn’t know what that meant but what I did know is that I had no idea what I was doing and I needed HELP! After I reluctantly reached out to her she sat down with me and I confessed how terribly I had been treating my body. She explained to me what a company called Advocare had been able to help her drop from a pant size 10 to a 2 and lose 30 pounds in 90 days…I was slightly overwhelmed but big time interested. I committed to wiping the slate clean and giving Advocare products and the lifestyle a chance for 90 days.. I was SO SCARED Y’ALL. Scared I would mess it up, scared I would be the only person it wouldn’t work for, scared I would quit.. or that it wouldn’t happen for me and I would be stuck overweight the rest of my life.
I decided my personal goal was 10 pounds.. I couldn’t believe in anything bigger than that and my friend loved me right where I was. Less than a month into a new routine I was down 8.5 pounds and in 8 weeks I was down 4 pant sizes! The best part was, I didn’t starve, I didn’t over eat, I didn’t cheat, I didn’t eat foods that I hate. I did however learn how to cook, I had incredible ENERGY! In those first months I learned how to love my body not punish it. A full year on product and healthy eating and I was down 5 full pant sizes, 60 pounds and 1 ring size! I wish that I could say that’s the end, ta-da I did it, but if I didn’t share this next part with you, I would be doing you a huge disservice!
I can remember before ever swallowing a single capsule of that first “supplement” thinking if I could be a size 4 I would love my body so much and be so happy and confident and I wouldn’t ever hate the way I look again. That my friends was a big fat LIE. Of course at the time I didn’t know that, but as the fat melted away and my body changed immensely on the outside my heart had some catching up to do! Turns out a “goal” pant size doesn’t heal up the damage that we do to ourselves when we spend years body bashing. Shorts don’t get easier to wear the smaller they get if you still look in the mirror and see the ugly words you’ve spoken over yourself.
My point in all of this is to say, if you are on a fitness journey LOVE yourself now, because if you don’t you won’t in any pair of skinny jeans. There’s not an outfit in the world that looks and feels as good as confidence.
So to the girl sitting in her car on her lunch break overeating.. i’ve been there.. and to the woman who can’t understand why now that the weight is gone she still hates her body.. i’ve been there too. There is still hope but sweet friends it’s not found at the bottom of a take out bag or in the tag of your jeans.. it’s in Jesus. Let us remember that in pursuit of becoming more you are so very loved, chosen, and set apart already. Secondly, don’t do it alone and guard what you put in your body. I have been so blessed over the last 5 years to have lived in food freedom, understanding how to fuel your body, how important it is to fuel your mind & how having a tribe to hold you accountable is LIFE CHANGING.
You can do incredibly hard things. This mountain you are facing.. it WILL move. Don’t give up, keep fighting. There are some battles we win by outlasting.