182 pounds. That’s how much I weighed when I was going to the gym daily but eating whatever I wanted. “Why can’t I lose weight?!” Maybe because my diet consisted of buffalo chicken pizza and Ramen noodles. Maybe because whenever I worked out, I rewarded myself with an ice cream sundae. While I was living in Quincy, my friend Mike asked if I wanted to sign up for a half marathon with him and a few other of our friends. I thought about it and said YES. I had 12 weeks to get my ass into gear. I found a training program online, bought a pair of Mizuno sneakers and started running. Twelve weeks and a big chunk of lbs/inches later, I completed my half marathon in two hours and thirty minutes! Was I proud of myself? I’ve always struggled with low self-esteem and weight issues and after completing the half marathon, I felt like I could actually do something about the way I looked. I was wearing clothes that were too baggy and didn’t realize I was losing weight.
Fast forward a year and I signed up for a kickboxing class through Groupon. I was hooked so I signed up for a membership, and started working part time to help with memberships and to inspire and motivate others. I broke my rib three months in and was unable to work out for four months. During that time, I was extremely depressed. I sunk into a deep, dark hole and became obsessive about what I ate, when I ate, how much I ate and how much I worked out (even though I wasn’t supposed to.) I felt weight come back on and like most who deal with feeling like shit, they eat more. I kept eating and kept gaining weight. I felt like a pufferfish the majority of the time. I was so consumed by over-exercising, being pissed off at my body, hating myself and obsessing about what I ate, I turned into someone I never thought I would be. I started cutting myself to help relieve the pain of hating my body. I wanted to get rid of the fat – get rid of my disgusting stomach and get rid of the pain. Cutting helped fix that. I was so overwhelmed by my mental state that I wasn’t able to maintain my full-time job and I went on a Leave of Absence for three months.
I hid at my boyfriend’s house in Shrewsbury and didn’t talk to any of my friends, had panic attacks and continued to cut my arms and shut down completely. I saw numerous therapists, psychologists and doctors. It wasn’t until I met Nicole and Jenna, a behavioral nutrition therapist and dietician, that things started to look up. I saw them from November 2013 through July of 2014. They helped me see that food isn’t BAD and that over exercising isn’t good. They taught me to appreciate my body and myself, and that everything would be okay. I stopped seeing them in July because I moved to SHREWSBURY in August. I knew I wanted to find a new gym and kick my fitness up a notch so I googled gyms in Shrewsubry and found The Fitness Asylum! I stalked the testimonials and before & afters for a few weeks. I emailed Bonnie, played around with the idea of starting the Body Challenge and then signed my ass up.
I remember how excited I was when I went to the kick-off on September 13, 2014. I weighed a whopping 154.5 pounds and was ready to change! I was still unhappy with myself but I was way healthier than I was a year ago. I have never met a more inspiring, supportive and motivational group of individuals in my life. I was hooked – I did the 12 week challenge and didn’t cheat once. I did strength training three times a week and took three boot camp classes a week. I wanted to change not only my body, but my outlook on myself.
I lost 16 pounds during that 12-week period and gained a LOT of muscle. I also lost all of the negativity, physical and emotional pain I caused myself for the past 27 years and I found a little thing called self-confidence. I have to give a shout out to Michelle Hillman and Team Lydia for being my rocks during this challenge. Michelle has been an incredible instructor and mentor, and someone who is SO loving yet will push you to your limit because she knows you can always do one more push-up. Team Lydia was a phenomenal support system – a lot of us bonded immediately and there was always someone there to get you out of a funk, make you laugh with a funny e-card or share a motivational story.
I haven’t been this happy in… forever. Everything in my life is falling into place and I want to thank everyone at the FA for helping me get there. You really cannot love your life until you love yourself. I’m just getting started; the sky’s the limit. Bring on bikini boot camp!