I spent most of my life struggling with being overweight. I wasn’t a very active child, was never really into sports or physical activities other than brief bouts in soccer and ballet when I was really little. I never had any sort of healthy eating habits engrained into my mind at a young age. We were a meat and potatoes kind of family, ate a lot of processed food, fast food, and junk. I don’t blame my parents for the fact that I was overweight, money was tight and eating healthy just doesn’t come cheap. So bad habits formed early, and I found myself 24 years old and obese. Wow… that is a horrible word, and until the very moment I’m writing this I’ve never used it as an adjective for myself, but it’s time to face facts. I was obese. The BMI index says a healthy weight for a woman my age and height is anywhere between 120 and 150 pounds. I was double that. I had to buy all my clothes from specialty stores. It was time to make a change before things got any worse.
I met Andrea two years ago. She was my in-law’s next door neighbour, and was a personal trainer who had an in home studio. I had thought about personal training in the past but never thought I could afford it, but what it came down to was I couldn’t afford not to do anything. I couldn’t afford to keep the weight on. I’ve always had a great support system; friends and family who cared, an amazing husband who has been there no matter what, and loved me no matter what size I was. I was the one who needed to make the decision, to make the commitment to change, and I made that decision at the end of September, 2011.
I started seeing Andrea every week, did my workouts with her and completed programs she gave me to do on my own; a combination of strength training and cardio training. She put me on a meal plan that was strict without being ridiculous, a wide range of foods I could eat, just in different amounts and different types. I ditched white rice, white pasta, white bread, red meat, fast food, pop, beer, and junk. Switched over to complex carbs, chicken and fish, oats, egg whites, and tons of veggies. I didn’t starve myself, if anything I was eating more food, just better quality food. Started cutting out processed foods as much as I could, but still enjoying the foods I loved in moderation.
It only took me a couple of weeks to get into this eating habit, which was faster than most, but I was determined to make this work. I kept a daily journal with everything I ate, what exercise I did, and how I felt. I found myself skipping the after-bar poutine because I knew I’d have to write it down and tell Andrea. When I didn’t want to do my workouts because I was feeling lazy, I knew I’d have to justify it in my journal, and had no real excuse. Together we celebrated small wins, when I could turn down bad food, when I switched from beer to gin and soda, when my pants got loose, when I stopped putting cream and sugar in my coffee, and when I could go through a whole Zumba class without feeling like I was going to pass out. I found myself getting stronger in our workouts, at the start I couldn’t do one sit up, and suddenly I could do 5, then 10, then 25. Same goes for pushups, and for planking. Suddenly we were upping the weights I was lifting, I was able to run the steps at Church of our Lady an extra time every time. Then the pounds started coming off.
By the end of July I had lost 100 pounds, almost exactly 10 pounds a month consistently. I had gone from a size 22/24 to a size 14. Gone from a size 11 shoe to a size 10. My ring size went from a 10 to an 7. I can buy clothes almost anywhere I want. I sleep better, I walk faster, I literally feel lighter. I’m a whole new woman with a new lease on life, and I feel fantastic. Friends that I haven’t seen in a while don’t recognize me. My face has changed.
Life was amazing, I shared my entire journey with everyone I knew and everyone was excited for me. Then suddenly an opportunity came way out of left field and a friend referred me to a job opening at a local gym that was opening in a few weeks. I went in for an interview and was offered a job that day, to be a personal trainer. The passion I have for fitness was what got me the job, and I am so ridiculously excited to share that passion with others.
I’m by no means done my journey. Since starting as a trainer I’ve lost another 30 pounds, and put on a bunch of muscle. I don’t know how much more fat I want to lose, but I’m on my way to becoming moderately jacked and I’m pretty excited about it. I’m not done yet and nothing is going to stop me. This journey has shown me that I have an inner well of determination and self discipline that I never knew existed. I can do anything I put my mind to, and no one will ever tell me differently.
I knew it was going to be hard. I knew it was going to take every ounce of my strength to get fit. But I never thought it would be this much fun. I had a blast, every single week. Zumba was hilarious, an amazing workout and a laugh and a half. I laughed and joked so much with Andrea that we built a beautiful friendship. Every single time I saw someone who noticed a change in me physically it just made me that much more excited to continue. Since starting at the gym and experiementing with German Volume Training, Escalating Density Training, complexes, and a bunch more techniques I’ve realized how much fun it is to whoop my own butt.
People would often ask me, “how long are you going to keep these eating habits up? How long with no fast food?” and the answer is forever. I’m not on a diet, I’ve changed my lifestyle. I’m not saying I’m never going to eat poutine again. That’s absurd, I’d have to avoid Montreal for the rest of my life. I’m just not going to eat it 2-3 times a week like I once did. I did this in the correct way to set myself up for the rest of my life. I don’t diet, I eat according to my goals. I’m never going to put those pounds back on, because I’m never going back to my old habits. I’ve worked too hard to relapse. This is a lifelong journey, and I’m excited about the ride.