It all began in Kindergarten, I was that chubby little girl. I had a massive under bite and a big space between my two front teeth – cute. In the first grade I began the process of getting braces, which included a head mask I had to sleep in because my under bite was that severe. The brackets hurt my mouth so bad that I couldn’t eat much and if I did it was mashed potatoes and any soft foods. During this period I had lost quite a bit of weight – even though I was extremely young I realized how I was now being treated. I wasn’t that “chubby” kid anymore and I obviously liked that feeling. I was now fitting in with my classmates.
Fast forward a few years when adolescence hit – I hit puberty before any of my best friends and classmates, so cue the awkward stage. Thanks to that I was the tallest of the girls and I had boobs in the fifth grade – I was so uncomfortable that I would slouch because I didn’t want to stand out. By the sixth grade my braces were finally taken off and I slowly became comfortable in my skin.
I have always been pretty active – I started playing club volleyball in the fourth grade and played until my Junior year in High School. I played basketball and volleyball in Junior High – volleyball in High School, but yet I was still so uncomfortable with my weight. I would compare myself to my peers – I was never pretty or skinny enough. Ice cream, cookie dough, chocolate and peanut butter were the things I would drown my emotions in. My thoughts would overcome me day in and day out.
After High School, I started college at a local branch and lived at home for my first two years. My self esteem was slowly bottoming out at this point. I wouldn’t participate in anything outside of work and classes – I was ashamed of what I was becoming.
My weight was getting out of control – I was 5’7″ topping the scale at 236 lbs. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin – something needed to change. In 2011, I participated in a 24 day challenge before I moved to Columbus – I lost 33 lbs. I started a full time job shortly after the move at a company where my boss was a health nut – running, cycling, clean eating. She and another co-worker encouraged me to run a 5k with them. My boss helped me through the training and I ran my first 5k in almost 28 minutes! Time doesn’t matter here – what matters is that I did it! I put my mind to it and the results were showing – I was becoming addicted.
I started a cleanse through my chiropractor a few months after my first 5k to see if I could get even more weight off. At this point I was around 180 lbs – I was running more and strength training more. A couple more pounds here and there came off. I couldn’t afford to keep purchasing the products to help support a healthy metabolism, etc – I was a poor college student.
Frustration set in because I couldn’t figure out the balance between fitness, food, college, job, and personal relationships. I stopped focusing so much on my health and started focusing more on my classes – with only a year or so before graduation. During this time I met my now husband – he was super active and had an overall healthy lifestyle. On the weekends when we would go to the bar to watch games or hang with friends, beer and bar food it was. At this point I had plateaued with my weight.
Once I graduated and landed a full time job I felt a little more secure with my life. This was the first time in awhile where I felt like I was able to juggle everything in my life at that point in time. As I began feeling comfortable enough to talk to “my now husband” about how I felt about my weight/health – he encouraged me to start going to the gym with him. I was that girl in the gym that did not touch any of the weights – I stayed on the treadmill where I felt like I knew what I was doing. It was a couple of months before I touched any weights at the gym – I definitely felt intimidated.
In February of 2015, I started training for my first half marathon. At that point I was counting calories and only eating about 1,200 calories a day – even during my long runs. During my training I was always feeling tired and grumpy – never thought it was because I wasn’t eating enough. I thought I had to eat foods low in calories to be able to lose more weight. I was so happy that I ran the half – I felt accomplished – I set a goal and finished!
July of 2015 I got engaged – like every bride I knew that I wanted to look my absolute best on my Wedding Day! That fall I read the Whole30 and was instantly hooked. I started the Whole30 in October of 2015 and lost 12 lbs, but the pounds didn’t matter this time because I could tell a difference in how I felt. I was less bloated, had more energy, my face cleared up, and my clothes were more loose than usual. I ditched the calorie counting and stuck with a whole foods lifestyle. Yes “lifestyle” not “diet”!
In February of 2016, I started training for my second half marathon – this time around I knew that I had to look at food as fuel. Food was no longer my enemy! Training went super well this time around – I think it’s because I knew what to expect. I realized that I needed food to help support my training and to my surprise more weight started coming off. I kept up with strength training after the half marathon to make sure I was wedding dress ready! And I was – I weighed myself two days before my wedding and I had lost an overall 103 lbs since my weight loss journey started back in 2011! I was super happy with my results! I wasn’t happy that I had all of that weight to lose, but because I stuck with it!
Now in February of 2017, I started training for my third half marathon with the same approach as last year. I have found what foods work well with my body and what foods don’t. Gluten free and dairy free is the way to go for me! My goal now is to be strong and healthy – stick with whole foods and regular exercise because I know that’s when I feel my absolute best!
I truly hope that this post inspires others wherever they’re at in their journey. Just know that you can do whatever you put your mind to! And do it for YOU – because you want it, not because of others!
Fun fact – my mom was able to get me to walk for the first time by holding out a peanut butter cup in front of me and not much has changed. I still love chocolate, but now I’m obsessed with almond butter. So I wanted to share this chocolate almond butter cup recipe with you.
Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
- 1 package of Enjoy Life Mini Dark Chocolate Chips
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil
- pink Himalayan sea salt
- 6 tbsp of almond butter of your choice (I used Barney’s Vanilla + Espresso Almond Butter)
Instructions – makes 12:
- Line a muffin tin with liners.
- In a small sauce pan add the entire bag of chocolate chips as well as the tablespoon of coconut oil. Keep stirring on low until melted.
- Fill the bottoms of the liners with the melted chocolate just enough to cover the bottoms. You’ll need to tilt the liners from side to side until the chocolate is about 1/2 inch up the sides.
- Once all twelve liners are filled place muffin tin in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Take the muffin tin out of the freezer and fill the cups with a 1/2 tbsp of almond butter.
- Cover the almond butter with the rest of the melted chocolate.
- Place back in freezer for 5 minutes.
- Take the muffin tin out of the freezer and sprinkle pink Himalayan sea salt on top of the almond butter cups and place back in the freezer for 10 minutes.