Hello, hello! Today, I want to dive head-first into letting you guys in to my fitness and weight loss “journey.” I wish there was a better word for it, because journey sounds a bit silly to me — but, that’s exactly what it is. It is a continued, consistent effort to change the way I think, feel and execute my health and fitness goals. This process is far from an overnight change; it is monumentally (and arguably) more of an internal change than an external one. I am in the process of becoming better and taking care of the vessel that is my wordly home.
An Initial Disclosure
Let me begin by clarifying — I am not a nutritionist, or a doctor, or a student who had a major remotely close to being within the healthcare field. I just want to let you guys in to what has been working for me based on the results that I have had; please, if you make any changes to your diet and exercise, be sure to consult with your doctor and make a decision that is best for you.
In addition, I would like to disclose that by me including my weight, measurements, sizes, etc., I am solely trying to provide reference. Please do not compare your own numbers to these; I am choosing to disclose them for full transparency.
I sit writing this in the courtyard of my law school campus, across the Moroccan-styled fountain that serves as the nucleus of the schoolyard. The sky is covered by gray and white clouds that billow over the sun, forcing me to pull my beloved Reebok sweatshirt just a bit tighter across my chest. But, for Central Florida in January, the weather isn’t bad at all; in fact, today’s high is 75 degrees. It’s lovely out, and in weather like this, I’d usually be relishing it by sitting beneath the Banyan trees on campus and listening to an audiobook or preparing my notes for the next class. But today is different — I have an overwhelming desire to be open, candid, and vulnerable about my weight loss journey, and this doesn’t happen often. And so, when the inspiration calls… it calls. Loudly.
Growing up, I never struggled with my weight. Sure, I had solicited some extra pounds throughout the pubescent years of life, but they always shed quickly and without any effort on my behalf. I wouldn’t say we ate well at home, but I also wouldn’t say we ate horribly either — home-cooked meals bounced between homemade spaghetti, tacos, fried rice and stir-fry. We ate out 3-4 times per week. I had been involved with some sports growing up, but I admittedly never was trying hard at them; sure, I was at all of the 6 a.m. conditionings for cheerleading during the summertime, but other than that, exercising was not really a “thing” for my family and me [excluding my brother, who always played travel baseball and football in high school]. I maintained a size 0-2 throughout middle school and most of high school, for reference; I was never more than 127 pounds.
My senior year of high school, however, was different. I was 16 when I began my senior year, and I was set to compete in the Miss Georgia Teen USA pageant in November. This pageant, I knew, would be the very last time I competed ever; I wanted to give it my all, and at the time, teens were still required to participate in the swimsuit competition. [Oh man, do I have a lot to say about that] I wanted to be in my best shape, with the utmost confidence going into that pageant. At the beginning of my senior year, I was somewhere between 120-125 pounds.
My Senior Year
Without rambling on for too long about it, long story short is: I happened to get really sick around my birthday of my senior year. What we thought was appendicitis ended up being a gnarly stomach infection that was responsible for a 6-day hospital stay, a 105 degree fever, and a very worried family. From being in the hospital, I contracted pneumonia. From the pneumonia, I contracted bronchitis. And I never get sick. I ended up losing ten pounds, which put my body fat percentage at an all-time low. I was 115, 106.2 of which was fat-free body weight.
Not long after that, I competed. Yes, I had been going to the gym every day after school after I recovered, but mostly my weight loss came from being sick. In Miss GA Teen, I placed in the Top 15 and I was so incredibly proud of that; it is still one of the most important accolades in my life. Of course, I didn’t win the title or the sash, but to me, I won. I accomplished one of my greatest fears, and did it gracefully. It was an incredible experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
But… the thing about that is, I really find myself comparing my body now to my body when I was 16 and fresh out of the hospital. I replay the videos from time to time and find myself pausing to inspect how my hips have changed, my thighs, my arms, etc. It’s, admittedly, a very dangerous habit I have, because deep down I know — I will never look like that again. First because I was 16 (like hello, I’m seven years older now) and second because I was not healthy. I did not achieve that body weight from being healthy — in fact, I achieved it from being hospitalized and sick for nearly three months.
While I was eating well and exercising often, I ultimately achieved that all-time low weight from being sick.
However, it’s also not all about the weight to me. It also has to do with the girl in those videos, who is so drastically different from who I am now. A girl with unfettered confidence, a girl who truly felt so invincible, a girl who would just jump without carefully assessing the risk. I see that video and I so badly want to be like her again; unafraid of failing and full of grace for myself. That is my biggest inspiration.
Where I’m At Now
Since high school, I’ve gained 50 pounds. I stepped on the scale and was shocked to see the percentage of body fat, my BMI, etc. And I don’t mean to say that if you share these similar numbers, you should feel the same way I felt; I’m just being honest with how that was not where I wanted to be. Above all, even before knowing the numbers, I knew I was practicing a very unhealthy lifestyle. I felt terrible all the time; I was tired, I was extremely depressed and irritable, I borderline hated myself. Before knowing any of the numbers, I knew that I needed a change. Mostly for my mind.
To me, that number is indicative of years of putting high levels of stress and emotional baggage onto my body. It is indicative of years of feeling less than my best, and that’s not okay with me. So, it’s time for a change.
Alright, I’m over a thousand words into this thing and I haven’t even touched on my goals yet. I find that, for me, I respond really well to small goals and being able to cross those off of my list often. If I only have one large goal on my list, it’s more likely for me to never get around to completing it and just giving up altogether. It’s motivating to accomplish something small everyday — because, at the end of the day, changes are made daily with every meal, every workout, every conscious choice. The big changes will come if you are consistent with the small changes in the every day.
So, here are some goals I achieved this month:
- Go on 3 walks/week
- Take vitamins every day
- Go to bed by 11 p.m.
- Stop drinking coffee so often
Set Easy Goals to Start
Spoiler alert: I accomplished every single one of those goals. And you wanna know why? Probably because they were very easy goals. I already was walking every single day, sometimes twice a day [for a total of 5 mi/day]. The vitamins were easy for me, especially because I ordered some new supplements I was excited to try. Going to bed by 11 was a bit easier since Austen works from home now, so I don’t stay up late waiting for him to come home. The last goal, however, was the absolute hardest. Caffeine withdrawals and fatigued mornings have been endured, and I’m happy to report that I have less than two coffees per week rather than 3-4 cups per day.
Here are my February goals, which I have increasingly added a bit more challenge into:
- Achieve 30 min workout goal [Apple Watch] 5 days/week
- This requires me to have a heart rate of above 115 BPM for 30 whole minutes
- Cut refined sugar
- Begin G-Plan meal plan
- Get below 30 on BMI
- Reduce visceral fat to 9
- Get to below 32% body fat
As each month goes on, I will create goals like this that are precise, accurate, and easy to determine if I have achieved them or not. In addition, there are “bigger” goals I have long-term. For example, a great motivating factor for me is traveling in both April and May. I’ll include those goals on the next post.
What’s to Come
Very shortly, I will be publishing a post detailing the changes I have made thus far. I intended them to be listed here, but honestly — I think I’ve gone on long enough. Would you all be interested in a weight loss series? I may just end up doing it either way; writing always is a cathartic way for me to hold myself accountable, and that’s exactly what I need right now.