I was starting to get made fun of in school, I kept having to get bigger clothes which consisted of shopping in the “girls plus” section. Fourth and fifth grade continued the same. I can even remember my mom getting the latest diet books and I would read them cover to cover and try to follow their recommendations. Dieting at age 9, 10, and 11…I think about that now and it makes me sad to even recall.  I remember crying and not being happy about myself. Sixth grade came though and I grew taller and into my weight more so I became more average in size which, continued through high school. I was no longer overweight, but still felt conscious about my weight. I continued to eat junk foods and dine out at restaurants, which was the acceptable thing to do with your friends. I remember going to TGI Fridays and ordering a huge basket of fries and that would be my dinner.

        My next challenge happened a year after high school- I had my daughter and had gained 47 lbs during my pregnancy-which again, I ate what I wanted because I was “eating for two” and somehow this extra weight was just going to magically fall off of me- yeah right… I was stuck with those extra 25 lbs after and was again feeling terrible and self -conscious about myself. People complemented me on how well I looked after I had my daughter, which, I think I hid the extra weight gain well but was miserable inside. I started my nursing career at the hospital in 2003, which included a gym membership for employees at the fitness center on the hospital campus. I started exercising most days after work- this consisted of some light weight lifting on the machines only and my “30 minutes of cardio” which felt like that right amount that I should be doing-nothing that made me sweat too much!  I was able to lose about 10 lbs just from that and some minor, and I mean minor diet changes. I continued to eat whatever I wanted and also included probably 2 glasses of wine a night- But, I wasn’t happy with myself, I still felt self conscious and wanted to be “more fit”.   I decided I was going to start running. I looked at runner’s bodies and thought “Wow, if I get up to running so many miles I will look just like them and have a lean and strong body” So I would run, and run, and get hurt, and run, and get hurt some more. My weight started trending down again with not many diet changes.  I got down to my lowest weight since junior high which was around 125-128lbs. I was thrilled with that number but disappointed that when looking at my body, I still wasn’t happy. I had lost some fat but was nowhere lean and strong like that “runner body” I was looking for. I kept up some weight lifting but never challenged myself with it. I finally got burned out of running and kept hurting myself and realized that was not going to work for me.

        That’s when I met my first person I am so thankful for working with, Tony. He is a physician assistant I work with at the hospital but was also doing some online fitness challenges at the time. So I thought, “what the heck, lets give this a shot”. He would do 6 -week challenges at a time which consisted of some heavy duty weight lifting routines, dietary instructions and changes that were important, and accountability forums to connect with other people that were in this with me- and that’s how my weight lifting took off! These workouts were no joke! They pushed me to intensities I had never worked at before- and they felt great! When I got done working out, I felt empowered, I felt like I was really making a difference in my body- both physically and mentally. These challenges were short but I was making great changes after each one of them. I continued my weight lifting after the challenges were over but still wanted more- I wanted to have that strong lean body- and that’s when I met an online coach Kait Cavers who I am so thankful for meeting. She had posted her own progress she was making after bulking up and then cutting weight and ended up with this beautiful body! I remember thinking “man, this chick’s got it together and knows exactly what to do to get that body that I too was searching for”. An email later, I was signed up with her and three years later I am where I am because of her. She has taught me so much throughout the years and was a great support person to me, which is so important to have. She took me through my first bulking experience, which I had gained roughly 25 lbs (which was so scary) but then cutting and reveling my first view of my ab muscles ever in my life and my new wonderful muscles I had built! Not only did I improve my physical body but improved my mental body as well, which is so part of the experience! This is a life long journey- I am happy with what I have done and where I am at but definitely have new goals to continue to work on. There is no “magical end” only the beginning of a wonderful happy journey to a healthy life!

Which picture is my lowest weight?

The pic on the left believe it or not is my lowest weight during my running days at about 128lbs! But look what happened once I took the focus off being skinny and wanting to be healthy and strong!

Second picture is before I started my first bulk, third pic is my leanest ever after I cut back down the summer after. The fourth pic is me enjoying a balance of life and trying to eat as much as I can while maintaining some leanness and gaining more muscle and strength.