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    Posted August 6, 2014 by
    Norfolk, Virginia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    I believed I could, so I did


    While my husband was away for a 9 month training stint in Coronado, I became very sedentary. I would go out with friends and our hangouts always revolved around fast food (McDonalds, Steak and Shake, Wendys, Del Taco), and I quickly became addicted to food and the way it made me feel. I was suffering from depression and Bipolar Disorder, my husband (boyfriend at the time) was away, and food filled that empty gap in my heart. No one told me that I was gaining so much weight and because I didn't realize it myself, I continued down that path of destruction. It wasn't until I saw myself in my wedding gown that I realized just what I looked like... and the inside really did match the outside. A week after my wedding, my husband left for two years. My eating only got worse after that and I found myself eating 2-3 large meals from different restaurants at a time, often eating all but one meal so no one would notice. I was in denial, I was unhappy, suicidal, so I didn't stop myself. I had no one to blame but myself.


    One night I laid down to sleep and I had this fear that I wouldn't wake up in the morning. I couldn't breathe, and I was terrified. I got up and started crying, I had a panic attack, and so I decided to go on this dangerous HCG diet among a couple other diets within the span of 60 days. One day it clicked - if I wanted to lose weight and keep it off, I needed to do it the right way... so I DID. I kept seeing motivational photos, "If you believe it, you can achieve it," and I kept telling myself that I could do anything I set my mind to. I started with the home workout Insanity at 250lbs, though I knew I would have to greatly modify it because I was so out of shape. I threw up, but I kept going. That night I threw out all of the food in my house and slowly started making changes... whole grains, no dairy, lots of vegetables, no fast food. I vowed to myself that I would cut out all processed foods, junk food, until I could learn to manage my eating habits. Within the first 2 weeks of my lifestyle change, I was already noticing a difference. I could walk upstairs without breathing heavily, I could see my neck, and it's those small things that really matter in the beginning. What pushed me even more was finding my "why" - my true reason for losing the weight and getting fit. I just wanted to love myself. I had no goal weight in mind, I just wanted to feel good, be strong, and be the best version of myself I could be.


    As difficult as Insanity is, I completed the 63 days, and I was so proud of myself for completing the most difficult home workout program on the market. I decided to start coaching and motivating others because if I could do it, anyone could do it. It helped keep me motivated when I knew people were watching, so I continued to do P90X, Insanity again, Insanity Asylum, and lost 80lbs from those home workouts and eating well. When I finally gained enough confidence to go to the gym, I started weight training to sculpt my physique. My eating continually got better, I was losing more weight, and I noticed my entire life was changing. I was happier, I could try on clothes I never thought I could wear, I was sleeping well, and I felt so strong! In 2 years I lost 120lbs and gained an entirely new life. And in those 2 years I was working over 40 hours per week and still making time for myself. That's the key! None of us really have time, but we have to make time for what is important to us. If lifting weights keeps you motivated, lift weights. If you love Pilates and yoga (or PiYo!), do it. Dancing? Do it. Anything that gets you moving and keeps you happy.


    If it wasn't for me continually telling myself, "Your mind will give up a million times before my body does," I wouldn't be where I am today. I am average. I don't diet. I am a a "flexible dieter", although I follow the Paleo lifestyle to avoid leaky gut and other digestive issues, I drink a gallon of water a day, and I still allow myself to enjoy sweet treats every now and then. It's all about moderation, I don't believe in treat/cheat days. I used to, but looking at it now it just forces us to have a bad relationship with food, referring to foods as "good" and "bad" which is why I live around moderation now. The 90/10 rule for me. No secrets, no diets, just persistence and belief that I can do anything. If I can do it, anyone can do it.


    One of my greatest accomplishments thus far is staying active during my entire pregnancy and continued good eating habits. I still managed to gain 62lbs, but that only helped me understand the body does what it needs to do for the sake of our babies. I was back squatting 155lbs 2 days before I delivered my daughter, and I'll definitely be doing it again with the next one. Exercising during pregnancy helped me sleep, lessened discomfort, and kept my spirits high. I also felt very confident and happy!


    Now I am a fit mom to a 5 month old baby, a nursing student, Navy wife, and I still coach others on a daily basis. Everyday I make time for myself, whether it's in my home or at the gym. To me, if I want to be my best for myself and my family, I need that me time. It isn't selfish, and it teaches our kids the value of improving ourselves and being healthy!


    My advice to those struggling:


    You have to make time, and be honest with yourself. If you aren't losing weight, evaluate your diet. Sometimes we truly aren't eating enough, maybe we're eating too much. There is always room for improvement! The further I was into my journey the more I realized how many lies society tells us. Fat and carbs aren't bad for us, and the biggest one of all- The scale doesn't matter! It is so inaccurate and society makes us believe that our worth is based off of the number we see. Base progress off of your progress photos every 30 days and ignore the scale. Don't be discouraged, and just keep going. Do NOT GIVE UP. Every small good choice daily will ultimately lead us to our destination, but when you choose health, there is no destination, it's for life. You will get there eventually, so don't treat it as a race. No shortcuts, just hard work and a little sweat.

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