A New Year & New Opportunities

As the 1st of January approaches, many of us are thinking about what our resolutions will be for the upcoming year. I think I make multiple “resolutions” (or goals) throughout the year because it’s so important to have things that you’re working toward. For many of us, goals aren’t just something to strive towards, but they can also give us a sense of purpose. I think that’s a big part of why I loved competing in Figure Competitions so much, because I always had a goal — not just short term goals on a daily basis, but long term ones each month and year as well.

I want to share my New Year’s Resolution with you for the upcoming year, but first I want to flash back to the New Year of 2011. At the time, I weighed about 175 lbs, I was constantly exhausted and I was not a happy girl. I wanted my health back, and I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and have a body I was proud of and feel confident again.  I knew how to eat right to lose weight, but everything that I had done in the past wasn’t working. I couldn’t work out like I used to, and even with a dramatic decrease in my caloric intake, the scale wasn’t budging and my size 14 pants weren’t getting any looser. For once, my goals seemed unachievable and this sent me into a deep depression. All the doctors I saw kept saying you have severe adrenal fatigue (the lab tests all indicated my body was barely producing cortisol) and I was told that exercising would only make it worse. I wanted to listen, but I was fed up and stressed out because I wasn’t feeling better or losing weight.

Exercise had been my drug of choice, and it was how I overcame depression and possibly other addictions I struggled with as a teenager. So after a year of not exercising, I made the decision to work out lightly, because I needed to do something not just to lose the pounds, but also for my emotional health. Instead of just making a resolution for 2011, my boyfriend (now fiancé) and I decided to have a competition, because I knew with my competitive nature that this was the best way for me to stick to my goal. And you know I wasn’t going to let him beat me!

In the meantime, I had been doing tons of research on different types of diets and what foods are inflammatory, because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do much exercising if I couldn’t even walk. First I looked into the typical night shade foods (tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, etc.) and I had tried cutting them out with little improvements. I had also cut out gluten, which seemed to help some, but I still was in pain — and pain meant no exercise. Then, after hours upon hours of research into different diets and eating plans, I stumbled upon the what is currently the very popular Paleo Diet, which had quite a few anti-inflammatory testimonies associated with it. So that was it, we decided we were both going all out Paleo. We decided that not only was it a competition, but we always put a wager on it. If he reached his goal first, I would have to give away one pair of shoes every week until I reached my goal weight!

Within a month, I was down almost 10lbs and the pain had started to improve. I was working out lightly, sticking to the new nutrition plan and starting to feel a little bit like myself again! And guess who won the competition and still has her shoe collection intact — yep, that’d be me!

resolutionThat was my goal in 2011, and I’m proud to say I achieved it. I didn’t get to where I am today right away by just by changing my eating, but I was finally seeing some improvements and moving in the right direction. With 2014 around the corner, I’m thinking about my newest goals and how they relate to my health and fitness journey.  I’m still applying many of the things I’ve learned on this journey — which I’ll continue to share — mostly through trial and error, and I’m going to use all my experiences to get to where I want to be this year. I’m excited that I can finally work out again and see what kind of results I can get. My approach is much different then it used to be though. I value my health and I will and I listen to my body and what it tells me. There is a huge difference between pushing through a tough workout and fighting extreme fatigue or feeling hungry and starving yourself, and this is something I — and maybe even you — unfortunately had to learn the hard way.

The picture I posted is how I currently look. I no longer look like a fitness model or am I ready to step on a competition stage, I’m just a girl that wants to be healthy and fit and is blessed to have been given a second chance and have the ability to work toward my goals.

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