Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Transformation


I absolutely hate talking about it. I feel like if I talk about weight then people know I think about weight, and I don't want anyone to know that I'm self-conscious about weight. So, kind of ironic that I'm getting ready to write a whole blog post about it. But...I've completed a "transformation," and I feel like a different person both inside and out. If my blog is truly for chronicling our daily life, I should write about the major changes that have happened...even if that means talking about weight!

I've been unhappy with my weight for as long as I can remember. I remember realizing I was a little overweight and unhealthy in junior high and making the effort to get healthier and lose some weight around 7th or 8th grade. It seems like that's when it all started, and weight has been something that has stuck in my mind ever since then. Throughout high school and college, I was a semi-active, semi-healthy person. I still felt overweight but was content. My weight fluctuated during college, but I didn't really struggle with the dreaded "freshman 15" or anything like that. I exercised when I had time, which wasn't very often with my busy music major schedule, and I didn't make the extra effort to find the time. 

My senior year of college, however, I did make the time. 2007 was the year I remember being most content with my weight and health. Despite recitals and grad school prep, my final year of college was a little less hectic. My schedule was very open, and I exercised on a daily basis. I continued my more active lifestyle after graduation and before my wedding, and managed to lose about 20-30 pounds that year. 

When Brian and I got married, I was committed to making sure we lived healthy lifestyles. We did well. In fact, Brian lost about 20 pounds in our first few months of marriage.  Then...graduate school happened. We got busy and that lead to laziness in the cooking and exercise departments. Plus, we lived in the DFW Metroplex, which does not have a shortage of (good) restaurants! We did what we thought was convenient for our busy schedules - we ate out constantly - and while we went through "spurts" of exercise, we didn't exercise on a regular basis. So, I slowly started to gain back the weight I lost the previous year and continued to gain more weight my second year of grad school. 

I just knew that once we graduated things would be different. Following graduation, we packed up and moved for Brian's new church job. Even though we were out of school, life didn't slow down any. We house-hunted for a month, purchased our first home, and moved from a temporary location (the 2nd move in less than 6 months). On top of that, Brian was getting adapted to a full-time ministry position, and I was working on starting my own piano studio. Things were not any different. Adjusting to our new, more independent lives seemed to not come as easily as we anticipated. We liked our relaxing time at home free from homework and projects! We became lazier and started eating more...and more unhealthy foods. I probably gained 10-15 pounds in a few months. The sad thing was that we were aware of how unhealthy we were becoming, but we just kind of ignored it. I constantly knew I was doing the wrong thing. 

After several months, it was time to get healthy. We were becoming lazy and miserable and were tired of buying bigger clothes. We were considering starting a family. I knew I wanted to have a healthy, active family, and I knew that as the wife and future mom, I needed to "lead the way." In January of 2010, we finally started to get the hang of it. We were exercising on a regular basis and very much into getting healthy. We had goals set and time frames in which we wanted to reach them. Then, we found out were were expecting our son. We were ecstatic...mostly. Honestly, behind all my excitement, there was a little bit of disappointment because, you see, I had a plan. I was going to reach a certain weight before I was pregnant, because I didn't want to gain any extra pregnancy weight on top of my already higher weight that I was unhappy with. Now don't get me wrong...I was never upset about being pregnant...just wasn't quite ready for it because it wasn't in my plan to happen that soon. Of course, we all know that despite how much planning I love to do, I'm not the "Master Planner." :) 

I really did have a fairly healthy pregnancy. I didn't have weird cravings, and while I was hungrier and ate more, I ate healthy. I also tried to remain active. I exercised when I had the energy to. I obviously didn't lose weight, because pregnancy is not the best time to do that, but I didn't gain a lot of extra pregnancy weight (except for in my last few weeks when it seemed like both Noah and I grew and grew! I think I gained 5-10 pounds in the two weeks past my due date before he was born!). Through nursing, I lost my pregnancy weight very quickly after his birth. I think I was at my pre-pregnancy weight when he was 4-5 months old, which was great, but I wasn't happy with my pre-pregnancy weight, and that wasn't so great. 

I constantly thought about working harder to lose weight. I tried to find times to exercise but failed. I allowed myself to have excuses. I have a baby...I run my own business...I'm highly involved in church... All good excuses, but my excuses seemed to double as even better reasons to get healthy. It really hit me hard when I was watching a slide show of photos from an event at church and didn't recognize myself in a photo. I thought, "who is that?" to myself before realizing that it was actually me. While that stuck in my mind, I just sort of lived with the negative feelings and didn't make any changes. We constantly talked about how to get healthier, but it never turned into more than talk. 

In November, when my aunt sent me a link to this new 90-day Transformation program, I reluctantly watched all the videos and looked through the site. Things started looking up by the time I knew more about the program. The testimonies of people who had been through the program resonated with me because they were saying the same things I had been thinking. I was getting excited about the prospect of taking action to make us healthier. I loved that it wasn't a "fad diet," but a program to educate us on how to make healthier choices in life. I also knew it would be good for Brian as well because I felt like while I sort of knew how to make healthy choices, that was something he struggled with. 

After seeing the cost of the program, I kind of lost hope. We need the money we make and don't have much extra to spend. While I loved everything I knew about the program, I also knew it wasn't something we could afford. We talked about Brian doing the program on his own and me just benefitting from what he was learning, but deep down I knew it was something we both needed. Travel time in the car seems to be when we catch up with each other and get to spend some time talking about much needed items. While we were traveling to visit family for Thanksgiving, we decided we needed to take a step of faith and both of us should sign up for the program. If it was really as life-changing as it said it was, the amount of money would be worth it. We got enrolled in the program over the holiday and planned to start when we were home.

We officially started our Transformations on December 5. We were assigned a coach, Jay, who set up separate times to call both of us every week for a 30-minute "meeting." As well as being our "cheerleader" and holding us accountable for our exercise and what we eat, each week he taught us new information about nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle. He gave us exercises to do, but we had so much flexibility. We were never told what to eat or what to do. Jay educated us and gave us guidelines to follow, but we had to make our own daily decisions. He helped us each set up a team of people in our lives to serve as our "support team," people who will continue to encourage and support us after our 90 days.

Brian and I both officially finished our Transformations a few weeks ago. He has lost 50 pounds, and I have lost 30 pounds, plus 7 inches in my waist, 6 inches in my hips, and my body fat percentage has gone down 14%. While we were not overly unhealthy by the numbers (just overweight), we have both seen significant improvements in our heart health (through blood work). Not trying to sound super cheesy or anything, but we really have gained our lives back. I love our more active lifestyle. I have more energy than I have had in months. I am a 26-year-old mom...I'm supposed to have energy to play with my 1-year-old!

Probably one of the most important thing we did was define our vision of a healthier us. I picture myself running around outside with Noah (and future children!) and feeling full of energy and life. I didn't feel that way 4 months ago. I now love running around the house and the yard with Noah, and I actually have the energy to do it! I want more than anything to have a healthy, active family, and this was exactly what I needed to do. I don't regret taking a step of faith and spending the money for even a second! The program helped me get halfway to my goal, and now I know what I am capable of and that motivates me even more. I love the experience we have had on the Transformation program, and I hope to continue on this journey and encourage others to push to reach for their goals as well! And, for the first time in my life (that I can remember), I'm actually excited to talk about weight! 

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