One year ago, I set out to make a big change in my life. This is my story of how I lost 30 pounds, discovered new passions and reclaimed my confidence.
How It All Went Down
Rewind to September 2010. I was three months into my first full-time job and frustrated at how quickly I was packing on the pounds sitting at a desk all day. I decided to join the gym. I went to the gym three-four times a week, jumped on the elliptical, did some abs. I lost some weight, but nowhere near the amount I had been hoping to lose. In fact, by the time January rolled around and I had to step on the scale for a doctor’s appointment, I was APPALLED at the number staring back at me: 170 pounds. WHAT THE WHAT?
So in January 2011, I decided to challenge myself to learn how to run. Really run. Like outside and everything. I downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my iPod, a program that boasts turning couch potatoes into runners in nine weeks. Three times a week I dragged my butt to the gym, hopped on the treadmill and steadily increased my running time, following the program.I dropped weight pretty quickly and it felt amazing when at least once a day, someone would notice and tell me how great I was looking or asked what I was doing to lose the weight. When an opportunity arose to run a 5K for colon cancer awareness with work, I figured why not? I was already training for it, whether I realized it or not. In March, I completed my first 5K.
And from there I was hooked on running. Since then, I’ve completed three more 5Ks with another one planned for this weekend and another in November. I became obsessed with Zumba when work started offering free classes two times a week. Since March, I’ve maintained a steady workout schedule, alternating running, Zumba and strength workouts. And steadily, through the months, I’ve dropped 30 pounds.
Now, I weigh in at 138 pounds.
How I Did It
-Creating a weekly workout schedule and sticking to it: Every Sunday, I write out my workout schedule for the week. I try to work out five-six times a week, depending on my schedule. I try to run three-four times a week, and do Zumba or some other type of exercise two
times a week. And of course I schedule in one or two rest days! I try very hard to make a commitment at the beginning of the week to stick to my schedule.
-Becoming an AM gym go-er: Want to know the best way NOT to skip your workout? Make your working out the first thing you do when you wake up. Slowly, VERY slowly, I have become a morning gym go-er. I wake up at 5 a.m., head to the gym for a quick 40 minute sweat sesh and head home to shower and go to work. It’s easier than it sounds, believe me. Oh, and added bonus: I am WAY more productive at work when I work out in the morning.
-Finding a form of exercise that I love: In February, my work started offering free Zumba classes, and I quickly became addicted. Zumba is not only an amazing cardio workout, it is SO. MUCH. FUN. In June, I did a two hour zumbathon and I currently take about two Zumba classes a week (one regular class, one toning class with weights). I look forward to these classes, and I usually take them with friends so not only is it a workout, it’s a social outing. Also, I now love running. The girl who could barely make it through the mandatory mile in gym class in high school loves running. It’s crazy, but it’s true. Running clears my mind and makes me feel strong.
-Changing my diet (but not dieting!): The thought of going on a diet made me want to vomit, so I didn’t. Instead, I changed my lifestyle. I took a hard look at what I was putting into my body (white bread! fatty potato chips! soda!) and realized that I was being just plain stupid. There were so many simple fixes I could make quickly to make a big difference. I switched to whole wheat bread. I bought rice chips and peppers and hummus to snack on instead of greasy potato chips. I eliminated soda completely and now drink water like I live in the desert. I added more fruits and veggies to my diet. I paid attention to portion size. But most importantly, I didn’t deprive myself! If I wanted ice cream or cookies or a second helping at dinner, I allowed myself those treats.
How I Feel
I feel AMAZING. I’ve never felt healthier, happier or more beautiful in my life. It feels so good to be comfortable and confident in my skin. And I won’t lie, it feels damn good to fit into a size 4!
Broad Street Run. Sunday, May 6, 2012. 10 miles.
I know that there will be many more challenges ahead. Now that I’ve lost the weight, I need to maintain this healthy weight, which I’m sure will be a whole new adventure in itself. I’m ready for it. But for now, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and most importantly, I’m comfortable and happy in my own skin.