Before and After: Losing weight and getting fit

Ok – quick update from me (otherwise scroll down for my transformation pictures)! I know I am supposed to be posting a new workout every day for the next month, but guess what? I completely overestimated how much time I would have! I’ve been very fortunate enough over the last month to redirect my attention to all the things that make me happy, including my home, family, fitness and writing. With that – I left my full time job and have picked up some freelance writing opportunities and I’m studying to get my personal training license (go me). I truly believe you cannot put a price on happiness and for anyone who has run into me over the last 2 weeks – your positive encouragement and words of affirmation ring in my head everyday. With the big changes, I am taking on some training at a new start up news station that requires my full time for 2 weeks and I’m two weeks out from my first competition of the year. To say that I am busy is an understatement, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and I will get back on track with posting more workouts soon!

I thought I would make up for my slacking by doing a little recap of my fitness journey. You can read more about it here, but reading it and seeing it are two totally different things. If you are just starting your fitness journey and if you think that the road is heading into pure blackness with no end in sight, I want you to know that I have been in your shoes. In fact, behind every fit person lies a former shell of weaker muscles and uncertainty. While my fitness transformation got a kick start with a high cholesterol health scare back in 2011, today, I find motivation in going to the gym and eating healthy because I know how good the combination makes me feel (not to mention – looking back on old photos..)

I figured I would share some of those photos with you. My transformation has been so long! In college, I always thought I was fit and trim but thanks to Facebook, my tagged photos have made me realize I was not the definition of “healthy”. While I was never fat (I don’t even like the F word), I was absolutely an enlarged version of my natural self. Just like today, I am a muscular version of my natural self.

These first photos takes you through my college journey from Freshman year on spring break to celebrating my first day of Senior year with a big ‘ol margarita. While your weight is just a number – I was honestly about 20 pounds over what my “natural” weight should be by the time I graduated.

College

By the end of 2008 – about four to five months after I graduated – I started to lose weight over the period of two months. I wasn’t doing anything significant but I can assume that since I was no longer drinking my calories in the form of beer, I was able to drop the 20 pounds I had gained in college. I instantly started noticing that my clothes were fitting loose and my face was thinning out.

weightlossCome 2010 – I was working the overnight shift at a local news affiliate in Iowa. In between my crazy work schedule and being pretty broke, I dropped down to what I would now consider too thin for my frame. I wasn’t doing anything unhealthy – but two meals a day of Ramen Noodles isn’t going to cut it. While a lot of brides try to get fit for their wedding day, when mine rolled around I was just hoping my dress would stay up.

2010

Flashing forward – after I got married I knew I needed to make a change for my health and make a permanent one. I wanted to cook for my husband and feed myself properly. I immersed myself in clean eating and learned what everything on a label means, including sodium content, protein, and the differences between carbohydrates. The biggest change was when I reentered the gym after my four year hiatus and began picking up some weights. My arms and boney chest began to get some curves and I was no longer winded when I went for bike rides. I knew that I was entering an amazing adventure and I couldn’t get enough.

That’s when I decided to take up competing. I missed my days of competitive cheerleading and really wanted some hard goals to work toward. The discipline I needed to add muscle and infiltrate healthy eating into my life has been nothing short of a blessing. Although I didn’t place at my first competition in May of 2013- a fire was lit inside of me!

todayI’ve been able to maintain this lifestyle for over two years now. It’s not always easy but it is always worth it. As of today – I am two weeks out from my first competition of this year. I never really post “selfies” of the work I’ve put in to the gym, but to truly understand the spectrum of my transformation and the transformation you can have too… I will leave you with this:

2weeks

While I am on the leaner side of my muscular frame right now (hence the defined abs) – the two pictures above 100% represent my true identity. I want you to know that even if you’ve never picked up a weight, if you have no muscle or if you’re intimidated by the gym there is so much hope for you! All you have to do is ask yourself if you’re ready. If you are – then amazing things will come your way.

Enjoy your weekend!
Heather