Heaviest Weight: I think I got up to 185-190# (5’ 6”)
Current Weight: 145 lbs of muscle :)
I came across your story in my Facebook feed and was instantly drawn to it because of your caption of your before and after photos, “When you’re ready to change, you will!” One of the simplest, most beautiful and inspiring messages I’ve ever read. It was simple, honest and real.
When you’re ready to change, you will. – That’s what I used to tell myself. I have a lot of friends who have approached me for help. My first question is “are you ready? If you’re ready to do this, let’s do it.”
It’s not a quick fix; it’s completely changing your lifestyle. And life gets hard!
It’s not easy to execute a healthy diet, incorporate an exercise regimen, and prep meals weekly all while (for some) working full time, going to school and having a family. Past and present injuries and illnesses could potentially prevent such changes from happening. I feel blessed that my path to health lined up perfectly with my lifestyle. I have an 8-5 job that allows me to get to my gym for a 5:30 pm class. I do not attend school and I currently don’t have any children. Everything just sort of lined up and helped the process to get me where I am today.
What prompted you to change things?
I didn’t decide. That may sound weird. It was about 4 years ago when I lost my stepdad. I was very sad and just in a dark place, so I rarely had an appetite. I lived alone, and at that time I wasn’t very social and literally went from work to home and home to work.
I started to finally feel good about myself. With that I felt a sense of determination to finally do something about my health. I remember it started with night workouts before I would go to bed. I’d hunt around on YouTube for 15-30 min hardly intense workouts. I’d choose my workout, watch the video in full to see if I even felt like attempting and then I’d get after it.
How did you go from YouTube videos to well nourished, serious Crossfit Athlete?
One night my boyfriend and I were at our friends’ BBQ; a couple we had known for years but hadn’t seen in a long time. My friend Carisse and I were catching up. She mentioned she was a coach for Crossfit. I didn’t know what that was, so we dove all the way in with who, what, when, where, why, and how. She said, “just come to a class and see what you think.” Since then I’ve never looked back.
Several 100 YouTube Crossfit videos later I found myself at one of the beginning classes at Mountain Fit Crossfit where I met the owner Jacob Norman. I remember his words very clearly, “you’ll get out of Crossfit what you put into it.”
At first I assumed that meant intensity. “Sure, yeah, I got this!” It wasn’t until truly about 6-9 months into it that I realized what that meant. Intensity? Yes, but nutrition more importantly. I thought I could just eat whatever I wanted, workout and that’s where the magic happens.
The reality is so much harder to grasp. 80% of health is nutrition based and the rest is keeping active with regular scheduled exercise. I had to start completely from scratch.
I had no idea what health meant or how to read the nutrition labels on the back. Counting calories, that was all that made sense. Here is a label and here is the calorie count. “Perfect! Ok, don’t go over 1500”. At least that’s what I thought I should be looking for.
I watched a ton of documentaries. Fed Up, Super Size Me, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. I started to understand it’s not about just counting calories; it was about what types of foods we actually put into our bodies.
What was the first change you made?
YouTube videos. Every night I picked a different focus. I’m not very good at running. I don’t enjoy it so for a while, that was never in my thought process of what needed to be done. It hurt. I felt heavy doing it and it was always hot. Figured videos were the way to go.
Some people don’t like to work out in crowds. I didn’t like working out alone. I did it, but I didn’t like it. That is the one thing about Mountain Fit Crossfit I was drawn to. It was a big group of people working together as a community. It was a work at your own pace, no one left behind type atmosphere and no judgments. I gave me something to look forward to every single day. “Finally, a healthy habit!”
What shocks people most about your success?
I never set goals, setting goals to me means that there’s a beginning and an end. I knew it could never end, therefore, no goal setting. As long as I made conscious healthy decisions every day to take care of myself and continue doing what I was doing it would all turn out. A good quote I would reference often was “if you’re tired of starting over, quit stopping”.
What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
That I must eat Paleo or eat really clean. I’m not really like a health nut. You know people who weigh food and measure or only buy certain butters and oils. I love peanut butter. In fact, a PB & J became my favorite pre workout meal. (Thanks, Rich Froning). I won’t buy almond butter, I buy Jiff. I don’t buy coconut oil, I use olive oil. I know what it means to use those and eventually I will, just not there yet.
I love salty chips and we’re crazy about ice cream around here. I work them into my diet to maintain a sense of normalcy. I used to be a very picky eater, but I’ve had to retrain my taste buds and couldn’t imagine going back. It’s okay to have cheat meals or cheat days for some. I cheat a lot, because I am still learning. I’m not perfect and I’m very tempted with certain foods and not punish myself for making those choices keeps me sane.
Where I am now compared to where I was is night and day. My mom used to say “you live to eat, you should eat to live.” I don’t let food control my life anymore. I know I’m healthy and it’s a relief to finally feel carefree.
Is it hard for you to see others try to lose weight and fail?
I would never go to someone and say you need to do this. If they ask me, then yeah I’ll step in and help. That goes back to my, “If you’re ready to change you will.” I will still throw out little tidbits here and there like, “that’s not a good idea. You can’t even pronounce half the ingredients.” They make processed, packaged, fast foods too convenient for people, and it’s killing us.
Did you ever think that you would inspire others?
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