Once upon a time, the numbers in my medical file looked like this:
Weight: 261 lbs.
Body Fat: 51%
My blood pressure and cholesterol levels were in dangerous ranges, my blood sugar measured as “pre-diabetic” and I could barely walk around the block at a brisk pace without gasping for air and feeling like my legs were on fire. I was depressed and suffered from debilitating anxiety. My digestive health was a mess. And I was only in my early 20’s.
It was the result of many challenges I had faced throughout the years… family issues, dysfunctional relationships, having to drop out of college for financial reasons, being flat broke and buried in debt, and working 12-hour days and weekends to barely make ends meet.
I had always struggled with my weight, but things got worse during my early adult years…
I ate loads of cheap processed food, sat at a desk or on my couch all day, smoked cigarettes and drank excessive amounts of alcohol on the weekends to escape my reality.
The beginning of change
Around the age of 26, I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired that I knew I had to make a change.
I couldn’t afford a gym membership, so I bought a cheap elliptical machine and a mini-stair stepper that I kept in the living room of my small apartment. I used them for 1 – 2 hours a day.
For my meals, I started buying prepackaged “diet” meals from the freezer section of my local grocery store for my lunches and dinners. My breakfast typically consisted of a bowl of wheat or bran cereal with skim milk.
The increase in my physical activity and decrease in my caloric intake resulted in a 30-lb. weight loss over several months, which was awesome, but I had no idea at the time that long periods of moderate cardiovascular exercise and eating calorie-restricted, pre-packaged/processed foods was far from the best approach.
Those choices were focused solely on dropping weight. I was missing the big picture about truly building my health and considering the long-term consequences of my eating habits.
Knowledge is power!
As the weight started coming off, I began falling in love with exercising and eating healthier and wanted to understand more about it.
More importantly, I wanted to understand more about human behavior and motivation when it comes to health….I needed to wrap my head around how I ended up in such poor physical condition, and I needed to make sure I never went back there again.
So I went back to school and got a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. As I learned about the complex psychological processes we humans go through, it all started to make sense. In a nutshell: when our mental health isn’t in a good place, our physical health follows suit. And it’s nearly impossible to do well when you don’t feel well.
Once I finished my Psychology degree, I was hungry for more knowledge and continued on for a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling. At the time, my plan was to become a psychotherapist to help people be the healthiest version of themselves by working through their mental roadblocks.
But as I was finishing my graduate studies in counseling, a light bulb went off for me….
I realized that how we think and feel is just one piece of the puzzle. Exercise and healthful eating had become therapy for me, and I needed to fully understand the role fitness and nutrition plays in our overall wellness.
So I went back to school again to become a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and learn about the anatomy of exercise and exactly what it does for our health and well-being.
Next, I completed extensive schooling in the field of nutrition to understand the critical role diet plays in our overall wellness. The multiple certifications I have earned include Certified Weight Management Specialist and Certified Holistic Nutritionist.
This list continues to grow and always will, as I will never stop learning and seeking the latest information to help others (and myself) live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible.
How I went from unhealthy to unstoppable
Today, the numbers in my medical file look much different. My weight is 110 pounds less and my body fat is in the “normal” / healthy range.
My cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels are excellent. In fact, my doctor tells me I have the vitals of a “trained athlete.”
I’m full of energy and gratitude each day, and I continuously work to increase my knowledge about building lasting health.
I’m often asked how I made such a huge transformation all on my own (no pills, surgeries or other quick fixes), so I whipped up these highlights to provide a blueprint:
- I replaced my excuses with effort.
- I changed the way I look at food. Food is fuel and a tool for health – end of story. And I now know that everything I put in my body will either fight disease or feed it.
- I started using an online gym after acknowledging that I have the best success exercising at home, on my schedule, and not giving a rip what I look like while working out.
- I stopped consuming processed food and anything with artificial ingredients and transitioned to a whole food, plant-based diet.
- I detoxed everything in my life – my diet, relationships, beauty and personal care products, kitchen tools, cleaning products, etc.
- I embraced the value of sleep and make time for 8 hours a night.
- I rely on credible research, experts, science, healers and proven results to guide my decisions about exercise and nutrition.
- I focus on feeling healthy, strong and improving my well-being instead of being “skinny” or looking good.
- I accept that true transformation takes time and never look to fads, pills, extreme diets or surgeries for a quick fix. Patience and dedication are critical!
- I make time for physical activity each day, focusing on shorter intense workouts instead of long workouts with moderate intensity.
- I go for a walk every day and expose myself to sunshine whenever possible.
- I constantly drink water.
- I choose happiness. I think positive. I focus on being grateful.
- I create clean, organized, beautiful, relaxing spaces around me. (Your environment has a huge impact on your wellness!)
- I always plan ahead and make meticulous grocery shopping lists for my meals and snacks. (Planning makes grocery shopping, meal prep and eating on the road SO easy. More importantly, it ensures you stay on track!)
- I continuously learn and seek knowledge to strengthen my health and personal power. (Wellness is a continuous journey, not a program with a finish line.)
You can be unstoppable, too!
I want everyone to experience the amazing feeling of being unstoppable, and that’s why I’m here connecting with you and ready to help in any way I can.
Whatever your situation, please know that IT IS POSSIBLE! Stick with me and I’ll show you the way to becoming a Fit Life Ninja. I’m so glad you’re here!
With love and gratitude,
If you’re passionate about health and fitness and want to partner with me in helping others become Fit Life Ninjas to create the life they deserve, I’d love to work with you! Simply send an email to [email protected] and I’ll get back to you ASAP!