Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Then and Now: My Journey Thus Far :)

Every once in a while, it's a beautiful thing to look back and see how far you've come from the person you were only a few short years ago.
My 21st birthday was a time of great joy and excitement. I had my own apartment, a great job, my amazing boyfriend, and a supportive family; life was really just beginning for me.  I was a point in my where I was just comfortable with everything around me and I let life take it's toll. Enter: alcohol calories, bar food, greasy hangover breakfasts, you get the idea. The weight slowly crept on and before I knew it, I was the heaviest I have ever been.

I'm not proud of the decisions I made back then regarding my health, but I am proud of the one decision I made that changed my entire life: Get healthy. I started a program in May 2012 that was a strict low-carb, nearly no carb diet. I avoided bread, rice, and pasta, and consumed only small portions of fruit and vegetables. My main caloric intake came from protein. Lots of lean chicken breast, turkey, salmon, cheese, and yogurt. In 6 months I had dropped 40 pounds simply from changing the way I ate. I went on the occasional walk during this time, but did little to no other form of exercise. As soon as I ended this program and began eating normally again, the weight began to come right back. Although this diet provided me with drastic results, I've come to realize that this is not a sustainable way to eat or live as a healthy individual. I spent the next several months trying to balance a social life, a full-time job, school, and everything else in between. I found myself stuck and unable to commit to eating right or working out.

Fast forward a few months later to May of 2013, when I found Tone It Up through Lauren Conrad's website. The founders of Tone It Up, Karena and Katrina, two beautiful, fit women had created an online community across the world of women who inspired each other to become the healthy and happy individuals I have grown to admire and draw strength from every day. After trying some of their workouts and recipes, I immediately purchased the Nutrition Plan and dove head first into one of their "Slim Downs". The wealth of information about health and nutrition they provide in the plan really gave me a strong base to start eating healthy again - the right way.  I learned to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats - even a few sweet treats as well! I discovered that being healthy is a daily commitment, and  you have to constantly work at it. Through Tone It Up, I have connected with like-minded women in my area who have become great friends, and an amazing source of motivation for those days when I just don't feel up to the task.

   2011                                           Today!
Since starting Tone It Up, I have not only began eating healthy again, (and going vegan!) I also started incorporating different types of work outs. I didn't want to just lose weight, I wanted to be strong and fit.  I began boxing at a local gym, jogging (yikes!), and strength training. I now have four 5k races, and a 10k under my belt, and this Saturday I'm doing a 5k obstacle course/mud run with a few girlfriends. In the coming months, I have another 10k lined up, and I also plan to sign up for a half marathon by the end of the year. Health and fitness has not only just become a daily part of my life, it is now one of my greatest sources of happiness. I've grown a lot over the past few years, and I've learned to fall in love with my body for the amazing things it has shown me I can do. I've managed to drop the 20 pounds I gained back last year and then some; plus now I've got some baby muscles!!

The past couple years have been a roller coaster, but I'm glad to say that I've found my stride. I've not yet reached my goals, but I'm a lot closer to them then I have ever been. Even when I do get there, I'll just be ready with some new, more challenging goals!  I've already come this far, and I can't wait to share the rest of my journey with you :)

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