Friday, May 8, 2009

Lasting Lifestyle Changes

 loss, As a lifestyle coach, I often get asked... "How do I make lasting changes, that's not just a diet?" "How do I stick to a plan?" If I had a quarter for every time I get asked these questions, I'd probably be rich by now! Haha! Many of you don't know this, but I haven't always been active, in shape and healthy. For most of my adolescence I struggled with my weight and body issues. At my mere 5 foot stature, I went from one extreme to the next growing up. I always felt awkward and average. When I was in middle school, I went through puberty early and went through a chubby stage. Then I decided I wanted to slim down and not knowing a thing about it, I slowly started eating less and less until I spiraled down pretty darn close to an eating disorder. My lowest weight was 85 pounds. Luckily, I had great parents and friends, and it didn't take long for me to snap out of it and realize what I was doing to myself before things got too bad and I started gaining weight back quickly. I was active then, but didn't know how to moderate my eating, and was back to a "chubbier" kid through the rest of high school.

Then I went to college. Pizza and ice cream, daily... what?! Yep. That was me. Late night pizza runs, cheese enchiladas combined with absolutely no exercise, the introduction of alcohol on the weekends and the stress of school had a HUGE impact on my body. My freshman year at school I gained 50 pounds. My top weight was at 175. Its pretty amazing how fast I gained this weight and how I hardly noticed the weight coming on when it did. It took one day of tears in my dorm room when a dress I had bought a mere 2 weeks prior wouldn't zip for my wake up call to come. I couldn't believe I had let myself get that way. Not only was I fat, but I was sooo unhappy and could barely stand to look at myself in the mirror everyday. It was that day I decided it was time for a change. And a lasting one this time. No more yo-yo dieting... no more broken promises.

So I started exercising... S L O W L Y. I was very out of shape. I started tracking my food. It took me 2 months to loose 5 pounds, but I didn't give up. I kept going. And it paid off. 6 months later, I was 30 pounds lighter, and much more fit. And more importantly, I was HAPPY. I continued to workout and enjoy new activities. I ran my first mini-marathon. After college, I got into weight training and furthered my education in nutrition. It was then that I decided I wanted to inspire others to make lasting lifestyle changes too, and pursued a career in fitness and lifestyle coaching. 

When I got pregnant I had a return of many internal fears that I would balloon back up to "Fat Mandy". But I didn't. I only weighed 131 when I gave birth to my beautiful healthy daughter, and I know that I was able to do this because I have made these lasting lifestyle changes in my own life. I am proud that I will be able to instill healthy habits in her and encourage her to have a positive self esteem. The most important thing that has come out of these changes for myself is that I have learned to love myself so much more. I am worth all the trouble :)

So that's my soapbox for today. I hope you know that I am here for each of you if you ever need that extra push or pat on the back. Remember YOU are worth it!! 

And here are before and after pictures for you to see for yourself!


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