Weight is a topic most women do not enjoy discussing, but it is an issue women have to deal with everyday. Many people criticize the media for portraying stick thin models or “ripped” male models as the picture of health. Blaming any one source for causing young people to develop eating disorders is naive. I believe embracing your shape and developing a healthy lifestyle starts at home.
The last five years my weight has been on a roller coaster ride. In high school, I was on varsity track and field until I tore a few ligaments in my ankle. The transition from lifting weights, doing plyometrics, and running a couple miles each day to physical therapy and limited movement was difficult. The sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits contributed to my 30 pound weight gain. I graduated high school at 150 pounds.
I continued doing the physical therapy exercises at home and found my way back to the gym during freshman year of college. The weight began to melt off when I started to walk all over Pullman for classes and adopted healthy eating habits. Instead of getting a cheeseburger at dinner, I started eating grilled chicken over a spinach salad with dried cranberries. While my classmates gained their freshman weight at parties and drive thru restaurants, I was losing weight.
Working two jobs and attempting to go to school full time left little time to go out for big meals. Snacks became a way of keeping my weight around 120 pounds and working at an organic store offered healthy options. Eating salads, lean meat, dried fruit, Kashi cereal, yogurt, whole wheat bread, and the occasional vegan cookie helped encourage healthy weight loss. My pant size had gone from a size six to a zero in a little over two years by changing poor eating habits and making a point to stay active.
I moved to New York City in January 2009 and quickly realized my budget did not allow for much in grocery department. My grocery staples were cereal, bread, pasta, peanut butter, soy milk, and juice. Eating tons of carbohydrates and walking a couple miles a day with a heavy camera case will make almost anyone lose weight. The cold temperatures in the city meant wearing layers of clothing and baking in the heated classrooms. Pretty soon my leftover flab was melting off, but it did not feel healthy. I had gone from 120 to 108 pounds in a matter of weeks.
I went home in March of 2009 and visited my family. They were all concerned with my weight loss and constantly supplied food during my stay. When I returned to NYC, the hunt was on for high calorie foods to maintain what weight I had been able to gain. I wandered more than 30 blocks every Sunday to explore the city and soak up some sun, but made sure to grab a couple pieces of greasy pizza on my way home. When I moved home in May 2009, my weight was a steady 115 pounds.
I returned home to harsh criticism from people who didn’t know me. Coming from a family of overweight people has given me an awareness of making healthy choices and how comments about weight can hurt other people. My brother was 200 pounds in 7th grade and found a love of running before joining the United States Army last year. My parents are both over 225 pounds and have begun adopting healthier habits. Calling people names because of their weight is pointless. Call me what you want, but it will not change what I see in the mirror everyday.
I have gained five pounds since May 2009, but lost much of the muscle tone I had from walking and running. Bikini season is coming up and I have adopted a new workout regimen to tone up! A friend from Washington shared a link from the Tone It Up! ladies and I have started doing their bikini workouts almost everyday. I follow the P90X Yoga X video every other day and can feel the difference! I love the Tone It Up! site because of the healthy recipes. Healthy recipes with flavor are hard to come by, but these girls keep the flavor and cut the junk.
The pictures above are from 2006, 2009, and late 2010. The most recent is courtesy of Bess Byers – check her blog out! If you have any suggestions on great workouts, let me know! Who else is prepping for the upcoming bikini season or has a similar story to share?