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My Fitness Journey

When you are a personal trainer, you hear people comment about about "it must just be in your genes" and "its easy for you, you've been that way forever", etc. The truth is, many of us have gotten into the fitness industry because it has had a profound impact on our health at some point or another.

For me, I have been active my whole life.  I played tons of sports growing up.  I mean, t-ball, basketball, soccer, riding horses, etc year round!! My poor mom! My sister and I were very competitive in sports and continue that to this day.  However, my nutrition history is much, much different. I definitely had a lot of baby fat growing up.  I wasn't overweight per se, but I was on the high side of the healthy range.  As I grew taller (Im 5'9") I leaned out a bit but I've always had an athletic body style that has allowed me a strong, muscular build.  I played sports in high school and then as a collegiate athlete but soon after finishing undergrad I faced more injuries to my knee which I had injured several times starting when I was 17.  At that point I stopped running and things became very very stressful with grad school.  I gained weight.  20lbs in the span of about 6 months. Hypothyroidism runs in the family a bit so I was tested for that numerous times. Nothing was wrong with my thyroid according to lab tests.

The additional weight and the stress and moving and research and 80 other things really contributed to my decrease in activity. I rode horses when I could and sometimes made it to the gym, and then adopted my sweet yellow Labrador puppy  "Georgia" and began exercising again as much as possible. The weight just didn't budge and my knee was really painful, very frequently.  

I moved to North Carolina and continued a high stress level with work and exercised even less due to time constraints until in the spring time when I really tried to start running again. Being in an occupation where I was on my feet all the time helped a bit to initially lose some weight but not enough to stop the knee pain. I saw two surgeons in the Raleigh area and neither one of them would do surgery on my knee, which was very frustrating. 

Once I moved to Virginia I got a job at a large Fitness and Wellness Center.  I became more active and started keeping track of my workouts and logging the exercise I was doing. There were times when I'd lose a little but mostly I stayed about the same weight. I was getting stronger though and I was building muscle and strength so I tried to focus on those benefits. There was still something really missing though.  I visited our Registered Dietician a few months after I started working there.  I didn't apply those principles until about December of 2011 though. 

I had just gotten my awesome event horse Lego going well in his retraining and was so excited to start competing him. I knew if I wanted to do it I'd need to lose the weight and it would help him too.  I also wanted to get in better cardiovascular condition and for me, running is so therapeutic. My knee couldn't handle much running at all though.  I remember reading a headline for an article on a breakthrough for knee pain therapy.  The solution: lose weight. 'If only it was that simple' I remember thinking.  I began weighing myself every Thursday at 10am to track myself. I began really applying the principles that my nutritionist had told me about a couple of years before. I consciously consumed more protein in my diet, more fruits and vegetables, more water.  I didn't' restrict anything, maybe a little portion size modification but that wasn't my main focus. I made sure that I added protein in every single meal and that I was eating vegetables as much as possible. I also allowed myself something sweet. I have a ridiculous sweet tooth and I knew it wouldn't work if I completely removed sweets from my lifestyle. So I allowed my self something very small when I wanted it, just in moderation! As the weeks went on, the weight started coming off and I was able to exercise more and run more.  From December 2011 to early June 2012 I lost about 40lbs!!! 

Although I had always been active and a pretty healthy eater, there were changes I could make, particularly to my nutrition.  I know how it is to have physical obstacles standing in the way of activities you love to do. I have to remind myself sometimes when my knee is too achy to go for a run or my shoulder is killing me during push ups.  I am beyond blessed to have the health I do have... I can always do something, even if its an adjustment to the original plan.  I know that's kind of a weird way of looking at it, but to be so grateful for your body and how you can challenge yourself is very important!!

Vacationing in St Croix, USVI in February 2013

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