How I Got Here

How did I get here?

Well, the short answer is--I'm tired of being fat and uncomfortable in my own skin.

Now for the long, unapologetically honest, authentic, raw answer:
I have tried to lose weight several times before.  Now, I have always been "mature-looking" for my age, but I have struggled with my weight since middle school.  One year, I would be really chubby.  The next year, I would be normal weight.  When I started the 9th grade, I was nice and slim, but I was still larger than my friends.

9th Grade Talent Show
By senior year of high school, however, I had put on a significant amount of weight and had been diagnosed with hypertension. I'm actually ashamed of how large I appear in my high school senior portraits.  I will also note that, as my weight increased, my self-confidence decreased.
High School Senior Portrait
As a college freshman, I weighed between 160-170lbs. Let's just say, with easy (and seemingly unlimited) access to fast food, I gained the "Freshman 15" and some.  My doctor had been getting onto me about my weight, and she was the one who first recommended WeightWatchers meetings to me.  (Keyword: meetings) I had been seeing the WW commercials and how well Jennifer Hudson had done on Weight Watchers and I thought, "Well, if JHud can do it, surely I can!"  I also remember that, that December, I had been buying jeans that were size 16, and I was only 18.  I was disappointed in and ashamed of myself because I was wearing a pants size that "was so eerily close to my age."  So, at the end of 2011, I signed up for WW online and a free trial to Anytime Fitness. I actually loved Anytime Fitness but I didn't want to make the $40/month commitment. I mean, I was already pushing it with $20/month for WW.  I was still a college student--a broke (and obese) one at that.   Needless to say, my motivation was short lived.  I didn't feel that the $20/month I paid for WW online was really worth it, and I ended up quitting.

By April 2012, I was even more frustrated with my weight, as I had gained about 10-15 more pounds.  I decided to sign up with WW, as an online member, again.  I also bought my first gym membership at Anytime Fitness.  My motivation to work out was at an all time high, but by that summer, I had opted for the free calorie counting app, My Fitness Pal, over the paid point system.  With lots of cardio and calorie counting, I lost about 20 pounds that summer (2012), and I was really...feeling myself, to say the least.  But the stresses of school led me to gain those 20 pounds back and I continued to struggle with my weight.

During the fall of my junior year of college (2013), I dealt with a lot of personal issues and stressors. Because I felt like I had nobody to turn to, I turned to food.  I used my hefty school load as an "excuse" to go to Barnes and Noble or Cups, a local coffee shop, to study.  And of course, it's just rude to go to bookstores and coffee shops just to study and use their free WiFi and not buy coffee and/or pastries.  I mean they're giving you something, so why not pay them for something they're giving you for free? I went to a coffee shop or bookstore every day, so those dollars and pounds added up quickly.
November 2013: I was trying to hide my weight behind a filter. Because obviously that works....

Fast forward to January of 2014--I signed up for my second gym membership and for 6 months of personal training. I decided to get this additional membership because this gym had group classes, including Les Mills Body Pump. I thought that the group classes would provide me with the support and accountability I needed during my weight loss journey.  I absolutely loved my trainer and I learned so much about exercise and the types of exercises I needed to do to maximize my fat loss and tone up. My trainer also taught me about the Advocare 24-Day Challenge.  I made up my mind to do the Challenge because I felt like a "reset" would be exactly what I needed to kickstart my weight loss. The 24-Day Challenge started off well but slowly went downhill.  During the first 3 days of the Cleanse Phase, I lost 5 pounds, and I was feeling on top of the world.   But I was slowly pulled off my high horse by my immense sugar cravings for...blueberry muffins and White Chocolate Mochas from, you guessed it, Starbucks.  I was having the WORST sugar cravings and I just couldn't deny them any more.  So of course, I binged and because I binged, I just made up my mind to be done with the Challenge all together.  After three days. Yeah, I lost weight but I gained some back. 

Now at the time, I didn't realize that the reset was too drastic a change for me.  My body went into shock, and because I was already dealing with stress (from school and life), I wasn't fully equipped to make such a dynamic change. I just wasn't prepared.  And you know what they say, "Fail to plan, plan to fail."  So because I had not planned and prepared prior to the cleanse, I just fell flat on my face and I was in no position to pick myself up and keep going.  But had I known then what I know now, losing weight could have been as simple as eating as clean as possible.  I mean, the first 10 days of the Challenge, the Cleanse Phase, pretty much involves eliminated fast and processed foods.  Eat clean and the results will come.  I missed the memo, train, and the bus to the Land of Better Health and I was stuck in the Land of Greasy, Fatty Foods.

I continued to struggle with my weight and I really didn't go to the gym as often as I should have.  By the summer of 2014, I had cancelled my WW membership and had completely stopped going to the gym.  I complained all the time how I wasted money on a gym membership with a contract so stringent that it would practically take an Executive Order to cancel even if I died and my parents came in with proof of my death.

So June 2014, I had the opportunity to travel up close to the US-Canada border to do a summer internship.  I was over 2,000 miles away from home, without a car.  I was miserable.  The internship provided room, but not board.  The lack of a meal plan led me to eat pizza every day for the first week; Chinese, the second.  Although I was depressed and most times I didn't want to leave my room except to go to my internship, I never seemed to miss a beat when it came time to eat. I went grocery shopping, well junk food shopping, three times a week. I spent most of my stipend on food.  And then one day, I saw myself in the bathroom mirror.  A few weeks later, I saw a picture of myself posted on Facebook.

I was huge. I looked like a 40 year old, not a 21 year old.

I was just SO out of my element.  I knew I had to do something about it.

I started getting up 30 minutes earlier and working out to a YouTube video (Fitness Blender and XHIT Daily were my channels of choice).  I started a 30-Day Squat and Arm Challenge. I also started drinking Body by Vi shakes every morning for breakfast.   I even tried to eat better--that didn't always work but I tried.  I started using MyFitnessPal and even talked to my office mate, a dietetics student, about healthy food options. I'm not sure how much weight I lost (or what weight I had reached over the course of the summer) because I didn't have a scale to weigh on.  The night before I came home, my fellow interns and I went to Olive Garden for a last "hoorah" dinner.  We took a picture outside the restaurant.  I didn't see the picture...until the next day when I was tagged in it on Facebook. (The power of social media)

Summer 2014
I didn't recognize myself!

I couldn't believe I had let myself go.  Obviously any weight that I had lost was not very substantial because I was still very much overweight.

That night, on August 2, 2015, I signed up for WeightWatchers...again, but this time as a meetings member.  Doctor knows best. (See above recommendation.) "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  Weight Watchers seemed to work for me but something was missing.  I figured it was time for me to try WW as a meetings member.  And it helped.  The accountability and support was life-changing.  I also made my way to the gym (yes, I still had two gym memberships) and worked my butt off doing cardio on the elliptical and/or treadmill for at least an hour a day after class.  In just about 5 months, I had lost 25 pounds.  I had gone from 205.2 to 180.2.  I was on a high. And to make matters even better, the shirt from that infamous picture that got me motivated to really change was getting big.

In the fall of 2015 (my senior year of college), as a new WW meetings member, I learned about both Herbalife and Beachbody.  Beachbody came first. I found (my now Beachbody Coach) Alexa's blog and I learned about Beachbody through her.  I started following her on Instagram, and I learned about Shakeology.  At first I was hesitant about another "shake"....I had tried Body by Vi, but that hadn't turned out well. I also wasn't too fond of the price of Shakeology...$130 a MONTH? I was still a broke college student, and I was even more broke with all the test and application fees I had been paying out. But then Alexa started giving out samples of choco Shakeology.  I took advantage of this offer and ordered some chocolate Shakeology samples through her.  I absolutely LOVED Shakeo.  The choco shakeo tasted JUST like a Wendy's Frosty.  I ordered my first Beachbody program, PiYo, soon after.  I realized that PiYo wasn't the right program for me so I decided to order the 21 Day Fix.  I loved the Fix, but my eating STILL wasn't where it needed to be.  I would get up every morning and get my Fix and go to the gym every afternoon after class.  But I would still eat Chick Fil A if it fit within my points for the day...and sometimes when it didn't.  Not to mention, my weekly losses started getting smaller and smaller...and then I hit a plateau. (I also joined some fitness challenge groups around this time, but my motivation for and participation in these groups slowly waned.)

During this time, I also learned about Personal Trainer Food, a company from which you get a monthly supply of proteins and veggies of your choice.  I knew I wasn't getting anywhere with my weight loss because I wasn't eating well. So I decided to try it...I just couldn't bear the taste of some of the foods, so that ended quickly. (I still have packs of uneaten PTF in my freezer.) I also did my research on Nutrisystem, but decided against it after my experience with PTF.  And as far as meal prepping...yeah, I just didn't have time for that.
PTF Chicken and Green Beans (I added the brown rice)
I actually tried Herbalife for the first time in February 2015.  I fell in love with the taste of the shakes. I started ordering the shakes and teas and drinking them every day.  However, I didn't modify anything else that I was eating.  I didn't put in the work consistently, so I didn't get the results I was expecting. 

Winter 2015
This Spring 2015, I was preparing to graduate. I also started a new relationship.  And there came the pounds: stress and love weight comPOUNDed and I gained back 15 of the 25 pounds I had lost. I was sorely disappointed in myself, but I knew it was my fault.  I had to do something about it.

Left: May 3, 2015 (about 185 lbs); Right: Summer 2014 (200+ lbs)

As much as I tried, I struggled all summer to get myself together. I started meal prepping my food at home as much as possible.  And when I couldn't do it, I paid someone to do it for me.  As long as I stayed away from the fast food and casual dining restaurants, I saw the weight come off.  But it still didn't work.  I wasn't consistent. I was about 80% consistent.  Almost doesn't count.

As you can see, I have pretty much tried every fad, pill, shake, etc. Nothing worked until....


I need to make this a lifestyle.

As of February 27, 2016, I recommitted to WeightWatchers as a meetings member, have continued to drink my glass of Shakeology, and have gotten in at least 30 minutes of activity in every day.

Now that I am on my own, in my own apartment (with my own kitchen), I am able to control my environment more so than I have ever been able to.  I have been eating clean (and drinking my Shakeology and my gallon of water) for the past week and I see a difference. (Check out "Kisa's Kitchen" for more details on how I keep my kitchen environment "clean".)

When I eat as clean as possible, I don't really crave the bad stuff as much as I do when I don't eat clean. (I also credit my minimal cravings to my daily dose of Shakeology. See more about that here.) That's not to say that I don't have some cravings, but for the most part, my cravings now are for, well, healthier foods.  I still love some strawberry Blue Bell ice cream, but now, a strawberry milkshake (oats, strawberries, milk, and Greek yogurt) hits the spot just as well.

So after several years of wandering in the seemingly impossible maze of weight loss, I have FINALLY realized that...

abs aren't made in the gym but in the kitchen.

Please stick around as I make my goal of defeating obesity, avoiding diabetes, and learning to be comfortable in my own skin a reality.

And of course, if you would like any information on Beachbody programs, supplements, and resources, please feel free to reach out to me.
Thanks for reading!