Health and fitness has quickly became a forefront in my life. While I have always been active, I used to be one of those lucky girls who could eat and eat and eat and not gain a single pound. Maybe I was unhappy with my weight one day and decided I wanted to lose a couple of pounds, so I could focus on healthy eating and immediately drop weight the following day. Yea – that would be awesome if it stayed like that forever right?!
From high school until I was diagnosed with cancer, I was a consistent weight. I never swayed, never gained weight and barely went to the gym (I had a gym membership though, that counts right?). I did not watch what I ate (I mean my first job was at McDonald’s!) and I was not a water drinker by any means. Being in my early twenties, I went out to bars and drank every weekend. Looking back now, you can say I had a great metabolism!
Fast forward to being 26 and post chemotherapy and radiation and a bunch of other nonsense, my thyroid finally stopped working on me. While at first, it seemed that I couldn’t gain weight fast enough. I had lost a considerable amount of weight during my second bout with cancer, and had dropped to my lowest pant size since MIDDLE SCHOOL. Six months post treatment I was able to start putting weight back on and I started to work out more. After treatment, I started running more on the regular and tried spin classes for the first time as well as other group classes. I also started doing yoga. I finally had a mindset that “Hey, you know what? I should start treating my body with some love. It has brought me this far that I need to give it some love back.” Sure, I had the workout focus, but I was still eating whatever I wanted.
They say that when you are in a happy and healthy relationship, you tend to gain some weight as well. My husband and I met around this time and as we were both very active, we went out to eat a lot and drank a lot on the weekends. While we ran together, went to the gym together, and wanted to lose weight together; our food was just not cutting it. This became a vicious cycle for me, and rather than losing weight due to working out, I continued to gain weight and became the heaviest I have ever been.
A part of this was not my crazy eating and drinking. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism as a result of the radiation I received during my first bout with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This went unnoticed for a year until I finally brought something up to my oncologist. My thyroid was very under active. I felt as if when I did focus on my eating, my weight just wouldn’t come off, no matter how hard I worked at it. Again, with the vicious cycle, I would get upset and get down on myself and eat comfort food to satisfy my mood.
My thyroid today is somewhat regulated. As of January 2017, I was at my heaviest weight and I felt that I had finally hit my “rock bottom”. While I worked my butt off working out 7 days a week, I was undoing every little thing by eating whatever I wanted during the weekends, including alcohol. My husband and I finally took a hard look at what needed to be fixed and decided to go at this together.
Over the course of five months, I lost twenty pounds and my husband dropped thirty pounds. While we still aren’t at the lowest we desired, we learned to love the process and appreciate our bodies in between. We tracked our calories, tracked every meal and were consistent with our workouts. We were each other’s support system and made time for treats along the way!
I look back on pictures of myself previous to having cancer and I see a young girl who was very thin. I remember at that age thinking I was NOT skinny, and that I wanted to lose weight. I ate whatever I wanted and drank whatever I wanted. I have learned through this process that I cannot focus on past pictures. I will never be a size two again, and that is okay! Looking at pictures of myself as a size two makes me feel like my bones are sticking out of my body. There are so many pictures out there that show people looking thinner by GAINING weight. The number on the scale is simply that, a number. It is all about how you FEEL and how clothes fit you. Of course I wish I could still eat whatever I wanted, but as I grow older I know that can’t always be the case. My body has been through a lot and I need to focus on prolonging my life. Eating healthy and working out is learning to love yourself.
You may not be thin, skinny, fit, or where you want to be right now but know that you have to love yourself to get to where you want to be. There is always time for eating bad food (I am obsessed with chicken wings) but learn to give that to yourself in moderation. I love wine and beer, but I don’t drink these every day. Stop comparing yourself to pictures of other people in magazines or social media. Start using your pictures of yourself! Take comparisons of yourself. Only compete with yourself. Learn to love the process – I promise that you will learn a lot about yourself.
Thank you for reading <3
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