Stephanie’s Fitness Story

It’s taken a long time to get where I am now. I look at fitness models, magazine covers, singers, celebrities, etc, and think if I only I could be them. Like a lot of other people I was always looking for a quick solution to lose weight and try to get my idea of myself from my head onto my body. Reading stories of how long it takes to get the weight off and have it stay off started to make think, “Well maybe I am just meant to be this large”. I didn’t want to put forth the effort and admit to depression, addiction to food. Food is comforting and just so darn tasty!

I don’t know when it began, but if I had to guess it probably started in high school. Puberty hits and the body does all sorts of the things to you. Coupled with my parent’s divorce, and me not being able to make my mind up of where I wanted to live, I started to go down hill. Many night spent playing video games, drinking Mt. Dew, and not doing anything much in terms of exercise. I didn’t play sports or even get out of the house much. At this point I wasn’t at my largest, but I certainly noticed things creeping up on me. It wasn’t until college that things really started to hit me, but even then I ignored the signs.

In my freshman year of college I developed leg pains from just walking around on campus. Some of my friends though these were shin splints since I wasn’t used to walking around so much. Soon it got to the point where I could barely walk up a flight of stairs without immense pain throughout my knees. My dad sent me to a physical therapist, who told me I have patella femoral syndrome. I got this due to a muscle imbalance from my strong hip abductors, but pitifully weak adductors. The imbalanced caused my knees to pull to the off track to the outside, and this caused loads of pain. I was told to walk, do my exercises, and lose some extra weight. Well, my knees still creak and sometimes get stiff so you can see how much of that advice I took at 19.

Before I found out I was pregnantI continued on like this, with depression starting to set in, and a bad relationship (dated, dumped, messed around). I would try to work out when we all got into fitness, but I couldn’t keep up due to my knees. I understood what the people on My 600 lb Life meant when their knees hurt so they couldn’t walk, so thus they didn’t get any proper exercise and movement. I was disgusted with the way I looked, but didn’t do anything to improve myself. At this point my life, after college and working desk jobs, I started to really pugde out. Every article of clothing I bought was for covering up my stomach, as it seemed to protrude outward. I hadn’t really stepped on a scale, but I am sure at this point I was around 160 lbs on a 5’4″ frame. It was around this time I found myself pregnant and alone.

I had gotten pregnant with the on again off again, really just in it for pleasure guy. We won’t get into that, but during my pregnancy I found myself ballooning up to 175. For most of the pregnancy I actually stayed at consistent weight. I thankful didn’t really pack on more lbs until it was the third trimester, which you are supposed to put on some. I could see my weight gain even more in my photos during pregnancy, but hey, pregnant women are allowed to eat for two and get fat right? Yeah, no. Eating for two is 500 extra calories, and cravings for cream cheese doesn’t justify 5 days of crab rangoons in a row.

Well, you lose some weight when you have to baby, so I maybe got back down to 150 lbs. I thought, great! I will go to the gym and lose the weight and get down to a reasonable size. Oh ho ho, being a single mother really didn’t allow for that. Between the depression, lack of self and direction, I gave up a hope after a few weeks of not seeing the results I wanted. I wanted them now damn it, like very other person. So at this time I am ballooning up and up while my sisters are running marathons with my dad, and being fit.

I went to go visit my family with my dad’s help, and at some point as we were walking, he asked/told me “Aren’t you tired of being fat? You really have put on weight and I am worried.” And of course what does anyone who doesn’t want to hear the truth do? Over react! I snapped and was generally mean. At this point I knew I was at 190, and grossly about to hit the 200s. I wasn’t doing anything, not getting out enough, body and mind suffering. But of course, even after this talk I put off weight loss for another 5 years. At my highest, I do believe I hit 210 lbs.

So fast forward to about 2014/2015, a few more years of eating, drinking, and generally neglecting my mental health, I finally wanted to lose the weight. I had broken up with my then boyfriend and was wondering why working in a kitchen wasn’t helping me lose weight. I thought I was working an extra 800 calories off in a day, so I should be losing weight, not maintaining it, and certainly not creeping slowly up. I got a pedometer to track how many I steps I took around work, because I sure as heck didn’t walk much from home to work. I thought I was burning an extra 800, but the steps I took really only came out an extra 200 calories. I was allowing myself to eat extra, thinking I had extra, and I was the own cause my weight gain. Finally, I took the plunge and downloaded a calorie counter and took the advice of all those internet forums out there – “Don’t lie to yourself”.

First, I tracked my eating for one week. No lying, no trying to fix the numbers by not eating what I would normally eat. I was shocked at how much I could pack away in a day, around 2300 calories on a sedentary,  maybe light activity level. There was maybe a day or two in there, at like 1900 that kept me from going to far gone. When I was done with that week I knew what I had to do; calories in, calories out. Since I wasn’t good at the calories out bit I needed to do something about the calories in. For two weeks I ate 1200 calories. When that number hit, no matter what time of the day it was, I stopped. I didn’t allot for any exercise calories or anything. Straight 1200 calories, and within two weeks I lost 7 lbs. I was sitting at 192 in that first two weeks, and I hadn’t seen anything under 195 in years. I kept up with that diet for one more week, just to train my body to steel itself against what I would call my bored hunger.

Within three months I had gone from around 199, to 170. It was tremendous and everyone could see it. I didn’t need to count calories as much, and I was just feeling so much better in the weight department. My mental health declined, and I moved my daughter and I to Louisiana to be with my family. There I had reached 160, and then down to 140. I got a job at a taco stand, and started to gain weight back to 160 which scared me. I never wanted to go back to being sickly, unable to walk proper, unable to take care of myself and daughter like I should have. I went back to working out and controlling calories to get down to a steady weight.

To make a longer story short, I found the man of my dreams, moved to TX, got my mental health in order, married him, and now am leading a life a massage therapist. I love being a massage therapist, but as I started out in the spa world, I had no stamina. Years of inactivity had left me without a good body, and doing up to 6 massage day was kicking my butt. It took over a year but finally I was able to do my massages with dying every day (I also found my limit was about 4 in a day!). After this year of building myself up I really got down and started to work on my psychical endurance. It was grating on me to think I keep going without building up an outside of work place strength.

 

So with that last paragraph, here I am today! I work out using the Buff Dudes 12 week workout program, go running and participate in 5ks, 10k, and Tough Mudder half 2018. I advocate fitness into my massages, and give out exercises and stretches with each massage. I want people to be at their peak so they can live their lives pain-free, relaxed, and with more time for the things they love. You don’t have to be in pain, I am here to help!