Lily's Journey, PART I
At 25 I was a former high school athlete who had stayed relatively active in the years that had passed since college. I had successfully lost 15 pounds after trading in my corporate desk job for a career as a teacher and I relied on cardiovascular activities at the gym (hello, hours of elliptical!) to keep the weight off. I tracked how much food I was eating and if my weight started to creep up I cut down to 1200-1400 calories to get slim quick. I employed these tactics to get down to 132 pounds for my wedding day, and at 5'8.5" that was the smallest I'd ever been in my adult life. But I didn't feel great- I was tired, deprived and unhappy. It was exhausting to think that I would have to go through this process for the rest of my life. Despite losing weight my confidence and self-perception was still terrible. I criticized myself on a daily basis and started to binge eat when I was feeling down- a habit that had clung to me since my insecure teenage years.
In my first year of marriage I gained back ten pounds, and it wasn't just because I spent my weekends eating double cheeseburgers washed down by pitchers of beer. I had an all or nothing mentality about fitness and I chose nothing in that year. I was adjusting to life as a full-time graduate student while I was teaching and I was trying my best to enjoy married life. I reasoned that if I had to restrict my calories and trudge along doing cardio I would just be heavier- end of story. The idea that exercise could help lift the fog of depression and anxiety that I was feeling never occurred to me.
MAKING A CHANGE
After completing my master's degree I started teaching at a new school that was closer to my home in Boston. I had more time and I joined my local YMCA hoping to get reconnected with my body and health. I started off small with no big goals or high hopes. In a few months I started to notice that muscles were becoming visible in my arms and legs- and I loved it. This was surprising to me because growing up I had always wanted to be runway model thin, a look that my athletic frame was never meant to achieve. In the spring of 2016 I worked with a coach that taught me about a new way of dieting called "If It Fits Your Macros" or "Flexible Dieting". I hate to even call what I do now a 'diet' because it has truly been a full scale lifestyle change, not just a series of restrictions or "food rules" like other diets I had tried. Instead of eating 1200 calories I was eating close to 1800 and still losing weight- I couldn't believe it! Not to mention I got to enjoy my favorite treats like ice cream, pizza and bagels while still reaching my goals.
Next up...how I got into bodybuilding & changed my lifestyle for good!
My Fitness Journey Part II
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About the Author
Lily lives in the Bay Area of California with her husband. She loves to lift heavy, watch vintage movies and cheer on her fellow warrior queens!