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
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!