You might wonder what inspires someone to start a lifestyle change versus jumping on the fad diet bandwagon. I’m going to share with you the reason that I started my journey.
I was always a fat kid growing up due to medical issues and constantly being on steroids to get healthy. In case you didn’t know, steroids make you gain weight. Surprise! So what did I deal with growing up? I have a heart condition, Colitis, asthma, allergies, depression, panic disorder, acid reflux, and constant bronchitis. As you can imagine, I was on a lot of medication which helped spur my weight gain! Despite my illnesses, I did play softball for several years along with bowling and I loved it! Except once I hit the 6th grade, my doctors made the decision to ban me from going outside if it was too cold, wouldn’t allow me to run with my friends, and finally removed me from gym class until I graduated from High School. Now for 7 years I become completely inactive furthering my weight gain. I grew up constantly being told to lose weight and it made me hate my body. I didn’t have a healthy relationship with food at this point. I was constantly eating out, eating full bags of chips in one sitting, and not eating fruit or vegetables. On top of that, I wasn’t allowed to do any exercise! After graduation I weighed 250 pounds.
In 2009 I finally had to have open heart surgery to correct an issue I was born with. Every single doctor I saw told me to lose weight before we went into surgery. At this point in time, I had moved to Iowa to live with my mother since she lived only 2 hours from the Mayo Clinic, where I would be having my surgery, versus the 8 hours from my home town. Once we talked to the doctors and she heard that I had to lose weight, she put the house on lock down. Keep in mind that I only had 30 days to lose weight before my operation. I did not have a job at this point and relied on my mom to buy groceries. For groceries all she would buy was spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, and whole grain bread. She hid all of the salt and sour cream in the house. This is all I ate for 30 days and then I would work out 4 times a week. Needless to say, I lost 30 pounds in 30 days due to more or less malnutrition.
After my open heart, I moved back to my hometown and to my grandparents house. All effort I had given to losing weight and flown out the window. I wasn’t interested in losing weight because I wanted to eat whatever I wanted. I grew up with my grandparents and their bad eating habits so of course I would transition back to old habits. Within the next few years, I had gained 125 pounds. Yikes!
In 2012 I moved away to college. This was the first time I had lived on my own and you can imagine the damage I did to my body with food and alcohol. At the end of my first year at NIU, I remember texting my friend, “Wow! I only gained 30 pounds this year! Definitely thought it would be worse.” ONLY?! Wow… At this point I weighed 345 pounds. The most I have ever weighed.
Fast forward to January 2013. Something finally clicked. I realized that I hated my body and my self. How could I fix this? Easy. Weight loss. Or so I thought. I started eating right and working out and the weight started coming off! Except I still hated myself and my body. I realized that just pure weight loss wasn’t going to work for me. If I didn’t change my lifestyle I would end up gaining everything back and more! Just like last time.
Eventually I found some amazing support and fellow blogs that introduced me to this new idea of Body Positivity and Self Love! This was fantastic! I started embracing myself and my whole mood and personality changed. I started becoming a more positive person and more fun to be around. I realized at this point that I needed to make this a lifestyle change journey and not just strictly weight loss. I needed to learn to find a balance between eating and exercise along with self-love. Slowly but surely I did find what I was looking for! Motivation comes and goes, but I never give up.
I now love myself and I love my body! My motivation comes and it goes but I never give up. In the beginning I had lost 55 pounds. Now I’m down to 35 pounds but that’s okay because I’ll get back to where I was!
Before and After
What is a blog post without any pictures? This first picture is a before and after I took. The photo on the left was taken in October of 2012 and the photo on the right was taken in August of 2013. That was 55 pounds down making me 290 pounds.
Now here I am at 315 pounds. Still fat and still loving myself! I’m never giving up. I don’t wish to be in ONEderland or a size 2. I just want to be the best me that I can be while also loving myself and enjoying life! This is my journey.
P.s. This blog will be about my lifestyle change journey but it will also include my travels and how I handle them health wise.
– XO Steffanie