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    crabbytree's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2015
    Age: 35
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    Half The Woman I Used To Be: My 130 lb. Weight Loss Journey

    What began as a simple New Year’s resolution, quickly turned into a passionate love affair with fitness.

    Nearly sixteen years ago I decided to partake in one of the weight loss competitions dedicated to the “New Year, New Me” crowd. I really didn’t have a goal in mind, I only wanted to partake because it seemed like it would be fun and something good for me to focus on at the time. The only real plan that I had at the time was to eat salads and start running. Although definitely not the best plan or idea, it worked. Needless to say, after I lost my first 30 lbs., I was hooked.

    I began to read everything that I could get my hands on about health, weight loss, and fitness. I began to learn about proper nutrition, macros, and calculating BMR to find the proper caloric deficit to lose body fat, not just weight. Soon after, I felt like I had designed the perfect (or at least perfect for me at the time) meal plan and was following it strictly. As I focused on feeding my desire for knowledge, I lost another 50 or so lbs. in the process.

    It was around this time that I decided to shift my focus to learning about strength training as every article I read discussed the importance of strength training for women and for fat loss. I did some research and discovered BodyBuilding.com, where I obtained the first actual training plan that I followed for free.

    Soon thereafter, I noticed muscle definition that I had previously never had before. I felt stronger and had more endurance than I ever had before. I had found a new love.

    Within a year of beginning my journey, I had lost nearly 100 lbs. This was harder for me to grasp than I could have ever imagined. After all, I was the exact same person inside that I was 100 lbs. ago. I had a really hard time seeing what others said that they saw as I saw myself everyday throughout my journey. After a bit of turmoil, my stepfather decided to begin taking a picture of me every week so that I could flip through the photos on the camera periodically and actually see the timeline of my journey. I found that keeping a photo log worked really well for me to see my progress. In fact, I still do this today.

    When I reached a point that I felt satisfied with my size, the real journey began; keeping the weight that I had worked so hard to lose off. I remember the anxiety that came with the thoughts that raced through my head throughout the day: Can I actually stay this size? Can I continue eating healthy for the rest of my life? What will I do if I begin to gain weight? Will I be able to control myself if I actually indulge in a “cheat” meal occasionally?

    The more that I contemplated the previously mentioned questions, the more insecure I began to feel about my capabilities. I decided that it was best for me psychologically to stop thinking in this way. After all, if my willpower had got me this far, it would get me through the hard times when I would want to begin emotionally eating again. This self-affirmation really calmed me down and gave me the confidence to press forward. Another thing that I found that really helped me keep my focus was to always have a short-term and a long-term goal. I also prefer to have a performance goal and a physique goal for both the long and short-term as I have found that I don’t like the way I critique my body with physique goals only.

    Of course, “life happened” during the past sixteen years; I quit a job that I was successful at because I was not happy doing it, returned to college and graduated with a bachelor’s degree, and lost several people that were very close to me, including a parent. I was also diagnosed (as an adult) with several severe anxiety disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 1. Even with all of this going on, I was still able to maintain my weight loss with a normal weight fluctuation of +/- 15 lbs. In fact, the latter actually helped me to understand myself and my emotional eating better than I could have ever imagined. It also gave me some insight to things that I could use, in addition to exercise, to control my anxiety and sensory issues; like chewing gum often instead of food for oral fixation, slowly incorporating new foods of different textures into my diet, etc.

    Overcoming the obstacles and questions that I feared after my initial weight loss actually made me stronger as a person and more confident in my abilities to handle life emotional eating free. I also became a certified personal trainer. Nothing is more rewarding or satisfying to me than being able to share the knowledge that I have gained through my journey to help other reach their goals. I have also decided that I want to take my focus and determination to another level; I am preparing for my first bodybuilding show this fall and could not be more excited to take on this endeavor.
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