...it's not a life sentence.
*sets soapbox down, clears throat, steps up on soapbox*
Before I get going here, I want to take you back in time. It was a Friday night in the fall of 2001, actually it was about 2 AM, so technically it was Saturday. I had gotten home from working a shift at a sports bar in my hometown and knew I had to get to bed ASAP. I had to be up and ready the next morning to cheer for my college football team - Go Huskies! Yes, I was a cheerleader... go figure.
As I peeled off my smokey, beer/liquor soaked uniform, I caught my new cheerleading duds out of the corner of my eye. It was displayed nicely on my chair, along with spanky pants, Bloom U socks, and my cool cheer kicks. I cringed. It was the first flat front cheer skirt I had to wear after over 10 years of cheerleading. I hated it. I was curvier then... and pleated skirts suited my thick thighs and butt (which weren't really "in" at the time.) Needless to say, I tried it on again just to see. Maybe it wasn't so bad?
Well, it was worse than I thought. I just had to lose weight before wearing this uniform in public. So I did what any other sleep deprived college girl with body image issues would do! I went for a run, at approximately 2:30 AM on a weekend night - by bars, in a college town. I was REALLY smart back then.
Here's a then and now pic from this exact moment in time that I'm speaking about. Sorry the quality isn't the best, but if I thought that this size 12 me was horrible (which you can see, it's not), it was about to get so much worse!
As time went on, my late night "panic runs" continued. I upped my weightloss game by investing a lot of money in OTC diet pills (I've tried them all) and laxatives (talk about cramping!) I would have spent my last dime on magic beans if the marketing touted weight loss. I was a freaking mess, and I just kept getting bigger and bigger. My cravings were out of control, my self-worth was next to zero, and my shame level was through the roof. You wouldn't believe what people do to feel an ounce of worth in someone else's eyes because they can't find it in themselves.
Oh, and my health was sh*t! Hypothyroidism, anemia, sick all the time, etc. When I look back at all the things I would have done to lose weight, not once did I consider getting healthy. And that, my friends, is why I do what I do. I used to gain and lose 20 lbs for sport. You cannot imagine how bad that is for your health - that's another post! I'm just saying if you want to know the secret to my sauce, I'll tell you. First I want to tell you what else I tried, aside from the measures I took above to become a thinner version of myself.
The great thing about diets is that they actually work... when you can stick to them. I must have started a new diet every other week! Mondays I was always balls to the wall ready for the new me. Thursdays I was getting 1 AM delivery from the local pizza shop to soak up all the beers I had consumed earlier in the evening. The fact was that the more I dieted, the heavier I got. Definitely another post.
Meal Replacement Products (and the like)
Gawd, I loved me some Slim Fast! Actually, in all fairness, this moved the needle for me a bit. It was cheap, I was actually eating something before my 2 PM binge sessions, and it tasted like sweet chocolate! When I plateaued on Slim Fast, I went on to the next one. Overall, I prob lost about 10 lbs on this sugar-hopped method, and I also had energy to kick my ass in the gym. I did forget to mention that I actually do enjoy eating real meals though, so that was a huge drawback.
Punishment in the Gym
In all honesty, I had no friggin idea what I was doing in the gym back in college! Mix that with the fact that I was too afraid to ask anyone (for fear of being judged) what to do and how to do it, I just did what I thought the pictures on the machines were doing. OMG, I would hate to have a highlight reel of me working out then... I probably nearly injured myself at least 5 times a session. Additionally, my midnight workouts were killing my grades - you could almost be sure I wasn't making morning classes the day after a late night workout!
The Reason Healthy Lifestyle Adoption is the ONLY Thing that Sticks
You're basically the summation of your daily habits. If you read a lot of British literature everyday, you can probably have an intelligent and fruitful conversation with a *insert fancy college here* professor. If you run everyday, chances are you are confident and correct in your assumption that you can run a race without dying. If you brush your teeth twice a day, you're a normal human being, congratulations! You see where I'm going here though, right?!
When I shifted gears to simply get healthy, everything changed. Things I didn't even expect to change CHANGED! I honestly did not know that over the course of 2 years I was going to drop some serious lbs and go from a size 14-16 to a 4-6. I just knew I wanted to feel better, and I knew to feel better I had to clean up my health. In my mind "skinny" didn't feel better, it just looked better.
I got a few healthy lifestyle habits down, and I was doing them almost everyday. I started by eating mostly whole foods, getting exercise that I enjoyed, taking a good multivitamin, and actually drinking water. That's it. That's what started it all. But even that can feel so overwhelming. I know, and I hear you. That's why Thrive 9 exists. It's the right steps, with the right intensity, in the right order. It's proven to work, and it lasts forever.
As co-creator of the Thrive 9 program, I know how easy health gain can be. The body we live in is temporary, it'll always change with age. Your body composition and health will directly correlate to your body maintenance through lifestyle choices. If all you do is implement the Thrive 9 habits into your lifestyle, one habit at a time, you will live longer and look better - end of story. If you don't like the body you live in today, please know that it's not a life sentence. Look into my Pocket Coaching program, it's a steal. You now know why I do what I do, please don't suffer anymore.
I wish I had more before and after photos, but I hated myself so much that I pitched all of my full body shots where "I looked fat." However, you can see some of the Evolution in my face in the pic below. I've sustained my health and size for over 15 years, and it started by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Who knew?!
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Stephanie Everett, M.Ed CHC
Wife & mother, working professional, and intermittent fitness junkie.