I am going to share my personal journey to a healthier me in 2015.  I hope that everyone is always striving to improve, whether it be on yourself, or something else in life.  It took a while for me to get to this point where I was a little concerned with my health and my extreme weight gain, so I decided to change my way of thinking, start a new lifestyle, and try to be more positive.  I know that is easier said than done, but I am off to a great start (if I can say so myself).

I stopped working out and eating healthy after my wedding May 25, 2013.  I had lost about 30 pounds between August, 2012 and May 2013 using Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Program (it was awesome, I followed it almost to a T and kept with it until the wedding, best part it is free, as well as other programs on bodybuilding.com).  I knew I would gain weight, so it was expected.  However, I gained OVER 30 pounds by December 2013.  I was feeling very lethargic, unhealthy, depressed, and I knew I needed to make a change.  Most nutritionists and weight watcher members, etc… tell you it is not a DIET, it is healthy eating.  Of course I knew I needed to eat healthier, but I needed to move more, get out, even if its just to walk the dog.  I have a sedentary job so I rarely walk or exercise throughout the day.

I started a challenge in February 2014 called the Labrada Lean Body Challenge.  Jamie Eason was one of the coaches, so I knew this was something I could do.  This was another free program, with great resources, a workout plan, clean eating recipes, and an approved food list and meal planning tips.  The kicker was to take pictures of yourself before and after the 12 week challenge and mail them in with the packet to submit your entry.  You also answer some questions before and after the challenge, explaining your goals and why you want to do the challenge. Then what you learned after the challenge.  Last year I only lost 10 pounds and a few inches.  I wasn’t eating as healthy as I could, and my workouts were not as strict as before the wedding.  I didn’t have the same goals, nor the same dedication since I didn’t have an event coming up, like my own wedding! Haha.

After the challenge was over, I began eating unhealthy and stopped working out again.  I felt like I failed at losing weight and there must be something wrong with my body.  I gained more than FORTY pounds between May and December, spiking up to my highest weight EVER (and I mean ever in my life, never weighed this much before).  I made an appointment with my doctor and got a blood test.  He thought to check my thyroid and other levels to see if there was anything wrong since I was gaining weight so fast and easily.  I know my metabolism probably slowed down, but it was alarming how much I was gaining, and I got worried I could have some sort of issue due to my long family health history with heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  We found that my triglycerides were super high, over 600 (normal level being 300).  I also had a very low level of Vitamin D (that they have seen before and given me 1,000 milligram pills). And my cortisol level was really high (I forget the specific number, but high enough to be concerned).  My doctor did an EKG and my heart rate was a little high (might also be related to my high anxiety).  He referred me to a cardiologist to do an echo-cardiogram, and gave me Tricor to get my triglyceride level down.  Also a Vitamin D pill with 10k milligrams to take once a week for 8 weeks.

My echo-cardiogram was on January 15th.  The cardiologist said the stress level on my heart was 35, normal being 30.  He said he wasn’t really concerned with that, but with other things from my blood test.  He referred me to an endocrinologist for my high cortisol level (which I have also read is due to stress, and a direct link to producing fat in your belly, which is huge right now, someone asked me if I was pregnant, no joke).  He also told me I need to lose 30 – 40 pounds, and referred me to a nutritionist.  Then he asked that I get my lungs checked, just in case (since my mother had a lung/heart disease, it can be genetic).  Now I have all these other appointments to check all this stuff out.  I take a blood test this week and will report the outcome once I meet with my doctor.

I did start eating healthy again January 2nd.  I started working out January 3rd, and joined the Labrada Lean Body Challenge again, which technically started January 12th (when I had to take my starting pictures).  I have been doing great, eating healthy, working out, and keeping to a schedule.  I don’t even have cheat meals like some people suggest (I had one skinny vanilla latte in more than 2 weeks, and one dinner with wheat pasta).  I feel that what I eat is satisfying enough, and I have ‘healthy’ snack/dessert alternatives (like Jamie Eason’s chocolate protein bars YUM).  I also started going to the gym at Widener, since I started back to continue classes for my Masters degree.  I am really excited, feeling positive, and ready to get in shape for touring Italy in May!

I will post more on our trip to Italy in another post, but I definitely need to be in better health, and more energized, to do all the touring and exploring we have planned.

What are you planning for 2015?  How is your year going so far?  I have definitely had a major lifestyle change and hope to continue being healthy and happy for years to come.  It takes a lot to stick to a plan, especially when you have no ‘end’ date (like the wedding).  I have a great support group, friends, family, and my loving husband who is motivational enough and not so much harsh or being mean LOL (sometimes I feel like I need a drill sergeant/trainer to yell in my ear ONE MORE KEEP GOING!!!). I hope everyone is having a great year so far and I look forward to new happy and exciting posts for this year!  All positive and looking ahead in life.  I would like to conclude with a picture of my besties so happy and having fun, and one of my favorite quotes: “Life’s a journey, not a destination.”  😀