Struggling with one’s weight is something so many people go through. I’ve worked on being a healthy weight for as long as I can remember. But it wasn’t until a tiny, pitbull of a trainer showed me it was actually possible to make that happen. So today on my 36th birthday, I thought I’d tell my story.
The Chubby Girl
All through my youth, I was a chubby girl. Combine a slow metabolism (thanks, Mom) with picky eating habits and you get me. Sugar, food covered in cheese, and lack of exercise were my favorite things. I played sports, but always took the easy way out when it came to practice. Most of my time as a kid was spent reading books at the library or home and watching tv. Laziness was my specialty.
As I got older, I began to thin out, but never really felt like a thin person. In high school, my size fluctuated between a size 8 and 12, which was considerably larger than most of my friends. But I stayed active by playing volleyball, tennis and basketball. Still, I always felt like the fat girl.
When I hit college was when the culmination of my laziness, poor eating habits, and the discovery of alcohol made me pack on the pounds. I tried to stay active, but as any recovering college kid knows, its so much easier just to be lazy in college. And to drive through Taco Bell at any hour of the day. And to have beer several nights during the week. By the time I left college, I was close to a size 16.
This lifestyle continued on throughout my first few years in my career. My first real job consisted of being the assistant for a statewide elected official. Not an easy or stress-free job. That stress on top of being broke just caused me to continuously gain weight. Even after switching jobs, the poor eating choices and lack of exercise did not stop.
By 2007, I weighed close to 280 lbs. Working out was non-existent. My food choices contained zero healthy options. When I went out with girlfriends, I was the “fat friend.” Guys wouldn’t give me a second look. If they did talk to me, it was just to get to one of my friends. I could not fit into any cute clothes and swimsuits were a complete no. Needless to say, it was a miserable life.
Time for a Change
At the time, my job allowed me to work from home on occasion. So during the day, I started watching The Biggest Loser (I know the show wasn’t perfect. There were definitely major issues with it. But it did motivate me to change my life). Every time I watched it, I cried like a baby. Here were these obese miserable people, much like me, making a change in their lives. Even more motivating was Jillian Michaels. She did not give a shit what your excuse was. She intended on breaking it down and destroying it to help the contestants take control of their lives. And I loved it. Each of these contestants was me in one way or another. I started to think that if they could do it, why couldn’t I?
So I started. Slowly but surely, I tracked and monitored everything I ate. I kept a pretty strict diet of 1200 calories a day. Instead of getting fast food for dinner, I found yummy healthy restaurants. I reduced my alcohol intake which also helped me cut back my eating. I didn’t exercise at first, but started throwing tennis and walking into the routine after a couple of months. And every time I did workout, I pretended Jillian was there, yelling at me to keep going.
Within 6 months, I dropped 50 pounds. By June of 2008, 100lbs of Amy had melted away. I felt amazing. It took me a lot of hard work, but it was so worth throwing all those size 22 clothes away for size 10 pants.
Since that time, I’ve kept most the weight off. I gained a little back, lost it, gained it back, and lost it again. My knowledge of using exercise properly and how to eat more cleanly has increased exponentially. While I still like sugar and alcohol more than I should, I definitely am more conscientious about what I’m putting into my body. I’m not where I want to be or have the eating habits I desire, but I’m 1000x closer than I was 10 years ago this time.
I honestly do not believe that if it wasn’t for the Biggest Loser and Jillian, I never would have thought losing the weight was possible. I’ve since done several of Jillian’s workouts and follow her on social media. I’m just such a big fan because she is so real and seems so genuine. And she isn’t about to sugar coat anything.
So when we learned we would get to meet Jillian at the Tone It Up tour (my review on this coming soon!), I couldn’t contain myself. Here was the chance for me to tell her thank you for being such a huge motivation and such a badass human being.
As I walked into the tent, my eyes started to water. This was such a surreal moment for me. After briefly telling her my story, I thanked her for helping me lose the weight. She looked me straight in the eyes and said (warning. expletives coming) “don’t fucking say that. I didn’t do shit. You did all of that on your own. I was just the noise in the background. Don’t you ever give anyone else fucking credit for the hard work you did.” Then she hugged me and we got some great pictures together. This was probably the coolest moment in my life.
Here I sit on my 36th birthday after a solid 3 mile run and upper arm workout. I feel the healthiest I’ve ever felt and more motivated than ever to continue. Looking at these old pictures makes me proud of how far I’ve come. I’m still far from where I want to be. But if being yelled at by Jillian Michaels taught me anything, it is that I can do this. No one else is going to do it for me and no one is responsible for my success but me. It’s a scary concept, but as Jillian once said on the Biggest Loser, feel the fear and let it go.