2015 was a transformative year. I believe enough in what I experienced that I think it is worth sharing with the world; however, this “me” manifesto about finding health and wellness is far too long for one post. As a result, I am releasing it in parts. I hope, if nothing else, that this honest personal reflection will be both enjoyable and inspiring for those out there who are just like me.
Part 1: The Decision To Change
I consider myself to be a very strong and independent woman. I loyally support my other half, but I will never be defined solely by my partner’s work. Which means, I value what I know I can bring to the world just as much as I value what Dan brings. I believe in gender equality and I demand it through daily strength, action, results, and a dash of Texas sweetness. So…not in the currently trending beat-your-chest “I am woman hear me roar” and watch me not use feminine hygiene products kind of way. (More power to you though, ladies.) I believe in building a life partnership in which the load is split in half, both professionally and domestically. I take pride in flaunting my fierce femininity when I feel like it (kids these days would call it being “on fleek”), but I can buck up with the boys whenever necessary. That being said…I don’t consider myself to be one of those women who has the “one day my prince will come” mentality. Except…I’m not sure why, because I don’t believe my engagement defines my worth in life (I live in Texas where some girls are bred to still believe this)…but there was something so dang exciting about Dan putting a sparkly ring on my finger, that it lit a fire under me to conquer all of the remaining inner obstacles I hadn’t yet had the courage to face.
I was promised a life commitment by someone who I greatly respected and admired, but deep down I didn’t respect and admire (all of) myself. On the outside I knew I had created a put-together, successful and respectable package. On the inside, I knew deep down that I had a lot of work to do on my imperfections and I didn’t admire me. Not only did I know that mentally and emotionally I had things to conquer and lots of positivity to find in my life, but I physically felt absolutely terrible.
With a ring now on my finger, a pending wedding date 15 months away, and the challenge to juggle all of this with a career that was only adding more to my plate as the months went by, I began noticing far more than just the few fat rolls I wanted to get rid of before my wedding day. I had a looming feeling that my general physical discomfort, mental anxieties, and emotional mood swings couldn’t actually be fixed by more Ibuprofen and Zyrtec, more 2 hour deep-tissue massages, more happy hours, more brunches, and more weekend stay-cation escapes. It was February of 2015 and after a month of celebrating our Christmas engagement as if we were never going to eat a crumb or drink a drop on Earth ever again, something inside of me just clicked. Everyone always says that you won’t make a lifestyle change until you and only you are ready to commit to it. It is cliché, but for me, this was all of a sudden much more than just sticking to my gym schedule. I wanted to feel better. I thought, “it’s now or never…take control of yourself before you vow do devote your life to someone else.” And just like that, I never looked back.
Now…for those of you who read my last post about my lollygagging-treadmill-epiphany, here is the comical part of this whole “I’m committing to changing my life once and for all” moment. The first action I took was not going online and looking at the gym schedule to pencil in my week of workouts. Nor was it heading to Whole Foods with a grocery list of items I found on Pinterest but couldn’t pronounce (this is what I did second). Instead, I went to Lululemon to pick out my new $250 worth of workout clothes as a premature reward for deciding I was going to actually eat well and go to the gym 5+ days a week. *Retrospective face palm.*
However, my shopping spree just so happened to be during the weekend when Camp Gladiator trainers were strategically sprinkled among locations throughout the Quarry shopping center in places where either a) super fit people go to purchase their fit life things or b) people like me go who wanted to be fit, but just lurked in corners spying on what fit people bought, and looked at their tight muscly everything and glowing fresh-from-the-gym-faces thinking, “Ugh. How…? WHY CAN THAT NEVER BE ME?” Then, what I thought was a mistake ended up being a very happy accident (remember Bob Ross?) I asked who I thought was a Lululemon employee a question about which trendy Nike’s to buy (Wth? Lululemon doesn’t even sell shoes…), and all of a sudden I was trapped in a “CG WHAT WHAT?!” Camp Gladiator membership sales pitch like a fly straight into a sticky trap. That studly CG trainer from Miami totally sniffed out my weakness, and within 20 minutes I was signed up to try my first week of free boot camp.
So…the following Monday I got myself up at 5am and drove bleary-eyed to a nearby grocery store parking lot for day 1 of high intensity interval training boot camp. Basically…a lot of push ups, sprints, squats, burpees, and other unpleasant exercises that work. It was awful, but in the best way. I couldn’t have been weaker, but after that hour I had never felt stronger. The trainer was awesome (shout out to Andy Travis!) Not only was he an extremely effective teacher (this is important when you’re half asleep at 5:30am and you don’t know a burpee from a Russian twist), but he was highly accessible for questions day and night about diet, exercise, and what it truly takes to make a lifestyle change.
A month of camp went by—I was stronger, my legs were firmer, my arms were firmer, my glutes were lifted (after all, I had done about 1,000 squats in 1 month)…I was seeing some muscular change and big cardiovascular improvement. I was eating clean foods, was feeling more confident in my body, and learning to enjoy foods that I wasn’t used to eating consistently. I wasn’t doing any of this for the primary purpose of losing weight, because I have a major aversion to obsessive scale watching and calorie counting (probably due to my upbringing in ballet); however, I thought it was weird that with all of this intense exercise I wasn’t losing any pounds. Not even one.
I let this go on for a few months (remember my lollygagging issue?), until the summer began. I had an awakening of sorts when I traveled to Mexico City for my job, and had such a severe anxiety attack on the airplane (the “THIS PLANE IS GOING DOWN I’M GOING TO DIE *arm fling across the aisle to grab coworker’s arm* kind) and crazy mood swings during the trip that I realized: things still are not right. I wondered if all of this could be helped with diet; if so, I wanted to try that route rather than start taking drugs to alter my brain chemistry. Upon my return, I took action and asked advice from my mom’s best friend here in San Antonio, who somehow knows where to go for everything (we all know this person), and she recommended a wellness doctor who is partnered with a nutritionist that uses a lifestyle change program called First Line Therapy. Let me repeat: a lifestyle change program called First Line Therapy. NOT a “diet” program.
I called them, inquired about details, and cringed when they told me the cost. I remember asking if they had a Young Professional discount…that went over well. I was desperate, so I put on my big girl pants and decided to kiss some of my savings goodbye (because of course, being proactively healthy isn’t covered by insurance). I took a deep breath, and I made my first appointment.
To be continued…