If you've read my previous post, you already know I was married young and subsequently divorced young. I found myself a twenty-four year old single mom, with no money in my bank account, and although I was happy with my new found freedom, I still was not happy with myself.
Though some parts of my marriage were great (insert my awesome twinjas and the time I got with their older brothers), a vast majority of it was spent mentally and emotionally drained. Daily I was called an array of names, fat, lazy, worthless, the list goes on, and becomes even worse. So much in fact, that at one point those were the only attributes I thought were associated with me.
I was at the point where I was making a new identity for myself. Who was I now? Better yet, who do I WANT to be now? This was my chance to rebuild myself and work on becoming the person that I wanted to be. Keep in mind with this change in identity, I was also adjusting and navigating not having my children with me 24/7, as well as putting myself through nursing school. So much on one plate, right?
It was with all this spare time I was turned on to the Atkins diet, now widely known as "ketogenic" (I'll go deeper into keto in another post). I read up on it online, I researched the induction phase, I read the book written by Dr. Atkins himself, and I used much of my free time navigating exactly how to start doing this. And then I did.
I joined our local YMCA, as I said earlier, I had no money, luckily, the YMCA has an assistance plan for just these instances. I was able to apply and benefit from this program until I found a full-time job. I cut out all the carbs, followed the induction phase of Atkins, and went to the gym at least five days a week.
Starting out, things were slow. I didn't know what I was doing. I was nervous and worried what other people thought of me while I was there. I used the machines I knew and spent a lot of time walking on the treadmill. I watched those around me, who seemed to know what they were doing, tried some new exercises, but most importantly, I stuck to my food plan. I wasn't cheating. I wasn't eating secret carbs or snacks. I was tracking my ketosis with urine sticks to ensure I was on the right track. I didn't talk myself out of making time at the gym daily. I showed up, did what needed done, and left looking like a hot mess.
Slowly but surely, those walks increased in time, speed, and incline. I started researching workouts and proper form using bodybuilding.com. I was shedding pounds, more noticeably, I was losing inches. Suddenly, I stopped caring what all the other patrons in the gym thought of me, because I was doing this. I was a bad ass in the gym. Gym employees, regulars, my family, even my ex were noticing I had lost quite a bit of weight, and looked different.
Within a nine month time span, I had lost over 100lbs, I can't even tell you how many inches, and went from a size 20 to a size 10. That was huge. For the first time in my life, I could finally share clothes with my sisters (SCORE! Triple the wardrobe). My workouts continued to increase in intensity, and eventually I was able to add in "clean" carbs while maintaining weight loss and increasing muscle mass.
More important than looking different, I felt different. My energy was up, I was happier, I could keep up with my kids better. Changing my diet and working out was exactly what I needed to become who I always wanted to be, not just on the outside, although it was a fabulous benefit, it was changing me on the inside. I finally saw value in myself, and not because I was thinner or felt prettier, but because I found a program, made a plan, and I followed it. I didn't let anyone tell me I couldn't do it. I didn't let anyone talk me into cheating on my diet. I didn't let people laugh it off as if I couldn't or wouldn't follow through. I didn't let myself feel guilty for making time to go to the gym each day. I allowed myself to do what was best for me, and it positively impacted nearly every aspect of my life.
Here are a few pictures to show you the physical change. Stay tuned for tips on keto.