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From sucking inhalers to 1/2 marathons; my journey from flubber to fit (almost)

Has anyone actually enjoyed struggling? At a first glance, it seems obvious that “struggle” is something we would want to remove from our lives in order to be happy, but I would ask that you challenge that mindset for one second and read on. I’d like to suggest that struggles, trials, hardships and even adversities are actually good things (in the long run).

No one likes to struggle. Why would we? It’s hard! We have anxieties, and why put ourselves through that if we can avoid it? I’d much rather stay at home and curl up in the corner with my favorite blanket, book (or Netflix, let’s be real), and spend the day anxiety-free! But for anyone who’s ever tried this for more than a day at a time (and who hasn’t during at least one point in their lives?) may have found that it’s actually harder than facing the adversity head-on! Struggle means change, and change is difficult for 99% of the world — but change is good! It means we’re growing and learning and hopefully becoming better people.

Lets go back to April 2015. What were you doing then? I was finishing my first year back at school after serving a mission for the LDS Church, getting ready to move into Wyview (BYU married housing), and was two months away from my first wedding anniversary! Oh, and I also weighed more than I’d ever weighed before in my life.

April 2015

You know those moments in time that get captured on camera and you wish you could make them disappear? Yeah, this is one of those for me. It’s hard for me to look at myself! Maybe some of you can relate to my thoughts about myself: “WOAH. THAT was ME? That WHALE was ME?! How did my husband/family/friends not say ANYTHING?! HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT?????” (I am soo much more critical of my self than I am others-anyone else out there like me?) Never mind that I hated what I saw, I also hated how I felt! I had no energy. All I wanted to do was Netflix binge, food binge, and sleep binge. All your basic binges.

I don’t remember when it was exactly, but summer came and it hit me that I hated myself but that I could change. With the love and support of an incredible husband I saw for the first time that my struggle could go from one that had me in a depressive spiral to one that pushed me to be better. I knew it could happen but I didn’t know exactly how to make it happen. Enter Kelli.

The first step that a million of us make is the easiest step: sign up for a gym membership. The second step is harder: actually USE the gym membership. I joined the local VASA gym with Nick and tried to go to the gym on my own. The keyword is tried. I ultimately failed. I had zero motivation because I was stuck in a depression (I get “seasonal” depression [there is no rhyme or reason] and I don’t realize it until I don’t want to do anything but sleep day after day after day which isn’t me at all). I think I went once all of June. Nick Kerr (you amazing man), brought up the idea of getting a personal trainer to get me started.

Personal trainers are expensive. We had very little money to spend on anything but necessities but Nick jimmy-rigged our budget and convinced me that getting a personal trainer would be worth it. It wasn’t just an investment in me, it was an investment in our family and our future. We always wanted to be the family that got out and hiked, ran, and went swimming together and that definitely wasn’t happening with the state of mind and body I was in. So we went into VASA, forked over the cash and hired Kelli.

Not only is she AMAZING but she’s also RIPPED!

My first appointment with Kelli was humiliating. I was uncomfortable in my own skin and uber self-conscious thinking everyone was staring at me and thinking, “What’s fatty doing here? Oh, she’s with a trainer, thank heavens! Let’s hope something sticks besides her deep-fried Twinkie breakfast.” Add to it that I found out I weighed (what seemed like) a million pounds and couldn’t do half of what Kelli asked me to do and I had the perfect recipe for tears. But instead of crying by the end, I saw my glass ceiling shatter — and I saw hope. I saw room for improvement. I saw a chance to make a lifestyle change and I was motivated! I finally had someone to hold my hand along the way and help me climb out of the deep, dank hole of depression that I had dug for myself pound by pound. I vowed to never be the person I was at that moment again. I didn’t want my children to go through what I was going through and that wasn’t going to happen unless I was able to make the change and teach them myself (thank heavens I still have time).

Something finally clicked in my head and I did EVERYTHING Kelli asked. It was hard. Sometimes I would come home from my workout and cry because I was so sore or so frustrated that I couldn’t do something or go as long as I wanted or that things weren’t changing fast enough or just because I was a woman and women don’t need a reason to cry. Sometimes it just feels good. And after a couple of weeks I started seeing a change in my struggles.

Instead of having to suck on an inhaler 5 minutes into my workout I’d make it 15 minutes. And I suddenly could take fewer and shorter breaks between my circuits than before. And then…. I started losing weight. My whole life I never saw the scale move counter clockwise until that summer. Buy the end of my time with Kelli I had lost 10.2 lbs. It wasn’t much but I gained so much from that experience. I gained 3 critical things: confidence, knowledge, and self-love.

Fall 2015
  1. CONFIDENCE: Confidence isn’t something that can be faked, bought, or manufactured. It only comes with patience and a great deal of practice. Kelli helped me practice my exercises so much that I knew how to do every. single. exercise with perfect form. So I knew I didn’t look like an idiot using the equipment the wrong way ( click here — leg press guy is the best).
  2. KNOWLEDGE: I know this is vague but there’s so much to fit under here! I learned how to do the exercises, what kind of exercises were best, and how many calories I’d have to burn to lose a single pound (3555 btw). I learned the basics of dieting and how to make it easier (it’s never easy) to eat healthy all week long. But most importantly I learned that I WAS IN CONTROL. It wasn’t my genetics or health problems causing me to gain weight or making it impossible to lose it. It was pure laziness (GASP!) and I could change that!
  3. SELF-LOVE: This may be the most important thing I gained from the summer. I learned how to start loving myself. That’s important because if you love yourself you do things that are hard. You do it because you realize that you’re worth it. Nick supported me 1000000000000000% of the time (still does) and between him and Kelli I realized that I had something to offer others but I was severely limited by my body. And I didn’t want to be limited by my body. I wanted to marvel at it and enable it to help me do incredible things.
April 2015 — December 2015 — May 2017

I still have a long way to go to get to where I want to be. Since I started I’ve lost 30 lbs (not the kind you end up finding later but the kind that gets lost and stays lost). But it’s not about the number on the scale (although it’s incredibly satisfying to see that number drop), it’s about what I can accomplish. I recently completed my first 1/2 marathon and I’m already planning my second. I’ve discovered a diet plan that’s sustainable and helps me lose weight. And I’ve found an incredible support system in my husband (he’s the best with the daily grind), my in-laws (they’ve both made changes and have lost a bunch of weight and given so much encouragement), and my own family/friends (the whole reason I did the 1/2 marathon was for my dad’s 50th birthday-THANK YOU DAD [for reals-no sarcasm]). Find what works for you and if it stops working (aka: plateau), adjust!

The Ogden Marathon-my first 1/2

Ultimately it comes down to something one of my photography professors at BYU always said: “How bad do you want it?” How bad do you want to run 5 miles straight? How bad do you want to enjoy Disneyland without having to stop every 100 yards to rest? How bad do you want to love yourself? How bad do you want to control your struggles instead of letting them control you?

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