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What Happened to my Body? Somehow I got FAT!

How did this happen to me? I was a girl who spent 18 years of her life in a dance studio taking jazz, tap, and ballet classes. A woman who taught dance and loved it. A babe who had a rock hard body, but didn’t really know it until much later in life. How does that girl become FAT?

I can’t tell you all the ways, but I can tell you that over the last 15 years I have added weight every year. Initially the weight was kind of sneaky. A few pounds here and there, but a few months ago the weight became too loud to ignore.

I have dieted, used Weight Watchers, jazzercised, and watched my mom have gastric bypass surgery. I didn’t want to become fat, but somehow I did.

After some serious consideration, I found that I had three areas that I really struggled with. And in order to be successful at losing the weight and keeping it off, I had to attack each one step-by-step over several months. So, I made action plans and stuck to them… for the most part.

Problem #1 Lack of Exercise:

I had stopped being physically active on a regular basis. Dancing five days a week has a way of keeping you fit.

I started out promising to go to the gym at least three days a week for 20 minutes. I usually stayed longer. Slowly, I worked up to 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Once I was there it wasn’t hard to stay. I am not the biggest fan of just treadmill and weight workouts and I missed dance. Luckily, I was able to find the joy that dancing brought me via Zumba. I would now classify myself as a Zumba addict. Dancing keeps you in great shape. On average one Zumba class burns between 700 to 1,000 calories.

I also hired a personal trainer. She worked out with me two days a week for 30 minutes and helped me see just how strong I really am. It wasn’t just me on this journey. With her help I was able to push myself farther than had I been by myself. With my personal trainer I had accountability. She patiently worked on my entire fitness level and also concentrated on my problem areas.

I slowly started adding more gym days — increasing from three days to five days a week.  Now, I usually head to the gym between four to six days a week. I actually get the itch to work off frustration or get that endorphin high. I NEVER thought that was possible. I have been able to increase my cardio fitness, my free weights lifting in reps and pounds, and even my endurance. I even ran in some 5Ks and the Warrior Dash (insane race that is so fun).

Problem #2 Eating is a Problem:

I was using food in really unhealthy ways. Instead of dealing with my problems head-on, I’d eat to avoid the issues in my life. I’d eat to cover up boredom and stress in my career, to fill a hole left by my biological father’s abandonment, and to avoid dealing with life’s disappointments and emotions.

I needed to make another lifestyle change! I did some counseling work awhile back and really evaluated and thought about (even did some journaling) how I look at food and started replacing these moments with more positive things. I would drink a glass of water, go for a walk, or play with my dogs. I can’t tell you that I still don’t have moments of weakness, but I certainly am more highly aware of my trigger points now.

I have made healthier food choices by paying better attention to how many calories there are in each thing I eat, as I will have to “work” them off later at the gym. Talk about giving you perspective for what you put in your mouth. I try to stay on the outside circle of the grocery story, since that is where all the healthier food typically sits. And for the most part I cut out soda. I have learned to love a good old glass of water.

Problem #3 Eating is Very Social:

I love making food which comes from how my mother, which is how she showed her love for people. Every family or friend get together and outing was centered around food. This can be a huge problem for those who need to lose weight and get healthy.

I had to make another lifestyle adjustment! I have been working on more active-oriented outings. Challenging my friends to do 5ks with me and to go dancing. I know I can’t stop nurturing people with food. It is a deep-rooted action for me, but at least I can temper it with some physical activity. I always try to workout on those days I know a gathering will take place.

Over the last year I have lost 30 lbs, over 20 inches, and almost 10% body fat. But more importantly, I have gained control over my life and have realized just how strong I am both mentally and physically. I couldn’t have done it without my friends, my trainer, and my determination to take control of my life.

Are you out of control? What baby step are you going to do right now to take back your life?

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