So that was me in 2011. I’m the one of the right in the green shirt. 😉
2011 was a tough year for me. I was finishing up my first Master’s degree, with no job prospects and a thesis that refused to write itself. I was going through a really bad breakup with a man I had been living with for four years, and I was 29 on the cusp of 30 facing the real possibility that I was going to have to move back in with my folks.
It was not my year.
I allowed all of my stress to overtake me, and I lost myself in it. I stopped caring about my health, stopped caring about my weight, just stopped caring as day after day I slowly but certainly outgrew my entire wardrobe. In that photo I was away in Canada, working at a marine biology summer camp, and I had to hit the thrift store and buy all new pants because I couldn’t zip up the ones I packed.
That camp experience was amazing! I was surrounded by so many uplifting people and so much positivity. It helped me put my worries into perspective, and it helped me realize that I can’t worry about things I have no control over, and that I have control over more than I realize. When I got back to the states, I made the decision to become proactive with my health.
I bought a cheap stationary bike on Amazon.
It was small, and I put it together myself so it was probably extremely dangerous, but it was all I could afford at the time and since running gave me shin splints I had to start somewhere.
I set that cheap little deathtrap in front of my computer, and for an hour a day I would ride it and watch the tv show Nikita on Netflix. Nikita was a bad@$$, and watching her kick butt kind of motivated me to keep going. If she could do all that, I could ride this junky bike for an hour.
You have to start where you are. I can’t stress this enough.
The bike broke after a year of use, but I was already back down to a weight I felt comfortable in and fit into some of my old clothes again. I had held onto some favorite dresses, hoping I could use them again. My hope, and positivity paid off.
After the bike I got into running. I was never consistent at it, because I never had the right shoes until recently and kept developing shin splints. I kept active, and that was key. By 2015 I looked like this:
See that smile? That is a REAL smile! I was down almost 20 pounds and feel GREAT. That photo was taken in Colorado, where I was hiking without pain and enjoying myself.
Cardio can only get you so far. It is great to get the heart started, but building muscle actually burns more calories and it shapes your body. After starting P90X3 I lost a little more weight, but more importantly I lost inches and gained strength.
Core strength is what leads to balance. My stronger arms allow me to help out more around the house, and just feel more capable, and my stronger legs mean I can go for longer hikes, run without shin splints, and just feel all around better.
I wouldn’t be here, on the cusp on abs, if I didn’t start with riding a stationary bike an hour a day.
Start where you can. It may not seem like much at first, but you are growing, building, and learning how to take control of your health one step at a time. You just have to commit to making that change, and not let anything stop you.
I’m off to enjoy a barbeque with some of Namon’s work colleagues! Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone!