My Weight Loss Story

As a kid, I was the one being shuffled from practice to practice. From basketball to soccer to swimming. It was my life and I knew nothing different. I loved it, and it was great, until high school. It all caught up to me. I became burned out. The first to go was basketball. After making the team freshmen year, I declined to focus more on swimming. Then it was soccer. After a less than stellar season on varsity my sophomore year, I dropped that too. Swimming continued and I saw huge success sophomore year, but plateaued the next two years. I was frustrated and just done. I was recruited to swim at a Division I college, but turned down the offer to go to my Big Ten dream school, Michigan State. The lure of late nights with friends, eating and drinking whatever I wanted was too hard to resist. Ultimately, I chose a social life over sports in college.

swim team photo 1997
First year on the swim team…1997 at 7 years old!
dance photo 1997
One of the many dance photos. I stopped dancing when I was 12.
middle school soccer
Soccer in middle school. I was also juggling travel soccer, school basketball, travel baseball, and year round swimming.

 

I started gaining weight Junior year of high school, which then led into college. It was definitely a combination of eating nutritionally low foods (think goldfish, coca-cola, mounds of chips and salsa – my staple, and flaming hot Cheetos) and a gradual decline of exercise. My lifestyle choices began to show, both in my appearance and my mind. I was eating junk and I felt like junk. There were many late night runs to fast food joints. And more greasy pizza than I would like to admit. Oh, we can’t forget the binge drinking every weekend. That sure didn’t help. At my heaviest I was 180 (I’m 5’11”). I wasn’t happy with my weight. I was extremely uncomfortable in my own skin and as a result very self-conscious. And I lacked self-confidence in social situations all throughout college.

high school soccer photo
Last year playing soccer. Sophomore year, 2006.

 

I would attempt to shed some pounds…I admit though that I would go to the gym and get on the elliptical for 30 minutes and call it a day. I always told myself, “Okay, tomorrow I will start eating better.” But, nothing would stick. I was able to lower my weight to 170, by cleaning up my diet a tad and getting in the gym more, but nothing stuck long term. I even attempted to run…it was so hard and I was quickly discouraged.

After graduating and settling into the working world, in September of 2012 I signed up for my first 5K with my best friend and her mom. I found a couch to 5K plan and followed it religiously. No matter how hard it was to run, I did. Witnessing my progress from running 2 to 4 minutes at a time to being able to run 20 minutes without stopping pumped me up! I was loving it. I found the motivation and I became determined to take my health back.

I raced my first 5K in 33:52, which fueled my drive to get faster. I signed up for another 5K on Thanksgiving and then the following spring I challenged myself to race in my first sprint triathlon, something I always wanted to do because of my swimming background. After that race, which was completely exhausting, but incredible, I was hooked. I dove headfirst into the tri world, giving it everything I had. I completely changed my diet. No more desserts, no more fast food, and I significantly decreased the amount of processed food I consumed. I went on to race 4 more sprints that summer and managed to qualify for USAT Age Group Nationals. I lost the extra weight, 40 pounds from my heaviest, and I was feeling great, enjoying the structure training brought to my life.

My first triathlon to finishing my first half ironman...what a difference!
My first triathlon to finishing my first half ironman…what a difference!

Even though my training volume was high for the average person I don’t believe it was the ultimate factor in helping me shed fat and gain muscle. It wouldn’t have been possible if I did not learn what to eat. I read so many articles on what was best for fueling the lifestyle of a triathlete. It was crucial that I put in food that gave me energy and helped me recover. I learned what was actually in my food. Radical, I know. I started noticing what types of food made me feel good and what didn’t. It is astonishing how disconnected I had been with my food and body.

weight loss transformation
Summer of 2008 (just graduated high school) to Summer 2014

 

Over the past couple years my diet has evolved. I now eat completely plant-based…dare I say vegan. You can read why I became vegan in this post. And I am finding more of a balance between my training and other interests in my life. All the while chasing down a career that I am passionate about.

I am so grateful for this journey I have been on, there have definitely been many learning and growing moments, and I know there will be many more ahead.

 

(I had so much fun looking through old photos…here are a few more oldies!!)

mundelein swim team
Mundelein Mustang Swim Team…I’m thinking this is around 2004?
girls grayslake basketball united center
I had the opportunity to play at the United Center with my travel basketball team…I’d say this was a highlight!
warren blazers
Blazers Soccer…I was blazing down the field!

 

 

round lake ducks swim team
My first swim team, the Round Lake Ducks.
swim team photo
Another swim team photo!
La Bamba dance photo
LOVED this costume. We danced to La Bamba!

 

7 thoughts on “My Weight Loss Story

  1. You go girl!! Veganism is probably the best decision I’ve made in my life because I achieved amazing results and I’m glad there are other stories like mine!! :)

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