Behavior change can be hard, but YOU CAN DO IT

by Amy Renee
Behavior change can be hard, but YOU CAN DO IT

Take it from me. I’ve been there. I know that feeling of, “I’ll never be skinny so why bother,” or “I just need to accept the fact that I’ll always be a big girl”…you get the picture. It’s so hard to make the decision to change when you don’t really know where to begin. It’s scary. You have doubts. What if it doesn’t work? What if you eat salads and deprive yourself of ice cream and cookies and the scale still doesn’t budge? Well…CONFIDENCE! You need to find that confidence in yourself. YOU CAN DO THIS! And deep down inside I know you know you can. You just need to make the decision and JUST DO IT!

I just saw a picture of my cousin who recently lost over 35 pounds and she looks AMAZING! SHE was the inspiration for this post. She told me she had been losing weight (she lives in a different part of the country so we don’t see each other often), but I guess I didn’t realize how much until I saw the picture. It made me so happy for her. She said she is going through her closet now because she can’t fit in any of her clothes. She told me she never imagined that simply changing her eating behaviors and finding time for exercise would make such a drastic impact on her health. She has never felt better

My cousin when she decided to make her lifestyle change

both physically and mentally and just reading those words almost made me cry. I think the reason it made me so emotional was because it reminded me of why I have such a passion for what I do. I can relate to her excitement. And even though I’m probably repeating myself I’ll tell you why.

When I was in high school I was clinically obese (BMI>30). I hated myself for it. I felt so ashamed and never wanted to go anywhere. I felt so ugly in my skin and didn’t ever want to eat in front of anyone because I thought they would think I was disgusting. So I never ate lunch at school. I’d starve myself and curb my hunger by drinking sugary sodas during lunch time. By the time I got home from school I was so hungry I would scarf down about 3 servings of sugary cold cereal even though dinner was only a couple of hours away. And I’d usually end up snacking right up until dinner, washing down my highly refined, packaged snack foods with more sugary soda. It was awful.

I had no nice clothes. My mom would try to buy me clothes that would fit my body, but I hated my body so much that going to the mall and trying on clothes was just way too traumatic. I would see myself in the mirror and nothing looked good. I’d always end up leaving with no new clothes and in a horrible mood. For this reason my wardrobe mainly consisted of huge (way too big) clothes that I purchased from the second hand store because I thought they hid my body and the vintage style fit my “alternative” look. In actuality they just made me look even bigger.

Near the end of my junior year of high school I decided I needed to make a change. I wasn’t happy. I knew I had to get senior pictures taken for the yearbook and the thought of that made me sick to my stomach. All of the diet gurus back then were talking about sugar and fat as being the enemies and the old “calories in equals calories out” theory was all the rage. So the first thing I did was start looking at the nutrition labels on all of the foods I consumed. Almost all of the food I ate was processed (packaged foods), so they all had labels. At that time I downed about one or more (cringe) 2 liter bottles of soda a day. Eeek! I’m not even joking. When I calculated out how much sugar I was consuming on a typical day I was shocked. Regular soda was the first thing to go. I made the switch to diet. Now, I have to tell you that I don’t recommend ANY soda at this point, but if someone is highly addicted and can’t give it up completely I think diet is better than regular. What I recommend now though is plain soda water and if you want flavor add fresh fruit slices such as lemons, limes or oranges to it.

Anyway, back to my story…

So after I started to read nutrition labels and came to the realization that I was not only consuming foods loaded with fats and sugar, but I discovered that I was also consuming about 3 servings at a time! No wonder I was overweight! And so it began. I started to read the labels of everything I ate. Now keep in mind this was over 20 years ago (ugh…aging myself) and at this time I didn’t know what I do now about human biochemistry (metabolism). In fact, the nutrition research just wasn’t there, so even scientists didn’t know a whole lot about nutrition back then. But they were learning. Research was being gathered. And although I didn’t know it at the time it would have a major impact on my life and the lives of those I would help.

Me today – 55 pounds lighter than I was in High School

I ended up dropping over 30 pounds before my senior year of high school. And today I weigh about 55 pounds less than I did then. I feel better than I ever have and am healthier than ever before. It was a long time getting to where I am now. A lot of fad diets, diet pills, supplements, extreme workout regimens, you name it. But now I truly feel as though I have settled into the healthy lifestyle my body has been striving for. I no longer carry ten pounds of extra weight. I’m just where I need to be. And my fasting glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol levels and blood pressure are beyond what is deemed as healthy by American standards.

So that’s it. That’s my story. Not the whole story – and I DO plan on posting about the several fad diets, etc. I have experienced, but I just want you to know that I have been there. I have struggled. Even after losing the initial 35 pounds I fought to keep it off and struggled with the “gain ten pounds lose ten pounds” roller coaster. As I get older my concerns have shifted from “looking good” to “being healthy” and in earning my Master’s degree in Nutrition I learned a lot of valuable information that will allow me to help others in the best way possible.

One more thing, and this is important. I LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST! I enjoy every bite of food I have. I practice mindful eating (if you don’t know what that is don’t worry, I’ll post on it later). Healthy food has gotten a bad rep for way too long and it tastes WAY better than the cheap processed crap some manufacturers call food. You can still be social, you can have cake, you can go out to restaurants, you can enjoy an occasional alcoholic beverage…you just need to be mindful when you do all of these things. I plan to guide you via this website allowing you to live the fullest, healthiest, SEXIEST life ever.

I have a true passion to help people find their healthy, happy place just as I did. I hope you find the information on this site useful and I welcome you to share any comments you have.

My mom, Penny before losing weight

Penny after losing 40 lbs & much healthier

I remember crying myself to sleep and thinking that I needed to accept myself at where I was because I was never going to change. It was like this vicious cycle. I would eat good for a while, but then I would beat myself up and just eat more of the bad foods I shouldn’t be eating.

-Penny S (aka my mom)

My cousin, Beth on day one of her lifestyle change

Beth after losing 50 lbs

“After having Levi (my first baby) I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight in eight weeks. After Leah (my second)…well that’s another story. I was around 190 pounds for quite some time, lost some here and there, unhealthily – living off of soda and coffee. On January 8, 2014 I made the decision to make a change. I weighed in at 173 pounds at that time and made it my goal to be at 150 by June. I accomplished my goal by March 1st and via healthy diet and exercise I weighed in at 126.8 pounds as of writing this (May 27th). I still want to tone up, be a mom my kids are proud of, a woman my husband is proud of, and most importantly HEALTHY! I want to teach my kids that eating healthy is yummy and good for your body!”

– Elizabeth

My mom and cousin, Elizabeth are two examples of how behavior change is difficult but absolutely POSSIBLE! I know it seems like miles away – like you’ll never be able to reach your goal, but YOU CAN DO IT! You just need to find that confidence in yourself and make that first step.

I want to make is perfectly clear that I had NOTHING to do with EITHER of their success stories. They did it 100% on their own. I just wanted to include them in this post because they are the perfect examples of how anyone, no matter what situation, no matter what age can achieve their weight-loss goals. And did I mention my mom had thyroid cancer too? Yep. She did. My mom had hypothyroidism (diminished thyroid function) which makes it even more difficult to lose weight. Clean eating and exercise enabled my mother to lose 40 pounds even without a thyroid!

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