My Little Fit Life: How I got to where I am now
I used to smoke. Yes, you read that correctly. I was a pack a day smoker for about 5ish years. Probably not the way you expected this post to start out huh? Well that’s ok- let me explain myself by rewinding back, way back.
As long as I can remember, I have always been drawn to physical activity. Growing up, I was always involved in sports, specifically softball. I started out playing on local rec teams, but soon discovered that I wanted more. My parents, god bless them for contributing so much to my softball career, enrolled me in pitching lessons and that’s when it all took off. I soon found myself on traveling softball teams, through every season, traveling all over California. I knew this was my “thing” and I was determined to play ball in college.
I ended up at CSU, Bakersfield (shout out C-SUB!) and pitched for a couple of years before realizing that my softball days were coming to an end and I was ready to get on with my career: nursing. An important thing to note about Bakersfield, was the amount of training & conditioning we were required to do. At the time, I was not a fan of it…it was my first true experience with running any sort of distance as we trained to either run 3 miles in 30 minutes, or 1.5 miles in 12 minutes as part of our post winter break requirement. I was able to complete both- but at the time, had absolutely no intention on ever sticking with running or maintaining the distance.
Another important thing to mention about Bakersfield, was that it was the first time I ever really ‘dieted’. Remember the whole point system introduced by Weight Watchers? The one with the little sliding scale that told you what you can and cant eat, based on the ‘points’ calculated by the nutrition label?! Well I held onto that sliding scale like it was a life support device and became obsessed….OBSESSED. For about 6 months I did really REALLY good, I lost about 20 pounds, and had developed an obsession with the scale. That number meant everything- it controlled what I ate, what I did, and most importantly, how I felt about myself. I am in no way complaining about the Weight Watcher program and it’s recommendations because I think it is a great program, I am just building the base of my health and fitness story, because this is the era that started my obsessive dieting fads and yo-yo weight issues.
Over the next couple of years- I tried them all. Low carb, Jenny Craig, diet pills, shakes, and extreme calorie counting, just to name a few. I also found myself going to the gym a couple of times a day- purely to do cardio. There was something about that hour long crazy sweat session on the treadmill or elliptical that I thought was doing so much good for my body. I was more concerned with how many ‘calories I was burning’ rather than incorporating strength training and building lean muscle mass. However- the one thing that remained consistent through this hectic era of my life (aka nursing school), was that I continued to do physical activity regardless of the other poor lifestyle and dieting habits that had become part of my lifestyle.
Fast forward to 2013- done with nursing school and working fulltime, clean and sober, pre-twins, engaged, but still smoking. I knew I needed to quit, but it just seemed so impossible. If there are any ex-smokers reading this right now, I know you can relate. Those thoughts of, “…but how am I going to NOT smoke with my morning coffee?” or “…how am I going to drive without a cigarette in my hand?”, and most importantly, “How am I going to deal with the stress of life without smoking?!”. But I am proof that it is possible, and sometimes all it takes is to realize that you want something else that someone else has.
My brother had started running and I watched him train for and complete a half marathon…and I wanted that experience. Maybe it was my competitive nature resurfacing, but I wanted to experience that feeling of victory after working so hard for something and achieving it. So I began to run. I was slow and it was oh so hard to run even 1 mile- but with the motivation of him and the help of some gum, I quit smoking and began to call myself a runner. For the past 6 years, I have continued to run and have fallen in love with the process of setting a goal, planning out the training logs, and then crossing that finish line with a runners high that is hard to put into words.
In August of 2015, I got the biggest shock of my life when I realized I was pregnant with TWINS! Not going to lie- after the initial shock passed, the next thought I had was, “How is this going to effect my fitness?!” As a Labor & Delivery nurse, I am all for healthy choices paired with tolerable & appropriate exercise throughout your pregnancy- I however, knew the challenges we had already faced just to get pregnant, so I remained cautious and focused on healthy eating, with walking becoming my new norm of working out. I gained 33 pounds throughout the pregnancy, had minimal pain until that last week or so, and carried 2 beautiful and healthy baby girls until 37.2 weeks gestation. I had an uncomplicated delivery and bounced back fairly quick. I do believe that my health & fitness level prior to getting pregnant resulted in my bodies surprisingly pleasant reaction to carrying two babies to almost full term, while remaining comfortable majority of the pregnancy.
Even though I was running on pure exhaustion during the first years of the twins’ life, I had such a strong urge to get back into my normal workout routine because I knew that working out would indeed GIVE me more energy so that I could be present for the girls, my family, and also my nursing job *which I returned to when the girls were 5 months old*. Did I mention that I was exclusively breastfeeding them?! Yes- I guess this is a perfect example of my all out personality- because once I committed to breastfeeding, I went ALL in and made it a goal to get to 1 year, no matter what it took. Extra pumping sessions, Fenugreek supplements, special lactation cookie concoctions…the whole nine yards. We made it to one year- literally there was blood, sweat and tears, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat because it was such a special time for me. I am all for breastfeeding but in the end, there is no right or wrong way because a FED baby is the BEST option and a momma needs to do what is best for herself, her family, and for her child(ren) with the situation that she is presented with 🙂
Ok- sorry for the nursing ramble, back to my fitness journey. I knew that a goal needed to be set during my postpartum fitness comeback to keep me accountable and motivated. I registered myself and the hubbs for the Capitola half marathon in May 2017. We planned, trained, and crushed that race. I was beyond proud of us because we had committed and dedicated ourselves and our time to this goal, while working and parenting *1 year old twins and TWO pre-teens*.
The Capitola race lit the fire in my heart and I was determined to get a sub 2-hour time (which means finishing a half marathon in under 2 hours). I registered for the Modesto Marathon *my favorite local race* and did everything I could to break two hours. I followed a sub 2-hour training plan, I logged the miles even when I didn’t want to, and I focused on incorporating strength training. When I crossed that finish line at 1:57:24, I was ecstatic. I have yet to break this PR…
So here we are, in 2019: I’m 34 years young, my girls are almost 3 1/2 years old, we have TWO highschoolers, I absolutely love my nursing career, I have the best husband I could ask for, and am more in love with my fitness journey then I ever have been. I am still a work in progress, and no where near I want to be by any means, but I am happy with my body and the mindset shift over the last 10 years or so.
I no longer view being skinny as the only way to be ‘healthy’. I can actually say that I no longer feel like a slave to the scale. That distorted thinking kept my blinders up for so long as to what health is all about. Who is to say what healthy should look like?! To me, healthy is loving your body enough that you commit to taking care of it. To me, healthy is moving your body on a regular basis to get that blood pumping. To me, healthy is drinking.your.water. To me, healthy is eating a balanced diet, while still enjoying the good stuff in life. To me, healthy is having FUN while taking care of yourself. To me, healthy is being grateful for the body you do have….the list goes on and on.
So that is why I chose to start this blog. As I continue on my own journey, I want to bring others with me. I want to continue setting personal goals, while sharing the process- the good, the bad, and the funny- with you along your own journey. I am not sure what these next 10 years of my fitness journey will entail, but I do know that I want you to join in…so here’s to building our journeys together!