Happy Friday! It's time for this week's Feature Friday! I am really excited to share Meg's story we met through a mutual friend on Instagram and when I saw her before and after photos I asked if she would share her incredible journey with us! She looks younger now than she does in her before pictures. She started slow, but didn't give up and now running half marathons and is training for a few fulls! She is a busy mom, but doesn't let that stop her! After you read her story, be sure to visit her blog and follow her on social media to stay motivated by her never quit attitude!
I started my fitness journey in January 2004. I was 22 years old and had just gotten married. After high school my weight was a yo-yo. I was used to being "skinny" and athletic even with never watching what I ate. After high school I started putting on weight slowly but surely. In 2003 when it was time for my final fitting for my wedding dress, the dress I had picked no longer fit. It was too close to the wedding to make alterations so I had to pick out another dress in a bigger size off the rack. You would think that this would have opened my eyes but it didn't. I had every excuse in the book. I'm getting older now so I'm just going to gain weight. I'm married and it's normal for wives to put on weight. I don't have time to workout with my full time job. I'm sure you are all familiar with these types of excuses because most of us have used them at one point or another. Finally, in December of 2003, after I had gone up 4 sizes in three years and was starting to head towards going up another size I decided something had to change. I knew if I didn't make the conscious decision to make a lifestyle change I would just keep gaining and gaining.
On New Years Day of 2004 my husband and I went to Dicks Sporting Goods and literally bought the cheapest elliptical they had. I did not want to sink a lot of money in it because I wasn't sure if I would stick with it. I wanted too....but I knew it would be hard and in the back of my mind I figured I would end up giving up. I started working out 20 minutes a day on the elliptical, 5 days a week. There were times I would have to stop after 10 minutes, take a break, then do another 10 minutes because I was so out of shape. I wanted to run, and we had a treadmill that my husband used, but I could only run maybe 5 minutes without stopping and giving up. Little by little it got easier and easier and pretty soon I was seeing differences and able to do 20 minutes without stopping. I also made a complete change to my eating habits. This is when I adopted the 90% rule that I have used ever since. I am not one to completely cut out food that I love (pizza, ice cream). BUT I am a firm believer that these things should be done in moderation. I started making healthy meals for us Monday-Thursday. Typical meals included grilled chicken, fish, vegetables, and rice. We made a point not to eat out during the week. We would allow ourselves to eat out 1-2 times on the weekend. Typically one of the meals on the weekend I would keep somewhat healthy and the other meal I would make my "cheat" meal as some call it. I started packing my lunches and snacks so I wouldn't be tempted to order with my coworkers or get fast food at work.
By making these lifestyle changes I was able to lose 60 pounds in a year. The lifestyle changes I made that year completely changed me. I was confident and happy and this spilled over into my career. I started becoming more successful at work and received several promotions. I have kept the weight off for 10 years now, even after a pregnancy. I was worried that I would fall back into old habits but honestly, once you made a lifestyle change like that it is difficult to fall back. I am in better shape today, at 32 years old and after having a baby, than I was when I was 22 years old. I look back now on my excuses and just laugh. No time? I have a 3 hour round trip commute to work every day and juggle being a wife and a mom. My husband travels a lot so many times it's just me at home with my daughter. But I still find time to fit in a workout. How? Well at 4:45 in the morning most days during the week. Is it ideal? No. But it's what I have to do to get it done.
Being healthy is important to me and I want to be a good role model for my daughter, so I will do what it takes. Since having my daughter I actually have really taken fitness to the next level. I have ran 10 5Ks, 2 10Ks, and a half marathon. I am currently training for the 2014 Chicago Marathon and the 2014 Chicago Triathlon. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be doing these things....and enjoying them....I would have said you were crazy!
Here are some of my tips for other busy moms out there:
1.) Meal prep- it makes a huge difference and helps make sure you don't grab unhealthy snacks and food on the go.
2.) Make breakfast simple and easy, but don't skip it. My go to breakfasts include Overnight Oats and Smoothies
3.) Make a schedule for the week with your spouse or significant other that includes time to workout and stick to it. If something comes up, revisit the schedule and work together to find a new time to fit it in.
4.) If you have a bad day don't beat yourself up. We all have them. Just start new the next day!
5.) Find a support system. If it's not your spouse or significant other it can be friends or other family members. Check out Instagram. I have met some of the most supportive people on Instagram that are going through the same thing you are in their fitness journey.
I am proof that if you put your mind to something and throw away the excuses you will be successful. I wish all of you the best of luck on your journey!
Connect with Meg:
Thanks Meg for sharing your amazing journey with us! You are motivation to never quit! Anything is possible when you put your all into it!