Health Female Adda
1 year ago
I Stopped Trying to Shrink Myself and Focused on Getting Strongerâ€"and I Look Great

Before: 215

After: 145

The Lifestyle
When I was in school, I made whatever excuses I could to get out of gym class. When we ran laps, I was always last. My P.E. teacher encouraged me to be more active, but because I was bigger I told myself I wasn’t good enough.

When I began college, I fell into a terrible depression, and turned to food for comfort. Sugar made me feel better at first, but I would eat so much of it and feel disgusted with myself afterward. At that point, I drank at least two liters of Dr. Pepper every day. My meals consisted of frozen pizzas, waffles, chicken nuggets, and fries.

My weight creeped up to 215 pounds, and I broke down every time I went shopping.

The Change
Four years ago, I decided that I had to make a change. I knew absolutely nothing about nutrition, but I started to exercise by alternating between walking and jogging.

Two weeks in, I broke my ankle (in an accident totally unrelated to working out) and had to have surgery. While stuck in bed recovering, I remember thinking “I can’t just lay here and keep eating like crap.” Throughout my recovery I started to watch portion sizes, and slowly transitioned from drinking soda to downing water. I lost almost 15 pounds in six weeks without working out.

Once my ankle healed, I started exercising to Jillian Michaels DVDs in my garage. I cleaned up my diet by grilling chicken (no more nuggets) and switched from white bread to whole grains like brown rice. When I wanted something sweet, dark chocolate became my go-to. I also used Tumblr to track my progress, and posted photo updates.

 

Homemade cheddar and red onion burgers topped with beet/onion and BBQ smothered bacon #fuel #girlswholift #gains #foodie #nutrition #food #fitfam

A photo posted by Rae Elizabeth (@raevolution) on

As I exercised more and cut out processed food, I felt more confident and less depressed. After 10 months, I’d lost more than 45 pounds!

Sometimes, like when sugar cravings would hit, I worried that I would fail. But when that happened, I stopped and asked myself, “Why are you reaching for that candy?” I realized my answer wasn’t hunger and that helped me stop emotionally eating. I worked through my stress by going for a run or looking at my progress photos.

About two years ago, I started to lift weights and completely fell in love with it. Though my original weight-loss goal was to be as small as possible, the stronger I felt the more I appreciated the muscle I was building. Now I have super-muscular legs—and I love them! Today, I'm 70 pounds lighter than I was when I started changing my habits and weigh 145 pounds. (To start your transformation, check out Women's Health's new Ignite workout, designed by Next Fitness Star winner Nikki Metzger.)

The Reward
Since changing my lifestyle, I feel like a completely different person! My passion for health and fitness has even translated into a new career. Last year I took a six-week course to become a personal trainer. Two months later, I purchased a small studio near my home and started training clients.

 

A photo posted by Rae Elizabeth (@raevolution) on

Today, in addition to running my gym, I train others online. I work with them to create a customized exercise and nutrition plan. After overcoming my own challenges, I want to help other people reach their goals.

Rachael​'s Tips
Work on your relationship with yourself. For years I isolated myself and put myself down. I worked on replacing a negative thoughts with positive ones, and slowly I started to feel more confident. You have to be friends with yourself.

Be patient. There’s no straight line to success. When you hit a bump and want to give up, look at the progress you’ve already made. Focus on how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go.

Document your story. Whether it’s a blog or a private diary, dedicate space and time to your progress. I created a Tumblr page when I decided to healthify my life, and it’s been a community of support and encouragement. Take progress photos and post them instead of worrying about the scale! 

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