Building a Stronger Me

FullSizeRender-2.jpgI’ve debated with myself for a while now about whether I would involve my “health and fitness” on my blog or just keep it to social media.  I truly wanted this to function as an outlet for my writing, life with kids and just connecting with anyone going through, or hoping to go through the same type of journey.  But, I posted a few days ago about general body image and talk all the time with girlfriends about how we beat ourselves up over those “last pesky pounds”. So I figured I would do it this once and hopefully it can reach someone in a real way that just makes them realize, “I’m good”… them, not me… me too, I guess… but mostly them.  You.

I started college in probably the lowest possible point a person can be.  I was never really a healthy eater but really let it go overboard freshman year.  I was in the process of going through a really bad breakup.  Bad being an extreme understatement.  I won’t get into the details because this person doesn’t deserve to occupy the space in any of our minds… but let’s just say that if you were to mold ‘evil’ into human form… it would be this person.  And this is not an overstatement.  But I was young, impressionable, desperate to fit in… you know the story.

Anyway… I was dealing with the mess I had allowed myself to become and turned to food as my comfort.  By sophomore year, I had gained about 30 lbs. So here I was, eating, going out with new friends that were much needed, not sleeping much and eating.  And slowly, slowly I pushed up to 136.  Which is intense for me being someone who could barely creep over 100 lbs in high school.  I hadn’t really noticed I was “fat”… and I say that horrific word beecaauuuseeee… someone said, “Aimee, you’re fat.”  So spare me the body shaming… and besides… fat is a word.  People can be fat.  It’s a thing just the same as skinny or tall or short etc… It may not look the same to all of us… but it is what it is.  Don’t shoot the messenger.

Entering into my senior year, my (now husband) and I began dating… but things weren’t super serious and over the summer before the Fall semester he left for a job and I was in summer school.  Something clicked in my mind – aside from the new “fat” title I’d received – and I decided to take control.  I was going to eat right, start using this multi-million dollar gym on campus that was paid for in my tuition that I’d never set foot in, handle my classes and see where things stood with the boy when he got back.  And it was probably the beginning of the best choice I’d ever made in my life.

I’d lost about 10 lbs by the end of Summer… which was pretty decent considering I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.  A year later my casual boyfriend became serious, graduated college and moved in together.  I wanted to step up my game and impress him with my culinary skills so I started cooking more and more often and tried to find healthy ways to eat the bad stuff we liked.  I began using the gym in our apartment complex and things progressed even more.  I didn’t have a scale then so I have no clue where I was at… but I want to say around 115.

A year after that, we were living in Lafayette and got engaged.  I was working full-time at my new job, planning a wedding and trying to fit exercise in after work… which left little time to cook.  I did it but not as often so I just ate less…  and that coupled with the stress of wedding planning and work I was at 110.  Don’t get me wrong, this was not a healthy 110.(Photo from honeymoon pictured… only one I have showing my body… and I promise I do have a neck even though it didn’t make it to this photo).  It was a stress and soup ‘diet’ (because it was fast, not because I was on an actual soup diet) number and not realistic for life.FullSizeRender-3.jpg

Five months after wedding, I got pregnant with Cori and gained a lovely 50 lbs.  I ate nothing but Chick-Fil-A and sat my happy ass at work all day… made it pretty easy to plump up.  However when Cori turned 6 months old, we decided it was best for my to stay home.  For many reasons. So to, once again, take control… I wanted to set a good example for our daughter, I wanted to be a productive wife and mother, so I started again but in a way that would work with my new life.  It took about 10 months to get to 119, but I did it.  And I did it with a baby.  A baby that didn’t sleep, didn’t eat shit and cried for me to hold her 22 hours out of the day.  She turned 1, I got pregnant with Diem and gained only 35 because I worked out and ate as well as my brain would let me for almost the whole pregnancy.Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 10.07.46 AM.png

It still took another year to lose the weight from her… so there’s the REAL in this for all of you.  It doesn’t really matter how much you gain, your body just did some mind blowing shit.  Your whole EVERYTHING changes, you lose muscle, you lose tissue (mostly in your butt and boobs because God has a sense of humor) and you lose your mind.

And here I am today – a solid 117.  That’s 7 lbs heavier than I was when I got married.  I am happy with my body right now – I have huge, long stretch marks on my inner thighs, as well as one on my belly button and hips and my booty is covered in them from high school… but I am proud of what my body has gone through and where it is now.  Would I like to lose just 2-3 more lbs?  Yes.  I don’t know a woman out there who doesn’t think there’s room from improvement no matter what shape they’re in.  But what I won’t do is starve myself, or do a crazy diet or take a pill… I do NOT want my girls to think it’s normal to make poor decisions just to look a certain way.  They are my motivation to be a strong-minded person, a good person and hopefully inspire them to be strong enough to not allow anyone to dampen their flame like I had done so long ago.

We should always want to look our best.  It helps with self discipline, overall healthy mental state and shows people that you care about yourself.  That’s a good thing!  However, I do not talk about my workouts with them with the idea of “skinny”, I say we are exercising to get stronger and to have fun.  And it IS fun!  I’m HERE and active with my children because they need me and I hope when they look back once they’re older, they’ll appreciate these moments together – whether exercising together, or going to the zoo or playing doctor… it’s all about the journey.

And this was mine – the good, the bad and the ugly.

And here’s a recipe to make up for my long-winded post!

Pasta SaladScreen Shot 2017-06-23 at 1.37.50 PM.png

2 cups Farfalle Pasta

1/2 English cucumber, sliced and halved

1/3 cup Feta cheese

1-2 roma tomatoes, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 whole medium red onion, or 1/2 large, sliced thin

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp honey

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to instructions, drain and place in bowl.  Toss in the other veggies and cheese.  Pour dressing  over or keep separate for refrigerating.

**I topped this with the paprika lime chicken from previous post.**