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I feel like I’ve been “big” all of my life. Since I can remember I was always bigger than most of my friends. My dear aunt nicknamed me “Munchie” for obvious reasons. It was cute, even endearing, but when I started school I was mercilessly teased. It was awful! No one at home seemed to mind my body so why did everyone else? Cue my poor mother packing me lunch with cans of Slim Fast in 5th grade…

I remember long summer nights on the lake. I would look up at the stars, hoping to see one fall so I could wish upon it to be skinny. That’s all I wanted. Because quite frankly, short of wishing on a star nothing seemed to work.

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Fast forward to 30. I was still wishing on stars. I’d go on yo-yo diets with little to no results. I became heavier and heavier every year. I was a truck driver for 10 years, an incredibly physical job, but the weight wouldn’t come off. I chalked it up to being diagnosed with PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome), was borderline diabetic, and accepted weight loss as something simply unattainable because of my illness. At 336 lbs my knees started to give out. Up until that point my body seemed to hold up to the strain, but I found myself struggling to walk, let alone exercise. The very thought of being wheelchair bound because of my weight was horrifying. What was I doing to myself? My work was suffering, my social life wasn’t going any better and most importantly, my health was suffering. I needed to change before it changed me forever!

I read everything I could find on clean eating. I researched everything. I saw a nutritionist. I saw a trainer. I joined a gym near work and one at home. I made crossfit equipment for my backyard. I included friends and co-workers to go workout every day and to hold me accountable. That way no matter where I was during my day, I had no excuse to not work out. I fell in love with S’mores Quest Bars. I joined forums and followed IG accounts with anything to do with healthy cooking and fitness. Allowing myself a cheat meal and some reasonable rewards were nice but, I was finally in control of my food… not the other way around.

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I started showing up to the gym 5 times a week, no excuses. My deal with myself was as long as I get up, show up, and walk through the door of the gym, I can turn right back around and go home if I want. Just show up. Thankfully, I never went back home once I arrived at the gym.

And the weight fell off.

I started CrossFit, hiking, swimming, walking my dogs – anything that would bring me closer to nature and closer to myself and my goals. Then one day I realized, I wasn’t wishing to be skinny. I was wishing to be healthy. I had weak moments and slip-ups, but never gave up.

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Here I stand, after losing 170 lbs — almost half my weight! And now that I’ve accomplished that, I’m still not stopping. The feeling of being comfortable in my own skin, the reward for all the hard work under my belt and learning that wishing isn’t enough lets me know this is who I’m supposed to be. And I’ve never been happier.  

Five Tips That Helped Me!

1. Get in the kitchen. Learn to make food with love and nourish your body and mind.

2. Ask for help. Ask friends and family to hold you accountable.

3. Cry, fight, stomp and throw your tantrum. But get it out and keep moving forward.

4. Get out of the gym! Get outside. Explore other forms of exercise to keep it fresh and fun.

5. Learn to love yourself and know that you deserve a long, healthy life.

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