Before Burpees...

Growing up, I never played sports. I didn’t do much exercise except for occasional dance numbers in musical theatre. I loved bread and pasta and potato chips. I remember having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner as a kid and we would always have a side of bread and butter. Sometimes my dad would make a spaghetti sandwich and put the pasta in a folded piece of bread. It was delicious – and at the time it was probably the only way to get us kids to eat – but looking back, I realize that I never really had a healthy relationship with food.


When I had my own car towards the end of high school, I used to stop at a gas station on the way home from school and buy a bag of potato chips, then eat the whole bag (I’m talking family sized, sometimes party sized) while watching a Charmed rerun marathon on TV. This was long before the term “binge-watching” was coined.


About halfway through college, my bad habits started catching up with me. I started noticing the changes in my body, and I didn't like it. But I wasn't ready yet to really change my lifestyle. One summer, I spent an hour every day on the elliptical in my parents’ basement. I lost 20lbs! But I gained it all back when I went back to campus that fall. By the time I graduated, I was well over 150lbs.


Post college, I worked the closing shift at Panera. They always had leftover food and one of the managers let us take whatever we wanted. I was also working at an after-school program, where I snacked on whatever the kids were eating. But I wasn’t running around outside all day playing like the kids. I wasn't really exercising at all. By December 2013 I weighed in at 175lbs.


That’s when we decided to move to Virginia. My boyfriend was going back to school, and I wasn’t having any luck finding a job, so why not? We moved down a week before Christmas, driving a U-Haul through a snowstorm as it made it’s way up I-95.


That year, I made a New Year’s Resolution to “get healthy.” I was specific in my wording. This wasn’t just to lose weight or get fit, rather to get healthier – a small, yet important distinction. I joined a gym that happened to be right across from where I found a job, and made some incredible coworker friends that helped motivate me to go to classes and workout with them. I went to Zumba, yoga, boot-camp, body pump, and eventually I started making up workouts with my friends. And I started recording everything I ate in a little notebook. The change was gradual, slow, but noticeable.


A few months later, my sister told me about a little gadget she got through work. It clipped to her hip and tracked her steps and calories burned, and even had a little app that you could log your food in. Now remember, this was early 2014. That little device was called a FitBit, and it changed my life.


My sister couldn’t stop raving about it, and it wasn’t that much money for the zip ($60 I think) so I figured I’d try it out. I got the zip and replaced my notebook with the app. I logged every single thing I ate. I was religious about it. Even one Hershey kiss would get logged.


I continued to go to the gym, and I made sure I got my 10,000 steps a day, which often included adding a walk or jog to my gym workout. Logging my food and tracking my calories helped me make better food choices. I started meal prepping and was strict about portion control. Over the course of a year, I lost just over 50lbs.


In August 2015, I moved back to Massachusetts. Without a gym nearby, I found myself losing motivation for exercising. I walked, tried to run, and did some at-home workouts, but it wasn’t the same as the gym. I wanted the experience I had found in group classes, the positive community environment I had come to know and love. That’s when I decided to become an instructor. I got certified to Turbokick Live. I started teaching classes, and I did my best to recreate the sense of community that was so important to me on my weight loss journey.


Today, I teach 3 classes a week. I'm now also certified in PiYo, a pilates-yoga mix, and I'm studying to become a certified personal trainer. I love walking and hiking and being in nature, and I hope to get back into running soon. I also do at-home-yoga through the YouTube channel Yoga With Adriene. I have found a love exercise that I never could have imagined when I was younger, and my only hope is that I can share that love with others.

In addition to finding exercise, I also decided to become a vegetarian, which has opened me up to a whole new world of food and nutrition. But as healthy and fit as I might seem, I still find myself struggling with eating habits and body image like anyone else. This blog is not meant to be a guide to weight loss or getting fit. This is my story of finding balance, somewhere between the burpees and the burritos.


This blog is about my personal story of health and fitness, and is intended to serve as inspiration for others. I am not a licensed health professional and none of the posts on this blog are intended to serve as professional health advice. 

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