I’m getting a little personal on the blog today so if that’s not your thing you can check out any of my other posts & check back throughout the week for some new, easy recipes. Today I’m gonna talk about my own personal journey through weight loss, gain, and maintenance. Cool? Cool. It’s not something I typically talk about as it’s kind of awkward and almost embarrassing for me but here we go…
Throughout high school, I was always relatively active: I was a soccer player all of my life so that took up 3 seasons of the year and I played volleyball for a little while, as well. I was never really out of shape but I was never in great shape (except that one summer I went to volleyball conditioning 3x a week, thanks Coach Fillipo). I was always bigger than most of my teammates but I had more muscle than most of them so it was like, whatever.
Then in the summer leading up to my senior year, I started going out a lot. And with going out comes late nights, picking up McDonald’s or Taco Bell, not sleeping well, and just generally not taking care of myself. From that summer until I came home for Winter Break my freshman year of college (so about a year and a half), I gained a lot of weight. I’m not exactly sure how much because I never weighed myself but… it was bad. I got my wake-up call in the form of my dad just flat out telling me, “Erin, you’ve gotta take better care of yourself.” So I did.
Initial Weight Loss:
Throughout the spring semester of freshman year (2010), I managed to lose 20 pounds through a combination of exercising more and eating better. Since I was a freshman, I still lived in the dorm but I think I was lucky in that my cafeteria had a salad bar with chicken and vinaigrette dressings to choose from so that made up the bulk of my diet. I still ate Pokey Sticks after a night out (they were HEAVEN!), and mac & cheese on Friday’s, but lunch was almost always a salad and dinner was typically chicken, vegetables + a piece of bread, rice, or pasta.
So not only was I eating much better, I was also running and being more active in general. I slowly but surely worked my way from hardly-faster-than-walking mile runs on the treadmill to regular 5Ks on campus. In the following summer, I maintained for the most part – I still remained active but I didn’t pay as much attention to my nutrition as I did while in school.
After that summer, I went back to school and I lost another 20 pounds. So my weight loss was a total of 40 pounds. I spent probably 90 minutes most days in the gym or running around campus. And I wasn’t fueling my body properly: I ‘tracked’ my calories and restricted myself to 1200 calories. I ran 2 half-marathons in 2011 and then, as I was training for the 2012 Chicago Marathon, I injured myself. My injury came about thanks in part to overuse and in part under-eating. I spent most of Summer 2012 and the following fall and winter educating myself on proper nutrition and fueling myself for intense running.
A Much-Needed Gain:
Upon educating myself on proper nutrition, and while I was still out of running, I spent a lot of time in the gym doing a powerlifting style of training. I was eating more and doing less cardio so, obviously, I gained some weight. I truly believe that I needed to gain that weight back in order to eat like a normal human being and not maintain weight on 1200 calories.
That year, I gained around 10 pounds, transferred schools, moved home (I commuted to school now!), and began working on my degree in Nutrition. I maintained what was now a 30 pound weight loss for another two years or so and completed my Bachelor of Science in Nutrition in May 2015. So like… I know how to eat right and I know the science behind it. But changing behaviors is a lot more difficult.
Gaining The Rest…:
It’s hard to point out when I started gaining more weight and I don’t have a reason why that happened. I got busy, stressed out, focused on other things. Who knows? I slacked off. I’m human. We all are. It happens. But I gained quite a bit of weight back. It wasn’t until earlier this year (2017) when I saw a photo of myself and was like: GIRL. GET IT TOGETHER. So I did. I am. IT’S HARD!
Now? I’m training for a half in June, Chicago Marathon in October, and eatin’ good. I’ve lost 7 pounds of the 25-30 I’d like to lose. I don’t track my macros religiously but I will make sure that I’m eating enough food to support my goals. Most days, I eat around 2000 calories; some days it’s more and others it’s less. I eat to fuel my body and my runs, while keeping weight loss goals in mind. (Side note: it is SO EASY to gain weight while training for distance runs.)
So with all of that said — I plan on sharing more of the weight-related struggles I experience along with the healthy recipes I’ve already started sharing.
PHEW – talk about a vulnerable post!
See you guys next time with a DELICIOUS corned beef breakfast hash!