Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Transformation Tuesday- My Journey To Be Healthy

My life revolves around the 4 F's: Family, Food, Fitness, and Fun.  And not necessarily in that order on any given day, mind you.  I'm pretty candid about trivial things in my life; DIY projects, good food I've mad, pet peeves, tough workouts, little tidbits of things that come up while raising boys, blah, blah. blah.  I'm really a pretty private person.  Don't laugh, it's true.  I show all of the sugar coated, life is great, grand and wonderful crap and very little of the struggle.  Sure I had some shin splints.  Suck it up, Sally.  I got stuck in the road going home from work in February.  So did most of everyone in Northern Indiana during our brutal, snow capped winter.  But really, what do you know about me?  Would you guess I'm a recovering bulimic? Perhaps you did.  Secrets are often only secrets to those who hold them.  Others clearly see what's going on.  It's been a long long time since I've purged, but that doesn't mean I don't still struggle with feeling out of control. Food is a quick and easy control fix.

My story begins in high school. Lack of self-esteem was a big issue for me, and I spent many of my high school years binging and purging food in order to feel I had some semblance of control in my life. I participated in athletics for most of my high school career, either in basketball or track. My senior year was the only year I did not play any sports. I always loved being active, but I never felt I was a true athlete. When I went to college the eating demons followed. I didn't purge much at this point, but I had ALL of this food in front of me, most of which I was not used to eating. I was not raised on processed foods.  My mom spent all summer growing 2 acres of garden, and then preserving all of the bounty.  I was used to home grown, home made stuff, and now I was faced with sugar frosted cereals, pastries  and greasy burgers & fries.  Don't even get me started on the ice cream machine and all of the toppings I could want!  

It didn’t take long to see the pounds creep on my body in the first 2 weeks before classes started, despite all of the walking I was doing. My saving grace was a personal fitness class my first semester. I worked out 3 days per week and had to journal food during the weekdays all semester long. The assistant instructor really helped me to overcome my terrible eating habits and make better choices. Unfortunately, she didn’t teach us much about lifting, just that it was good to do once or twice a week for “non athletes”.  I knew I liked how I felt after lifting, but I hadn't a clue as to what I was doing other than she suggested light weights at high reps.  Regardless, it kept me moving and I was able to find and continue a regular fitness routine second semester. When I moved home for the summer I bought 3 videos from The Firm series and a tall step and kept it up. Between videos and group classes at school, I was hooked!  I even tossed around the idea of becoming ACE certified to teach step classes.  I was too chicken to follow through because I didn't have the "typical" body type of the instructors whose classes I attended.  How silly that seems now as I look back!

Fast forward a few years to when I started working and had babies- Videos and working out with friends after school at the local Y, helped me lose all my weight from both pregnancies.  I wish I could say I have been able to maintain a consistent fitness level but that would be a big fat lie.  Grad school, job changes, stress, life struggles, have all interfered with my activity level, despite the fact they were times I needed fitness the most.  My asthma was out of control.  I was having panic attacks.  My mood was like a grandfather clock's pendulum switching from hour to hour. I was a mess.  

A few friends started P90X in 2010 and encouraged me to join them.  Again, I chickened out because, well, I was fat and they weren't.  I thought there was NO way I could handle that kind of workout.  At that point I couldn't even get through a 30 minute walk without my inhaler in hand and my knees hurting. I decided to do Couch to 5K and signed up for my first 5K.  I kept looking at P90X on the BeachBody website wondering if I should just pull the trigger and try it.  I opted for Chalene Extreme which was advertised as a good starting place.  By the end of 60 days I knew I had to try P90X so I ordered it and I didn't look back. I was lifting heavier than I ever had in my life.  Squats and lunges didn't hurt my knees.  I could run in the yard with my kids and not worry about hurting the next day. 5K's were a breeze.  I was eating food to fuel my body instead of punishing it.  I maintained that regimen just shy of 2 full years.  I allowed stress to take over and pushed my needs to the back burner, opting to take care of work and family above me.  Food became my solace again.  Binging and fasting became more constant (pregnancy & 7 months of all day morning sickness cured me of the purging).  My skin was a mess. Breakouts were a daily occurrence and worse than when I was a teenager.  My belly and digestive system were an even worse mess.  A year ago I started researching colon cancer and digestive issues.  I have a dairy allergy and I had read that gluten intolerance often goes hand in hand with dairy issues.  I was so frustrated that I was working out 5 days per week, not P90 but lots of cardio and some strength, eating what I thought to be healthy, but my gut was so swollen and I was still feeling miserable.  

In April I found Adie Smith of Four Fit Sisters.  She was hosting a 30-day gluten free challenge. I signed up. For 30 days I worked out 6 days a week and ate NO gluten.  Now don't stop me here and say I've just swapped one disorder for another.  Yes, there is self control involved with this kind of eating.  But it's not a binge-purge-fast kind of control.  It's about choosing foods that limit inflammation in my gut and don't leave me feeling like the San Diego fog is rolling around my brain.  As I have introduced gluten back into my diet I have realized I'm not intolerant to it; however, I am sensitive.  I need to limit how much and what kinds of foods I eat on a daily basis.  Turns out my daily apple is also causing inflammation.  That was harder to swallow than the gluten- Pun intended.  ;)  I'm currently looking into finding a good functional medicine doctor nearby to be tested more thoroughly. 

Do you know how much gluten is in the food we eat?  It was even in my vitamins!  I'm used to looking for dairy and this gluten thing looked like it would be impossible.  Turns out it wasn't that bad.  In fact, I felt GREAT!  And it's something I feel confident I can continue long term because of how good I feel!  I didn't lose much in terms of poundage, but I lost 11 inches!  

What's crazy is as I was looking through pictures I realize even though my weight fluctuates 7-10 pounds throughout the last 9 years, I look the same. I'm still 5'10"-ish, but on the left I weighed around 150.  On the right I'm 160.  In these 2 pictures I am the same clothing size. But the hair on the left!  I would take that back, minus the pregnancy of course!  On the left I was only running 40 minutes a day, 3 days per week and 2 days of some kind of aerobic weights class/video for 40-50 minutes.  On the right I can run a half marathon, keep up with P90X and P90X3 workouts without stopping, squat 150 lbs, and do at least 15 pushups on my toes. My gut is healthier and I feel better.  The number on the scale isn't everything.  

As I read Adie's posts I was thinking, "I could do this!"  I've tossed around the whole life coach thing before and have ultimately always gotten right there and stopped because of one personal flaw or another.  This time I looked at what I have experienced and what I know from my own journey and decided it's time to forget the personal flaws, the ridiculous self-images floating in my brain and jumped in and signed on to be a Beach Body Coach under Adie.  I'm super excited to be able to help others reach their health goals.  It's not about being skinny.  I'd rather be healthy and strong. 

How can I help you achieve your health goals?  You can contact me at alison.reinholt@gmail.com for more info. 

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