This is a very personal journey, but I’m hoping that if you’re on a health journey too, any of this anecdote resonates with you and helps you have even an inkling of motivation and knowledge that you’re not alone in this, and you can do it.
Everyone’s journey is different. Mine was very difficult, a lot of setbacks and very slow progress. But, it’s my journey and I am taking it one day at a time and respecting the time it takes for me to reach my goals. No matter your goals or your progress, just remember that while everyone has a different reason and time scale for their goals, all journeys have the same basic components. You need to have a reason to do it for yourself, you need a plan, and you need the motivation and dedication to keep going. It’s never going to be easy, but it is always going to be worth it.
My journey started fresh out of high school. I was always athletic and had a good amount of muscle but I am a 5’9 broad athletically built girl and always carried my weight in my stomach area. This was hard for me to get rid of but I learned to accept it and didn’t completely hate my body. Out of high school and into college I had the culture shock of training about 5 hours a day through competitive dance, conditioning, and cheer to about 0 required hours of exercise.
I kept my motivation the summer going into freshman year starting my first semester of UCF at summer C. I would go to the gym about 3 times a week due to a work heavy math class. I ate as best as I could but my dorm only had one communal kitchen which was always packed and my meal plan was discouraging because the food was usually bad for you and it was intimidating to go alone. I didn’t gain any weight or lose any.
Fall semester I moved into a dorm with a full kitchen in the living room. I was alone, without many friends and my boyfriend still living 5 hours away so I threw myself into my school work and the gym. I watched what I ate, didn’t count calories at this point, and went to the gym about 5 times a week. I started to lose weight and maintained this healthy routine all throughout fall and spring semester.
Then came summer. I haven’t been at home for more than 3 weeks at a time since graduation so I decided to take an online course so I could go live at home for three months and enjoy summer. My exercise routine became stagnant and I ate out more. But nothing too crazy where I would gain back all of the weight I had lost.
That’s when my birth control went haywire. Going home for summer would mark about a year that I was on the birth control shot depo Provera. It was not greatly recommended by my doctor because of the properties it has in causing osteoporosis. I said fine, did it anyway then took calcium vitamins. What I didn’t know was that depo can cause an adverse reaction in some women that is super rare but it happened to me.
Depo gave me something called Cushingoids. This means that I had all of the symptoms of someone with Cushing’s syndrome but mine wasn’t caused by a tumor, but my birth control. It means my body produced too much of the stress hormone cortizol, and I gained 30 pounds in 3 months. I had/still have purple stretch marks all over my stomach, thighs, and arms. I was stressed out, had anxiety and had no idea what was causing it. I didn’t know this at the time of summer, I was only recently diagnosed in December after having a fat deposit on my back appear and me googling it and going to my doctor and demanding a blood test to test for Cushings. I am now off of depo but it will be a while to get back on track.
My weight gain caused concern for me even though I blamed it on being home and stress. I went to a nutritionist who gave me amazing guidelines for losing weight and helped me through the process. This was in August.
Since I was still on depo without realizing it was causing all of these problems, I was not seeing results. I was counting calories every day staying at about 1200 which is a good deficit for me. I dropped 15 pounds in the first month and a half but didn’t feel any different. I gave up. I didn’t gain any back, but I lost months of progress due to my lack of motivation.
Comes winter break. I do blood tests and get the Cushings diagnosis. It will go away as depo gets out of my system. Amazing. But, nothing will change if I don’t change my ways.
January starts and I am back on my grind. I have been consistent for three weeks now and have no intentions of stopping. I meal prep my food so I have no excuse to eat out. I track all of the calories I eat. I go to barre two times a week, Pilates two times a week and do 45 minutes of cardio 3-4 times a week. I am just trying to get back into the swing of things and get a routine going but once I do I will set a more rigorous work out plan.
I feel better. I’m more productive. I am more inspired and optimistic about life. I am committed to this change and I am so excited for the future. I will always have ups, downs, and plateaus, but I know what my goals are and I know how to reach them.
The key is to stay positive no matter what. All of the challenges you’re going through right now, pushing through workouts and eating better, they will change you’re life. Never lose sight of your goals because if you do, you will never reach them.
I’m wishing everyone on their journey the perseverance to stay on it and keep going. You can do it. If you need any help, motivation, or just someone to talk to, my inbox is always open.