Thursday, July 25, 2013

Let's All meet Amber: Part 3: You don't have to be a blogger to have a story

Sad to say....but today is the last day of our weight loss story week, but before we end this AMAZING WEEK!! I have to introduce my beautiful, fun, caring friend Amber.

Amber's story is wonderful! She is a mommy of 2 and a wife and she balances working out, family and working (job 1), in addition to ALL of that, she has an amazing photo business she owns, where she does great pics called Amber Jane Images(job 2), (are y'all exhausted yet?) she even took our family pics HERE! Go check out her Facebook fan page! Amber does a lot, but I've never heard her complain, she just smiles!!!! But, Amber's weight loss story is so inspiring and many mommies can relate to this. I know she inspires me! She also, heads our Facebook group called Shrinking Mommas! She has us all doing the new Shaun T's Focus T25 workout now as our next challenge! And we are having a blast getting fit together and sharing tips!

THE FLOOR IS ALL YOURS AMBER, I'll shut up now:::

When Cynthia asked me to do a guest post on my weight loss journey, Iʼm not going to lie, I was nervous and not sure what to say. Iʼm still not sure how to put my story into words, but here it goes. I never really struggled with weight until I went to college. I was pretty small in high school and very active in sports, but in college I packed on the pounds, more than just the average Freshman 15. I think it was a combination of not being as active, stress, and fast food...oh the fast food. I donʼt really remember being concerned or aware that I was over weight either. Then one day I woke up and realized I was buying very large pants and if I didnʼt change soon I would no longer be able to buy clothes from regular stores. I found myself wondering how I even ended up there. I joined a gym and started doing Weight Watchers. I worked hard and lost the weight and kept it off for several years. When I got married I was the smallest I had ever been, I weighed 135 lbs. 

Since then I have had two babies. With my first pregnancy I felt like it was the first time in my life I could eat and not care. But boy did that catch up to me. I gained 70 pounds with my first pregnancy. It took me forever to start losing that weight too. I tried Weight Watchers again and doing exercies at home, but pregnancy weight is hard to lose. I was about 15 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight when I got pregnant with my second baby. The second time I tried to be better, but it was pretty much the same! I gained 65 pounds and since I started at a much higher weight, well, letʼs just say by the end I was huge! I remember at my last doctorʼs visit when I saw the nurse write down 218 pounds, I wanted to crawl in a hole. I was so upset with myself and embarrassed that I had gained so much weight...again! 

Gaining so much so fast left my body stretched and saggy and just plain over weight. I didnʼt try to lose the weight right away for several reasons. The biggest reason was I was nursing and didnʼt know how to balance that with working out. But after seeing pictures of myself at Christmas I knew it was time to get my butt in gear! 

I tried several things on my own at home, but I just wasnʼt motivated. My sister in law had just joined a gym and told me I should check it out. Now, I am a pretty shy person, and I do not like going into social settings to do new things by myself. So the thought of joining a gym just made me cringe. But, I knew if she was going to meet me there and if I had paid money it would be a lot easier to make myself go. Something about spending money makes you feel obligated! So, I signed up. I started going to Step and Body Pump classes and eventually tried Turbo and Zumba(I hid in the back row for months!). I lost about 60 lbs in the first year before hitting a plateau.

I couldnʼt get that scale to budge! I had been watching Cynthia get smaller and smaller every week and get more and more toned. When I asked what she had been doing she told me she was doing Insanity. I wanted to try it to see if I could get results, but I was scared! Have you seen that infomercial?!? So we got together with a group of girls and all started Insanity together. I had tried stuff on my own at home before and never stuck with anything so I knew if I was going to make it for 9 weeks I was going to need all the support and accountability I could get. We all set out to do it together and we all finished! It was such a great challenge and I learned that I can do so much more than I think I can. That stuff was just INSANE!! It was hard, but we didnʼt give up. We did all 63 days! And as a result, I lost 15 lbs and 16 total inches. I busted right through that plateau. Challenge yourself to do something new! I promise you will be happy you did!

So here we are almost two years later and, Iʼm still going to the gym 4 days a week, Iʼve completed Insanity, ran my first 5k, and Iʼm proud to say I have lost that baby weight. Since I had my baby in Sept 2011 I have lost 77 lbs.

But the best part of this journey for me isnʼt the weight loss, donʼt get me wrong I love that part, but the best part is all the new friendships Iʼve gained. Friends that are there to encourage me, and keep me accountable. Friends that challenge me to do new things and never give up! Itʼs because of my gym and the wonderful women Iʼve met there, my awesome sister-in-law, and a very supportive husband that letʼs me go work out every day that Iʼm writing here today. Each and everyone of them has encouraged me along the way and inspired me to keep going. 

So what now? Well, I have no plans of quitting just because Iʼve lost the weight, being healthy is a lifestyle. Iʼm a stay at home mom to two boys ages 4 and 2 which keeps me very busy! Going to the gym is my me time, my time away to de-stress and regroup. Plus I want to be healthy for them, and to set a good example for them. I donʼt want them to see me sitting around eating unhealthy foods. I want them to learn how to eat right and exercise. They actually love it when Momma exercises. They join right in the fun!

Enough talking letʼs get to what you really want to know...what did I do to lose the weight? Well hereʼs what worked for me. Iʼm not an expert and you should do your own research, or talk to a fitness professional, but here are just some pointers to get you started:
  1. 1)  Find an accountability partner! Someone you trust, someone who will make you get up and get moving. Someone who wonʼt let you quit!
  2. 2)  Join a gym! I canʼt tell you how much the gym has changed my life! If you canʼt afford a membership there are so many exercise programs you can do at home like Insanity or 30 Day Shred. Just find something that is hard for you to do, something that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat. And work out with a buddy! It really is much more fun this way and youʼre more likely to actually do it!
  3. 3)  Buy a heart rate monitor. I got mine several months after I joined the gym and let me tell you it changed the way I work out. You will see just how hard it is to burn off that piece of cake, or that chocolate you ate and you will be a lot less likely to eat it next time. Second, it helps you see if you are slacking during your work out or if you need to tone down the intensity a bit because your heart rate is too high. And third you can see exactly how many calories a day you are burning which leads me to my next point.
  4. 4)  Count your calories! I use the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. Itʼs so easy and helps you stay on track with your diet. I didnʼt do any specific diet, just counted calories and made better choices.
  5. 5)  Lift weights. No you wonʼt bulk up, youʼll get lean and toned! Cardio isnʼt enough.
  6. 6)  Have fun! If you make your work outs fun you will want to go back for more. If you
    just walk on a treadmill everyday you will get bored and want to give up. Change it up and make it interesting.
Here is one last before and after for you! Everyone has to start somewhere. Let today be that day! Thank you Cynthia for letting me share my story! I hope you all enjoyed it and can take something away from it that will help you!