I knew I had to do something about it, so I joined Equinox, an upscale gym chain, and started taking yoga and pilates type of classes coupled with some elliptical work. After doing that for about a year, I was frustrated that I didn't really see a big change. It was such a confusing time for me, I could not understand why. One of my boyfriends told me (nicely) that I should just accept the fact that this was my body type and I could never be a skinny mini. But I just could not accept that!
Then I took up running. I kind of jumped into it full force by signing up for my very first race, the Nike Human Race on 8/8/2008 - a 10k. I had only 2 months to train. In the beginning, I was in so much pain from all the running that my body was not used to! I had major shin splints, and my body ached all over. I was only running at a speed of 4 mph on the treadmill when I first started! I never even ran up to 5 miles during my training due to lack of time, and that last mile was such a struggle for me during the race. But I finished in an hour and 10 minutes, and I was just happy I finished! After that race, I kept on running, my speed steadily increased, and I took up spin and weight based cardio type of class at Equinox as well. I definitely started seeing more changes in my body then.
However, I still wasn't where I wanted to be! I knew something was not adding up. Back then, Equinox used to send out these emails about their real life members with their weight loss or fitness stories. In July 2009, I happened to read about a lady here in the LA area that had the exact same story as me! She worked out religiously for years and did not see much change in her body. Then she knew it had to be her food intake, so she went to a nutritionist to modify her eating habits and it changed her life. When I read that, it was like a light bulb went off in my head! I knew this had to be the solution to my problems and the end to my years of frustration! So I took out my cyber stalker hat and tracked down her contact info so I could go see the same nutritionist that she did! She was so nice and supportive, we met up in person and she shared her story with me as well as her nutritionist's info. I was super motivated just by meeting her! I was so glad I didn't scare her away with my random stalkerish email!
Back then, I knew absolutely NOTHING about food! I could not even tell you the difference between protein and carb. My idea of a healthy diet was having Special K cereal and soy milk for dinner (yes I really did that!). I contacted this nutritionist right away, and signed up for a 6 week modified eating program with her, along with my usual workouts. She basically had me eat 5 smaller meals a day, with a lot more lean protein than I was used to. It was also low sodium, low sugar and low fat. The overall calorie intake was a lot lower than the monstrous portions I was eating before as well. Within the first week, pounds started melting off. I lost 6 pounds that week, mostly from water weight/loss of bloat. Then I lost a few more each week after that, and by the end of my 6 weeks, I went from about 155 pounds to 135. Even my upper arm had lost 1.5 inches around - that's a lot for an arm! I was in shock, but I never felt better! I kept up with her program for a couple more months after that, but instead of seeing her weekly, I saw her monthly while keeping my food intake largely the same. By December 2009, I was down to about 125 pounds. I had lost inches all over my body but the most around my waist at 5 inches. Shopping was fun again! This was exactly when my obsession with cute workout clothes began.
So from 2009 to early 2013, I maintained my weight and my lifestyle. I became vastly interested in nutrition and am always reading up on the latest news in that field. It's not always easy to always be "good" and I struggle at times with cravings for unhealthy foods. But I lose some discipline, and I tighten it up again. The "every bite counts" mentality doesn't work as well for me as the "within 100 calories is fine" mentality. I know I won't succeed in the long run if I restrict myself too much. I still need my chocolate fix once in a while, and I think Haagen Dazs' green tea and white chocolate raspberry flavored ice cream are to die for! But instead of eating the whole pint, I have a few bites. Everything in moderation.... even moderation! I also kept up with working out at least 4 times a week. I started doing more HIIT training on the treadmill, and in 2012 I started reading New Rules of Lifting for Women, and began to lift heavier weights.
I would have never believed it if someone told me 5 years ago that I would be on a bikini competitor training program today. But that's exactly what I'm doing! I heard from one of my friends who is competing about her online trainer and have started training with him about 6 weeks ago (May 2013). I don't have any plans to actually compete at this point, but I just wanted to train like one and see what my body can achieve. So I am lifting heavy weights 4 times a week, with low to moderate cardio and eating lots of food. I'm eating more than before to fuel my workouts and muscle growth. It's amazing, because I'm eating more, especially more carb, and still leaning out. I've read plenty about how eating less can actually be detrimental to your goals, but somehow it is still a hard concept for me to wrap my head around. Since I started my current training program, the scale hasn't moved much - only around 3-5 pounds, but I don't really care what that number says. My clothes are fitting much looser than a few weeks ago and I notice in the mirror that I have toned up a lot already. My butt being the biggest change, from all those squats and lunges that I hate/love! It just reminds me, again, of what you can achieve in as short as 6 weeks when you fully commit and just do it!
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I am a bit embarrassed to post this, but hey... if it helps to motivate someone, then it's worth it! The picture on the very left is from July 2009, pre-nutritionist. The middle picture is December 2009 with weight dropped mostly from eating less food and doing a lot of cardio and some weights. And the picture on the right is from 2 weeks ago, which was about a month into my new training program. Mostly heavy weights and minimal cardio. You probably can't tell a whole lot of difference between the middle one and the right one, but I've definitely gained more muscle tone and a whole lot of strength. I hope I see more muscular definition in the future!
Update! Now that I've been training hard for 6 months, and in the spirit of the New Year New You, here is my latest progress pic! Taken on 1/5/2014. Leaned out a bit and put on some muscle! These things really don't come easy for me at all!
Another update! It's been another 2 months! Here is the latest - taken on 2/22/2014. Leaned out a little more in the tummy area! I think cutting out all unnecessary sugar during Feb has helped!
Latest Update! 5/14/2014 - this is after about a month of eating about 300 more calories a day than before!
I have come a long way, but sometimes I am harsh with myself so I have to stop and remind myself where I began and where I've been. I still have work to do and ways to go, but I am feeling motivated and am super curious to see what kind of results I can achieve with my current workout regimen, and I am willing to work hard for it!
Thank you for letting me share my journey with you. Sometimes I feel down and your kind words of motivation help me keep going! I feel incredibly honored when you ask me for diet or training advice, and I try my best to answer and help out. I know there are probably lots of you out there that have similar experiences as I had. I will say to you that if you want something bad enough, you will put in the work and make it happen. It's only a matter of knowing what to do. The process is full of trial and error, you have to learn and become familiar with your body's tendencies, and you will probably need help from others with more knowledge and experience. But your hard work will pay off if you stick to it! Feel free to contact me any time!