Fitness / Health / Lifestyle / Sprinkles

my journey with body positivity

04.06.18

hi friends!! i miss you guys!  i’m hoping to get back in here a lot more and work my creative muscles again.  the first few months of 2018 continued being stressful and long but also really rewarding.  I’ve grown a lot and worked REALLY hard on my goals/establishing a vision for where i see my life going.

THIS GIRL’S GOT GOALS.  and if you’re interested in that kind of stuff i’m happy to share!

BUT TODAY.  i wanted to hop in and have a (long and very wordy) conversation about my life’s journey with body acceptance.  why? because social media is a highlight reel – and things haven’t always been successful for me, my journey with body positivity/acceptance has been a LONG work in progress.  I could have called this a journey with fitness or nutrition or health, but really what it all boils down to is how I feel about myself.  that’s how i’ve learned to gauge my progress and i’ve had SO MANY ups and downs.  i finally feel like i’m in a place where i’ve achieved a lifestyle, where working out and eating nutritious foods is a priority in my life and i’m seeing the benefits of that in my physical body and in my mind.  SO LET’S TAKE A TRIP DOWN MY MEMORY LANE AND GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THE LONGGGG JOURNEY OF HOW I CAME TO LOVE MY BODY, SHALL WE?


I’ll try my best not to bore you here, because i knowwww i’ve talked at length about how i was NEVER athletic as a kid.  exercise was not something i had modeled for me and i didn’t play sports when i was younger.  i was naturally thin, despite a binge eating habit i had developed early on in life.  from the time i was allowed to stay home alone it was always about SNACKS.  what could i eat before my mom came home?  it was freedom.  i could drink soda and have buffalo chicken tenders and eat from our snack bin at my leisure.  my go-to?  a combo bowl of pretzels, salt and vinegar chips, and hi-c gummies.  (Still think back on that as the best combo ever.) my best friend and i were notorious for ordering a pizza for dinner and eating it again for breakfast (a habit i still haven’t fully broken LOL).

one of my most embarrassing memories of this age (actually it might have been middle school) was not being able to run a mile in under 12 minutes and getting a C in gym for it.  I remember the summer i TRIED to be a runner and just failed epically and i couldn’t see how it would ever get easier.  i didn’t know there was a “process” to trust.  i just felt inadequate.

at one point i started working in a salon cleaning up and there were tons of magazines for the customers.  after the new ones came in i was allowed to take some of them home and discovered a love for cosmo’s health/fitness sections.  i loved the idea of a “14 minute workout to get the abs of your dreams!”  but even if those things did work i was looking for instant gratification that just would never come.

I joined a gym once, my boyfriend at the time worked there, and i’d use the machines that my best friend told me to, but never really saw any changes.  but honestly it didn’t really matter to me because i was young and my metabolism was on fire and despite eating whatever i wanted whenever i wanted i didn’t gain weight so i thought i just had good “genes.”


OH THE TIME OF FULL FREEDOM TO EAT WHATEVER I WANTED.  hey salmo (the cafeteria at Bryant) i’m looking at YOU with your land of taco tuesdays and chicken patty wednesdays and breakfasts plush with waffles and pancakes and bacon and anything i could ever want in the world.  HI nice to meet you.  i also didn’t drink before college, but did start drinking my freshman year – which OBVIOUSLY lead to late night pizza and chicken fingers and chinese and ANYTHING we could get delivered at 2am.

I probably gained the freshman 15 and didn’t even notice, but my metabolism DID somewhat keep up with me because i probably should have gained like 50 pounds.  college was a blur of late night studying fueled by energy drinks and Ronzio’s (a pizza place), classes, and weekends filled with booze and on-campus parties.  I didn’t drink beer so while my UV blue (ewww) and burnett’s (OMG) had empty calories, it was the chasers that really killed me.   don’t even get me started on four loco.

there was a gym on campus, but i felt SO OVERWHELMED not knowing what to do.  i don’t think i walked into the free weight section ONE TIME in the four years i lived there.  group classes petrified me, because what if i looked stupid?  i stuck with the “machines” and walking on a treadmill – and actually GOING to the gym likely happened once a month on average.  I was an ambassador, so i gave campus tours, and we did walk a lot to and from classes, but i was by no means FIT or active.  i never really thought to myself that i NEEDED to lose weight, it was always about wanting to look like girls in magazines (but not with enough desire to ACTUALLY do the work).

in our junior year we went abroad and i probably gained ten pounds from the pasta and meat and bread and…wine.  but i didn’t regret it and i didn’t FEEL a difference so who cared?  not this girl.  and again, i was WALKING a ton, plus HONESTLY the produce is so fresh and readily available over there that i’m sure it somehow all balanced out.  but this trip was where i learned to LOVE cooking.  i lived with a girl who got a gym membership while we were there because she knew it would keep her “sane” and i had NO CLUE what she was talking about.  exercise was a CHORE not an enjoyable activity and certainly not something that made me feel better about myself.

senior year was much of the same old college stuff.  drinking, studying, worrying about getting a job and drowning my fears/sorrow in food and wine.  you know, normal life stuff.


and then i graduated.  two weeks later i moved across the country to seattle where i knew NO ONE and started this food blog to document my time in the kitchen and my travels.  THIS is where stuff starts getting interesting.  because its like your body knows after you graduate college that you’re like an “adult” and BAM your metabolism drops to like ZERO.

I traveled for work and was eating out ALL the time (literally, 3 meals a day 4/5 days a week were spent on the road).  AND GUESS WHAT THE KICKER IS?!? when you’re eating out, healthy food COSTS MORE.  i was living alone paying astronomical amounts of money (more than my rent) in student loan payments so you best believe i wasn’t going to spend $15 on a salad when i could get a sandwich for $6.

 

hotel gyms are nice… when you go.  and when you know what to do in them… i didn’t go. and when i did go i didn’t know what to do.  LOL so it was a recipe for disaster.  but this is the first time in my life i remember seeing changes in my body and feeling significantly less adequate because of it.  i can look back on it now and know that it was a combination of eating poorly and not exercising, but in that moment it was like WHATS HAPPENING WHY IS THIS HAPPENING.

at some point i tried couch to 5k… and failed, i was supposed to be training for a half marathon in DC… which we basically walked.  i joined a gym (for $100 a month), paid for personal training sessions, and TRIED to eat healthier… but none of that matters unless you’re actually following through.  which i wasn’t.  i would be good for one day and then fall off track the next.

I joined tone it up as a nutrition plan member, which is how i got introduced to at home workouts.  the workouts were fun and i loved the trainers, i felt like i couldn’t follow the meal plan on the road, but i probably just didn’t have the tools i needed/didn’t know HOW to.  but i was making an effort.  my problem was consistency.  i made an instagram like tone it up suggested and tried to make connections in the community, but it just wasn’t working for me.  i’m an introvert that presents as an extrovert and i’m sure my anxiety stood in the way of me actually making connections.  and without accountability/support (i was hiding all this from EVERYONE) i wasn’t making progress and i just started to REALLY become uncomfortable in my own skin.

frankie and i went on a vacation – a cruise – and i don’t have a SINGLE picture of myself in a bathing suit.  none.  i hated how i looked and i hated how i felt and it was a spiral.


THEN i moved to new york.  i moved in with frankie and was just so HAPPY to be closer to him.  so we ate.  and we ate a LOT.  and we ate OUT a lot.  and in case you didn’t know, new york is the land of take out/delivery and we MAXIMIZED THAT.

we joined the gym across the street pretty early on, but i struggled with how to do these at home workout videos i was paying out the wazoo for (in the “schedule” they reference free and premium workouts – i was buying all the premium ones) in a gym.  FIRST OFF i was embarrassed about how out of control i had gotten, and i was already starting from a pretty low athletic caliber – that coupled with being the girl who watched workout videos at the gym was too much for my anxiety (this was before the time of wireless headphones).  SO i started BBG by kayla itsines.  i printed out the guide and brought it in with me and DIED during every 28 minute workout.

i never made it past week 5 (i tried multiple times).  i wasn’t seeing changes and i felt like i looked like an idiot and it was all just a mess.  Plus AGAIN i wasn’t making connections and didn’t have accountability…  SO I STOPPED.  and i really stopped going to the gym.  (which like is SUCH a waste at $100 a month)

things just got worse and worse as i put on more weight and started to HATE how i looked.  I was so uncomfortable in my own skin.

enter: whole30 and running.  i say them at the same time because whole30 really changed my life.  i felt SO good while i was eating whole30 that frankie was able to somehow convince me to sign up for a 10k.  i was lighter after whole30 and felt okay trying to train.  i drafted up my own plan and just WENT for it.  before i knew it i could run a mile without stopping.  after three months of training, at 10k day, i was just two miles short of my goal to run the full 6.2 without stopping – but running FOUR MILES without stopping had me SO FREAKING PROUD.  and then it was like an addiction.  it was something i could excel at.  i was SEEING the improvements.  this was the first time i was actually TRUSTING a process and SEEING results.  and i had frankie to keep me accountable.

after our first whole30 our eating returned to “normal” and slowly the weight came back, but i was still running and LOVING running.  i kept my gym membership and rarely went because i hated the treadmill.  i much prefer running outside (even now).

running empowered me.  it made me feel strong.  it was hard and it was humbling and it changed my life.  i signed up for a half marathon, and then another one and then frankie and i committed to running the NYC marathon in 2017 (in order to get entry you have to run nine races and volunteer at one race in the year before, so this was something we “decided” in early 2016).  so i was running and running and running.  but the funny thing about running is that you can’t outrun a bad diet.  i wasn’t doing ANY cross training so i wasn’t “toning” and i was just putting on more weight because after a run i had “earned” carbs/treats/drinks.  as you can expect, my weight fluctuated and so did my confidence.

in august of 2016 we did another whole30.  i was reminded again of how much i LOVED eating whole30 meals.  i loved being in control and i loved how my body felt on whole30.

but this was also a stressful time at work and i reverted right back to our old eating habits afterwards.  in october i passed a huge test at work which secured me a promotion AND the next weekend Frankie proposed.  i remember getting dressed that day feeling my clothes were too snug and i remember at the time looking at the pictures people had taken that day wishing i was ten pounds lighter.

but it was a time in our lives to “celebrate” which meant drinking with friends and eating crappy food.  and then came thanksgiving and then Christmas.  Christmas 2016 was a huge turning point for me.  It was my first Christmas with frankie’s family and I remember packing leggings and stretchy pants to be comfortable and STILL feeling like they were too tight, i was at my highest weight (155 pounds, with 30% body fat).  I think theres only a few pictures of me that holiday because i avoided the camera at all costs, and when i had to be in a picture i’d turn to the side.  i wore loose baggy clothes in hopes that it would hide where my body was at.

i was so ashamed of my body.  UGH I hate even writing that.  i literally hated myself.  i hated being touched, i hated being seen, i HATED having my picture taken.

three days before christmas i put on some stretchy leggings and felt HUGE and SERIOUSLY considered going into the bathroom and just throwing up.  it was a breaking point for me, my lowest low.  i was either going to buckle down and change or i was going to just accept that this was how i would feel for the rest of my life.  it wasn’t really about my weight, or how i looked.  its about how the way i looked (or how i saw myself) was impacting my mindset, my confidence, and probably most importantly my relationship.  LETS JUST BE HONEST, if you don’t FEEL good, you don’t FEEL attractive – it does not matter how many times your partner or loved ones tell you you’re beautiful or they love your body – any compliment they give feels fake, because it just DOESN’T MATCH with how you’re seeing yourself.  that’s where i was at.  it was dominating everything and taking over my life.

so… i went to the gym that day.  and i committed to making myself, my nutrition, and working out a priority.  it had never worked for me before, but i figured it i could start small… if i could just commit to trying it and trusting that at the very least it wouldn’t make me feel WORSE than i already did, then if it didn’t work i’d re-evaluate and figure out something else.

in january ended up winning a giveaway for a bag of shakeology – a full month’s supply – and it changed my entire course.  i hated all protein powders/meal replacements i had ever tried, baking with them was even worse because it was just like why not just have the REAL thing in smaller increments?  drinking shakeo wasn’t some like life changing magic potion.  i don’t believe drinking shakeo and continuing with an unhealthy diet and/or not exercising will change anything for you, but it came into my life when i was dialing in my nutrition AND committing to working out every day.  i fell in LOVE with it.  it tasted like a dream – like soft serve chocolate ice cream and i LOVED that it was making breakfast (the meal i struggle most with, if you’ve read any of my whole30 posts you know i HATE eggs) something easy/quick/nutritious.  i was hooked.

that february i bought a beachbody “challenge pack” because it was like only $30 more than a bag of shakeo on its own and it gave me a year’s worth of access to all of beachbody’s workouts.  i figured i didn’t have anything to lose by trying them and i signed up as a coach so i got a discount on shakeology going forward with no obligation to actually “sell” anything.

i joined my coach’s virtual bootcamp that month and FINALLY got what i was looking for – accountability/support/a community.  it was a small facebook group of ladies who were also on a health/wellness journey, doing the workouts and checking in everyday/supporting each other.  it was my jam.  i was SO motivated.  and the beachbody portion fix eating plan helped me learn proper portion sizes in a way that i could blend with my favorite eating style (whole30/paleoish).

in march i canceled my gym membership because i had fallen in love with the beachbody workouts and i was doing them all at home and seeing results, so why keep paying for my gym membership.  frankie was doing the workouts with me, but wasn’t ready to commit to canceling his gym membership until a few months later when he started seeing results too (he also drinks shakeo daily).

i was seeing progress in pictures, not paying attention to the scale, and SO zoned in to my nutrition, while still maintaining a social life.  it was a dream.  i felt STRONG and sexy and proud.  and working out with frankie at the same time was so motivating.  he pushed me when i wanted to bail and i loved that.

i kept putting off wedding dress shopping because i was afraid i’d hate everything.  i found my dress, a VERY form fitting long gown, in a one hour fitting at BHLDN and didn’t need any alterations.  i can’t even tell you how magical that felt.  before i knew it it was our wedding and my size four dress was LOOSE.  um.  WHAT?!?!  i felt beautiful and SO confident that day.  i was just on cloud nine.  i had this fear that i would look back on my wedding pictures the same way i did our engagement pictures and just HATE what i saw… it was quite the opposite.  i’ll cherish that forever.  that i felt strong and beautiful on my wedding day.

a month later i did something i NEVER thought i could/would do: i ran a marathon.  me.  the girl who couldn’t run a full mile, and couldn’t complete a mile in under 12 minutes in middle school, ran a FUCKING marathon (sorry but that deserves a swear).  


which brings me to now.  April 6th, 2018.

the picture on the left is from April 7, 2015, so they’re almost exactly three years apart – wanna know the kicker?  I WEIGHED TWO POUNDS LESS IN THE 2015 PICTURE.  yep.  today I weight 147, and in 2015 i was 145.  just goes to show you it really has NOTHING to do with the scale.

i’ve created this lifestyle for myself where its okay to have pizza, but I eat healthy, nutritious, WHOLE foods as much as i can.  i’m striving to reach a place where i can just listen to my body and what it tells me i need food wise.  i workout every day (except one rest day in between).  i ENJOY my workouts and i appreciate seeing my body do HARD things.  things i NEVER thought were possible for me (i’m looking at you 1 hour workouts and tricep pushups).  this process has allowed me to appreciate being STRONG.  i care SO MUCH LESS about the scale and more about measurements/progress pictures/how my clothes fit.

i love the places my legs can take me through running.  i have a goal to run a half marathon or greater in each of the 50 states.  i love seeing the results of my hard work, seeing physical results and mental ones.  this process has made me a more confident person and that’s seeping into all the aspects of my life and i freaking love that.

January 2nd –> April 6th – again, basically the same freaking weight (144 vs 147), this toning came from our newest program virtual bootcamp!

coaching has been a big part of this process.  it’s helped me stay consistent in so many ways, while i have doubts i’d ever be a full time coach, i love that it forces me to put MYSELF first to be successful.  me showing up for my workout every day in our bootcamp isn’t just for me, its for my clients and friends too.  we workout virtually with video chats and its so much fun.  we help each other through cravings/stress/low points and its just so empowering and motivating.  with other people counting on me, looking to me for motivation/inspiration/guidance its like i CAN’T stop.  but also coaching introduced me to personal development, which helps so much with my mindset/confidence.  i never would have picked up a personal development book without it.  i’m in this feminist/girl power mindset that I LOVE because, honestly it feels GOOD to help other babes get to where they want to be.

and i think thats a good place to leave off.  with that mindset.  babes supporting babes.

if you think you’re interested in joining one of my virtual bootcamps or have questions about what they’re all about feel free to reach out/email me at coachashley@thepikeplacekitchen.com 💕🖤

Share Your Thoughts...