Have you ever made a series of decisions that made you question who you were anymore? This past Summer and Fall, I made choices that made me question who I was and what I was doing with my life. Don’t worry, I didn’t murder anyone and I wasn’t running from the law! But I was making choices that were hurting ME.
I won’t lie, for the past several days, I have debated whether or not to post this or simply let it remain my silent struggle. Until today, it was something I was embarrassed by. I saw myself in this picture and realized just how far off-track I had gotten, and I was disappointed in myself. Not simply because of the way I look… that to me is not nearly as important as my health. But I was uncomfortable in my own skin. When I got my life together after the craziness of college, I never thought I’d feel like that again. That icky, sad, unhealthy feeling… I thought I had left it far behind me. Turns out, I was wrong.
It started with a neck injury this past summer. I’ve had neck injuries in the past and they flare up on occasion. (This particular occasion was especially bad). I was unable to lift weights or really do any resistance training for two months. Cardio caused the pain to increase, so I avoided working out altogether. I took the time to “rest” and recover. However rather than keeping my eating in check and staying active with what I COULD do, I gave up. (It’s hard to even type that!). I, Savannah, Muffin Topless, gave up. I indulged in alcoholic drinks, lots of fatty foods and didn’t move nearly enough. I know a big reason for the overabundance of indulgences was a coping mechanism for how I was feeling on the inside. On top of a variety of personal issues, I was sad about missing the gym. Working out had always been my release, my “me” time. We all have something that brings us harmony or serves as an outlet… for me, that was weight-training.
Yoga pants and loose tops became my best friend. Even during the hot September & October months this year, I refused to put on shorts or tank tops because I was uncomfortable in my own skin.. and quite frankly, I didn’t fit into them.
So, what made me decide to pull myself together? A combination of things. I was run-down, sick, tired, and I had gained weight. I already knew my eating, drinking and lackadaisical exercise habits had become a problem… but this picture was quite literally a reflection of the poor decisions I had been making. It was a wake-up call. I knew I was capable of so much more and I was kicking myself. I asked myself who I had become… because the reflection in the mirror certainly was not the healthy, happy, fit girl I had been for the past few years.
I decided to challenge myself. For the past 4 weeks, I cut out alcohol completely. I honestly didn’t even miss it and it made me wonder why I even drank it to begin with. Some of my friends were confused and bewildered that I was returning to my usual routine (let’s be honest, we had some pretty fun and crazy nights). But I felt refreshed, happy and healthier.
I cleaned up my diet slowly, so as not to overwhelm myself. I went back to the basics… for the first week, I didn’t track anything. I just kept my portions moderate, and my plate balanced, colorful and healthy. This included proteins like mahi mahi, salmon, tuna, chicken, turkey, greek yogurt and cottage cheese. My carbs primarily came from brown rice, oatmeal and the occasional piece of gluten-free or Ezekiel bread. My fats included nut butters, avocado and different oils (olive, coconut, etc). I also ate plenty of fibrous veggies like broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, spinach, asparagus, carrots and fruits that I enjoy like pineapple and mango. I kept my seasonings light.. they were usually spices, mustard or hot sauces. The following 3 weeks, I began to weigh my food and portions and track my calories. I kept a journal of my daily food intake so that I could reflect on it at the end of the day and look for ways to improve it or alter it. To some this can be a bit overwhelming, but for me personally, I enjoy the feeling of accountability.
As far as my workouts went, for the first week, I lifted at home. The weights were moderate and I made sure to get at least 30 minutes of cardio in 4x a week. I rejoined my old gym (Powerhouse in Torrance) and started using workouts from my Fit Body Program. Most of those workouts came from my old training journal, so I knew firsthand that they worked. It felt amazing to lift again… I had lost a lot of strength, but as the weeks went on, I found that it came back to me fairly quickly. I also upped my cardio a bit. Not because I felt I needed to, but because for the first time in a long time, I was actually enjoying it!
Each week I took a progress picture to compare to my “starting point”. I was shocked and overjoyed at how fast my body bounced back. My waist and thighs shrunk considerably and the cellulite on my butt and the back of my legs diminished considerably. Even my Dad said, “Have you lost weight?” I didn’t show it, but it completely made my month. My clothes began to fit better and I found that I was choosing clothes that were on the tighter side. I didn’t even realize it at first, but I remember several days ago walking into my closet and genuinely looking around at what I wanted to wear. At the beginning of the month, I went immediately to my loosest pants and a big sweater… but a few days ago I suddenly realized I was comfortable wearing more than just my baggiest clothes.
Despite the low points in my journey, this experience has been a really good thing overall. It has taught me so much about myself. I was reminded of my strengths and what I am capable of when I decide to be determined. It has made me fall in love with healthy food and exercise all over again. It has made me appreciate my determination, diligence and work-ethic. Most importantly, it has made me realize just how crucial a positive attitude really is. No matter what happens to me, my reaction is completely up to me. Happiness is a choice… I have the power to choose… and so do YOU!
After several days of reflecting on the past year and on everything I have blogged about, I realized I NEEDED to post this. I have always been transparent with all of you about both my highs and lows… and I finally realized that this was no different. SO many of you have shared your own personal battles and triumphs with me… and I felt it was only fair that I show mine too. You have all been so supportive of me since the very beginning of my Tumblr blog almost 3 years ago and I truly cannot thank you enough. Your positive energy and kindness has helped me overcome a lot and I will be forever grateful to you for that.
I want to remind you ladies that “perfection” is an illusion. We are human, we are flawed, and that’s OKAY! It’s ok to stumble, it’s ok to make mistakes… The important thing is to learn a lesson from those mistakes and try to do better next time. Don’t QUIT simply because you got off track or slipped up on your nutrition/exercise plan. Think of how FAR you have come, not how far you have to go.
I hope this post inspires you girls out there like me who may have lost your way, or perhaps haven’t quite found it yet, to take that step toward your dreams. You can achieve whatever you believe <3
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