I'm a mom, a military spouse, a runner, and a health and fitness enthusiast. I transformed my life more than a year ago through changing my eating and exercise habits. I've come quite a long way, but let's start back at the beginning.
My whole family struggles with weight, but most of them are not obese like I was. I have been overweight since I was a kid. I remember a family member pointing out my bulging belly at ten years old and asking me how much I weighed. After I answered she responded by saying "Well, I didn't weigh a hundred pounds until I got pregnant!" My family didn't have much money. We ate a lot of McDonald's and Hamburger Helper. As a result, I learned unhealthy eating habits from an early age.
Throughout elementary and high school I was teased and left out because of my weight. Even as an adult, I have had to deal with rude comments and dirty looks. This molded me into a miserable and very insecure person. As a teenager, I would try to lose weight. All I wanted was to be thin and I'd even challenge my friends to participate in diets with me. We would give up soda for a month, or we would eat salads for lunch at school. Then we would turn around and eat burgers and fries for dinner. Well into my twenties, I didn't understand what eating healthy really meant. I just wanted a quick fix to be skinny because I was ridiculed for being fat my entire life.
In 2009, I did a low-carb diet and initially found success with it. I went from two hundred ninety pounds to two hundred twenty pounds. I felt amazing having lost seventy pounds! However, I fell off the wagon after nine months of being very strict on my diet. On my birthday I allowed myself to have some potatoes with my dinner and cheesecake for dessert. It was all downhill from there. I'd had a taste of those delicious carbs and I couldn't stop cheating! I struggled to get back to my disciplined eating and eventually gave up completely. I gained eighty-five pounds back.
Over the next six years, I tried to do the low-carb diet several times. I would always lose about fifteen to twenty pounds before caving and gaining it right back. In January 2015, as a New Year's resolution, I tried that diet yet again. The first month went well with some small weight loss. In early February, I was on a lunch break at my former job and took a bite of a Slim Jim. This is a perfect example of something that I thought was healthy because it was low-carb. I instantly felt nauseous and spit it out. Turns out, I was pregnant! This was great news and ultimately the biggest and best change my life has ever seen. I started to really educate myself on healthy eating for the first time ever at twenty-seven years old! I wanted to eat right for my baby and I knew that I'd want to set an example of healthy eating in the future. I didn't want my child growing up with the same struggles I did.
Pregnancy was the first time in my life that I had a reason to celebrate my body. Learning about the changes a woman goes through during pregnancy really opened my eyes to how amazing our bodies are! I decided that even though I wasn't always happy with how I looked, I was going to love my body. I had gained thirty pounds during my pregnancy landing me at three hundred thirty-five pounds before giving birth. After my son was born, twelve pounds disappeared instantly and I worked to lose the other eighteen. I didn't exercise at first, I just continued to eat healthy and focused on being a new mom. I got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight of three hundred five pounds in December 2015 and I started counting my pounds lost after that. After losing about twenty pounds, I joined a gym in May 2016. I set a goal of working out four days a week and stuck to it. My workouts were simple: walking on the treadmill for thirty minutes and then doing thirty minutes of machines or light weightlifting. I would also do Zumba classes because I enjoy dancing and it's a great workout. After only a few months, I had jumped up to a forty-five pound loss!
I always told people that I would never run. It just seemed impossible to me. In September, my gym started a new running group. They caught my interest because they were very insistent on being open to beginners. I was really scared to join but suddenly, with this encouraging group, running no longer felt like an impossibility. I told myself that I would just go to one meet up and see if I liked it.
I was terrible at running. I couldn't even make it a quarter of a mile. The poor instructor had to stay back and run slowly with me while the rest of the group ran together. She was very positive and supportive and told me to keep running! So I did. I registered for my first 5k and followed a Couch to 5k program on my own. I ran on the treadmill or around my neighborhood. I slowly built up my endurance and my confidence with running. Pretty soon I was able to run a quarter, a half, three-quarters of a mile, and so on. Every little milestone made me feel so accomplished! Running also brought my weight loss to a new level. I was dropping pounds faster than before and that was a big motivator to continue running. I would also register for a new 5k race every month to keep giving myself an event to work toward.
This all brings us to now. At the time of writing this, I've participated in five 5k races, lost over a hundred pounds, and started my health and fitness blog Sweating Awesome! I'm building up my running distance and I recently signed up for my first half marathon. I started my blog in March of this year because I wanted to inspire others to make healthier choices and therefore live happier lives. I still continuously set achievable goals and push myself to the next challenge.
It's hard to put into words how amazing I feel. It has been a complete transformation inside and out. Where I used to feel sluggish and lazy, I now have loads of energy! I used to struggle with depression and now I'm happy and upbeat most days. When I would go shopping before, I would cry in dressing rooms because I felt so hopeless. This journey has brought me such confidence! I'm still a work in progress and I am far from perfect. I still have plenty of jiggle but I don't care. I know that I am loving myself by treating my body right and I'm living a healthy lifestyle that's going to carry me above and beyond my goals.
Christa Levesque lives in Northern California and is a stay-at-home mom and blogger. She enjoys running, binge-watching shows on Netflix, and going on family adventures with her husband and son.