Before Beachbody

I have always struggled. I have never been the person that things came easily to and I was really good at making things harder than they needed to be.

I was never comfortable with myself, always craving validation from others to feel secure in my own life. Relying on others to make me feel whole. I struggled greatly with mental illness, being half-hazardly diagnosed with several labels over the years to try to explain the illness. Chronic depression, severe anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD, OCD, borderline this, that and the other from A-Z.

My weight had always fluctuated but I had never thought of myself as an over-weight person. I knew that at times I was a size 8 or 10 and at others I was a size 14 or 16. There were times when I wished I was thinner or felt more comfortable in a bikini, like I think everybody does at one time or another, but I never felt overly uncomfortable with how I looked.

When I look back at photos over the years I am all different sizes, so I’m not sure what clicked in late 2014 when suddenly I was so uncomfortable with my weight. I didn’t own a scale because I was raised to believe that it didn’t matter what the scale said, it mattered how I felt. But I felt terrible. I remember at each holiday or event, crying before going out while trying to come up with an outfit because I didn’t feel good in anything.

I was raised on pizza and pasta, and a lot of processed foods, so at this point in my life at 23 years old, living on my own and eating fairly clean I thought I was doing really well nutritionally. Little did I know I had no idea about balancing my food groups…

How I Got Started

I’ve known Denise long enough to realize writing this first line makes me old. Through these years I have witnessed her conquer the worst that life can muster, not only to survive but thrive through the experience. And whether it was innate or forged from such adversity, Denise emerged as an indomitable spirit, courageous to the core.

So when I ran alongside on her first failed attempts to revitalize her fitness regime, I knew that it would only be a matter of time until Denise’s tenacity and determination overwhelmed her doubts and apologies. Soon enough Denise shattered her wall of indecision and discovered her raison d’être for health: the confidence to struggle towards success; the bravery to push through the sweat and pain towards endless progress; and that touch of fanaticism that drags one out of bed on a freezing rainy December morning to run with a nut like me.

Yet, unlike most who selfishly keep their health epiphany hidden on solitary farmland runs or boasted only among cliquey gym rats, Denise has shared her journey and her infectious enthusiasm with countless others. The community she has formed has allowed real people to draw from each other’s experiences and share in one other’s success. Denise, as always, has found a way turn her trials into beautiful transformation.

And through it all, or perhaps because of it all, she still has the heart to find time to run on cold, wet mornings with an old friend like me.quote2

Kevin Jones

At some point, I saw an ad on Facebook, “Do you want to lose 5-15lbs in 21 Days?”, so I clicked on it and this is how I got started chatting with Amber, who eventually became my coach.

Amber explained that she ran these challenge groups online, I would have to order a package and drink a shake a day and I’d lose weight.
SCAM!! Went flashing through my mind and I told her thanks for the info, but that I wasn’t ready. Over the next several months Amber stayed in contact with me in a friendly, non-aggressive way, and eventually I felt like we had become friends.

Fast-forward to February 2015, I was at the lowest of lows when it came to my weight. I did not feel comfortable in any of my clothing and getting dressed to go out or to work had become such an emotional process, never in my life, throughout all of my lows and illnesses, had I ever felt so terrible about my body.

I had bought a fitbit fitness tracker in January in hopes that that would be the answer to my weight struggles. I would watch my calories on it, obsessively type in every piece of food that I ate, and make sure I got 10,000 steps per day. It asked me for my weight. I still didn’t own a scale. So off to my parents house I went to borrow theirs and man was I in for a shock.

I knew I was heavy. I knew I was uncomfortable with the way I looked. I knew I needed to do something about it. What I did not know was that at approx. 5’5″ tall I would weigh in at 186 lbs. That was the first (and last) time that I have ever cried over a number on the scale.

After a few weeks of getting frustrated over inputting every piece of food I ate and not knowing how to plan my day of food because I had no idea what calories were in what and how many I would burn and excitedly losing 4 lbs only to sadly gain them all back with no understanding of what I was doing, I saw another one of Amber’s ads. And this time I committed.

After Beachbody

I don’t really think that there is an ‘after beachbody’ for me. I’m in love! After my first 21 days of 21 Day Fix I felt stronger, more alive, I had lost 7 lbs and several inches. A few months later I was down a total of 38 lbs, and several pant sizes. I can remember times in my life when I was buying size 14 and 16 pants and now I’m buying sizes 4-8! I’ve now completed several of the full programs including PiYo, 21 Day Fix Extreme, CIZE and Hammer and Chisel, as well as tried out several of the other workouts available through Beachbody on Demand. I have always been semi-interested in fitness but never have I felt so excited to try a new program or buy heavier weights or been waiting impatiently for the next program to be launched!

Even with incredible weight loss and fitness results, the best part for me is how greatly its helped my mental health. Since starting the programs I’ve been able to go off of all of my anti-depressants and anti-anxiety’s, I no longer need sleep-aids, I am overall a much stronger, healthier and much happier person!

I think that the best way for me to express how greatly this has impacted my life is through a video that I made the other day, at first I was following something I had written out, but then I went totally off script and surprised even myself at the realizations that I was having!
Check out the video on my youtube channel.