It’s a common misconception that personal trainers grew up in a fit and active lifestyle. However, that was definitely not the case for myself.
Twelve years ago I was a restaurant manager, a heavy smoker, and couldn’t run down the block or even carry a case of beer without huffing and puffing.
During this time in my life my meals came from three sources:
- The chain restaurant I worked for
- Frozen, microwavable dinners
Cooking, fitness, and general health habits were non-existent.
So What Changed?
I wish I could say that there was a big “Aha” moment. But that wasn’t the case.
Instead, I decided one New Years' Eve to “be healthier” (not even sure what that means!). I was frustrated I couldn’t lift more than fifteen pounds (for my job this was just wrong) and my unhealthy habits were beginning to gnaw on me.
How I Began My Journey
The truth is, I started off by eating yogurt. That was the big change.
For someone who was living off of frozen pizza pockets, yogurt seemed alarmingly healthy! The yogurt I chose was full of sugar but to me, it was still a step.
The first step.
A few weeks after that I started eating oatmeal. And then snacking on veggies.
These habits sound small. However, the smallest habits add up to big results.
The book The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno was popular back then. I devoured it and started making more and more swaps.
The Biggest Hurdles
After reading the book I realized that I was missing a big component: water.
I absolutely lived off of iced tea and had roughly 6 tall glasses each work shift. I hated water.
So I made it a rule that I needed to drink a glass of water before each meal. I remember gagging that water down. Literally gagging.
Slowly but surely I came to enjoy it. Grab it without thinking. Crave it.
Little by little I made more changes:
- I started eating fruit
- Making my own pasta dinners
- Scaling back on alcohol
There was no drastic shift. I still ate nachos and McDonald's… just not as much.
After a couple of months of making small shifts I began to think about exercise.
Truthfully. joining a gym was petrifying to me. But I signed up and went every other day to walk on the treadmill (I was scared to do anything else).
Later, I started reading Oxygen Magazine and following their programs. Being active started to feel good. Challenging but good.
My form was horrific and I didn’t know what I was doing but I knew I was trying. And I felt good about that.
Smoking & Drinking
After a few years of small changes, I was feeling better and more energized than before. But I was still a heavy smoker and drinker (with multiple alcoholic drinks each night).
I became a certified personal trainer and worked for a great gym.
The next year or so was dedicated to eliminating those habits. I scaled back alcohol to only a couple each week. I also quit smoking.
Scaling back on alcohol was easily the most challenging habit I’ve ever altered.
With each passing year, I read more and more. Thus, my habits and choices adjusted bit by bit. Four years into my journey I became a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and Certified Nutrition Coach.
When we were ready to start trying to get pregnant I began researching more about hormones and the chemicals in our everyday products (learn more about easy, natural household swaps you can start with).
This leads me to change a lot of my skincare products and those in our house. I not only wanted the best for my future kids but I needed the help getting pregnant.
I revamped our house and began making many of my own products because I was scared of using traditional ones.
What I Noticed
With all of my changes came immense perks that I had never realized I had problems with.
- My energy soared after I shifted my food choices - I never realized it was low until then
- My skin became less dry and more even-looking
- I was able to do things like climb stairs without being winded
- I was less bloated
- My mindset about myself and the world shifted from pessimistic to optimistic
In short, my entire life changes because I took one step
So that’s it! The mini version of my journey.
I’m now a crunchy mama to three beautiful girls. I believe in quality food, progressive workouts, and living as naturally as possible. I’m in a much different place than I was twelve years ago. A much happier place.
The journey hasn’t been easy but it hasn’t been dreadful either. There were struggles along the way that have made me a better person, coach, and mom.
The slow and simple path worked for me.
Your goals don’t need to be achieved overnight. It’s not all or nothing right now.
Starting smaller than small is okay.