I am SO excited to share our most recent “Real Life Success Story” with you. I met Becky through my blog and I know her story is one that will motivate and inspire you.
My name is Becky Ash. I was a 2nd grade teacher for 10 years before getting married and having children. I married my best friend, Tim, and now have two boys (ages 4.5 and almost 2). I have struggled with my weight since I was a small child. My parents were big proponents of cleaning your plate before you could be excused. They also used food (especially desserts) as rewards. I was overweight as a child and bullied at school because of it. This definitely turned me into an emotional eater. I would be so sad that I would eat to comfort myself. Both of my parents were overweight, so they didn’t really “do anything” about me being overweight.
By the time I was in college, I was so ashamed of my weight that I took matters into my own hands. The summer after my freshman year, I decided to start running at the park near my home. I worked my way up to 3 miles at a time. I also made much healthier choices with my food. In 3 months, I lost 60 pounds! I remember thinking there was no way I would be able to keep up with the running and healthy eating once I went back to college after the summer. So, I thought that if I just made myself throw up, then that would help keep the weight off. I was bulimic for 15 years…getting sick anywhere from 1-5 times a day.
I gained back about 2/3 of the weight that I had lost. I made myself believe that if I didn’t eat breakfast and if I didn’t pack a lunch when I was teaching, then I would be able to lost the weight again. I would then go to the grocery or a drive thru on the way home and buy enough food for 3 or 4 people and eat it all. This clearly didn’t work.
After I had my first son, I developed severe anxiety. Feeling this way, I didn’t eat much and was busy taking care of him, so I lost all of the baby weight fairly quickly. Two and a half years later, I had my second son and had gained about 50 pounds with him. Having two young boys now, my priority was them and I neglected my own health.
In May of 2014, after being motivated by a friend from high school posting her workouts and weight loss statuses on Facebook, and frankly, just hitting an all time low as far as my energy level, poor eating habits, and negative body image issues, I decided to make a plan. At first, I started small. I knew that if I made big goals and didn’t reach them quickly, I would get discouraged and quit. My first goal, was to give up Diet Coke and only drink water. I had been drinking 5-8 cans of Diet Coke a day, so this was actually a huge step for me. The first two weeks were rough (headaches and mood swings), but I kept at it and haven’t had a Coke to this day! I also committed to walking on the treadmill at least 30 minutes a day. I soon began to see how many miles I could walk in an hour (the amount of time I knew I was guaranteed that my boys would nap). In the beginning, I would be sweating profusely and out of breath after 10 minutes. I worked my way up to walking 3-5 miles 5 days a week.
I lost 25 pounds the first three months, but the treadmill was getting kind of boring. I signed up for Curves and LOVED it! I loved the 30 minute workouts, especially the Curves circuits with Jillian Michaels moves on the mats. After a short 4 months, the Curves I was going to closed. Rather than get discouraged, I went back to my trusty treadmill and started the c25k app on my phone. I am now running 3-4 miles 5 days a week! I also do the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD on off days to keep up with strength training. I know that the stronger I get, the better I am at running/cardio workouts. I also use the LoseIt! app to journal my eating. Based on my current weight and my goal weight, it gives me a “bank account” of calories I can have in a day. If I have a really good workout (burning up to 700 calories), I allow myself more calories…I know I need the fuel. I am eating lots of fruits, veggies, and protein. I haven’t cut out carbs completely, but I don’t eat them all day long like I used to.
I have currently lost 50 pounds. I still have another 20-30 to go to reach my goal. My favorite part of this journey has been the example I am setting for my boys. They carry their water bottles around like I do and get on the treadmill and pretend they are working out. I love the energy I have! I can actually keep up with my boys…most days. I am also happy to report that after 4 years of taking Zoloft for anxiety, I have been off of the medication for 9 months now!!! I also used to have migraine headaches up to 3 days a week. Since working out, giving up Coke, and eating healthy, I have only had 2 migraines in the past 9 months! The weight loss and smaller clothes are definitely a perk, but the physical feelings and medical conditions that have now disappeared are what it’s all about.
I have loved finding blogs like Wellness Witness that provide encouragement to me while I am on this new journey. I have added studying the Bible and journaling daily to my wellness routine. My one little word for 2015 is CONQUER, and our family verse is John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! i have overcome the world.”
I have learned that my body is a temple and the only way that I can be a great wife and mother is to take care of myself first! I no longer look at this as a diet…it is a life EDIT (switch those letters around in diet). I am not depriving myself. I have some cake at my boys’ birthday parties. I eat pizza now and then. I just make sure the rest of my day is full of super healthy choices.
If anyone would ask me advice for getting started on a wellness journey, I would say:
1) Start small. Make small, reachable goals for yourself.
2) Look to God and his Word for encouragement!
3) Ask a close friend (or group of friends) to help hold you accountable. I would post on Instagram or FB when I would workout. I didn’t do this as a way of bragging, but rather a way of holding myself accountable. If I didn’t post, then I had a couple friends who would text me and ask how things were going.
4) Keep at it! The weight will come off quickly in the beginning. You will hit a plateau. Change things up a little if you want. Find a new workout or change your eating habits. As long as health and wellness (mind, body, and spirit) is your main goal, God’s got you!
Isn’t she amazing?!? Such a cool story and testament to how small changes can bring about BIG results when done in His strength!