Sharing our Successes: MEET Rachelle!

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You are going to LOVE this installment of Wellness Witness Success Stories! I found Rachelle on Instagram and have gotten so much encouragement and motivation from her posts. She is an amazing person and has an incredible health transformation story to share with us today. Without further adieu, meet my friend, Rachelle!

Hello! I’m Rachelle and I’m a 1st grade teacher from Utah and I blog at For Blogness’ Sake and What the Teacher Wants.  I wanted to share my story with you today on my journey to health and wellness.  It’s still something I’m striving for every single day, but I’ve come so far!

The picture on the left is from October 2012 and on the right is April 2014

Since I can remember, I’ve been overweight and self conscious.  I’ve always been athletic and loved all things outdoors, but I let my weight get in the way of living my life!  I gained 60 pounds in my 4 years of college.  When I got engaged, I crash dieted and lost that weight for my wedding.  Guess what happened soon after I got married? I gained back that weight and THEN SOME in less that 3 years. I knew that I had to lose weight by eating right and exercising, but it took me many years to get in the right mind set.  I tried every fad diet, pill, and even more extreme ways to try to lose the weight.  It didn’t work for me.  My body was ready to lose the weight, but my mind was not ready.  It’s a VERY mental process.

After my grandpa died 2 years ago, I heard Jesus speak to me.  People always say that “I found Jesus, but really… Jesus found me (well He was always there, I just needed to listen).  He saw that I was hurting in all aspects of my life (physical, spiritual, mental) and called out to me.  I started going back to church and praying regularly. This is when my life started to just fall into place.  He was showing me THE way and I was going to start doing the work (thank you to my friend Deanna who said that so perfectly).

My whole perspective on life changed and I wanted to be better in all aspects. I knew that my body needed a whole overhaul.  I had bad acne, headaches, stomach issues, back problems, and knee issues. As I was researching online about how to clear acne without antibiotics, I noticed that many sites recommended eliminating certain foods from your diet.  The first suggestion was dairy, sugar and gluten.  I eliminated dairy and immediately my face got better! WHAT?  Food can help my face?  I wonder what in the world else food can do for me.  This started my search on what was ACTUALLY in my food.  Whoa. I was shocked!  I read many articles, blogs, websites, and books.  I researched food and preservatives.  I was appalled! I don’t recommend you do this though. It was a *little* overwhelming. Just take baby steps and you’ll be fine. HA! {Look at #6 on this list for ideas on websites/articles to read}

This is when my husband and I started to make small changes in our diet to move more towards whole food eating…or like I call it, clean eating.  You can read more about my journey with clean eating {here}.

I saw huge changes just by eliminating dairy and gluten (and we stopped drinking soda).  My stomach wasn’t upset all of the time and my acne started to clear up (with a huge help from a holistic skincare regimen).  ALSO, I started to lose weight each week. I started to eat even more clean (no preservatives and lots of fruits/veggies/meat/nuts/seeds).  But I don’t shun any food really. I’m not the food police.  I still enjoy a good piece of pizza and cupcake once in a while. I use the 80/20 rule (80% clean and 20% other)  I try to just fuel my body with the best food possible without feeling deprived (I make a lot of food swaps- spaghetti squash instead of noodles, etc.).  I was very consistent in my weight loss and it seemed to fall off.  I wasn’t really working out too much.

When I lost about 50 pounds, I started to workout with an amazing trainer.  Soon after, she moved and I was left alone.  Luckily, I found Jazzercise!  It’s the BEST!   I also lift heavy weights in the gym.  Strength training has really changed my body!  I love working out now…and believe me,  it’s not always been like that.  I used to loathe working out. It also helps that I have many friends and family members who are on this journey with me. I couldn’t do it without them.

I’ve lost over 100 pounds in 2 years. Losing weight is hard.  But you know what else is hard? It’s hard to be obese, out of breath, depressed, achy, sleepless, and angry. I choose to live a healthy lifestyle because I want to live a long time.  I want to take care of this body and mind that the Lord has so graciously given me. It’s been a hard road, but a road that I will keep trudging on!

My best friends all got together and surprised me with this custom tank top.  They all got one too and were wearing them when they gave me mine.  I just love supportive friends!
My tips for you:
Love your body at every size
Take small, baby steps towards clean eating 
Don’t weigh yourself more than once a week
Set SMALL goals (my first goal was to not wear an XXL anymore)
Ask for help (get a trainer and/or nutritionist)
Surround yourself with supporters (I have the best family and cheerleading squad…aka best friends)
Pray and ask for His guidance
Believe in yourself

Isn’t she amazing?!?! Thanks so much for sharing with us, Rachelle!

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