Growing up, I knew nothing about nutrition. I was naturally thin as a child, adolescent, and into young adulthood. I never exercised, dieted, and ate what I wanted.
It wasn’t until I got married that my weight changed. I was young and immature when I married; I was all about equality – and fighting for it. I didn’t want my ex-husband to have anything that I didn’t have. This often meant that I wanted equal food portions to my him – What I didn’t know at the time is that women’s & men’s metabolisms are vastly different. Because men naturally have more muscle, a woman will burn far fewer calories than a man who is the same weight. I blamed my clothes getting tighter on the dryer shrinking my jeans.
At the time I was a computer trainer. I knew that I was getting bigger, but my job was physically strenuous. At the end of the day I was wiped out mentally & physically. I couldn’t imagine starting a workout routine, but I used to joke, “Elizabeth & Exercise don’t belong in the same sentence.”
I started a job that would have me travelling 100% of my time. I knew that people usually gained weight when they travelled, and didn’t want to get any bigger, so I did the only thing I thought would help. I gave up meat by becoming a lacto-ovo-pesce vegetarian. I immediately saw results. I lost 30 lbs within 2-3 months. At the time though, I still wasn’t exercising and because my protein intake dropped considerably, half of what I lost was probably muscle.
A Bally’s Total Fitness was opening near my apartment, and just after my 32nd Birthday – before the turn of the century, I decided to join the gym. I’m typically not a person to have New Year’s Resolutions, it just happen to occur at that time. By joining the gym I received a few complimentary sessions with a personal trainer, and started exercising. The free weight area of the gym intimidated me. I didn’t want to “get bulky” – but where I could only use the cardio equipment for a period of 20 minutes on my first visit, by keeping at it, I was soon able exercise for longer periods of time.
Although I was now exercising and a vegetarian, I still was not eating properly. My nutrition had much to be desired. Beer, Burritos, French Fries, Onion Rings and Ice Cream are all vegetarian foods, and I was eating them often. I still didn’t really know anything about nutrition, so I was not getting enough protein from the foods that I was eating – unless it was from an occasional serving of dairy or fish.
In the Spring of 2001 my mom passed away from Breast Cancer. Watching her struggle with her illness & her eventual death, it occurred to me that dying of cancer was the most horrible thing that anyone could go through. It wasn’t until after her death that I started learning about it; risk factors, contributors, etc. I learned that being overweight is a huge contributor to Breast Cancer as well as many other diseases suchas Heart Disease, and Diabetes. At that time I was living in Austin.
When I joined a new gym, I received a complimentary fitness assessment. When the trainer took my measurements, he said I was 33% body fat. At 165 lbs, that meant that I had 55 lbs of fat on my body and 110 lbs of lean mass. That was my wake-up call. 55 lbs of FAT! That’s pretty freakin’ heavy. It was then that I decided that I would get serious about my nutrition and exercise program.
I started adding more cardio exercise into my routine, and learning about nutrition and calories. I learned a lot through the internet. I also learned that just because it’s on the internet doesn’t make it correct. As my weight plateaued, I started weight training. My husband, Gary, hired a personal trainer for himself and introduced me to the world of Body Building.
It was through Body Building that I was able to learn more about training techniques and nutrition.
The “before” pictures were taken 1/2 way through my fat loss journey. Today I am only 15 lbs lighter than I was in the “before” pictures, however my body fat is around 17%; making my lean muscle mass 125 & 25 lbs of fat.
In January 2005 I decided that I wanted to become a health coach. If I can prevent just one person from getting an obesity related disease, then I have done my job as a human & made the world a better place.