My Fitness Journey: Part I

My Fitness Journey: Part I

So this is a bit of a weird post for me, I debated for a long time whether or not to even venture down this road...but hey, this blog is meant to be my creative outlet and cathartic for me, so here we go. 

So many of us are on this 'journey' to better health -- and all for different reasons.

Maybe it's because you want to feel more confident in a bikini.

Maybe it's because you have a wedding coming up and want to look your absolute best.

Maybe it's because you have an innate passion for food and a developing interest in fitness.

Maybe it's because you think about your future, your potential {or current} children and you want to lead by example. 

Maybe it's because you need to, because your body literally depends on it to aid in its healing. 

For me, all of the above play a role in why I am where I am today. But before I rehash this last year, let me give you a little more background. Maybe some of what makes me, me, will resonate with you too. 

I sucked at soccer.

Growing up, I was never a really athletic child. Sure I ran around with my little brother and his friends playing manhunt in our neighborhood for hours, but other than that I didn't have the coordination for much else. I grew up in a soccer town. Everyone played soccer and was amazing at it. Me, well not so much. I pushed my self through years of rec leagues 1/2 enjoying it and 1/2 knowing I just wasn't good. When it came time to try out for high school teams, I knew I'd never cut it. Why be miserable just to fit in?

So instead, I tried out for the cheerleading squad and when I made JV, I quickly learned that I would actually have to be athletic. My coach was a personal trainer, so she pushed us hard. Running, lifting, stretching, body weight exercises - it was never ending, but I was in amazing shape. And I loved it, at the end of it all, that was what was key. 

Fast forward to senior year of college with 15 lbs from freshman year that kept clinging on. I decided I needed to get my sh*t together and started going to the gym. I had no clue what I was doing and forced myself through grueling hour long cardio sessions. Thus began my disorganized and disheartened approach to fitness. I went a few more years on and off. For a few months I was all about the gym, then I wouldn't step foot back in for weeks.

Heartache sucks.

I went through a really bad break up right after college; you know the kind where you thought you were gonna marry the person so you start freaking out -- like, 'where am I going to meet someone NOW?!', 'OMG I'm gross, who will ever put up with me?', 'I am not worthy, if I couldn't make this work, what will?' {SIDE NOTE: You are not gross. When you meet the right person THEY will love you, for YOU. All the quirky ridiculous things you do, how you look with no make up on, the whole 9 yards. I am thankful everyday for Michael.} That disordered and irrational thinking put me into a tail spin. If only I could take my 22-year old self aside and say, 'honey, you were in a childish relationship, give yourself some time to adult, you'll see what love really is...' but alas, I digress. 

That sparked what I would call my obsession with the gym. I am super Type A, so for me when I want something I pretty much go all in. Sometimes, taking it too far in search of perfection.

I generally did a lot of cardio, and I mean A LOT.  But I also ate and drank {so much wine} whatever I wanted. I was loosing weight and for the most part keeping it off, so what did I care. I could power through 1+ hours on the elliptical no problem. 

Oh there was a problem, I had zero muscle mass and no strength. 

I kept on this rollercoaster up until just over a year ago.

Deciding to do this for me.

Years later, after a lot of learning and growing up I found myself happily living on Cape Cod and very recently engaged to my person, literally my perfect second half, mushy I know #sorrynotsorry. Knowing that we were having a long engagement I figured I could take my time 'getting fit', no need to rush when your wedding is 2 years away.

Then my world changed. Not drastically, but enough to scare the shit out of me and cause me to seriously question how I was treating my body. I was a chronic migrainer and suffer from anxiety, which I have refused to be medicated for. I read a lot about how diet can help influence anxiety but never really followed through on it. I needed something to force my hand I guess. Something that would make me put myself first. 

That's when a serious viral illness tore apart my immune system. It could have been viral meningitis, but my doctors were never quite sure. But it triggered other chronic health issues, which left me faced with a choice. Take some supplements, prescriptions and hope for the best or truly heal my body through food, exercise and self love

Healing through food and exercise.

After completing a round of Whole 30, I found myself eating very clean about 75-80% of the time. Many of the Whole 30 principles resonated with me, so it was an easy transition, yet I still allowed myself some treats and cheats. From there I began Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide (BBG) - I'll be honest, I started and stopped a total of 3 times, always blaming my schedule and workload. In the meantime I dabbled in a 21 Day Fix, tried the accountability groups and finally said enough is ENOUGH.

I had an amazing experience with every facet of the fitness industry that I have tried so far - don't get me wrong - I either out grew some or found others just weren't for me. Personally, I don't enjoy forcing a 30 minute workout, drinking a special shake and checking in everyday. I love the community aspect, but I have found that AND so much more through Instagram. Rather for me, what works are longer, more mentally grueling workouts, paired with a very specific way to track my nutrition. 

Enter macros. 

I am currently working with Pao on body recomposition, I've never seen this type of definition before!

I am currently working with Pao on body recomposition, I've never seen this type of definition before!

Macros are certainly not for everyone, but if you're a planner like me, it can actually be a really fun and rewarding experience. After paying close attention to some fitness bloggers that I've been following, I saw a trend - less cardio, more weights, and a fine-tuned nutrition plan customized for your unique body and goals

Before connecting with Paola of Pao's Fit World for my custom Macros Consultation, I thought I was eating healthy, yet I was struggling to meet my own goals and my progress was stalling. Turns out I had limited myself so much, considering some foods {i.e. carbs, mainly grains} as bad and restricting myself. I also was drastically low on protein and had no idea what portion control was - not to mention what actual serving sizes were. Even with all that, I was actually underrating on most days, hitting only 1,000 calories or less. How on earth was I supposed to grow and add lean muscle if I wasn't eating enough for a normal woman to survive on? I became so obsessed with the number on the scale, I forgot to take a step back and recognize how far I had already come. 

My goals and mindset have completely shifted since beginning to track macros. I am eating easily 400+ more calories a day and no longer have the guilt that comes with wanting some ice cream or an extra piece of chocolate. So many of us think eating 'right' or well means sticking to salad, chicken breast and broccoli, so we end up giving up so easily when we act on a craving and enjoy something like a cupcake or our favorite chocolate chip cookie. I fell into that trap all too often. That's the beauty of macros though, with 'flexible dieting' as long as you mind your macros you can eat whatever you want. 

You've seen my recipes, and my Instagram feed...does it look boring? Does it seem bland? Nope and nope. To say that I'm blown away by how my body is reacting is an understatement. I am so thankful for the vast education Pao has bestowed on me and the incredible love I feel from her community of empowered women. 

4 weeks of tracking macros with Pao's Fit World. 

4 weeks of tracking macros with Pao's Fit World. 

I still have a lot to learn and many many goals to smash, but for now I am grateful for my strength, my mental clarity and my body's remarkable ability to heal itself naturally. Trust the process babes. Eff the haters. And surround yourself with a tribe who loves and supports you, ALWAYS. 

I am in no way pushing macros, or my lifestyle -- rather I am pushing you.

Do what YOU want. What makes YOU happy, and what will help YOU reach your goals. And most importantly, celebrate your own victories because no one else understands what it took YOU to accomplish them.

- XO Kelly

Baked Paleo Pork Meatballs

Baked Paleo Pork Meatballs

Pink Protein Overnight Oats

Pink Protein Overnight Oats