Ansley, one of my past clients and now great friend, has a remarkable story on how she transformed her life by taking care of herself, starting with her health. I asked her a few questions about her journey of freedom from consuming thoughts of insecurity to confidence in the woman she is created to be.
Her story inspires me to keep taking care of myself. I hope it inspires you to do the same!
1. What was your health journey up until the point you wanted to make improvements in your health?
My weight and consistent commitment to fitness/overall health was a struggle for me my whole life up until I was 25. I went through phases of fad diets and workout binges, only to burn out quickly and give up when I didn't see fast results. I was fighting an uphill battle because of some hormone issues, but it was exacerbated by uninformed and poor choices that led to cyclical ups and downs, not to mention a very weary spirit. I was exhausted, frustrated and discouraged. I wanted to be healthy, look and feel my best, but I just didn't know how to get there.
2. What prompted/motivated you to want to make a change in your health?
I was never severely overweight, but I also was never fully comfortable in my skin or felt as good as I knew I could. There I was in my mid-twenties with a lot of close friends getting married, so I was working on quite the collection of bridesmaid dresses. I just got really tired of the cycle and wanted to break free, and I really wanted to feel confident in my body in some ways for the first time in my life.
3. How did you start? What was some of the successes/challenges you saw in the beginning of your journey in improving your health?
In the first few months especially, results came slowly. It took a while to see the numbers on the scale move, but one of the first things I did was to totally cut out soft drinks. Before I even had truly lost any weight, people started commenting that I looked different and asking "have you lost weight? you look great!" It was really just less bloating from not drinking Diet Coke and from eating better (fewer processed) foods! Those small encouragements helped me push through those first few months when it's easy to lose heart and give up.
4. What were the steps that got you where you are today?
Before I started meeting with Ginny, I didn't know anything about blood sugar and how much the timing of when (not to mention what) we eat affects how our bodies process it. I didn't use to eat breakfast, and Ginny helped me break that cycle and learn to eat within an hour of waking, even if it's something small. I was also way off on my portion sizes and protein to carb ratio previously. I still love bread and carbs, so that didn't go away entirely, but I'm much more conscientious about how much bread I eat and pairing it with protein instead of an all- or mostly carb meal!
5. How long was your journey to get to where you are today?
I lost nearly 40 pounds in a span of 12-14 months and have maintained it for almost 3 years! But the journey still continues - I set new goals, especially in my fitness, all the time. It feels so good to attain new goals and to watch my body build muscle and change shape.
6. What do you feel is your most exciting and rewarding accomplishment with regards to your overall health?
My most rewarding accomplishment is body confidence and having way more energy. Having struggled with insecurity through adolescence and adulthood, it's an incredible feeling to feel good in your own skin and free from the internal shame dialogue. Obviously that took a lot of work in my mind too, not just my body, but they went hand in hand. Also, I'll be honest...summertime is a lot more fun when you can just play in the sunshine and not constantly worry about how your bathing suit fits. I really do have TONS more energy than I did when I was heavier and not eating well or exercising consistently!
7. What direct health changes did you see over your journey?
I sleep better, have better skin/fewer breakouts, and have way more energy since I implemented these lifestyle changes. I also used you get random headaches and just have too many days where you feel "blah" - now those days are few and far between.
8. What other areas in your life were affected?
The better I felt, the more full and vibrant my social life (and dating life!) became. I think people enjoy being around people who feel good and emit a sense of overall wellness, and it attracts others with the same mindset.
9. What advice to you have for someone just starting on their journey?