My Story


I started this blog in July 2011 with the hope that maybe writing down everything that I was doing and just 'venting' would help me move forward and actually make some progress. When I first started, I had not expectations of what I would find in the blogging community. In fact, I had absolutely NO IDEA how many blogs about weight loss were out there. I have to say, the experience has been terrific.

I love writing in my blog. It gives me time to reflect on what I did during that day and to plan for what I want to do in the upcoming days. I like going back and seeing how far I've come in terms of progress in my strength, speed, and stamina. I also look back on the obstacles I've faced - emotional breakdowns, incessant insomnia, PhD stress, injuries, bronchitis, and surgery - and look at how far I've come.

There are a few things, however, that I haven't posted about.

For one, I've never posted my weight. I have posted how much weight I'd like to lose, but I've never put up my actual number. I guess I'm just embarrassed. There are some people who read this who I see on a regular basis. I just don't want that number to be associated with me. I'm still not ready to write it down - so for now, the number of pounds/kilos I want to lose will just have to do.

To date, I have 12 kg./27 lbs. left to lose.
(updated on June 3, 2014)
 
Another thing that I haven't done is post photos of myself. I have a few in my blog posts, but I've never posted a 'before' shot and an 'after shot' (well, I haven't reached the 'after' bit yet). I guess part of this also has to do with the embarrassment I feel. How did I let myself get so big? Was I really that much out of control? What in the world happened?

Today I thought I would go through my photos and find a before and an after shot. I was actually surprised to see how heavy I had become. Wow - I had this huge urge to just delete all the photos. At the same time, boy did it serve as a reminder of how I NEVER want to go back to that place again.

I also noticed a trend as I looked through my photos. The weight gain particularly piled on during/after vacations and around Thanksgiving/Christmas time. In all honesty, this is not something that came as a surprise to me at all. What was shocking was to actually see how huge (literally) the difference was.

As a teacher, I love having 3 months off in the summer -- however, I now realize that my body hates me for that ... because it's either 3 months of travel or 3 months of slacking - no routine, no structure, just more time to eat.

Although I joined a gym in the beginning of 2006 and I worked out frequently, I didn't watch what I was eating. In fact, my eating habits were terrible - they went from eating whatever I want to feeling guilty and not eating anything at all. I just couldn't find a balance -- I just didn't put in the time and effort to find that balance. My life seemed to be a constant cycle of workout, eat whatever I want, be disciplined for a while, then go on summer vacation, stumble through my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, feel terrible for a while and then start over in February - only to start the cycle again in June. That was just not good enough!
 
By the end of 2008 I was at my heaviest. I remember getting on the scale and seeing the number - I could not believe it. Me? Was that really me? WTF?

At that point in time, everything seemed to be going downhill for me - physically and emotionally. I felt like I was sinking into a hole that I just couldn't get out of. I was not happy. I was not happy at all. Nothing in my life seemed to make sense and I just felt like things were going out of control. I resorted to old self-destructive habits that did me no good - but I just couldn't stop. To make things worse, that's when I had to go in for my first myomectomy (December 2008). With three months of barely any movement during the recovery period, I was fucked. There's really no other way to put it.

This had to stop. NOW.

Throughout the years, I had kept going to the gym, but not regularly and not intensely ... and I definitely wasn't watching what I ate. Fast food was a treat; chocolate was necessary; doing nothing but lazing around and eating all weekend was ideal.

ENOUGH.

Starting June 2009, I got serious.

I got my ass to the gym. I joined a healthy eating program that prepared low-calorie meals and had them delivered to your house, and I went to see a nutritionist weekly for weigh-ins.

I had setbacks. Travel during the summer. The dreaded Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Still, I tried. I really was making more of an effort.

By July 2010 (11-months since I really started making an effort) I had dropped 22 kg (just under 50 lbs) and I felt great. It was the lowest I had been in ages. I wish I had a picture to show me at this weight, but I think I was too busy hitting the gym to have any photos taken!

I had caught the exercise bug and absolutely LOVED going to the gym.

My workouts continued to be good, but I slacked off in terms of my food. I started to become too lenient. I got careless. My weight crept up to my plateau (8 kg/18 lbs higher than my lowest) ... and then with some more travel, PhD stress, another major surgery, and carelessness when it came to food, I crept up another 10 lbs, and then I really put my foot down. I could not, could not, could not let it creep any higher.

I managed to get down to my plateau weight, but have been struggling there since. I have pretty much been at this weight (and up to 2 kg/5 lbs higher) for the past year and a half.

My fitness level has improved drastically. My eating habits are much, much better than before (still not perfect). I absolutely love working out. I am definitely leading a healthier lifestyle ... but I still have quite a bit of weight to lose.

I do not want to look at any of my future pictures and hang my head down in shame. I want to do it, and I know I can do it.

Before, the fear of never being able to get to the point where I can post an 'after' picture held me back from sharing any photos. Today, that changes. Maybe when I hit my goal weight I'll actually post the numbers -- one step at a time.

My heaviest in November 2008:


The closest picture I have to my 'lightest' to date (by this time I think I had already gained a 3-4 kg/7-8 pounds) November 2010:

 
I continued to work, but it was getting tough. I'm still trying to beat the plateau, and I find that my former weaknesses and points of struggle - travel, holiday time, portion control - still exist. Psychologically, I'm still struggling to gain control of my thoughts, emotions, and attitude ... physically, I'm pleased to say ... I'm much, much stronger than ever before.

Things further changed in my life in July 2011 when I started the New Rules of Lifting for Women program. I bought the book, read it, created my workout chart, and got to it. For the first time in my life I did something from start to finish. Completing this long program (over 6 stages) in itself felt like a huge success to me. The discipline I developed was priceless. In addition to that, I found my love for weight lifting. I started out lifting light weights, but as I went through the program and discovered that I was getting stronger with each session, I started to feel better and better -- and what's even more rewarding, I started to feel confident. I started to see that I was strong! The evidence was right there in front of me -- what an exhilarating feeling. I no longer had to pretend or try to convince  myself that I was strong -- I actually WAS. It was awesome.

Completing that program helped prepare me for my next fitness adventure which was the discovery of CrossFit in April 2012. It was through CrossFit that I really learned how to push myself, trust myself, believe in myself, and face my fears ... it has been so exhilarating! Seeing my weight lifting progress to heights that I never though were imaginable was an incredible high -- add to that the way my body was changing, and I was hooked!

Finally my goal was to do whatever I needed to do in order to make sure I could perform the way I wanted to perform. This meant eating right -- food as fuel -- for my workouts. In September 2012 I took it one step further and I did my first Whole Life Challenge. My results were incredible. After that, my whole attitude towards food and eating completely changed.

I was no longer afraid to eat. I developed a healthy relationship with food and a loving relationship with fitness. I went on to become a Certified Fitness Nutritionist and a Certified Personal Trainer. Living a healthy lifestyle has become my passion.

In addition to CrossFit/weight lifting, I found my passion in MMA (mixed martial arts). I've been learning Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Kajukenbo, and Muay Thai. I absolutely love it and feel like I've found my calling in this sport.

Finding my fitness passion helps me stay focused on my fitness goals. It drives my habits and my decisions. It grounds me and makes me happy.

That being said, I haven't reached my goal yet. I still stumble. I still have setbacks. I'm constantly making an effort. I guess the difference is that it doesn't feel like such a drag anymore. It's a given, just like it's a given that my life will be chaotic, it's a given that I will need to work for this. I don't resent this. I accept it as a challenge -- and I will keep workin' it out until I succeed.


9 comments:

  1. I know from my own experiences how important it is to think back to how we (I) got in the place with weight. I believe it is essential for moving forward forever in health and fitness. That is what you have done. Honest reflection. Let the healing begin as you move to forward!

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  2. Keep going Ayesha. You're doing it the right way, excercise, eat healthy and keep motivating yourself. So proud of you.

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    1. Thanks so much Besma - that means a lot to me!!

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  3. I was referred to you by Marion from Affection for Fitness. You have done a remarkable job till now. Wow!

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  4. Anonymous1:54 AM

    I am not at all a fan of Crossfit. It is too extreme for most people's fitness needs, and I've seen plenty of people get injured trying to keep up with the expectations of coaches at the box.

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    1. That is very true - like with any sport, each person has their preferences in terms of what they like and what suits their fitness level/body type. It's definitely a good idea to be smart about training and have good coaches who provide sound advice and keep your best interests at heart.

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  5. Awesome...I had no clue about this. You are so inspiring.

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Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I can use all the support I can get :)