Healthy Living: Nina's Story

>> Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nina writes:
I recently found your blog and have been reading it non stop since then. I love that you decided to have a healthy living celebration week and then continued it! (Thanks, Nina! We're loving all the fitspiration, too!) Here is my story . . .

I was always a bit on a chunky side, never skinny and never fat. I ate as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted, and since I was a latch-key kid, I didn't have anybody around to stop me from sitting around and doing nothing but eating. I dabbled in working out a little bit but I never really got anywhere. My senior year of high school my (then) best friend and I signed up at the local YMCA and started going together. We also went separately, myself more so than her.

In addition to working out together, we also ditched class, smoked, and didn't eat/avoided eating as much as we could. We did a 3-day fast together to "gear up" for Thanksgiving. I ate about 5 plates of food on that Thanksgiving. I kept up these habits throughout the year and into my first semester at college. I think it is important to point out that while I had these unhealthy habits, I lost maybe 2 pounds, if that.

Then, my mother and I went on Jenny Craig to lose some weight for my brother's wedding. She is about 30 pounds lighter than I am -- she has a tiny frame. Mine is bigger, I'm built more like my father. Anyway, the program wasn't that bad . . . and during it, I lost about 12 to 15 pounds. But the second I started eating "real" food again, I gained all of it back. Weight Watchers was my next diet, and while I didn't lose much weight, it opened my eyes to portion sizes.

After I had worked in a gym for more than a year, I finally started to use it regularly. I even started working out with one of the trainers. Personal training was fabulous because my trainer kept me motivated, entertained, and super sweaty! It took a while, but my body started to change, become more athletic. It seemed like overnight, I had lost 20 pounds! Despite this fact, I still felt very uncomfortable with my body. So I started restricting what I was eating, trying to stay under 1200 calories a day, and I did that on most days (usually with the aid of Camel Lights and loads of water).

During this time, I was living away from home and had a tight budget, which only added to my lack of calories. I often ate a can or two of veggies for dinner. One day, my trainer put me on the treadmill for my warm-up. I was NOT a happy camper. I've always hated running, I walked most of the mile run in grade school and high school, always coming in near the back of the pack. I practically kicked and screamed when he made me run for 5 minutes. Then he did made me do it again. And again. And again. I stopped fighting it and eventually found myself choosing the treadmill for my cardio workout. A few weeks later, one of the members came up to me and said "It looks like you are quite the runner now, Nina!" I was very confused because I didn't think myself a runner. I mean, I liked running and I could run about 45 minutes without stopping, but no way was I a runner!

March 2009 was quite an eventful month. I was at my lowest weight ever, 153 pounds, I went on spring break with my (then) best friend Allie, I met my (current) boyfriend. And at the end of the month, I was the sickest I've ever been. Being on bed rest for 7 days was not fun. All the hard work I had put into my body had left and all those pounds came back immediately, it seemed. It took longer than it should have, but I got back into working out and back into running and the excess pounds melted off. I wasn't with my trainer anymore, so I signed up for boxing at my local LA Boxing to use as strength training. I signed up for the Soldier Field 10-miler that May, trained for it, and completed the race 2 minutes ahead of my goal time of 1:40. Currently, I'm 3 weeks away from my first half marathon and hoping to finish in 2:10.

I also recently started taking Bikram Yoga classes -- they are addictive! The first class I took was amazing. I didn't stop at all and I did all the poses pretty easily. The second class was HORRIBLE! I had to sit nearly 25% of the time, if not more, but I still loved it. I love the heat, the sweat, the everything! At one point in time, I disliked yoga, mainly because of all the audible breathing. Audible breathing makes me cringe . . .

I'm happy to report that I rarely step on the scale these days, whereas I was at one point weighing myself twice a day -- once in the morning and then again before bed. I'm seeing myself as an athlete now. One of the biggest changes of all? I stopped smoking November of last year (cold turkey!), and I eat as healthfully as I can. I'm smarter with my meal choices and my portion sizes. I avoid buying bags of potato chips and cartons of ice cream. Otherwise, I will eat them in one sitting. I really do enjoy working out and being active and feeling healthy. I'm around 157 pounds now (though, again, I haven't weighed myself in a while), but my body is so different than it was over a year ago. I am much happier with my body and I feel healthier and happier, too.

Thanks for reading my story!

Nina (from Running Nina)

PS: And I can now eat fried dough loaded with powdered sugar without feeling bad about it!

In need of some healthy fitspiration? While you're here, you can read more great stories like Nina's -- as well as submit your own healthy living story to be featured on our site!

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