Hopefully you have come here because you want to know more about living a healthy life in the world of crazy work hours and conflicting priorities, if not, welcome anyways!
While this blog will focus mainly on fitness, and health and fitting these oh so important things into a busy life, it is also essentially a blog about my life, so let me tell you about my life up to this point.
I am in my mid twenties and, like most people my age, am trying to live life to the fullest. I value health, family, friends and love above all else, but of course my career is incredibly important to me. But let’s talk about my fitness journey for a bit.
The Early Years
I was a very active kid that always had a healthy appetite. My mom affectionately used to say I had a hollow leg because I could eat and eat and eat and never gain a pound, but the reality is I was just a really active kid. When I turned 11 I gained a little weight, and I do mean a little, we are talking maybe 10 pounds. I didn’t even notice, or care, but my grandma did. Now, I love my grandma to bits, but she was never been one to mince her words and she unfortunately put the idea in my head that I was getting fat. I’m sure many of you have had similar turning points in your life, or maybe you can’t pin point exactly when, but at some point in our lives we become aware of our bodies. I started to look at other girls and wonder why they weren’t gaining weight too. This was overshadowed by the fact that I was being severely bullied at the time (which had nothing to do with weight) so my body image was not of paramount concern. However, as I started to get older I focused more and more on my body.
By the time I was 16 I had alternated between starving myself, bingeing, and trying to make myself throw up (usually unsuccessfully). My weight stayed relatively constant despite all this, but I was incredibly unhealthy from an emotional standpoint. I was very good at hiding these things and would eat strategically in front of people including my parents. It wasn’t until years later that I let my parents know that I had issues with disordered eating as a teenager which I think is still hard for them to accept.
In the midst of this my brother (who is 13 years younger than me) was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 15. This impacted my family in ways that are far reaching and hard to imagine. One of these impacts was that health was brought to the forefront in almost all conversations especially with my mother. My mom was always health conscious, but the intensity changed at this point. I think this was a big part of the next step in my road to fitness.
Weight Training (take 1)
I desperately wanted to get fit the “right” way. My high school offered a class in weight training that was mostly catered to the boys, but there were a few girls who signed up and my best friend Lisa and I decided to take the class. I was 16 and had never trained with weights before. Mr. Martini was a true old school football coach with a no pain, no gain attitude. He brought competitiveness to the class and pushed us like no other. I all of a sudden discovered I was strong! I was the strongest girl in the class and could rival some of the boys and I loved it!
Unfortunately I was still suffering from negative body image and wanted to clean up my diet too. My parents, being the amazingly supportive people that they are, got me signed up with a nutritionist who created a diet plan for me. This was the first time I was really introduced to eating more than 3 meals a day and the concepts of macronutrients and the basics of dieting. The nutritionist was amazing and over the course of 3 months I lost 10 pounds and looked incredible. My physical health was fantastic, but my mental health had not kept pace. Through all this I had become obsessed with eating perfectly and getting my exercise in no matter what.
I realized this was a problem when I accidentally consumed a regular soft drink instead of diet and had a full blown panic attack including hysterical crying, hyperventilating and feeling like I was out of control.
So I stopped.
I went into my last year of high school keeping fitness in mind but at a much lower level than before. I had broken up with my first boyfriend and was dating someone else that would carry on for 4 years and he became a bigger focus in my life. I had terrible bouts of tonsillitis throughout this year and had to have them removed and one of the problems with this was having to go on cortico steroids… the major side effect being weight gain… imagine how thrilled I was about that. So I ended high school with a moon face and having gained all the weight that I’d lost back and then some. I was by no means fat, but I was not happy with the way I looked.
I went off to university on the cusp of turning 18, unhappy with my weight, but so looking forward to being out in the “real world” of university. I was living with my best friend Lisa and 2 other girls in first year. We all loved to cook and make interesting new recipes with whatever we had on hand. I was by no means eating unhealthy food, but I was eating way too much. I had never really learned portion control. In the first 3 months of uni I gain 15 pounds and weighed the most I have ever weighed and have ever weighed since.
I promptly lost this weight mostly through cardio (the elliptical machine was the only thing I didn’t hate) but it was too drastic and I was really unhappy with the way I looked.
In second year I started with the bad habits again, I would starve myself, going as long as 4 days without eating. I dropped a total of 40 pounds from my highest weight and was at my lowest weight ever. I couldn’t maintain it and I knew how unhealthy it was for me. Throughout it all I had been educating myself about health and fitness. I was studying health sciences at school and I knew better than this.
In third year I started at Ivey, the business school that has a reputation for partying and being incredibly difficult and time consuming. But for me, the structure of the classes allowed me to better plan my life and I started to get control again. My last 2 years of university were lived in relative equilibrium and I was starting to be happy with my body image. My weight still fluctuated by about 10 pounds but I decided that that was ok. I would try to be generally healthy and would just focus on the other marts of my life. I was back with my boyfriend from grade 12 who I’d been on and off again for the past 4 years and had a big decision ahead of me. He was living in Ottawa and I was in London, Ontario, so I decided to move out to Ottawa after university.
Real Life and Beyond
I moved to Ottawa in September 2010 despite the fact that the boy I was moving there for had broken up with me 4 months before. I decided to make the best of it. I’d just been on an incredible trip to Europe. I had a good job with an accounting firm and I have always been up for a challenge. I made lots of new friends and my body image was finally something that just wasn’t that important. I was still trying to live a healthy life style, but it was secondary to all the other things happening in my life. I was single in a new city with the job I wanted and I was going to enjoy it.
I had no idea how demanding the career that I’d chosen for myself was. In the first year of work I took my 3 accounting exams which are some of the most difficult exams you can take and managed to pass them all. I also worked until 9 pm most nights through the winter and was constantly eating dinner out. No surprise, I started to gain weight… sitting for 12 hours a days and eating out will do that. It wasn’t a lot of weight, and to my great surprise, I didn’t hate myself for it! Cue the choir of angels please! This was a huge deal.
On top of this in April 2011 I met Andre, my wonderful boyfriend who through his unique way was a constant boost to my confidence and helped me to see myself in a better light.
Weight Training (Take 2)
The August after I met Andre I started weight training again. I had been going to the gym off and on all through university but nothing consistent. I knew that I could get results because of what I’d done in high school but I was always scared that I would get obsessed and be mentally in a bad place because of it. One of the things I had always wanted to try was a fitness competition. So I decided that I would try to do one.
I took some before photos and started training 3 days a week. I cleaned up my diet and in January 2012 started on my journey to the fitness competition. Eating lunches and even dinners I had packed instead of buying food and recording everything. Waking up at 5:30 am to go to the gym because there was no chance I was going after working for 12 hours. Making sure I was getting enough protein and carbs. I was doing great!
To my dismay, 6 weeks before my competition I injured my quad and couldn’t exercise. That close to the competition I was devastated, but I took it in stride and decided to enjoy my summer. I would build some more muscle and I would
compete in the next competition in October 2012. I had the support of my boyfriend who was now training with me most days and while I gained more than just muscle I was generally happy with the way I looked and what I was doing for my body. It felt great to finally be happy with my body.
That essentially brings us to today… the start of my blog, August 29th, 2012. I am moving to Toronto with my boyfriend in 2 days. I am 8 weeks away from my competition. I am working out 4-6 days per week and eating 5-6 times per day. I am in the slow season for work so it is easier to fit health into my life but I know I can do it even when work is crazy busy. I am making seeing my sister and brother, mom and dad a priority. And just for fun I have added this blog to my crazy on the go lifestyle.
I hope you enjoy your visits here and keep on the go with me.
Lots of love, Rose