At your unhealthiest, what did diet and nutrition look like for you?
There wasn't any sort of nutrition accountability, and my diet was more or less just eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I had my first consultation in 2011 and I was 240lb when I weighed in. I then went on to lose 50 pounds, getting down to 180 before I joined the Coast Guard. I did this with a personal trainer who was also my nutrition coach. We worked out three times a week and he gave me a certain calorie number to hit, along with a structured meal plan. This worked to help me drop weight, but I didn't learn anything because I was just following what he was saying. I just ended up gaining it back later on.
What factors led to you ending up at that highest weight?
Growing up I had a single mom, and though she did what she could to make ends meet there wasn't any understanding on my end on what healthy eating looked like.
What was one moment that made you realize you wanted to make a change?
The first moment was when I realized that I wanted to join the Coast Guard, because they had weight requirements. Then after that I stayed stagnant with my weight just to meet weight requirements. Later on I met some friends who were fit and into lifting weights which sparked something in me, and from there I had gotten down to 158 and maintained between 160-170. After Covid hit I went back up to the high 180s and then in December of 2021 I realized that something needed to change again.
How did losing the initial weight affect your lifestyle and mindset? What has carried over and or changed with your most recent cut?
Mindset wise I liked what I saw in the mirror during the first cut, 55 pounds made a pretty big difference. This time around with the nutrition I feel like I care a lot more because I’m getting older and it’s going to take more intentionality to lose and maintain as opposed to when I was younger. Both times I did it it was a huge investment. As a result of my first stint with the nutrition coach, I now have a career path out of it with the Coast Guard. And now this second time around it’s more or less focused on being healthy within my lifestyle and learning and understanding how all of my nutrition plays into how I feel everyday. It’s easy to take that feeling for granted if you don’t understand all of what it takes to be healthy. Especially coming from a childhood where I didn’t know what a healthy lifestyle looked like; I now want to understand all of this so that my kid doesn't have to deal with this like I did. Hopefully we won't even have to have the conversation about why health is important with our kids because they'll just see what we are doing and they'll have the same healthy lifestyle as we do.
What encouragement or advice do you have for people starting out on their fitness journey?
Just make the decision and give it a try! If you're already considering it there's a reason that you're considering and thinking about it. Just get to that yes and capitalize on that, there's only going to be benefits from it. As a practical first step; getting a nutrition coach right away is the way to go. You want to learn from someone who can teach you accountability. Cut out something else in your life that you spend money on and put that money towards investing into yourself for at least the first few months.