Not being able to see or walk in future or do the things that I loved to do without a lot of issues was very frightening

Weightloss story from @huffnpuff2buffntough

It was February of 2013 at 280 lbs that I finally became serious in learning the right tools and applying them to transform my mind, body and life and started my weight loss/fitness journey and forever lifestyle change. I was overweight for most of my life and I have had numerous health issues throughout my life with obesity being to blame. In 2012, I started experiencing some pretty scary and major neurological health issues. I suffered from an episode of Optic Neuritis that left me temporarily blind in one eye for about a month. My vision never fully recovered from it. Along with being temporarily blind in one eye, I dealt with an array of symptoms from being temporarily disabled with mobility issues to muscle spasms and cramps to numbness aningling in my arms and legs. Doctors told me that they were 95% sure I had Multiple Sclerosis, but couldn’t give a 100% diagnosis without more evidence on my MRI’s, which could take years to show up if it’s a mild form. I have suffered from depression for most of my life along with generalized and social anxiety disorders and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). I knew I wanted kids in the future and doctors told me that with having PCOS it will be difficult and a challenge and being morbidly obese makes the problem worse. Unfortunately, they were right and I dealt with infertility for 3 years.

The thought of the possibility of not being able to see or walk in future or do the things that I loved to do without a lot of issues was very frightening to me. Vision issues scare me the most as I seem to have 2 things working against me in this department. I also have Glaucoma, which can steal your vision over time. This experience was one of my MANY reasons to get the hell up and start living my damn life and do some pretty amazing things with it because you only get one and I’ve spent too many years wasting mine away.

I was also in the middle of planning a move back to my hometown of Joliet, IL after living in the Hawaiian Islands for a little over 2 years and the thought of what my family and friends would say about my weight and how much more I had put on after I left home just petrified me and that also gave the push I needed. Hawaii has played an enormous role in my journey. After all, it’s where I started. I started making small changes with my daily activities to get out and be active more. I started hiking and swimming in the ocean more than I was before and started working on cleaning up my diet. Hawaii made it pretty easy to get out and be active because there was so much to do and it is a very active community and environment. I found myself hiking some of the most dangerous, yet beautiful places on the island as I kept losing weight and becoming more fit and active. I slowly started taking away fast food from my diet and I keep telling myself that I don’t have to totally eliminate it or other foods I enjoyed to be successful in my weight loss.

After losing about 75ish lbs and unsuccessful infertility treatments, I finally fell pregnant with my miracle baby in December 2013 not too long after my cross country move. She was born in September 2014. My journey took a backseat that year. 4-5 months postpartum I got back into it and began round 2 of my weight loss, that year I reached my 100+ lbs weight loss goal. I kept going and staying active with weightlifting, running and doing a lot of road and obstacle races (5K’s, 10K’s, finally worked up to half marathons and I will be working on completing my first full marathon within the next 2 years). In 2016 I reached a weight loss of 140+ lbs and I am still counting!! I have about 10+ lbs of excess skin on my body, which I plan to start consultations later in the year to get it removed. I am also currently in a prep and getting ready to grace the competition stage for the first time!

I have been on this journey for 4 years now and I am sitting at 138 lbs and getting ready to see the lowest weight that I have ever seen in my adult life as I near my competition. Throughout this adventure, I have developed a passion for health and fitness and I am extremely grateful for that because it doesn’t happen to everyone. I hated everything about fitness and healthy eating before I started, but it got to the point to where I hated everything about being sick and tired and not feeling good about the way I looked and how unhealthy I was.

I started my blog Huff ‘n Puff to Buff ‘n Tough in April 2013 to document my journey. I never would have imagined that it would have grown into what it has today. I think this also plays another huge role in my journey. I honestly don’t think I would have made it as far as I have on my journey if it wasn’t for the amazing love and support from complete strangers who have turned into my fit family. I am forever grateful for each and every person who has supported me throughout and continue to support me. I feel like it was one of the best decisions I could have made and one of the best things I could have done for my journey.

My advice to anyone looking to start their journey or looking for the motivation….. Motivation will not always be there. It is okay to find motivation to start, but it is not okay to solely rely on it forever because it won’t always be there. You have to make this a permanent lifestyle change. I firmly believe in balance and life is meant to be enjoyed especially with food. You can have your cake and lose weight too. You just have to be smart about it and take the time to develop a healthy relationship with food and make sustainable changes that will last. Spread your wings and fly. Life is too short to remain in a bubble and to not find out everything you are capable of in life. You are capable of a lot more than you think! You can do this and don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t.

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