Sunday, February 5, 2012

Working On Yourself Is Not Always Easy...

 Working On Yourself Is Not Always Easy....

I have been thinking about writing this post for a while.
I will start by saying--this is not a bragging post.  
What I am about to show you and write has taken a lot of hard work, dedication, and has been a team effort from multiple people in my life.  

I have always had an average body.
And for the most part, I have been happy with it.  
  Back in high school, I was very active in track, dance and show choir. I was non-stop.  So, weight was not an issue.

In college, I stayed pretty active by running and living an unhealthy, typical, college lifestyle.....eating bread for dinner because it was cheap and filled you up--bars on the weekend with late night runs for pokey sticks--you remember how it went.  (The good ole' days!)
Then came adult-hood....the first few years I didn't experience too many issues...but then, a bomb hit.  I broke my foot.  It was pretty severe and I was in a cast for 4 months.  I was depressed, I ate, and then I gained weight.  I saw numbers on the scale that I never imagined seeing.   I felt terrible about myself...but especially after seeing this particular picture.  I don't even recognize myself here...(I am completely putting myself out there....I wish this picture would be shredded and I could never look at it again.)

After this picture was taken, I took action, got a trainer, and started running again.  Here I am a few months later with my trainer, Jackie, at the Chicago Marathon. 

And then...a few months later...I got pregnant.  I gained too much weight...
47 pounds (keeping it real, friends). And baby was only 6 lbs...eeks! 
Here I am 8 months pregnant...not a flattering picture and I kept growing!! 

Several months after having Grayden I was able to get down to my pre-pregnancy weight...but wasn't completely satisfied.  
However, when Grayden was 17 months old, I got pregnant again.  (OOPS-I did it again...gained 47 pounds)  This time, I was determined to get it ALL off and feel good about myself.  I signed up for a half marathon while 9 months pregnant, swollen, and feeling obese (I couldn't even bend over at this point--not really sure what I was thinking singing up to run 13.1 miles)....but there was no turning back.

The day I signed up to run 13.1 miles...hilarious!

Addelyn was born in December and by April, my girlfriend, Amy and I starting going to the gym once a week.  We signed up for My Fitness Pal and stuck to it.  But then, Amy got pregnant so my "partner" came to an end.
I was on my own.
On your own is not a fun place to be when over-coming an inner challenge.
I kept it up though.  I ran 4-5 times a week (found some cute neighbors to run with too!...thanks girls) and completed two halves by October (read more about those adventures here and here).   I was at the lowest weight I had been at since we got married!   

Yes, things have changed...gravity has taken a toll on this momma, but I actually feel good about myself.  

Then came the holidays...cold weather...and no desire to work out.   I started slacking on My Fitness Pal (big time) and there wasn't anyone to say "hey, you haven't logged in for a WEEK".   So, 2 lbs came back.  (I know myself....first comes 2...then 4...then 6....then....)   This. Must. Stop. Now.

In comes my dear friend, Lee.  
He saw me at the gym one day and said something that truly touched my heart.  He said, "you look amazing!!  What are you doing??"  wow--it is one thing coming from my husband, but from an old friend...that just felt good.  I got him and few others on My Fitness Pal to be my 'pals'.  And they truly have been...we motivate each other...give high fives...and ask where you have been if you haven't logged in for a few days. That is motivating!!

Then comes my dear husband, Eric.  He is so sweet.  He comes home from work every night and tells me to GO to the gym or for a run.  
WOW--I love him!

And then comes me-- 
Why is this journey worth documenting??   
Because weight loss and body image is something we all struggle with.  Especially females.  
ESPECIALLY females that just had babies.  
It is not easy. 
It is really hard.  (at least for me)   

I have learned through this adventure that it is:
Perseverance. Courage. Motivation.  
It comes from within.    

If you want it--you have to work really hard at it.
And if you want it to stick--you have to do it the right way!  
(no pills, no crazy diets, no gagging yourself)   
You have to eat a healthy diet, have portion control (thank you My Fitness Pal), and work out. 

I have grown to love this challenge.
It is my own journey.   
I control it.
I have control of how I want to look and feel.
And let me tell you, I have not felt this great in a long time!! 

And...I really love sitting in the steam room at the end of my workout and praying to God how thankful I am that I can do this! 

It was not easy to start....And really hard to keep up.  

It has taken a team of people to help me get here (people who probably didn't realize the impact they have had on my life)...and my journey is far from over. 
 I have big plans for myself this spring, as I just signed up for another half marathon--who wants to help me break a new PR???--and I am sure I will get knocked up again sometime in the near future and this will start all over again.  
(Lord help me!)  
 Hopefully this post will motivate me in the future RE-achieve a positive self-image.

Friends, if we want, we can do this!

If you made it to the end of the post--
--go reward yourself with a piece of chocolate.  
(but don't forget to log it!) 


  1. Amazing Ashley! Way to go!!

    I can't tell you how timely this post is for me Ashley! I want it but have not put the time or the effort in. Too many bad choices and those bad choices end up causing more bad choices. I need to make a change. I need to be intentional and I need to make a plan. Thank you for this post!

  2. Thanks, Heather! I have been there!! It is hard stuff!!! Make a plan. Get it in your head that you CAN do it, and you WILL! xoxo

  3. YOU ARE AMAZING!!!! and so beautiful! So proud of you:)

  4. i love my fitness pal as well. thanks for sharing! i too have now lost weight twice. i have about 5 more pounds to go for my ultimate goal and have been exercising regularly. the next thing i plan on trying is zumba!! we have disco zumba here in the evenings and a great friend of mine already goes--perfect! i bet you would love it too. keep up the good (hard) work!

  5. Thanks Becca!! I have been to zumba is SO much fun!! You keep it up, too!! And have fun with it=) (I think that is the key!)

  6. Hi Ashley. I just stumbled across your blog and love it! I feel like we have many things in common. Entering our 30's, working on being healthy, mommies, and I also started my blog to take the place of scrapbooking...because well, I just don't have time :) I write a weekly post about getting healthy at Faith Family and Me. Hopefully you can stop by.

  7. Thank you, Tara!! I love your weekly posts! That is a great way to document and keep yourself accountable! You have inspired me to do a follow up post=)