My Journey: How clean eating and OrangeTheory Fitness brought me back to life!
There are intersections you come upon in life and you have to make a choice, which direction do I go? And that one choice can change your journey for the good or for the bad. Sometimes you know that you are at that intersection, how you got there and what your choices are. Other times you are clueless, wondering how the hell did I get here!
Well in July of 2016, I found myself at an intersection, completely clueless and definitely wondering how the hell I got there. I didn’t know what I was doing, but what I did know was that what I was doing wasn’t working. This is the day I found myself at OrangeTheory Fitness in Woodstock, GA. Little did I know what was about to change. I remember seeing my name on the sign on the outside with all the new people and thinking, “Maybe I can quickly erase it and run away." But let’s be honest, I wasn’t running anywhere.
[Little information about OrangeTheory Fitness. It’s a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that includes treadmill, rower and weight room. It’s in a group/team setting with a coach that trains you throughout the entire session. Totally my vibe being that I was in team sports my whole life and need someone yelling at me the entire time. Basically, all you need to know is it will kick your ass and is the best workout I have ever done! The coaches, staff and members will become your family. If you decided to give it a go, which you should, be prepared to be obsessed!]
One of my best friends talked me into taking a class with her for “fun.” I had no intention of joining and was scared to death to even take one class. It had been five LONG years since I had worked out in any capacity. In those five years, I had endured two difficult pregnancies, too much bed rest, trauma to my body and, in turn, weight gain. I was the heaviest and most inactive I had ever been.
My whole life I was the “skinny” girl who was extremely active, a competitive cheerleader, and could eat more calories than a strong man competitor. My body and lifestyle shifted during and after my pregnancies and I became someone who I didn’t even know. I know, this is super typical for most new moms. We are surviving, giving everything we have to our kids which is wonderful and necessary. But now it was my time to make a shift. I obviously love my kids and love my journey that brought them in this world but I had to find myself again. Now looking back, I could see the concern in my family and friend's eyes because they didn’t see the Kaylee they had known for years.
Again, I didn’t feel like I was making this conscious decision. It was like a divine intervention of some sorts. I was just basically placed in this glowing orange place with the decision flashing in front of me. All I had to do was open my eyes and make a choice. Was I going to continue on this path or was I going to get myself back? Thank the lord, I chose myself. After that first class I was hooked. I joined and went all in. For those that know me know I am an all or nothing kind of gal but I also do not do anything I do not want to do. I am so thankful for whatever reason this was presented to me.
After about a month of doing a couple of classes a week, really enjoying the workouts and seeing some minor changes to my body, I was ready for the second change - my eating. I didn’t know what that was going to look like. I didn’t even really know where to start. I have always loved cooking and spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my family. Growing up in the Midwest we ate pretty good whole foods. I didn’t grow up on fast food or a lot of processed foods but let’s be honest, we are the generation of processed foods. That was one thing I knew I wanted to change, not only for me, but for my family. I wanted to be a good example for my kids and to start learning more about how to eat a good, clean foods but also how to fuel my workouts.
I saw a quote while down a long rabbit hole on “the gram” and it really resonated with me. It said, “You cannot out workout a bad diet.” It hit home with the point I was at in my life. I was a month in to some pretty high intensity workouts. I was all bought in on those and was killing myself weekly to lose the weight and get healthy. I wasn’t there to waste my time or anyone else’s. I was driving one hour each way to make these workouts. I had a 10-month-old and 4-year-old. I was working out at 7:30pm and then driving home for another hour. I wasn’t going to waste this time or opportunity. This is when I decided to commit 100% to clean eating. And like I said, when I go in, I go all in. I researched and researched and researched. I’ve always been on the crunchy hippie side so I focused on finding like-minded people to follow, sites to follow, blogs to read, Facebook posts to save and started implementing these things. Another fun fact about me: I have a hypersensitive body. If my body doesn’t like something, it lets me know almost instantly! It’s a blessing and a curse and the only positive side of that is if you listen. I had been ignoring my body’s signals for a while and it was showing. I decided to start listening, what a novel idea.
My game plan was to cut all of the BS out that I knew was toxic to me and hindering any progress I could be making. I took the research I had done and the signals my body was sending me and came up with this super simple plan. I told myself I was going to do it for two weeks, because at the time that is all I could wrap my mind around. I mean at that point in my life, with two little kids to care for, most of my days were minute by minute (let’s be honest, at times second by second…can I get an amen mama’s??), so two weeks seemed like an eternity. My two-week game plan: 1) cut all dairy, which is my arch nemesis but also the food love of my life! Next on my shit list: 2) grains, 3) processed foods, 4) simple carbs, 5) booze and 6) sugar. I decided to focus on lean proteins, good fats and complex carbs. Because the goal at that time was weight loss, I kept the carbs portion low. Many call these counting macros and we can get into that in more detail in a different post. I did this for two weeks and I was floored, I hadn’t lost really any weight yet but felt like a new human and sometimes a sugar detoxing psycho, but definitely a different human. I had almost made it past the detox and cravings, bloating was down and my workouts felt so much better. I knew I had to keep going and at that time didn’t really set a new time frame, well, except for the booze part (I had to set a time frame for that because life/kids happen). What transformed over the next six months was life shattering….in the best way! They say if you work out and eat good you will lose weight and guess what they were right…. Crazy I know!
In those first 6 months of my journey I lost 57 pounds, went from a 12 to a 2…. yup! That happened. I committed to 4-5 days a week at OrangeTheory, clean eating and said goodbye to that body I didn’t know. I was back! And it keeps getting better and better! In this process, I have learned so much more about food and what works for my body with a huge thanks to the Whole30 program. I am a huge advocate for the program and have recently just completed my fourth round. I learn something new every time and I am always so amazed at what it teaches me about my body. My workouts at OTF just keep getting better and better. I completed a Super Spartan Obstacle Course Race at the end of last year and plan to do three this year, as well as some regular road races that my husband talks me into. (Apparently, he thinks I am a runner or something!) But honestly, I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed and I am BEYOND thankful for my family, friends, OTF coaches and staff. I’m especially grateful for my workout buddies and my husband who has stuck with me the whole time. He has been so open-minded and tried the weirdest foods with zero complaint. So, I guess I can run these races with him! It’s the least I can do for taking his beer whiskey away for 30 days!
I look forward to sharing more details of my journey with you, specifics on what I eat, the brands I love and how you can sustain a healthy and fit lifestyle in this crazy world! And if you’ve stumbled upon this blog and am finding yourself at the same intersection I was once at, let this be a sign that you’re ready for a change and reach out. I would love to hear and work with you!
Stay tuned for more great things to come - recipes, services to help you break into the clean eating world, favorite products, good/clean ingredients and how to read labels… just to name a few!