I wasn’t happy.
Up until recently I’ve never really been happy with my body, but I guess who really is besides tall and slender girls (and I’m sure even they have their moments).
When I was 21 (I’m 24 now) I decided that I wasn’t happy with how I looked. I wanted to make a change but being 21 I wasn’t really motivated to do anything healthy. I was also ignorant to healthy eating and just how horrible my diet was. I would literally eat Mexican food covered in cheese and then go out and eat ice cream with friends (thinking about that now makes me sick). But I couldn’t really help it, no one was there to tell me, “Hey…. you’re eating like crap. Your metabolism is going to slow down when you get older and you’re going to blow up like a balloon.” Also, I was raised on that fried southern diet and fast-food.
When I first decided to make a change it was by doing Advocare. Now, before any of you think that this is a blog post promoting some company… it’s not. At all. I do appreciate everything Advocare did for me in the beginning but I would never do it again (if you keep reading you’ll know why). It helped me get motivated to workout and it also helped me drop 15lbs in 24 days. It was crazy and I couldn’t believe how much weight I lost in such a short amount of time (I could fit into my prom dress again)!
But it wasn’t permanent.
Like with any weight-loss company, there are supplements you take to help boost everything your body needs to get energized and drop weight. There are also diet plans that are hard for any immature 21 year old like myself at the time to follow. I did stick with it though, didn’t cheat once, and the results were amazing. But as soon as I stopped taking their supplements and couldn’t handle working out everyday on a strict schedule (at this time I was in school and doing photography full-time), I started to gain the weight right back and it really bummed me out.
Life went on and even though my diet and my work out schedule wasn’t as strict, it did change. I became more aware that I was eating like crap and tried to make changes as much as possible.
It wasn’t until about 1 year later that I was introduced to the vegan diet.
At first I was so against being vegan. I remember making fun of the person that introduced me to it and I thought it was so stupid (like every stubborn/southern person raised on nothing but meat and cheese would be at first). But then I tried it and I immediately noticed changes with my health, hair, skin, weight, etc.
For example, my bladder issues went away (I use to have to pee 18 times a day and the doctors weren’t able to fix it), now my bladder is normal (sorry if that’s TMI).
My hair use to be really flat/hardly any curls and now it has volume even on it’s worst days.
My skin use to be so rough, I would have acne, and it was incredibly dry. Now my skin is the best it’s ever been.
And my weight dropped again. Finally.
All of these changes weren’t immediate. They took months to notice. But I did notice an overall change in how I felt immediately.
After about a year into it I was doing more research and as a result, my diet and workouts were starting to become more strict. I was trying to run 2-3 miles a day and I was giving up sugar. This is where I started noticing even more results than what I had already seen before. I still wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be though. I was dropping weight but I wasn’t “tone” and I’ve always been way more attracted to the curvy/tone look than the tall/skinny look and I knew that that’s what I really wanted. I thought, “I have the potential and I’m young. I want to push my body to the limits and be where I want to be NOW so I don’t regret not doing it later.”
So when I moved back to Little Rock I knew exactly who I wanted to be my personal trainer, Hannah Lovelis. She has the BEST personality and makes me laugh but still kicks my butt in the gym. She makes me look forward to coming to the gym instead of dreading it and that’s what I need because I hate working out. I would much rather be on my couch with my cats watching re-runs of Friends.
Our normal routine is me getting to the gym before her and running 1-2 miles and then weight lifting or more cardio for the next hour. Hannah focuses on all the areas I have concerns with but still makes sure we focus on areas that I don’t think about. It’s been a year later and we have been working out together 3-4 (sometimes 5) days a week and I have noticed dramatic changes in my body.
However, none of this was easy, and throughout a year of working out I experienced many ups and downs. I would be so frustrated and depressed because even though I know that real weight-loss and muscle gain takes a long time to achieve, it’s still so frustrating to work so hard at something and not see results when you want to. I remember sitting in front of my mirror basically just having a breakdown and texting Hannah saying, “Why am I not seeing results? I work so hard at this. It sucks.” And she was just constantly uplifting and saying, “You will. What you’re doing is SO hard. But it’s worth it. What you want for yourself takes so much work and time but in the end you’ll be glad you did it.”
The reason why this is a lot harder for me is because I’m doing this with no help from supplements nor am I on any type of program. I’m also not really changing my diet because I want to eat whatever I want when I want and I’m already avoiding dairy, meat, and most bread, sugars, and oils. I wanted it to be this way because the harder it is to get where I want to be, the harder it will be to lose it.
Side Note: Most of you may think that this diet is crazy and that I’m probably super unhappy but I’m not. After 2 years of doing this I can’t imagine ever eating cheese or meat again and I never plan on it. All my cravings from my childhood/teen diet are gone and now I only crave foods associated with my plant-based diet.
Since it has been a year of working out, I decided to ask my good friend, Megan Burges, to photograph some boudoir photos of me so I can document this part of my life. I really want to look back on these when I’m 85 and think, “Heck yes,” because being a photographer, I truly believe that documenting any stage in your life is important.
Megan is amazing and I highly recommend her. Working with her was SO easy and her goofy personality made it all so much fun. Also, I wouldn’t have been so comfortable if it wasn’t for Jessica Humerick‘s amazing makeup skills.
If any of you are interested in trying the vegan diet but need some type of inspiration. Take a look at my before and after photos. OR if you need more inspiration than that, watch Forks Over Knives and Fed Up on Netflix. It constantly inspires me.
But really, you should see a difference in how you feel within a week. Your body is the most important thing you have, you should take care of it.
As of result of hard-work, I now weigh what I did in 11th grade of high school. This is really the happiest I’ve ever been and I can only imagine it getting better from here.
Here is a few photos of me over the past 4 years. I don’t have many that truly showcase my body because I would never post them or I would be wearing baggy clothes to hide myself.