Let me introduce myself; I’m Ashley. I’m 24 years old and I’m from Nowhere, Pennsylvania… kidding, but really they should name this town nowhere because it’s a literal ghost town. Anyways, you’re probably here to learn some stuff about health and fitness. You’re probably also wondering what makes me even slightly qualified to give you any advice on the topic. Well, let me give you a little more information about myself. I’m 5 feet tall, 172 pounds (and getting lower by the day, woo!), and I have always had an issue with my weight and a not so good relationship with food. Until early 2016, I refused to acknowledge that I had a problem. I’ve always known I was heavier than I should be but I told myself over and over again that ‘it’s not that bad’ even though it was that bad. In the years leading up to this I was eating a diet of McDonald’s McChicken sandwiches and sweet tea by the gallon with no exercise what-so-ever. Something you need to know is I’ve always had pretty low self-control when it comes to food. I was never able to eat just a serving size or stop at ‘just one’. I knew the only way I was going to stop eating out so much was if I made a major change and it had been something I was considering for quite some time; I was going to stop eating meat. I didn’t stop eating meat solely for the purpose of saving myself from an early grave but also out of my love for animals and the way they’re treated. I felt I needed to tell everyone that I was going to stop eating meat; not because I thought I was better than them in a way, but because I knew that if anyone around me saw me eating meat, they would hold me accountable. This worked for me. I quickly cut out all fast food since there wasn’t anything I could eat that was vegetarian friendly. After a few months of being strictly vegetarian, my boyfriend moved home from college and he is very much so not vegetarian. I anticipated it being difficult but I quickly adjusted. August of 2016 was when I started seriously going to the gym. My boyfriend is actually the one who inspired me to start this entire journey. He is in phenomenal shape and I thought it was only fair that he had a girlfriend who looked just as good as he does.
When I first started going to the gym, I stepped on that scale and I could have cried with the number looking back at me. 199 pounds. Holy cow! (literally). When did I get this big? How didn’t I notice that I was this big? Why didn’t anyone tell me? I let that number bring me down. I was upset for a while about but I pushed myself to change it. ‘Pushed myself’ also known as I worked out but still ate garbage and huge portions so within 6 months I had only lost 10 pounds. I don’t know what’s more upsetting; knowing that you weigh almost 200 pounds or knowing that all of your hard work for 6 months has only changed you by 10 pounds. This is when I decided that I needed to step it up and actually push myself. In early April of 2017, I started meal prepping my dinners. Now the reason I only meal prep my dinner is because I noticed that dinner was where I had the most trouble. I could control myself all day and eat super healthy, but come time for dinner I would eat large portions or pizza 4 days of the week. Meal prepping sounds a lot harder than it is. At first, I made salmon with boiled broccoli and brown rice. Let me just quickly save you and your taste buds, don’t pre-cook salmon. You’re probably thinking “salmon? but I thought you were vegetarian?” which I was for the first few months but after discussing how to get the most out of my workouts with my boyfriend, he suggested having a higher intake of protein and bam, now I eat fish (so technically I’m pescatarian). Moving on, next I made burrito bowls and fajitia bowls, which wasn’t near as bad as the salmon. I’m not a fan of the fajita bowls at all but I fuck with burrito bowls and that’s what I’ve been eating for the past 2 and a half months. I also count my calories (again this can seem harder than it really is). I use an app to count my calories because it’s just so much more convenient. Just to give you an idea of how much I eat (trust me it’s a lot), I usually eat around 1,900 calories in a day. All that being said, in 3 months of meal prepping and counting my calories, I have lost 16 pounds which is more than I lost in 6 months when I wasn’t paying attention to my diet. So the idea of 80% diet / 20% exercise is definitely true.
Now let’s talk about where I’m heading. Most people have a certain ‘goal weight’ they’re trying to reach but to be blunt, I think goal weights are stupid. You should focus more on how you look, how you feel, and how much you can lift rather than trying to reach a certain number on the scale. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that tracking your weight is important (clearly, did you read the paragraph above?) but don’t make it everything you are. As far as future goals, I’ve got some that I’m not ready to tell to the world. I’m taking everything one day at a time, working hard, and being happy with where I’m going as well as where I am.