Growing up, I was always active. As a young girl, I dabbled in volleyball, track and field, gymnastics, swimming and softball. I say “dabbled” because I only stuck with one sport (well, I also say it because it’s an awesome word). In fact, I am still an active member of the sports team I joined as a rising third-grader. I have been on a competitive jump rope team since 1996. Yes – jump rope. In fact, our team is the overall winningest (<– that’s a fun word, too) team in the U.S., and I am a two-time world champion (you can read more about the Bouncing Bulldogs and my history with the sport in the jump rope tab). So you could say that being as involved with jump rope as I have been has not only shaped me mentally and emotionally, but certainly physically, too.
Weight Gain and Loss
Up through my first year of college, I competed every single year. And then in my sophomore year, for various reasons, I decided to branch out in other areas of my life, and stay involved in other aspects of the sport. I judged at competitions, taught classes and at workshops, traveled, and continued to participate in performances my team did throughout the year. But I didn’t jump on a daily basis, and the high-level endurance, strength, and muscle definition slowly began deteriorating. I worked out at the university gym, but I continued eating the way I had before (which wasn’t ideal, to put it simply). I stopped competing and gained some weight. Maybe like, 5 pounds.
And then the beginning of junior year, I gained a few more pounds. Maybe like, 6.
And then I studied abroad in Prague, CZ. There there was no scale, no gym, and no one to tell me that I shouldn’t wash down the potato gnocchi covered in cream sauce with three pints of Hoegaarden (and then dip my white chocolate bar in Nutella for dessert). I came back and weighed myself. And didn’t recognize myself stuffed into the jeans I had left behind. And I cried, and I think my tears were made of beer and cheese.
So I decided to get it together. I felt like crap, physically and emotionally, knowing what I had done to myself. I mean, I didn’t (and still don’t) regret any of the unhealthy choices I made in getting myself to that point, because ultimately it has changed the way I view my body. Looking back on my life, I can see now that I have had a strange relationship with food and exercise since a young age. So I’m thankful for getting to a place in my life at which I knew I had to change my ways in order to be happy.
Committing to a Healthier Lifestyle
I asked Joe to put together a workout for me because it had been so long since I had pushed myself physically, I didn’t know if I could trust myself to know if and when I was actually getting a good workout. After two weeks of his regimen (which included running for 10 minutes without stopping. Which I couldn’t do.), I felt stronger, encouraged, and was already noticing a difference in my body and energy levels.
Through many changes over the next year (including living in New York City for the summer with an internship), I gained confidence, and eventually felt inspired enough to train for and complete my first half-marathon the following spring.
Since then, I have gotten married, competed again in a jump rope competition, transitioned from college to the real world, and successfully kept the weight off. I continue to learn how to make better choices for the lifestyle I want to live (which still includes beer and cheese and occasionally white chocolate dipped in Nutella), and try to keep in mind that it’s a never-ending journey.
At my bachelorette party in August 2011