Welcome to the Body By Robes blog, here by request of you nutty folks who want to see and hopefully CONQUER some of these crazy workouts I post for you!
Why do I do this? Well, first, because I love to challenge myself too. I struggle with my fitness and body image and weight just like everyone else. I’ll get into that in a moment. I promise. And second because you asked me to make my craziness available to you.
So my struggle (condensed): I was a competitive gymnast growing up, and as most gymnasts know, most competitive gymnasts get subjected to pretty regular weigh-ins. Torture. From a young age, I associated self-worth with weight. No good. I was always built a bit more like my Daddy, tree trunks for legs on a pretty small (vertically small) frame – legs that seemed to only got bigger with gymnastics or soccer or softball or football or climbing trees or whatever we came up with as kids to do.
Fast forward to college. They aren’t kidding about the “freshman 15”. My weight fluctuated tons in college and in the few years after school. I totally boycotted the scale and just tried to avoid my concerns. I was a certified trainer (and still am), so I knew how to stay active and fit, but my food habits had gone downhill in a hurry and I didn’t really deal with my weight. I spent all my time helping other people reach their fitness goals, but truthfully, I was bored at the gym. Because I worked there, I had a hard time getting a private workout in after work was over. Everyone had questions. Everyone wanted to chat. My workouts suffered.
Turns out the little 120-something lb girl from high school had added quite a bit of weight and at one of my annual doctor appointments, I heard the number for the first time. It was in the 150’s. I was just under 5’4″ tall. I nearly died. What on earth?
Over the next several years, I started a new trend. I was going to stop valuing my worth on my weight. So at those annual appointments, I told the nurses to keep the weight to themselves. Then I met Lauren. Lauren had a similar story. She was teeny vertically, just like me. She had been much smaller in high school and college, like me (well, like all of us). And then she started “real life”. Like all of us. And that changed. And she ignored it. Like me. Then we met. And she got a little spider bite. She went to the doctors to see what that madness was… and guess what? They weighed her. A few years after my panic attack when I heard my weight, Lauren experienced the same thing. I’ll never forget it. I was at the office, and her number came up on my cell. I knew, of course, that she was getting this funky bite checked out. I answered. She was sobbing. Couldn’t understand a word she was saying. I couldn’t imagine what the doctor said about that spider bite that had her completely freaking out. Then I heard the key word: “scale”. They made Lauren get on a scale. And she had my exact experience. They said the number outloud. Lauren lost it. What happened to the small little petite girl from high school and college?
Right that moment, I promised her on the spot we were going to change things. We started attacking the gym together. Oh, we’d been going, but we weren’t really serious about the gym. We got SERIOUS. Very serious. We joined Weight Watchers online and started tracking what we were putting in our bodies. OH EM GEE. Wake up call. Had no idea how many calories I was really putting in my body each day.
Our bodies changed. Our self-worth started to turn around. We started to enjoy seeing the changes. We knew, finally, what to do, the right way. I’ll never be able to thank Lauren enough for being my partner in my journey back to a healthier me. #9, you know I love you. Here we are on the left, celebrating a healthy, fit Christmas together in 2007. We were on our journey, and we knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we were in together. And we always will be.
On one of my next visits to the exact same doctors office, I remember the nurse saying to me “Gosh, didn’t even recognize you Michelle! You’ve lost a ton of weight!” Even then, it didn’t register. So she showed me my chart. I was speechless. All those years I had been trying and failing, the fad diet, the ignoring… none of it had worked until 2007 when Lauren and I did it TOGETHER. So the nurse did something for me. She wrote down my weight. You can see it on the right. 2002: 157. YES. Me. 2003: 151. 2004: 139 (I believe I tried low carb madness this time). Then you’ll see I gained it back. 2006, right before Lauren and I got serious: 146. And our journey began. In 2007, at this very same doctor’s appointment, I was 135. But a different, healthy, active 135. I wasn’t where I wanted to be just yet, but I was on my way.
Then I fell in love. I moved back to Florida. I lost my Lauren, my workout partner, my accountability partner, my rock. But I found AWESOME new workout partners. I landed in Ponte Vedra Beach. I started taking classes at World
Gym (now Ponte Vedra Fitness). I made GREAT new friends. And I avoided every request for me to get back into training for fear I’d fall back in my old habits and not want to be at the gym. I still had my license, but didn’t want to do personal training. And then I was convinced to sub for a friend one night. I taught a class. One class became two. Two became ten. And then I was on the schedule, teaching a few times a week.
And here we are. 4+ years later. And yes, I still battle with my weight. I still battle with my fitness. I still battle with my self-esteem. I still battle with food. But I have all the tools now and I’m constantly looking for new tools, new motivation, new ways to challenge myself and you guys!
So, let’s get through this together. And trust me, I know it’s not easy. Now you know I’ve been through it. Now you know I still go through it. Now we’re ALL in it together. Me, Lauren, and each of you. All of us. Sooooo… let’s get FIT. And let’s make it FUN.
Love y’all (yeah, I’m all kinds of southern now),