And some never-before-seen engagement photos! Recently I received some questions about my weight loss story. I wish I would have blogged about weight loss prior to our wedding - when I first started losing weight! - but I was a bride back then so blogging was usually more focused on invitation meltdowns, bridesmaid drama, florals... you know, the usual! :)
Losing weight has been a journey for me anyway, though. It never started or ended with the wedding; I've dealt with it my whole life. I think something finally did click before our wedding, but even since then, my weight has fluctuated. I'm a work in progress! Here's a little more background that I hope will paint a broader picture.
How long was your engagement? It was a year and a half. I got engaged in October 2009 and was married in April 2011.
How much did you weigh before you got married? I weighed in around 165 when I first started working with a personal trainer. I didn't consider myself big because I was closer to 180 just a few years prior, but I did know I wanted to shed a few pounds. The photos in this post were taken in November 2009, just a month or so after Aaron proposed.
How much do you weigh when you got married? By the time I got married I was close to 145 lbs.
How much do you weigh now? I fluctuate but nowadays I tend to hover around 155; this is after the initial post-wedding gain of about 15 lbs. YES! You read that right - I gained back a lot of the weight I lost prior to the wedding, but I think that's pretty normal.
Are you still trying to lose weight? I do want to lose a few pounds but I'm not nearly as obsessed with the scale as I used to be. CrossFit has really changed my perspective of my body. I try to focus on celebrating non-scale victories, like overcoming the fear of doing handstands, or getting stronger. I've also seen my body change in ways that don't translate over to weighing less, like seeing my bicep develop and my traps rise. All of this has helped me realize the scale isn't nearly as important as how I feel.
What did you eat in the months leading up to your wedding? My trainer put me on a pretty basic meal plan that included a lot of chicken, sweet potatoes, fish, and vegetables. It wasn't very exciting but I tried to stick to it. Of course I had slip-ups... I mean, I was engaged well over a year, but it was also during my engagement that I began eating clean on a more consistent basis.
What motivated you? I really loved Oxygen magazine at the time! I loved the recipes they featured. I discovered the egg white casserole from them, and tried almond butter for the first time after seeing a mention of it in Oxygen. It's a great resource for clean eating.
I also had a very tight-knit workout group. I went to the gym 2-3 times a week with two ladies that I worked with. The three of us pitched in and got a personal trainer, which was a lot more affordable than hiring a personal trainer for one-on-one sessions, which I would not have been able to afford. The trainer and my gym buddies kept me accountable! Sometimes I didn't feel like going to the gym but knowing all of us were schlepping there together was a huge motivator.
The wedding probably had something to do with it too. :)
How did you stick to your diet? At the time I was living by myself so I had full control over the food that was within reach and I was adamant not to have anything nearby that would sabotage my progress. I vividly remember my brother coming to stay for a few nights and bringing his own food - I inspected his bags and made him throw out some hershey's chocolate syrup! He thought I was crazy!
What were your workout prior to the wedding? Like I mentioned I worked out with a personal trainer 2-3 times per week. She put a lot of emphasis on weight training, which to be honest, I mostly hated! She also had us do some body weight stuff like push-ups and assisted pull-ups, but it was up to us to do our own cardio. (Except on occasion when she'd make us run the stairs!) Prior to getting with her I had started running for the first time in my life. I ran a 5k, then a 10k, then two 10 milers. By the time I started working out with her running was a part of my routine so I usually opted to do that for cardio, or get on the elliptical (on occasion).
What was your post-wedding plan? I didn't have one which was probably a big part of my problem! I moved in with my fiancé and started eating gobs of ice cream after dinner! Lol! (You know, the love chub set in!) I realized pretty quickly that I was reverting back to some old habits but luckily, I still had my gym buddies and still enjoyed running. I set the goal to run a marathon that year and - believe it or not! - I did it! In November 2011, I ran the Philadelphia marathon in about 5 hours and 30 minutes. I certainly wasn't fast, but I was resilient! To this day I am very proud of that accomplishment.
Running was definitely very good for me post-wedding. It takes a lot to push yourself to run those long miles but it didn't do much for me in terms of weight loss or strength gain. I actually gained weight during training because I got into carb loading and rewarding myself with whatever my heart desired after long weekend runs! (Hey, I deserved it right?) It wasn't until I joined CrossFit in June 2013 that I started to see real change in my body -- this time, for good!
Did you gain weight after the wedding? Like I mentioned above, I did but I think that's pretty normal and certainly nothing to be ashamed about. I would like to blog more about my experience and have some thoughtful discussion here about why that happens; I think part of it is having too much emphasis on just one day and losing the bigger perspective. What I didn't do after the wedding was give up working out or learning to eat better, all of which I think has helped me keep the weight off.
What's your goals right now? My goal at this point is to get better at CrossFit. I can't do a strict pull-up or a handstand push-up, and I'm not comfortable with rope climbs or toes-to-bar. There's so much room for improvement! I also want to continue to refine my diet and if I can, lose some belly fat. I'm actually really happy with my body but I still struggle with the appearance of my stomach. Is it crazy to want CrossFit abs?? Cause I want 'em. :)
I'm fortunate in that my husband has gotten into fitness now as well (via CrossFit). I never imagined we'd both be fitness enthusiasts but we are and it's really working to our advantage. We've been meal planning and prepping together, tracking our macros (protein, carb, and fat intake via MyFitnessPal) and just generally being more conciseness about the food we eat. It's AWESOME to have a partner in this and I'm so blessed to have that. It's also shaping my goals somewhat because if he wants to eat better than automatically, I eat better! It's kind of awesome! (Oh, and in case you're wondering... he wants a six pack, too but I'm hoping to beat him too it!)
What's your advice for brides? Obviously I have a lot of advice for brides which is why I run a bridal-fitness blog! But, if I had to boil it down I'd suggest finding a partner in this. Whether it's your fiancé, a coworker, or friend from afar, having accountability and support is so, so important. If you're looking to lose weight I'd also stress that you pay close attention to your diet. At least in my experience it's held that it's 30 percent gym and 70 percent diet.
Now tell me about your weight loss story!
Have you always been on a weight loss journey?
Did you weight fluctuate around major life events, like your wedding or engagement?
These photos are from Kelly Mihalcoe. We had two sets of engagement photos because I didn't love the first set. These photos are actually from our second session but they've never been shared publicly because I decided to use the photos from the initial one. You can see those on Weddingbee.