I am in awe of this girl right here! Lauren! Just look at the amazing progress she has made so far. I have asked her to share about her journey and this is what she had to say!
Hey everyone! I’m so excited to have this opportunity!! When Anita asked me to share my story with you all, I was so honored. To know that my own journey can help others and is worthy of a fitness and nutrition blog is something I would NEVER have imagined, especially 6 months ago. It’s been one of the most amazing, jaw-dropping, life-changing journeys of my entire life, only comparable to the birth of my beautiful twin boys!
To give you an idea of where I was before I was introduced to Beachbody, saying I was “the big girl” is an understatement. As a child, I was one of the biggest girls in school. I was outgoing and had a lot of friends, but I was teased and humiliated about my weight for the major majority of my childhood. When my friends were getting their first “boyfriends”, I was crying because no one wanted to date me. It was lonely and really awful and it just got worse in middle school.
In middle school, I had my guard up. I was mean to people who wanted to be my friend, strictly out of fear that they would tease me. 7th grade was especially difficult. I was so badly harassed and humiliated that I actually considered taking my own life for the first time when I was just 12 years old. At that point, my battle with depression began. And by high school, I barely survived that battle.
Very shortly after my 15th birthday, I was hospitalized at a mental health hospital and placed on suicide watch. I was a cutter, who was inching closer and closer to the artery in my wrist. I was stripped naked and had my body searched for self-induced injuries and other forms of abuse. I had my clothing taken from me and all of my belongings. It was very much like being in jail. By the time I was discharged from the hospital, I was taking 17 pills a day. This all came from the horrible lack of self-confidence that I had, as a result of my weight.
Through out high school and my early college years, my weight went up and down, but never down to a healthy statistic. Even then, my weight loss was a result of starvation or unknown medical issues. I had awful eating habits and no idea what it meant to eat healthy. My senior year of high school, I was in a very mentally abusive relationship with the worst kind of guy. I was cheated on repeatedly, told it was my fault, and made to believe that everything was what I deserved. When that relationship ended, I was at an all time low. I turned to substances to ease the pain and was headed down a very dark and dangerous path. Shortly after I turned 18, I met my (now) fiance. He cared about me in a way that taught me to care about myself and I sobered up. We’ve been together ever since.
By the time I was 21, I found out that I have a rare heart condition. It’s called SVT (supraventicular tachycardia) and this causes my heart to beat much faster than a normal healthy heart. If you’ve ever heard of kids dropping dead in gym class from a heart attack, it’s typically caused by this heart condition. This made exercise difficult, and dangerous. Shortly after the discovery of my heart condition, I injured my hip, and that lead to the discovery that I had advanced arthritis in my hips. I had to have reconstructive surgery on my hip in 2010, and the surgeon said I had the arthritis of a 45 year old woman. He said this was mostly caused by my weight and if I gained much more weight, I would undo the surgery I just had. Over the next year, I did gain more weight as a result of the excuses: “Oh, I have a heart condition, I can’t be too active… Oh, I have bad hips, I can’t do vigorous activity without hurting myself… I have asthma so I could have an asthma attack if I push too hard”. Due to all this excessive weight gain, I also ended up with social phobia. I would throw up when I was in crowded places such as parties, the mall, or bars, or ANYWHERE that I felt uncomfortable. I began avoiding public places and as a college student, I had to sit in the front row so I didn’t see how many people were in my classes. If I didn’t, I became overwhlemed with anxiety, which triggered panic, then vomiting. My life was hardly enjoyable.
About a year after my surgery, I became engaged to my boyfriend and I was busy planning my wedding when I realized I was pregnant. I told my OB/GYN that I thought I was about 6 weeks pregnant and she thought I was further along so she ordered an ultrasound… I was already very anxious because this was an unplanned pregnancy and that ultrasound revealed that I was not only further along, but I was also expecting fraternal TWINS!!! Talk about the shock of a lifetime!! I was immediately thankful and scared to death at the same time. After my appointment, I immediately threw up in the parking lot, hahah!! I was just so shocked and overwhelmed.
During my pregnancy, I was extremely ill. I was throwing up all day, everyday, the entire time. I was a high risk pregnancy, but overall, had very few complications. The babies were doing fine, but I wasn’t. Due to the intense nausea and vomiting that I had the entire time, I lost a lot of weight. I wasn’t able to eat much and that as the cause for my weight loss. I went full term with my pregnancy, thankfully (for my babies, not so much for me lol). On the day I delivered my twins, I was 273lbs. A total gain of 40lbs during my pregnancy, which was considered a healthy gain for twins. Just 16 days postpartum, I was 210lbs. I was so thankful to have lost the weight, but as most people know, when you lose weight from not eating, you gain it back and then some, typically.
Within three months of delivering my twins, I was back to my delivery weight of 273lbs. This was mostly caused by the birth control choice I made, the Depot shot. I was also eating absolute garbage, since I could finally eat again without vomiting, and the shot made me gain every ounce of the trash I ate. By the time Beachbody came into my life, I was over 280lbs, wearing a size 3-4x, or size 24.
I was introduced to Beachbody from one of my best friend in high school. She was getting married and I went to her bridal shower. She had lost a lot of weight since I last saw her and I was so self-conscious, I barely enjoyed her shower. It was a beautiful shower, but I was so anxious, I felt like the whole party was whispering about how fat I was. I was ready to crawl in a hole and die. I ended up missing her wedding due to my own insecurities and that’s something I can never take back or make up to her. I remember crying the night of her wedding, wishing I could’ve been there for her and hating myself for allowing my weight to take control of my life.
This friend of mine had done a weight loss challenge group with Anita and shortly after, she became a coach for Beachbody. After months of trying to tell me how amazing I could do with Beachbody, and months of me turning her down, she offered a free support group for clean eating. I jumped all over this opportunity because I was genuinely broke and this was a chance to get free help. I didn’t think I could stick with the group and wasn’t very hopeful. The night before I started that clean eating group, I layed in bed, with tears rolling down my face, begging God to let this be what I needed to change my life and get healthier. Little did I know, He heard me and He answered my prayers!
I rocked the clean eating group and ended up being the overall winner of the challenge. I was so thankful for the changes I had made and I fell in love. I ended up getting into a weight loss challenge group with my friend and now coach, Stephanie. I didn’t have any money, but I was so desperate to get healthier, I asked my dad to help me with signing up. When I ordered my challenge pack in October 2013, I also signed up as a coach for Beachbody. I was immediately surrounded by the most inspiring, supportive, and amazing women I’ve ever been introduced to. My life began to change in SO many ways. Not just physically, but emotionally, financially, spiritually, and socially.
I’ve been eating clean since late August 2013. I added exercise in September, and began my low-impact Beachbody program in October (in order to protect my heart from working too hard and putting myself in very real danger). To date, I’ve lost 37lbs and 28.25″ inches from my body. I’m currently wearing a size XL-2x, and a size 16-18. I’ve gained so much more from Beachbody, also. I now have confidence I never had. I finally know how to cook. I can finally go out in public without getting sick and feeling like the whole world is judging and talking about me. I know what true healthy eating is and I can now ensure that my beautiful 15-month-old twins can live a happy and healthy life. I inspire other people every single day, just by sharing my story and my progress with them. The reward of getting healthier and inspiring others to do the same is worth SO much more to me than words can describe. I get to help everyone who ever felt as awful as I used to. I get to help change and better the lives of all my friends and family. I learned to turn my excuses into my reasons to get healthy and make an amazing life for myself and my family. God is my number one reason for the changes I’ve made, but he’s blessed me by allowing Beachbody to be the method for answering my prayers.
I’m still far from my ultimate goals, but in 120 days, I’ve gotten 26% of the way there. I could’ve chose to do nothing and still be where I was in August. But the decision I made to change my life was more than anything I ever dreamed of and I can’t wait for the day when I get to go to the seamstress at the bridal shop and LITERALLY tell her to cut my dress in half!! And I will do it, because with God, fitness, nutrition, and support… there’s no way I can fail!!!