My Weight Loss Story

bikini

As I sit here about to write a post about what I’ve been up to this weekend while vacationing in Michigan, I realized that I’ve never actually written about what originally sparked my interest in health, fitness, and nutrition. Since this is where it originated, I figure now’s the perfect time.

Coming to Michigan has always been a time for me to recharge and reassess my health and fitness goals.

I told you before that my mom was a driving force behind my passion to pursue a healthy lifestyle, and her father is the one who instilled those values in her.

Every summer since I was little, I can remember coming to Michigan to visit him and his wife Paula (our step-Grandma) and spending time hanging out at the athletic club they owned, The M.A.C.Β β€”Β swimming, learning tennis and just generally staying active.

grandpa

We would take trips to Lake Michigan where we’d run around the beach, and jet over to Mackinaw Island to bicycle around the perimeter.

canoe

Growing up, I was always very energetic. In addition to my mom’s positive example, my father is a former pro-athlete, so he’s always encouraged me to participate in sports. Throughout my childhood, I tried swimming, basketball, soccer, softball, gymnastics, bowling, volleyball, track (hurdles), golf, tennis (briefly), and dance. A lot, I know.

Swimming was the only one that lasted a significant amount of time though, about nine years.

My freshman year in high school I made the Varsity swim team. What for some would have been the start of a successful career in sports, was for me the beginning of the end.

At 14, instead of focusing on the pool, I was captivated by popularity. I dropped swim team and spent the next four years flirting with boys, going to parties, and treating my body like a garbage disposal for Big Macs.

By my senior prom, I was in the worst shape of my life.

promThis is a very bad, blurry picture but it’s the only one I have here in L.A., the rest are hidden far in the back of a closet in my childhood bedroom in Tucson. You can’t see my body well, but you can see in my face how my poor choices had taken their toll.

People joke about the freshman 15 in college. I had gained the senior 15, and more.

Now, I don’t want to exaggerate. My journey wasn’t nearly as difficult as many other peoples’. I was never significantly overweight. But when I weighed myself for the first time after seeing those prom pictures, I was nearly 25 pounds more than my average teenage weight.

That summer before college, I went to Michigan for our yearly vacation and told my Grandpa that I was tired of being unhealthy and I wanted to change my life and body. He jumped into action.

My Grandpa set me up with a trainer at his gym during the trip, and I got to work. It was the first time I’d ever talked to a professional about nutrition and fitness, outside of sports. I was fascinated. I loved learning about healthy eating, experimenting with recipes and pushing my body to the limit at the gym. I was in competition again, but this time, it was with myself.

I spent the whole trip quizzing my fit family members about everything you could possibly wonder about working out and eating healthy: How many calories are in this? How many grams of protein should I have a day? What’s flaxseed???

I took the skills I learned back to Tucson and spent the rest of the summer implementing them.

When I started college in August, I had dropped all of the weight.

It was such a big achievement for me. I felt so much happier and healthier than I did when I was “enjoying myself” and much more confident. I maintained the loss, more or less, for the past ten years.

yoga

I still fluctuate though depending on my eating habits for the week, and I still have fitness and health goals that I’m working to conquer.

This is the first time I’ve been back to Michigan in about six years. After high school, the visits became much less frequent and eventually stopped when I started working full time.

My Grandpa and Paula are moving soon though, and as this will probably be my last opportunity to visit, I couldn’t miss it. I’m on my second full day of the trip and I’ve already weight trained, played 18 holes, ran 2 miles, and am planning on an afternoon swim.

gym-3

plank

I love it here, and I love my family for introducing me to a better way of living. Anytime I get off track (most recently: Coachella, my birthday weekend, and 4th of July), I simply remember the lessons I learned here and I start anew.

Weigh In: What sparked your interest in exercise/nutrition? Do you have a certain time, place, or person that helps you get “back on track”?

Comments

  1. Whit, I hope you know I am will always be your cheerleader! You can always come to me if you need motivation as I think living a healthy and active lifestyle is paramount! This is why we get along so well πŸ™‚ My mother was the fuel that set my health/fitness/nutrition obsession on fire! At a young age she always tried to feed me “healthy” rice cakes, Ezekiel Bread, etc… But I would tell her I was going to sleep over at a friends house and then devour the entire contents of their junk food pantries! LOL – I do recall my friend’s parents always having to go to the grocery store after I left! Ah ha ha! Everything changed though when I got to boarding school though. I needed to be in tip-top shape to compete in snowboarding and I wanted to impress the boys with my push-ups. Mission accomplished, πŸ˜‰

    Of course, I REALLY got into nutrition/food/health when I learned of all my food intolerances/allergies… And when I had my large intestine removed… Yep, only added even more fuel to my obsession! LOL! Luckily, our obsessed with nutrition and fitness… ARE HEALTHY! And I couldn’t be happier for the both of us!

    Have fun in Michigan! Let me know when you get back so we can live our healthy lifestyles together! WOO WOO!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…The Waterboy Hates MeMy Profile

    • PS: Sorry about all the grammar errors/typos – that was a HOT MESS comment… I think I am low blood sugar right now! LOL!
      GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…The Waterboy Hates MeMy Profile

    • Whitney English says:

      Thanks for the support Gigi! Having friends with similar interests is so important to staying on track with my health and fitness goals, and you’re one of the best ones to have!

      I can totally relate to your story about your mom and eating at friends houses. My mom was dubbed “the fruit and veggie police” by my friends and no one wanted to eat at our house! When I went over to other kids houses though, it was a free for all on Gushers, Honeybuns, Cheetos, Fruit Roll-ups, and anything else I could get my hands on!

      Now though, I do appreciate what she was trying to instill and am glad most of it sunk in!

      Looking forward to Pilates, sushi, and recipe shoots when I return!

  2. I don’t remember you ever gaining a pound! You’ve always looked incredible to me! I love this post though and must say you look fantastic like always! Congrats on maintaining such a bangin’ bod, girl! Xoxo, BA

    • Whitney English says:

      You saw me when I was a skinny 16-year-old, haha! But thank you for the compliment πŸ™‚ You’re looking fab and stylish as always, as well!

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  4. Congrats for making your goal! Having time away from big cities and in a more relaxed, peaceful environment (like Michigan sounds for you) can be a big help. Also, all people fluctuate in weight – nothing to worry about!

    -James

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  8. Hi Whitney!
    So happy that I found your blog through Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential! Growing up (I guess more middle school age) I was overweight, at age 13 decided to take matters into my own hands. Although it has been a struggle (I have struggled with extreme disordered eating), I have more or less kept the weight off. I find healthy habits and weight loss fascinating, and I look forward to checking out your blog for inspiration!
    –Kristen

    • Whitney English says:

      Hi Kristen,

      I’m so glad you found it too!! Thank you visiting and sharing your own struggles with weight. I hope you’ll find the posts here helpful πŸ™‚

      xoxo

      Whitney

  9. Tim Johnson says:

    Hi Whitney, great post! Everyone should find that one person who will support them through their journey. Family is really important when you try to make big changes in your life. Keep the good work!
    Tim Johnson recently posted…Green Bean Coffee Extract: Side EffectsMy Profile

  10. Great Post…

  11. As like you, I was a softball player at my early age. But as I grow up I can’t spend time on playing softball cause of my education and other activities.

    Thanks for sharing your post.
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  12. You look great, swimming is good for weight loss and I preferred that too. I really appreciate your effort and Keep up.

  13. Hey!!
    I found your post very interesting.
    Losing weight as one of the greatest desires of those who need, is a challenge of psychological as wee as the somatic as well. Approaching a healthy way of prevails; need complete understandings of different approaches to reach the goals.
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    Thank you so much for great sharing.

  14. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. It is great that your grandpa supported you to get back to healthy lifestyle and lose weight
    Congratulations for realizing at such a young age that health and fitness is so important. I am also inspired to be healthy and fit because it feels great. Healthy lifestyle is the biggest gift that we can give to ourselves
    Raise frequency recently posted…Importance of forgiveness- Are you forgiven?- How to get forgiveness?My Profile

  15. congratulations for this beautiful and winning story!

  16. I love reading your blog because of all those tasty recipes and great health concerned articles, but your story is something that I’m very impressed at as well! I know how hard it is to change your whole life completely, but it was definitely worth it.
    Very good job!

  17. Thank you for sharing this story. It’s motivating me! Keep it coming!

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