MEET ANDREA: INSPIRING CONFIDENCE THROUGH STRENGTH & STYLE
“Working out consistently does wonders for me. Three words come to mind: release, therapy, and empowerment.
I am thankful and do not take for granted my body’s ability to exercise.
My attitude has not always been this positive. For many years, I struggled with eating disorders and body image issues. I can honestly say that I have recovered, and have come to a place of self-acceptance and love. It is something that no longer controls me, but I have to stay on alert. Old patterns and thoughts can rear their ugly head. I have learned strategies to push through the negative thoughts, and being active is a very important piece of the puzzle.
I have not always talked openly about it. I was worried that people would label me, and I didn’t want it to define me. Now, however, I think that if I am helping someone by sharing my experience, it is worth it to be honest about it. I have learned so much through it, and want to help others avoid falling into the same trap. I also think others can relate to my struggle because it is more common than people think.
EVERYONE HAS OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME!
Only by the grace of God and the support of my family and friends, I emerged from it. Eating disorders are difficult to recover from because there are many layers that need to be addressed. You can’t avoid food the way an alcoholic can avoid alcohol in recovery. ED’s can alter your hormones and chemicals in the brain. You have to develop different habits and coping mechanisms over time. You have to redefine your relationship with your body and with food. And of course, it isn’t just about the food/exercise, its also about control and fear.
The turning point for me was during my pregnancy with my daughter. It opened my eyes to the abuse I was subjecting my body to, and I did not want to extend that to her in any way. During that time and afterwards, I became healthier. I gained a normal amount of weight and I was ok with it.
Over the year after she was born, I lost the weight and that was when I really started to include weights as part of my routine. My weights to cardio ratio has shifted from that time from mostly cardio with a little weight training to now, mostly weight training with a little cardio.
It took a lot of convincing to get me to change, but once I started to see changes in my body, I was hooked!
I LIKED THE FEELING OF BECOMING STRONGER THROUGH EXERCISE, INSTEAD OF WEAK AND DEPLETED, AS I HAD FELT DURING MY DAYS OF WORKING OUT FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF BURNING CALORIES.
Over the years I have also transitioned from eating a lot of “diet” food to eating mostly whole, minimally processed foods. There are treats thrown in occasionally, but now I don’t stress about them, I enjoy them! My husband, Ryan, and I are both passionate about wellness and we strive to incorporate it into our family’s life. He has taught me so much about weight training and exercise in general. We push each other to stay on track and motivated in our endeavors.
My daughter is now 10, and I frequently remind myself that the way I talk about and treat my body speaks volumes to her.
I want to do everything I can to prevent her from struggling as I have. I do my best to not only say positive things, but also to teach and model healthy eating habits and exercise. Her body will undergo changes soon, and I want to keep her focus on staying strong and active, not worrying about her weight. My hope is for her to appreciate and be thankful not only for what her body looks like, but for what it can do.
I started by blog, Loubies and Lulu, last fall to share my love of fitness and fashion with others. I want to empower people to find a way to be active that they enjoy, and to stick with it. I feature the workouts and classes that I like. I love to write about what I learn on my journey to becoming healthier. On the fashion/style side, I write about my favorite things, or items I have my eye on. I think it is highly motivating to reward yourself with an awesome new workout top or a gorgeous new dress for all of your hard work in the gym or studio!
The most important thing I have learned is that there is no quick fix. Its all about consistency and commitment to a healthy lifestyle. We all have “off” days, that’s a given, but you’ve got to pick yourself up and keep striving to be the best you possible!
Have you been inspired by Andrea’s story of strength & style? If so leave us a comment and you could win a free Foodspiraiton® Believe Print!