By Rachael Myrick
My journey towards being healthy and having a healthy relationship with food has been years in the making. As a child, I struggled with being overweight until I hit my awkward pre-teen growth spurt.
Flash forward to college years, I competed in Miss Mississippi and dropped to the low weight of 100lbs to get ready for swimsuit competition. I severely limited my caloric intake and worked out like a madwoman. Sadly, this is actually what it took to win the swimsuit competition.
My experience then definitely clouded my judgment of what eating healthy looked like. Less calories= less weight in my view.
Jump even further ahead to babies...
After the birth of my first child, I experienced what many moms experience, a bout of post partum depression. Much of mine was the result of not feeling like I could find the balance. I worked full time, I was steadily gaining weight instead of losing it and didn't know how I would ever find the time to take care of myself. It always felt like there were never enough hours in the day.
When I peaked at 156lbs, my daughter was 2 years old and I was still wearing maternity pants. I couldn't take it any longer and I committed to a healthy lifestyle. I did HIIT style workouts 5 days a week and I started eating healthy foods, but fell into the same trap of tracking every little thing via My Fitness Pal.
After about 9 months, I had lost 25lbs but felt somewhat like a slave to the constant tracking of everything I put in my mouth and would often feel very guilty if I had a big "cheat" meal, often leading to a cheat day or days.
When I became pregnant with my second child I started seeing posts on Facebook and Instagram for Clean Kitchen. I was so blown away by the before and after photos that I immediately bought the CK cookbook and vowed to participate in the challenge once my baby was born.
When my son turned 6 months old in December, I was READY to commit to the Winter 2019 Clean Kitchen challenge. I also made the commitment to participate in the VOLT online training program 3-5 days per week.
What I have enjoyed most about the Clean Kitchen program is the absolute FREEDOM I have felt in these 12 weeks. No tracking macros or counting calories or eliminating entire food groups.
I was skeptical I would see progress happen quickly without these limitations, but WOW—did CK surprise me!
In the first two weeks alone, the changes in my body could be seen in photos. My energy level was up, even as a sleep deprived new mom. Around week 8 is when I started really seeing some significant changes in my body. Now at week 12, I'm starting to see the muscles and definition showing.
Doing this challenge has taught me how to be prepared for the unexpected, how to be flexible in my thinking and how to make good decisions. Now when I think about meals and snacks, I think in terms of "do I have a plant? Do I have a protein?" In terms of results, I have surpassed what I realistically thought I would achieve doing this challenge.
In just 12 weeks, I have lost 10lbs, over 15", fit back into size 4 clothing, both my wedding and engagement rings fit again, I have energy to play actively with my 4 year old and 10 month old. I feel great and am thrilled with the progress in my body!!!