It has been a few months since I made the return post and regrettably, I have not been able to participate in one of our weekly shows yet. The most common question that I have been answering since I’ve gotten home is how I lost the weight. Before I left on my 6 month deployment, I had weighed in at about 170lbs at 5’8″ and that put me out of my Navy height/weight regulations but luckily, I was able to pass the BCA tape measurements and my actual physical readiness requirement. I had never in my life been that heavy and while some women are happy in their skins at whatever weight they may presently be- I was not. There was no level of comfort for me to be heavier than I was when I was 9 months pregnant with my son and I felt unattractive. I decided, that I wanted to lose the weight and by hell or high water, I was going to make it happen.

The first step I took was talking to a Nutritionist and develop a good diet plan, eating only 1400 calories a day and try to increase my level of physical activity to at least 6 hours a week. I started counting calories and cutting calories where I could by trying to use vegan mayonnaise, vegan cheese and trying to substitute out for reduced fat or no fat products where I could. I switched to Splenda/Truvia and only diet soda, if I drank soda at all. This seemed to help out a little bit but I wasn’t seeing the positive losses that I was hoping for, so I had to keep trying.

The next step was switching my birth control method (which won’t help any males out there) but the hormones in my birth control can contribute to weight gain and water retention so I got myself off hormonal birth control entirely. This helped my overall mental health and physical health in the long term effects combined with my diet and exercise routines.

The last step had to be the hardest, get off my ass and get into the gym. With office hours and wanting to spend as much time as possible with my family, I settled for using the elliptical at my house to meet my 6 hours a week requirement but I was honestly, lazy though motivated at first. It wasn’t until I got to my ship that I truly through myself wholeheartedly into a workout routine. I went to the gym 6 days a week for 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day doing everything I could remember from physical therapy. I did a 15 minute warm-up on an elliptical/stationary bike/treadmill and then did calisthenics (push-ups, sit-ups, v-ups, flutter kicks, leg raises, etc) for a hour before I ended with a run that ate up the last of my energy. I don’t think I started taking a pre-workout supplement until month 2, but I was starting to see small increases, clothes seemed a little bit bigger on me and I was able to increase the number of exercises that I did so I kept going. I was actually down to 140 lbs by February and I started adding endurance weight training to the mix.

I actually had a major aversion to going to a weight room for the longest time. I didn’t want to be bothered since being a lone female in a male dominated area is generally awkward but people generally left me alone, so I exercised alone and uninterrupted. I did get some help, my good friend and mentor, gave me different exercises to do at my request and I did start training with him. He helped me to push myself harder and lift heavier. Another one of my friends made the suggestion that I had the right body type to be a bodybuilder and I asked my mentor if it was possible. On a whim, we decided to start me on a strength training routine, which made it easier for him since I would be doing the same exercises as him (just with a lower weight) and we saw the results in what seemed like almost no time at all. I was getting stronger, building more muscle endurance, and I put on about 10 lbs of muscle and about an inch of muscle to my biceps.

Now that I am home, I have been trying to maintain the same level of physical training but it is difficult with family and friend commitments- building and maintaining relationships is just as important as maintaining your own physical fitness. Many times, I have been able to coax my friends into the gym with me but I still mostly workout alone. One of the harder things to do is to balance out my need to not do anything and just relax. I love gaming, watching movies/anime, and reading, so how can I do it and still do this other stuff? So now I’ve found myself in a different problem- time management hell.

I still work full-time, take college courses, and have a family and an active social life. I have no idea where the time ends up going but it is my newest challenge to manage all of my time so I can do everything! I tend to workout at work so it doesn’t eat into my family time and when I end up by myself (for a few hours every day) I can try to catch up on my recreational needs. I tend to play Diablo 3 with my husband and friends; and we watch a great number of television series on Netflix and Amazon together as a group (I’ve caught up to Season 3 of Sons of Anarchy, Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad this way). It is a full-time job in itself to manage my hobbies and my relationships, but I think it’s working out. =) Now to figure out how to squeeze more MSP broadcasts into the mix.

My main advice for anyone that is serious about losing weight is to honestly commit to the idea that you need to make a lifestyle change to live healthier. It doesn’t mean you have to give up video games or soda. It does mean that you have to spend more time actually watching what you are feeding yourself and doing more things that get you active. Some people use DDR but why not go for a run around the block, running is free? There are a ton of things you can do that are body weight related that don’t cost you anything or require you to leave your room. Try to ease some push-ups or sit-ups into those down times that you’re console is updating or when you have no idea what game you want to play. Just try to find something that works for you, you’ll feel better about yourself and will be better health wise!