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Name: Liz Taylor
Before Weight: 276 pounds
How I Gained It: I have been overweight most of my life. Growing up I was very active, four-wheeling trail in my backyard, jumping on the trampoline, riding my bike, exploring the woods. But as active as I was, I ate just as much, especially junk food. Cake, ice-cream, chips, candy -- I ate it all, and I ate a lot of it. I was lucky enough to have a mother who enjoyed cooking and made homemade biscuits, macaroni and cheese, cakes from scratch, cubed steaks. However, all of this combined was not good for my self-esteem. Up until I was around 12 years old, I never cared about how I looked. My hair was almost always thrown in a ponytail, I wore baggy sweatpants and sweaters and had huge glasses. I was teased periodically for my looks, but it was not until I was a sophomore in high school that it became worse.
The summer of 2003 is when I fell in love with fitness. I was 12, almost 13. I would take my Discman and run laps around the four-wheeling trail in my backyard, or do work out videos a few times a week. The summer before starting the eighth grade I lost nearly 30 pounds. For the next two years my weight was under control, as I was busy playing volleyball and running track. The summer before starting tenth grade is when I started to put on more weight. At this time, I was cheerleading, but still managed to put on weight. This is also when I started to be teased relentlessly for my looks. After school I would come home to take more abuse from a family member. It was a vicious cycle and one that I thought I would never beat.
In high school there was a common area that everyone walked through to get to their classes. People would stand out in this area for a few minutes before going to their next class. That is when the teasing began. This one particular group of people would call me names every day. Over time my mother grew sick of me coming home crying, so she talked to my principal and student resource officer. I was escorted to class to help avoid any teasing. It helped calm things down, but it never stopped.
I still recall the pain I felt every day going to school. My stomach was always in knots because I never knew what particular torment that day would bring. I wore baggy clothes sometimes, in hopes that no one would notice me or my body. When I got my license I would skip class just so I would not have to walk through the common area. I would go in the bathroom in between classes and cry. I would take sleeping pills when I came home in the afternoon just so I would not eat. I never wanted to go out with my friends because I thought everyone else was so much prettier and better than me. I showered with the lights off so I would not have to look at my own reflection naked. At one time the depression was becoming so bad that I remember praying to God to kill me.
Food was my comfort. I graduated high school early and began college and working part-time. That is when I was quickly becoming my heaviest. I didn't have the time to be as active as I once was, but my eating stayed the same. All of these factors combined resulted in a huge weight gain. I graduated high school in January 2007 at 180 pounds, and by September 2008 I was up to 270. I still had a lot of muscle, but I put on so much fat over top of that.
Breaking Point: I was 19 years old, sitting in my doctor's office for depression, on a Tuesday afternoon when I decided I wanted to change my life forever. I wanted to know what it was like to buy clothes and not cry in the dressing room because nothing would fit. I wanted to know what it was like to look at my own reflection and not cringe. I wanted to see if I could truly put in the hard work and dedication it takes to change your life.
How I Lost It: I started researching everything I could on health and fitness. I could not really afford a personal trainer, nor did I want to rely on one. I started teaching myself different workouts, about the various types of cardiovascular activities, the proper way to lift weights, the benefits of exercise, recipes, the importance of different nutrients for my body -- there was not one subject in the health and fitness world that I did not read about. I have tons of notepads filled with notes, research and different exercises. I wanted to learn it all.
Over the past three years I have lost over 100 pounds and added over 20 pounds of muscle. It has not been easy, and I still struggle to this day, but I never give up. The biggest obstacle for me has been learning to fall in love with healthy eating. Now that I have developed a love for it, it makes my weight loss journey that much better. I eat for energy, nutrients and to be healthy. I no longer eat to fulfilll emotions. That has been such a key part in losing weight, and the biggest thing I had to teach myself, since food was my drug. I keep active with Spinning classes, running and weight training six days a week.
I started to blog in July 2010. At first, all I did with my blog is record my workouts and document my struggles and accomplishments. It was my therapy. It was not until October 2010 that I fell madly in love with health and fitness blogging. People on my Facebook page started to notice the change in my body and started asking for advice on how to lose weight. I decided since I have spent so many years trying to learn the health and fitness industry inside and out, that I would in turn help other people. This is truly what I live for. This is what I love in life. I love to train and improve myself, but knowing I can share my past pain, my struggles and my accomplishments to help others is the true prize in all of this. I have learned how to love and believe in myself.
After Weight: 165 pounds
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