Friday, March 30, 2012

Was never this healthy or fit: This is how it started

I had just turned 22 in this picture
In my early 20's my nutrition was not very healthy, to say the least. Most days out of the week I would rely on eating fast-food and junk food. Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Tommy's, Tams - the local burger joint - were the usual places where I had breakfast, lunch and dinner. My snacks consisted of pastries, cookies and salty snacks from Costco. I drank Gatorade, sweetened ice teas, flavored milks, and the occasional soda fizzed in my mouth...and now come to think of it -- I ate heck of a lot of bad stuff, haha!

 I was pretty athletic as a kid and in high school, so as a young girl in my early 20's all the junk food I ate did really not take a toll on my body (or so I thought!). Another factor that helped me stay in shape was the fact that I ran about 2 times a week, lifted cans of food or water bottles (this is before I discovered weights! LOL) and generally, my family ate pretty healthy. But I ALWAYS desired to be in better shape, health and fitness but I knew that it was NOT possible. That would never happen to me... 

When I was 22.2-24.7 years old I got involved in a nice relationship with a guy I met at the Cerritos College library. He was so handsome, super-sweet and so fit! He was much more athletic than I was, and for the most part, was a healthy eater too. As our relationship grew, we both got more and more comfortable with each other, to the point where we began to pig out regularly. We would go out to eat 2, 3 - 4 times during the week. We'd stay up long hours to party on the weekends, drink alcohol and get drunk! After clubbing we'd go to Jack-in-the box for fried food, burgers and shakes. When we'd get together with his friends or family we've indulge in pizza and tacos. (I was fine with the tacos because this was special family time. :-)

It seemed that we always felt too lazy to be active when we were together; we'd just watch movies and then fall asleep! Oh my goodness -- now I wonder there were many times we were unhappy. Don't get me wrong, generally, we had a great relationship with open communication, respect and kindness, but there were times when we would just argue and not show much love to each other.

There came a point where he wanted to take a break from the relationship (or end it, for that matter) and  I was so very hurt....After dialoging about working it out--yes--no--and doing my best -- yes, I naively told him I'd be the best girlfriend I could be -- to make our relationship last, but he was still unsure. Then I realized that I had plenty of love for myself and my dignity was much bigger than I thought. Soon after, I told myself I would not put up with it, so I clearly and firmly I gave him an ultimatum: "let's stick together and we will both work at it 100% OR we go our separate ways." He chose the later and the relationship  ended for good in April 2006.

My pride, ego, and heart were hurt, but I refused to let that affect me and bring me down. This was my chance to reclaim myself. There was no way this ex-boyfriend of mine would make me feel like I wasn't worth it. My mind,  my body,  my spirit was waiting for me. My family and girl friends were waiting for me. It was now my chance to wake up the Bea I always wanted to be. I was so pumped that I decided to take charge and get fit and healthy because NO ONE would do it for me - only I could. I just decided to literally "MOVE" and turned to weights and sought to get the in the best shape of my life by 25!
I began to hit the gym 4-5 times a week, sometimes for up to 2 hours -- Geez! I would be at the gym by 6am doing cardio for 40 to 50 minutes on an empty stomach! (Ahhh!!!)
I bought a little pink cooler (which 6 years later, I still have :) and I would prepare my lunch daily. I'd have grilled chicken breast, white rice and vegetables (but had no concept of portion control).  I would drink 2 liters of water a day and I ate fruit as snacks. I thought my nutrition was awesome (little did I know!) because I had instant, flavored oatmeal, 2% milk, healthy tortas (Mexican sandwiches) with lettuce, tomato, ham cheese, but no mayo and chiles en vinagre (pickled jalapeno peppers) -- (did any one tell me about sodium, here?! LOL). At the 99 cents store I'd buy I would take little cans of tuna and crackers for lunch and occasionally a girlfriend and I would take trip to the Mexican restaurant near UCI for some nachos or taquitos with (fattening, yuck!) sour cream and cheese and (high in sodium) guacamole and salsa! 

The changes I had made (though, now I know, not that healthy) were significant enough to shock my body and begin my transformation. In less than four months, from April to July 2006, I went down from 125+ lbs. or something, to 111 lbs.! I had lost so much weight (burned both fat and muscle mass by a combination of doing endless cardio and/or not eating enough) and I was feeling good again. My self-esteem and confidence we higher than I had ever seen before in my life...
Although I had stated working out and eating better, I still partied a lot!

Notice my wimpy shoulders in these pictures -- I got so skinny!

This love-life experience was a turning point for me. Not being wanted by a once "loved guy" made me realize that NO ONE will love me like I can love myself. When I decided to end that relationship, I was able to see that I was strong and I did not need his company to be happy and be my healthiest self. If I didn't do it for me, who would? No one. It was up to me. And this was my song!

Six years later, I am where I wanted to be in many areas of my life. I have found inner-love and finding that special place in my own heart, helped me realize what I want in a partner. Bret, my fiance is the love of my life, my soul-mate, my #1 fan, a great coach and inspiring mentor. Today, I have more dreams for my future and I know I will get there because in my past I've broken barriers, and I know I will continue doing so :-)



Notice my strong and toned shoulders in this picture! :-)

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