Monday, September 7, 2015

My Fitness Journey: Rachel Brown

Hello! My name is Rachel Brown. This is my story of fitness, health, and improving my quality of life, despite the challenges.Over to the right you can see a comparison picture of me from when I started this process to where I am today. To give you an idea of what I had to do, let me give you a little of the background information. 

I am an army wife, (married 12 years!) a mother of 3 and I just turned the big 3-0 this year! When I was younger I was super active. I always played a sport or was playing outside. Then, I got married fresh out of high school (like 5 months after graduation) and became a mom a little over a year later. 

Needless to say, I wasn’t nearly as active after getting married as I use to be.

I didn’t do the best at keeping my body healthy and my health ever so slowly deteriorated. Before having my first child I was a fit 145lbs. After having my 3rd child, I was a not-so-fit 180lbs. Let me add, that I’m also only 5’4”. I have always said, ever since having my first child, that I wanted to get back in shape and lose weight. I always felt that I was very serious about wanting that, yet I never really did much about it. I worked out with a friend for a couple months and was starting to see results, but that ended and the pounds came right back. After my 3rd child I did one of those hardcore workout programs I borrowed from a friend and lost 10 pounds in a month, but then my baby’s sleep schedule changed and I “couldn’t fit in” my 1 hour workout, so those pounds came right back too.

People kept saying that once I saw results, that’d be motivation enough for me and I’d keep going. Or they would say that after doing it for a month, then it’ll be a habit and I’ll start to really enjoy it. That never happened for me. Even seeing 10 pounds gone and a pant size gone, it wasn’t enough to keep me motivated and wanting to keep up with it. I could never figure out why that was.
Why wasn’t I doing what I said I wanted to do?
I want to lose weight, why can’t I just do it!?
I was becoming frustrated and wanted to just throw in the towel and give up. I started thinking “I just need to be comfortable in the skin God gave me, and start being more confident.” That’s true. I believe we should be confident where we are in life and what we look like, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay that way. God didn’t create me overweight, I did that to myself.
So, as I was trying to be confident as a size 16 and 180 pounds, I was also asking myself the hard questions as to why I was still overweight and paying for a gym membership I never used. What I came up with was a few things. Overall, when I was real with myself, it was laziness. I could come up with a bunch of logical sounding reasons excuses why I didn’t have time. I have 3 kids (10, 8, and 3), a house to clean and a husband to spend time with.... not that I felt like I was doing any one of those things very well. Any mom will tell you that there are a lot of little things that go into those 3 responsibilities I listed. Time seems to run out and there just isn’t any left for us moms. Plus, what am I going to do with my kids? Then I realized that I sure did make time to catch up on my favorite tv shows. I would stay up late if I had to, to watch the latest episode. So what was really most important to me? Next, I thought about what I was eating. Oh man! Through my whole life I never really paid much attention to what I ate. If I wanted to eat it, I did. Don’t get me wrong, I would choose a salad every once in a while or water instead of a Pepsi, but for the most part, I didn’t really say no. I love dessert! I didn’t pay attention to how much processed food I ate, or carbs, or protein. It didn’t really cross my mind and I always felt that “crunchy” people were annoying and that they just read too much from the internet. I always thought that if I just worked out, I would lose weight and be healthy.
One last thing that I realized about myself was that I needed help. I knew that if I tried to go to the gym on my own, that I would get on that treadmill and get to running. When I started getting tired I would convince myself that I had done a good job and that I had run long enough, and I could stop. I felt like I walked around the gym with my hands in the air saying “what do I do with my hands?” I didn’t really know what a good workout looked like or how to even do most of the exercises. My awesome and extremely encouraging husband loves to workout and lift weights. He would do his best to give me movements to do and tell me how to do them, but I was still going by myself and I just wasn’t having success. Again, I started feeling discouraged. What do I do when that happens? I eat, and not the good stuff.
Then came Morgan Farr! God had been working in my life for a while about taking care of my body and being healthy  and He knew exactly what he was doing when he put the Farrs into my life. They are passionate about what they do, and have the knowledge to back it up. So,
I started asking questions.
I would question why they thought a certain way, or what about eating this, that sort of thing.  I heard about a women’s class that Morgan was starting up, but again, the timing didn’t work out for me. Did you catch that? Another excuse as to why I couldn’t commit. Then she added a second women’s class and that start time worked perfectly for my schedule. I knew God was saying “Ok Rachel, what’s your excuse now?”
Well... my kids are my excuse, they always are. What was I supposed to do with them? Thankfully Morgan allowed kids to come, so I did just that. I brought my 3 year old with me and he played in his little kid area. When my two oldest were on summer break, you better believe that I woke them up at 6 in the morning and they came with me. Why would I make them get up instead of sleep in during their summer break? Because they needed to see what hard work and dedication looks like. It was a lesson of “you can give up your sleep because this is something good for mommy, and I need to be healthy.”
Something else you should know about me is that I don’t like to disappoint people. If I commit to do something or being somewhere and I know someone will be expecting me, then I’m going to show up because I don’t want to let them down. I knew that committing to Farr Fitness was going to be great for me, because I knew If I didn’t show up, Morgan (or a gym friend) would send me a text to check up on me, make sure everything was ok, and hold me accountable. I did not want to have a lame excuse for not being there. That was what I really needed, a sense of accountability.
I started working out in January of 2015. Functional fitness (similar to Crossfit) and weight training was all new to me. Having been an athlete my entire life, I knew that whatever she told me to do, I would do it. I would tell her “I’ll do whatever you say.” It was quite funny in the beginning because my mind would say “yeah, I can do that movement” and then I’d go to try it and my body would be like “just kidding!!” I was definitely out of shape! But I kept going. A few months into it, my midsection was changing and not in the way I wanted. I felt like my stomach area was getting lower and more saggy. I almost wanted to gain the fat back just so I didn’t feel so gross. I was encouraged that if I just kept going, things would get better. I knew that my coaches were right, so I tried to ignore the negative thoughts I would have about my body. In April we went back home for Easter and when May rolled around and I measured myself, I had actually gained 5 POUNDS!!!!
Awesome... now I’m at 185 and maybe an inch or so of fat lost all over my body.
I was started to feel discouraged yet again.
So I talked with Morgan and Brian (who are a little “crunchy”) and I learned 2 things.
The first thing, was finding my goal. Talking to them about what a reasonable goal looked like and what my goal was, and then saying it out loud made me say “yes, I really do want this and I know I can do it.”
Secondly, I always thought working out was most important and then eating right. What I learned was getting the right amount of sleep was first priority, then eating right and then working out. So I started thinking about how I could change my eating habits. I knew eating was going to be a lot like working out, I needed something or someone to tell me how much to eat. Portion control was my biggest problem, next came willpower (or lack there of). I eliminated most junk food from my house except a few things for my kids that weren’t hard for me to say no to, and then I found something to help me visually see what good portion size looked like. I also started listening to those “crunchy” people I was talking about earlier. I learned more about what carbohydrates, sugar, and good fats/oils do to your body and I started making better choices.  That was it! Magic! When I started thinking about everything I put in my mouth and if that was going to help me reach my goal, that made a huge difference in my attitude and my results.  I would ask myself “is this worth hindering my process?” Honestly, sometimes the answer was yes. But for the most part the answer was no because I had a goal and I was serious about reaching it.
It is now August and I have lost 25 pounds, 13.5 total inches and about 7% body fat! I am down from a size 16 pant to a 12 (and those are kinda baggy)! I keep track of pounds, inches and body fat because I like to see all sorts of results, but the thing I care about the most is body fat percentage. I have definitely gained muscle and I am much stronger than I use to be. I can lift things, like my kids, a lot easier than I ever could. And guess what!!!? When I sit in my van, I can actually see the sides of my seat, my legs don’t take up the entire seat anymore! That’s a big deal! I’m not done either! I have a lot more goals that I want to attain and I know now, that it’s possible.

You might be reading this and think, that’s fine for you Rachel, but I was never an athlete, or I can’t even lift my cat’s food, let alone a weightlifting bar. That’s great! That means you have so much progress that you’re going to make. You just need to stop telling yourself you can’t. Start telling yourself that you are going to do it. You have to be serious about it and not just say you want it. Actually do it. I knew I needed someone to tell me what to do, how many to do, and when to do it. That’s ok if you need that too. Find it near you. Do it for yourself, not for your family or your husband, but for you. You are worth it. Your family will benefit from it later, but the benefits you’re going to get are going to be so much more than you can imagine. I never would have dreamed that I could do a box jump as high as I did a month ago, but I did it. And it felt amazing!!!! Struggling with my will to do the workout and my own laziness and procrastination was really hard. But, now my kids can see what hard work looks like. Make the choice for yourself, I promise you won’t regret it. 

A note from Coach Morgan: A special thank you to Samantha Metheny for the photos (minus the one in the blue shirt, that poor photographic quality was ALL me!) of Rachel's results. Sam is a seriously great photographer and if you are in the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg area and you are in need of pictures, we at Farr Fitness highly recommend her services. You can see more of her work here.