Brains Before Brawn
I used to get teased a lot in school about my name being Sasha as it was considered “a girl’s name” (hint: in my ancestral background this is almost exclusively a male name, but more importantly, there is no shame in being a girl). Sadly, I was teased about a lot more than that.
I was always a chubby kid. Pimples. Weird peach fuzz growing above the lip. Tragic hair. It’s like someone decided that I should be the poster child for “Awkward” and went full tilt with it. It wasn’t the easiest start to life.
The awkwardness led to teasing which led to bullying at school. My home life wasn’t helping either as it was just as bad. I wanted to escape everything. Lacking the means to do so as a child I turned to my own addiction: food. I ate my pain. I ate my suffering. I ate my growing anxiety and lack of control over anything and everything. Yet, this made things worse. Just before my 17th birthday I tipped the scales at 325 pounds and my pant size bowed out at 46. At that point, all measuring stopped and it was on to the largest jogging pants available as their waists stretched – to lesser and lesser degrees as time went on.
To say that I hated my life, my situation, everything I had become from my lack of any kind of control would be a sad understatement.
On one particular day in the week of my 17th birthday, I looked in the mirror and most likely influenced by the power of puberty I decided that no one would ever truly love me unless I did something about this body. I had no mental means of fully understanding it at the time, but my survival instincts led me to plant the seed for what would become a lifetime journey with all the twists and turns of a blockbuster adventure flick.
I decided that for my birthday I wanted to lose weight. My mom bought me a pay-as-you-go program at a weight loss clinic where they gave you a meal plan (790 calories per day – kids, don’t ever do this. EVER!) and combined daily weigh-ins with counseling sessions. In 1980s terms, this was a tremendous success! I lost 40 pounds in two months and when the funds ran out for me to continue the program at the clinic, I continued on my own, all the way down to 180 lbs! Within about a year and a half I had lost nearly 150 lbs. In school I was only teased about my hair (did I mention it was the 80s?).
You know how they say that people who lose weight won’t keep it off after a year? Sad truth my friends.
My initial weight loss success gave me a huge amount of overconfidence which led me to put the weight back on. I never went back to my all-time high, but the next two decades were spent losing and gaining weight with new, ever-growing frustrations mounting.
By 2014 I was at wit’s end. I randomly looked up a local personal trainer and a nutritionist. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I had ever made. I learned more in the next few years than I had ever learned from all the books, magazines and websites who claimed to have the answers I was looking for.
You know how they also say there are no quick fixes? That is also true. The picture you see above is the result of 4 years of this work. It truly is a lifestyle change and a lifetime commitment.
Once I was on my own, I continued my growth both physically and mentally while learning more and more about the topic of body transformations.
My story is the reason for my blog and my desire to help others. Our physical states – negative or positive – begin in our heads. Our outward appearances are simply an expression of this. If you choose to make fitness and optimal health a part of your life’s journey, I hope that you find something in my story and in my posts that will help you on your path.