Stress Made Me Fat!: A Personal Look Into A Health Coach’s Journey
“I didn’t sit on my butt all day, I actually was a group fitness manager and taught about 12 classes per week, sometimes exercising 2-3 hours per day! So how would such an active person who ate very little look like this? Well, a combination of things, but my biggest battle was with stress.”
I was looking at some old photos of myself over a period of a few years when I was morbidly obese. If I didn’t know better, I would think “this lady must sit on her butt eating chips, candy, donuts, and drink cola all day! She probably never exercised a day in her life!” Well, as a Holistic Health Coach I wouldn’t think that, but I can tell you that is the first thought most folks have when they see someone with weight issues. In my case it wasn’t too many calories, it was not enough calories! I didn’t sit on my butt all day, I actually was a group fitness manager and taught about 12 classes per week, sometimes exercising 2-3 hours per day! So how would such an active person who ate very little look like this? Well, a combination of things, but my biggest battle was with stress.
We all have stress in our lives, but it’s how much stress and how our body processes it that is unique to each of us and its impact on our health. When you are faced with stressful situations cortisol is released into your body, which slows down the production of testosterone. Cortisol encourages your body to store fat and slow your metabolism in burning calories and makes you crave sugary or carb rich foods for comfort. In my case I didn’t necessarily reach for either food right away- I reached for nothing. My typical day started with a cup of black coffee. By 3p I was working on my 4th or 5th cup of coffee and had not eaten anything because I was buried in work stress and ignoring my body’s needs. This caused my body to go into “starvation mode” holding onto every ounce of fat for survival because it didn’t know when I would eat again. By 6p I was usually feeling starved and would reach for just about anything! Although I didn’t eat a lot of them, carbs seemed to satisfy my growling stomach long enough for me to change into workout gear, go teach another class, and finally come home to eat dinner around 8pm.
“My typical day started with a cup of black coffee. By 3pm I was working on my 4th or 5th cup of coffee and had not eaten anything because I was buried in work stress and ignoring my body’s needs.”
It was a vicious cycle of unhealthy practices for several years. It effected not only my waistline, but my relationships with my kids and husband. I was anxious, I was miserable. I was tired, I was embarrassed. I loved my career, but I hated how I felt that I didn’t “look the part”. It was obvious others thought that about me too- other gym managers and members. It was hard to pretend I didn’t see the look of confusion and shock in their eyes when they would first meet me as a “fitness professional” but I was good at doing what I did, so those who did know me knew I gave 110% of my life and health to the job.
In my personal life, I felt like I was not available enough for my kids. Although they were grown adults, they still needed a mother and I was always working- from the gym, from the home, from my phone on vacation. This also effected my marriage. My husband was very supportive in that he actually taught classes with me just to be able to spend time together. He spent several evenings a week and every weekend either teaching classes, helping fix stereo equipment, making flyers to announce upcoming events, or listening to me bitch about the 50+/- instructors I managed or console my tears of pure exhaustion. My way of dealing with stress was to add more stress- eating less, eating late, eating a bad combination of macros for my body, exercising too much, and living in a mentality of negativity behind the scenes- because of course when I was on stage I was ON! As far as the world knew I lived a perfect life and was “freaking Mary-Poppins-Happy!!” One day I took a look at my life, and my health (actually it was at the insistence of my oldest daughter and husband) and decided to make some changes. Who was this person I had become? This isn’t me. The real me was underneath layers of unhealthy fat and self-criticism, behind those tear-stained eyes and years of self-deprivation. It was time for a change, and I was so ready!
I look back to those days long ago and have vowed never to fall into that trap again. My kids and husband actually joke how they will ALL “divorce” me if I ever get into management again! I did get on a healthier path and I feel much more beautiful in a smile than in tears. I feel more energetic, I feel sexier, and I feel stronger both mentally and physically than I have in years. For me it took a lot of experimentation and getting to know my body to find success on my journey. It is the very motivation behind my career change in wanting to coach others to live a healthier lifestyle and reach their own goals. I have coached over 100 people both men and women, in losing weight, adding muscle mass, reducing stress, and living a healthier, happier lifestyle. It is my passion, it is my mission. I’m finally free! If you are ready to make changes and live a healthier life- then let’s talk!
By Fitmo Coach Carol Keller
Do you look in the mirror and say “Who Am I?” Do you want to feel younger, confident, & have more energy? As a woman over 40, Carol understands the struggles that woman her age go through. Carol has been a diet and exercise coach for over 10 years and she wants you help you get YOUR sexy back & put that confidence back in your strut!