Part I: Fitness Background


A couple weeks ago I started a fitness program. I plan to write a series of blogs about my fitness background and how I have felt going through the process. This is just the first blog of the series; stay tuned for more!

Part I: Background

Fitness has always been intimidating to me. I was your normal kid, involved in all of the co-ed sports teams you can imagine:  from soccer and t-ball, to swimming and ice skating, you name it, I probably tried it. I also took tap/ballet classes starting when I was three, and finally really committed to dance when I was about 8. Basically, I was a pretty active kid.

I danced until I graduated high school. I was a member of a semi-professional ballet company and also attended additional classes such as lyrical and jazz, so I was dancing 5-6 times a week for hours. With all the time I spent dancing at the studio, I never had to worry about “working out” to stay in shape. When I finally hung up my pointe shoes after high school, I still wasn’t faced with much of a challenge. The university I attended is located on the rolling hills of the Palouse in eastern Washington state where you would get a work out just walking to class up all of the hills. Many students joked that they developed “cougar calves” just by walking around campus, so the “freshman 15” did not really phase me. It was not until I moved to South Dakota that I really started noticing a problem with my weight and lack of fitness.

Moving to the Midwest was a big change. First of all, I was starting nursing school. Most people who attend nursing school have a 2-year practicum split up by a summer break. Since I already had a bachelor’s degree, I opted to attend an accelerated program that compressed the 2-year practicum into 11 months with no breaks. Now, standard 2-year nursing programs are very stressful, so imagine doing it all in less than a year! On top of the intensity of the accelerated program, I was in a new place and I did not know a soul. I also moved to South Dakota in the dead of winter and if you are familiar with the Dakota’s you know that means it is cold. Not just cold, but below zero, freezing, frigid, Arctic cold!  All of these factors mixed with the fact that I had never needed to or really knew how to work out added up. Due to stress, not eating right, and virtually having a sedentary lifestyle for a year (because you really can’t go outside for fear of hypothermia) did not help my physical fitness!  Although I successfully graduated with my Bachelor of Nursing, I also ended up gaining about 20 pounds during my short stint in South Dakota.

I was so discouraged and disappointed in myself, having put my physical fitness on hold while in school, but I felt like I did not know what to do. Like I said, I didn’t know how to go to the gym, and I was so intimidated to go and try to figure out the machines, only to embarrass myself or injure myself. Jake tried to help me–he would try to give me work outs routines to follow but he didn’t really understand that I was a beginner and was so out of shape.  Exercises that he thought were “easy” were so difficult for me, which made me even more ashamed. I recoiled. I hid behind oversized clothes and cried my eyes out sitting on my closet floor so upset that I couldn’t wear the same shorts from last summer. I was beating myself up, feeling helpless.

I tried several different diets: Weight Watchers was great…for about two months. I lost some weight but immediately gained it all back when there was stress at work or if we took a long-weekend away. I felt stuck in a vicious cycle of eating right, just to have one bad day and then instead of getting back on track, throwing all my efforts away and saying “screw it” as I reached for another cookie.

This went on for about a year.  I wasn’t gaining weight, but I also wasn’t losing it. Just one long, demoralizing plateau. Looking back, I think I had just given up and was trying to accept that my physical condition and poor body image were my new reality.  I had such low self-esteem despite the facade that everyone else saw.  I was so, SO depressed.  I decided in December 2018 to turn to blogging because not only do I love to write, but also because blogging/Instagram forces you to take pictures. I was forcing myself to see what I really looked like on a daily basis which was hard and WAAAYYY out of my comfort zone, but it was part of accepting this “new” larger version of myself.  But a funny thing happened…

As I started posting more pictures I did become more confident and accepted that this was “as good” as it was going to get. I have also connected with other women my size, but also with women who had been my size, who have similar lifestyles and were able to make positive changes. I was fascinated with their success:  How were they able to find the time to fit in fitness?  How were they able to stay committed?  What was their diet, and were they miserable just eating lettuce all the time?  There must have been a beacon on my head, as I started getting contacted by all of these “coaches” asking me to join their fitness groups. It was a little overwhelming, and slightly insulting- sometimes it felt like, “okay cool, I really do look as bad as I feel.”  One day I received a casual message from a follower and we just started talking. It was natural and I felt like she actually understood how hard my journey was. She made it less about joining her team and more about investing in myself and my health, which I honestly had never really done. The program she suggested was only 20 minutes in length (6 days a week), which was the first workout EVER that I felt I could actually fit into my very busy lifestyle and I didn’t have to leave the comfort of my living room to accomplish it.  I would have access to an “on-demand” program so I could just follow along and not have to figure out how to ‘gym.’  This all sounded great, but I hesitated when it came to the price. $160 seemed like so much to spend on myself, but she made some good points: First, the $160 was for a year-long membership. It breaks down to about $4 a week or about 44 cents per day. That is far less than a normal gym membership. Two, was I saying that I was not worth $160? Was my health and well-being not worth $160? That struck a chord with me. In the long run $160 is not very much, and I would probably spend that much (or more) on clothes! It was eye-opening. Next thing I knew I was signing up and buying my step-deck at Walmart. I had finally invested in myself.

So. Here we are. I finished the first session of Beach Body Transform:20 program…keep any eye out for my next blog in this series that dives into the workout and how I got through the program!


Part II coming soon! Anyone else starting or in the midst of your fitness journey? What is your motivation?

XOXO, Cait B.

‘Resolution’- Choosing Myself in 2019


I have never been much for New Year’s resolutions. The resolutions I have made in the past usually involve losing weight which great until March rolls around and I find myself back on the couch with a box of Cheez-It crackers at my side. I found I would fail at my resolutions more than I would succeed, which was discouraging. Therefore, this year instead of making a “resolution,” I decided to focus on what I need to do to increase my happiness and well-being.

2018 was a rough one for me: I started a new job with a steep learning curve, we had to move with only a 30-day notice (thanks Army), and we had to deal with some fairly serious health issues with my husband. It was one thing after another, constantly moving, never really relaxing or having time to vent or really assess all the stress I was under. It eventually all caught up to me. The week before Christmas I suddenly felt like my heart was racing as though I drank a liter of Mountain Dew and was completely wired. I was short of breath and my blood pressure was through the roof. I ended up having to leave work and go to urgent care. Despite being a nurse I really didn’t know what was going on. I felt okay: no chest pain, no numbness or tingling–I did a head-to-toe assessment of myself as I sat shaking in the waiting room trying to diagnose what was going on. After running a couple tests and an EKG (which was normal) the doctor discovered I was having a massive panic attack.

Now, I have always been high-strung and have dealt with anxiety most of my life, but I have never experienced these kind of symptoms before. After finally calming down, I really started to think about 2018 and thought to myself ‘Something has to change. I am 25. I should not be feeling this way.’ I have always been the kind of person to put everyone before myself and my own needs. After reevaluating the year I had, it made me realize I hadn’t taken much time for myself. I was so focused on the people and things going on around me that I forgot to care for myself and listen to my own needs. I was not a priority. I decided that this year has to be different and that I am going to invest more time and energy into my well-being. This may sound a little selfish, but here is my rationale: If I invest more time and energy into taking care of myself, I will end up being happier and healthier and in a better mood which in turn will make things around me happier too.

I have broken down my 2019 goals into a couple categories:

Instead of making weight loss a goal, I think the idea of ‘getting healthy’ is much more realistic. It has less to do with a number, and more to do with the amount of energy you have and how you feel.
-Eat more color: This is not referring to artificially orange Cheetos! By eating more color I mean more fruits and veggies. I was told once that your plate should look like a rainbow!
-Hydrate: I am so bad at drinking water! I get distracted at work and at home and put drinking H2O off to the side. My goal is to increase my intake in 2019. Water helps with your skin and digestion, and staying hydrated can help you lose weight and feel more awake!
-Walk more: This activity is for both mind and body. Walking is, of course, great exercise, but I also believe that getting out of the house into fresh air is one of the best ways to relax your mind, plus getting a little Vitamin D makes you feel better and puts you in a better mood. I am hoping to take Tilly for a walk 3 times a week (she gets a walk with our dog walker daily). I love spending time with my little fur ball so this time with her will also elevate my good mood.

Wellness is more focused on taking care of my mind and focusing more on my own needs.
-Journal: Writing has always been my best and favorite way to express myself. My goal this year is to take the time to sit down and collect my thoughts in a journal when I am feeling stressed, and not to just push it to the side. I also plan to blog more (a new post at least once weekly.) I love to write and connect with my followers. It is such a great outlet!
-Skincare: I have never had a true skincare routine. I have always bounced around from product to product never really committing to anything. Your skin is your largest organ and does SO much for you, and now that I am in my mid-20s, I think it is time to commit! My goal is to develop a skincare routine that works, is easy to stick to and does not break the bank. I will be searching for new products and recommendations and will take you all along on the journey with me!
-Allow for Small Luxuries: I am not afraid to say that Jake and I basically live paycheck to paycheck. As most young adults, money is always on our minds. We do put a large portion of our earnings into saving in the hopes of kids down the line (or more dogs ha) or possibly a dream vacation. Due to having tight purse strings, I have let some of my own personal care go by the way-side. For example, I no longer get my nails done unless it is for a special occasion, and I had not gotten my hair cut for over 6 months (embarrassing, I know.) I was so focused on saving a few extra dollars that I kind of forgot why we had that money in the first place. I’m not planning on blowing though our savings, but maybe developing a small fund where I put away 10-20 dollars at a time so I can feel like I can indulge a little bit. Getting pampered, even if it means buying a peel off mask and a bath-bomb can be such a great stress relief and can make you feel refreshed! (Don’t worry, Jake has said he is totally okay with this! Make sure to talk with your significant other if you share a bank-account before you start funneling money away!)
-Declutter: Clutter drives me a little crazy. We are usually pretty good at keeping our house clean, but we are awful at folding clothes and putting them away! One final goal I have is to put our clothes away in a timely fashion! This is such a small thing but getting organized can be so satisfying and can make you feel like your life is more in order. If I can tackle our laundry room, I will be one happy girl!

Setting goals and making resolutions can be hard and frustrating. My advice is to be easy on yourself and be realistic! Think of it more as a lifestyle change instead of a resolution. You might have set backs and bad days but do your best to not give up and throw in the towel! I know I will have my ups and downs and will have to remind myself that I am only human. All we can do is try. Remember, if you do not succeed, there is always next year! 😉

What are your resolutions and goals for 2019? How do you plan to stick to them?

XOXO, Cait B.