I Was Struggling to Lose Weight

www.raquelphillips.com

My journey started with trying to lose weight, as probably many fitness journeys do. I had our youngest of six children in 2018 at age 35, and the next two year after that was a struggle physically. At the beginning of 2020, I woke up feeling bad every single day. I mean, I was utterly miserable. I got on the scale and realized I had hit 200lbs (I’m 5'4"), and I immediately knew I had to pull it together.

So I started doing what I knew — spin class and the Ketogenic Diet. Immediately I lost a handful of weight, but I still felt horrible, I was inconsistent, and I realized the pounds weren’t falling off as rapidly as they had when I had used this strategy after having babies in my 20's.

Knowing I needed help, I signed up for personal training at the gym where my husband I were already members. I had trained there before for a brief time, and the certified personal trainer I had was terrific; however, this time, when I signed up for the package, she was no longer working at the gym. So, the manager showed me another trainer’s profile and some of his results. When I saw him, I was pumped; he was like a 6'3" super jacked dude who looked like he was going kick my booty!

Excited, I signed up for about eight weeks of personal training and excitedly went home to tell my husband. Two days before my first session, the news broke of Covid in the United States, and my children were sent home from school for what we thought was going to be a week. So, I had to push my session back a week. The following week, the magnitude of the pandemic began to unfold fully, and the gym was closed indefinitely.

I became focused on trying to figure out homeschooling three school-aged children and meeting the needs of the other two who were home but still attending school virtually while trying to keep a busy toddler entertained. I fell back into the only thing I knew — I bought a spin bike for home, and I continued with the ketogenic diet. I lost around 20 lbs during that time, but I still felt horrible every single day.

Months later, when I heard the news that the gym was re-opening, I immediately called the gym manager and inquired about starting my personal training sessions. She informed me that the trainer I signed up with was no longer there but said she could put me with who was available since the options were slim. The alternative was a college student who had just recently become a trainer. I was skeptical, but I had already paid for the sessions, and I was desperate for help losing weight, so I agreed.

When I came in, he asked me a few questions, and a few minutes later, he had me working out. While I was working out, I felt a little off, but I thought I was just really out of shape and would probably have some muscle soreness. I left, and by the time I got home, I was in pain. That night I barely slept, and when I got up the following day, I literally couldn’t turn my neck to the right. It was so bad. I had to Uber the next day because I didn’t even have enough range of motion to turn my head to glance in my blind spot.

Needless to say, my husband called and canceled my personal training sessions, and I ended up at the chiropractor. I got enough relief from the chiropractor to drive, but I lost my motivation to work out. About a month later, I saw a post about hot yoga. I had been a few times before my youngest son and loved it as a recovery workout. The social media post had so many things to say about it I decided to try hot yoga as my workout, which made me feel a little better. I also started taking some boxing classes that were mixed with a functional workout. During those classes, I realized my joint pain was holding back from progress, I had little to no range of motion at the hip, knee, and ankle, and that my balance and stability were waning. Next, I tried to incorporate running since I knew I probably wasn’t burning many calories in yoga.

The first day I went out to run, I was devastated. I couldn’t. My lungs couldn’t take it, my knees were on fire, my back hurt, and I thought I would pass out. I walked back home from the park near our house in full-blown tears. My husband met me at the door and just hugged me. I remember him telling me, “Babe, you’ll figure this all out! You will.” At that moment, I was sure I wouldn’t and that I would probably die overweight and feeling miserable. However, the next day I knew he was right; I had to figure it out.

That’s the first reason I decided to become a CPT and get my group fitness certification and a few other health and fitness certifications.

My two daughter’s travel volleyball season started, and it became harder and harder to get to yoga and boxing classes because of the distance from my house. The weight of trying to make flights, long drives, doctor and physical therapy appointments, and also trying to make homeschool with my boys a success became too much. So I decided to start educating myself so that I could work out at home. Literally, after my first five units of study, I was mind blown. I could not believe how far just a little information could go. I started binging fitness podcasts; I made an Instagram that only followed fitness accounts; I read every fitness journal, newsletter, book, and email that I could fit into my schedule. During the long drives to volleyball locations, I would listen to fitness content exclusively. My children were over it but incredibly supportive, so they all requested air pods for any time in the car with me, which I thought was hilarious.

From the time I began my courses till now, I lost an additional 30 lbs. I by no means consider myself an expert; however, with a better understanding of how our bodies work, I understood better why I could not lose weight anymore with cardio and the ketogenic diet. I also began to change the way I viewed food and eating habits. For more on this, check out my blog, “Eating To Live Well: 7 Suggestions That Helped Me Lose Over 50lbs”.

Furthermore, the way I began to work out and structure a program for myself changed forever. I began to shift my obsession from the scale and began to tune into my body. I began to see my balance come back. I could bend down to tie my shoes. I could squat to pick up toys in my toddler’s room instead of hinging painfully at the waist. I could go on long walks with my family and even carry my toddler back home when he got tired. I could take bike rides with my kids. About two months ago, I taught my 6-year-old how to ride his bike on an almost 90-degree day, running with him back and forth on our street for hours without croaking. Having the strength and stamina to teach him how to ride his bike is one of my most significant accomplishments on my fitness journey thus far, believe it or not.

I still have not reached every single one of my fitness goals, not even close. I don’t have a dream body that I can show off on Instagram. I don’t have crazy intense workouts that awe and inspire on Tik Tok. What I do have is a body that can support my life. A body that can get me through raising six active children without feeling horrid. A body that can go outside again and do the activities that bring me joy like taking a hike, going bike riding, or running a holiday 5k. I have a body that I’m more confident can carry me through this journey. And for me, that makes all the difference.

Raquel Phillips is a writer, digital creator, CPT, certified group fitness instructor, and entrepreneur. She is a wife and mother of 6 amazing children. She resides in Virginia Beach, VA.

Get Raquel’s absolutely free fitness e-book: https://www.raquelphillips.com/dream-fitness-ebook

Download Raquel’s first free 7-day bodyweight challenge: https://www.raquelphillips.com/7-day-challenge

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Raquel Phillips

Raquel Phillips

Raquel Phillips is a writer, digital creator, CPT, and group fitness instructor. She is a wife, and mother of 6 children. She resides in Virginia Beach, VA.

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