Not a lot of people talk about what happens mentally when you’re unhealthy. My changes over this past year have been as much mental as it has been physical. As someone who has always cared about health and fitness, being obese made me feel like a foreigner in my own body.

I was the girl who gave up soft drinks at 15 when I found out they were bad for me. I was the girl who woke up at 5:30 in the morning to work out on my own before school. I played on volleyball and basketball teams. I was the girl who did the marine bootcamp workout for the fun and challenge of it. I was the girl who did clapping pushups just to prove that girls could be strong too.

While I was chunky in elementary and early middle school, I was consistently 120 pounds and super toned throughout high school. I didn’t ever count calories or “diet”. I wanted to incorporate whatever I learned was good for me and live up to my potential in all areas of life. Conquering a hard challenge first thing in the morning made me feel like I could conquer whatever came my way. 

I didn’t realize the mental struggle that I was about to experience. I never thought I would struggle with weight until I began throwing up repeatedly during my first pregnancy. I was hospitalized and had to take pills just to hold food down. It was as though my body held onto everything after that.

My body had gone into survival mode. I found this out while visiting a doctor after my second pregnancy. After so many diets failed me and my fourth pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage, a friend suggested I get my thyroid checked out.

Hypothyroidism ended up being number 6 in their list of priorities to regain my health. I was so incredibly sick. After I got pregnant again, they found out my symptoms got much worse with each pregnancy. My last and final pregnancy was my worst of all 6 pregnancies in 9 years. We took on a rental for the first time about three months into my pregnancy. 

I was still homeschooling four kids and juggling so many responsibilities. My stress levels were so high and I struggled sleeping so much, that with my additional pregnancy issues, I put on 30 pounds that month alone.

Between severe depression during my pregnancy, ab separation and the extra weight gain, I threw out my back the last three months of my pregnancy. I was in so much pain that the only “working out” I was able to do was walking around the lap pool at the aquatic center. I felt so embarrassed the last month that I even stopped doing that.

I was so incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin, and I felt so incapable and stuck in my body that I vowed to do something about it. 

My journey with Applied Fitness started in October of last year. My youngest would be a year old that month. The first day of orientation I went in weighing 201 pounds. I was always one to work out solely on my own even while fit, so stepping into a place I didn’t know anybody while overweight was terrifying to me.

However, Brian said something to the effect of making your outside look like who you are inside, and everything he said in his motivational speech was exactly what I needed to hear and made me tear up.

I was still nursing my youngest. I had no idea how I was going to make it work, but I wanted to find out how. We had just moved into our biggest fixer upper yet a few months before, and I felt like I needed an escape. My husband has never even wanted to pay for a regular gym membership for me, but somehow I convinced him that if I could conquer the first challenge and get a discounted rate, I could keep going.


Sure enough, I did, and I haven’t stopped. Besides a few times of being unable to come, I’ve been able to come 4 days a week for almost a whole year now. I used to think it was funny when people would post when they went to the gym, but now I see why they do it.

People have said that it’s  encouraged them to see me keep pushing on day after day. Many have asked me what keeps me going. I basically just tell them that it’s the one thing that makes me feel like myself again. It helps me feel capable and strong and like I can conquer the other things life has thrown my way. 

I want to live to my potential in every area of life, and I don’t ever want to feel stuck and incapable again. My weight loss hasn’t been as quick this time around as I’ve been working on my relationship with food and trying to get back to the same healthy mindset I used to have before I got sick.

I also found out I’m dealing with more physical health issues that could be hindering my weight loss as well, but I don’t plan on going anywhere, and I trust that as I get healthy in all areas, the outside will start to match all the healing I’ve experienced inside. 

I’m down about 30 pounds since joining and went from a size 20 pants to a size 12, and as long as I’m able, you guys are probably stuck with me. Thankfully, I’ve found a family here and I have absolutely been inspired by all the other warriors conquering their own battles.

While I’m not entirely where I want to be physically, I know I’m on the right track. The mental benefits I’ve experienced through all this has been just what I need, and I’m feeling more like myself again every day. 

-Rachel D

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