Get inspired by one woman's story of how she changed her eating and exercise habits to ensure a healthier life.
Name: Lindsay M. Harrington from Detroit, Michigan
Total Weight Lost: 110lbs
Follow Lindsay on Twitter @LMichelle_Esq.
When I was growing up there was only one thing I absolutely had to do – get good grades. As long as I had A’s on my report card everything else was secondary. Diet and exercise were snazzy words that only the “pretty” girls used. Through my eyes, I was a smart girl and didn’t have time for any of that nonsense…so I thought. After making my way through high school and graduating within the top 3% of my class, I went on to study finance at Howard University. The parties, the diverse food, and the drinking — I had the time of my life! When it was all said and done, I graduated from Howard University Summa Cum Laude and about 40lbs heavier.
Subsequently, I returned home to Detroit to attend law school. Law school was a sugary-energy-drink-fueled blur of reading, briefing cases, studying and grabbing food in the cafeteria where the menu items came fried or extra fried. After three sleep-deprived years of academic anxiety, I graduated a proud member of a nationally recognized appellate moot court team, in the top third of my class, and 60lbs fatter.
For years I had convinced myself that I wasn’t getting “that big” and the clothes were just “running small.” While out shopping for a graduation dress with my cousin my “academic high” was quickly subdued when I was not able to zip up a dress. The largest size that they had in the store did not fit me. I looked in the mirror and I was revolted by what I had let happen to myself. I realized that I could not hide behind by degrees. I had to put my health first.
While studying for the bar examination, I joined a gym and started “working out” and “dieting.” My definition of working out was walking for 30 to 45 minutes at a slow speed on the treadmill and having a grilled chicken sandwich and a small fries from McDonald's instead of the fried chicken sandwich and large fries. I lost a few pounds in the beginning, but that quickly stalled out. I was playing myself. I had no idea how many calories I was eating let alone how much work in the gym it would actually take to burn them off.
After completing the bar exam I began to spend more time in the gym. During this time I was an unemployed law school grad waiting to find out if I had passed the bar. A personal trainer was not an option. Instead, I began attending the many classes that my gym offered. Zumba, spinning, boot camp, kick boxing and step aerobics. I worked my way up from three days a week walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes to spending five days a week for least 60 to 90 minutes in classes and/or weight training. The instructors were amazing and the classes showed me how much work it would take to burn off that fast food.
At that point I began to take my diet seriously. I completely changed my eating habits, starting with a cleanse. Specifically, the master cleanse or the “lemonade diet” as it is commonly known. I began this cleanse because I do believe sugar and salt are addictive drugs from which your brain and body need to be broken. After spending 14 days cleansing, I started eating clean. Eighteen months after passing the bar and becoming a licensed attorney, I am even prouder to say that I have lost over a 110lbs and counting!
Like many other people, I hit the dreaded plateau. I have begun diversifying my workouts by focusing more on weight training and peak fitness interval training as opposed to traditional moderate cardio. While I do still workout five days a week, I do not focus so much on calorie counting to lose weight anymore. Health and fitness are now my focus. A vegetarian lifestyle has provided me with a beneficial platform for continued growth in my fitness journey. This journey has taught me that while family, spouses, children, education and career are all important, it's critical that we don’t ever forget to make our health our FIRST priority.
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