Transformation Tuesday: Elyse’s Story

Today we are featuring Elyse’s own personal health journey. Although I of course have always found Elyse beautiful (I mean, my wife’s a catch!), I knew that her story should be shared since she did have many struggles to get to where she is today.

You may not believe this, but remember all of those health and fitness tests that we would have to do in gym class growing up? Like running the mile or seeing how many push-ups we could do? Well, Elyse opted out of every single one of them! She would have her doctor write a letter to dismiss her from class since she had asthma (that was the excuse Elyse would use anyway). In fact, Elyse did not run until high school when she decided to try out for the field hockey team, and she threw up. Twice. It’s a whole other story why Elyse decided to play field hockey, but lets just say she wanted to be like Winnie Cooper in the Wonder Years!

Despite her first time on the field being a painful one, it helped to motivate Elyse, and she became very active and even became a competitive ballroom dancer.  However, her eating habits weren’t always a match for sports and dance.  She had periods of time where she drank orange soda almost every day (Keenan and Kell anyone?), and then followed it up with a couple of years of having just ramen noodles practically every day.

In college, Elyse was dancing even more, spending hours a day in the ballroom while maintaining a full course load.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t consistent with her eating habits during this time, and sometimes ate very little, especially when compared to how much she was dancing.  I can remember always being on her case to eat more whenever I visited because she seemed to be withering away!

Once we both graduated college and moved in together, it was difficult for us to adjust to being out of college and working full-time.  Elyse was no longer ballroom dancing and was finding it difficult to consistently be active, eat healthy, and work.  As a result, in just a couple of months, she gained over 20 pounds.  More important than the weight, I could also tell that Elyse was unhappy and less energetic during this time as she dealt with other personal family issues and we both struggled to maintain positive fitness and nutrition habits.

Once Elyse tipped over 144 pounds, she became very hung up on getting back to a certain number on the scale and started experimenting with different diets, including one where she cut out all carbs and had pure protein days with no veggies or fruits!  She of course lost weight immediately, but this kind of diet was not sustainable and left her with very little energy.  She couldn’t even run – could only walk – without feeling dizzy! Different diets led to similar results, and her weight yo-yoed for a period of time.

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This was a very hot day, but Elyse was very self conscious about showing too much of her body in a photo – shortly after her yo-yo diets began

But most of you know what happened next – we decided to start drinking black coffee to cut out sugar (it was actually a recommendation from my grandmother who is very active herself).  Elyse and I also started running together, and signed up for a few road races, including a half marathon, which was Elyse’s first ever road race!  Quite a far cry from when Elyse was throwing up during runs for field hockey!  We trained for the race and also went to the gym for lifting workouts together, which helped us both hold each other accountable.  Elyse also incorporated many other home workouts, such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts – her favorite!  The positive progress we were making made it easier for us both to be passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and we realized that we actually could find time to fit our health into our hectic schedules!

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Through this gradual process, we both became much more consistent with our workouts, and to help fuel these workouts we also changed our eating habits.  We both began questioning what we were putting into our body, and how we could make things healthier as we became passionate about living a well-rounded healthy lifestyle.  It was during this time that we realized that the processed foods we were accustomed to eating for many years did us no good and could be replaced by healthy, natural, and tastier options. And as we did this, people began asking us how to do it too, which helped push Elyse to work even harder and live even healthier without depriving herself.

Even though Elyse is now physically healthier than she was a few years ago, the most important part of her transformation has been about how these lifestyle changes have made her happier and more full of energy.  Her positive attitude during this entire experience has led to her incredible results, and I couldn’t be more proud of all she has accomplished.   Accountability and staying positive, even when it is difficult, went a long way for Elyse, and has ultimately helped form our vision for Fairburn it Off!

Oh, and she refuses to own a scale so that she won’t get hung up on a number again!

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