So you want the whole story, hey? Well grab a snack, cause here it is…
There was never a time that I remember where I wasn’t aware of my weight. I was always larger than my friends, and would frequently wonder why I had such big hips, boobs, and rolls while they had tiny bodies.
That led to my enrollment of Weight Watchers around the age of 12 or so. It was a family activity, and each week my mom, sister, and I would head off to our local meeting to be weighed in. I would stand on the scale, hoping the number would be smaller. If it wasn’t, it would be a week of 0 point veggie soup and 0 point jello during the day with secret binges of peanut butter and jelly at night because I was so. Fucking. Hungry.
That was the first time I remember giving up.
The number on the scale was barely changing, so why should I care? If it doesn’t change then I’m not even going to try counting points, I’m just going to eat everything in sight for no other reason than saying screw it and rebelling against the diet set in place for me.
And that began my serial dieting days…
Flash forward to 2010. I had just graduated college with a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science, as I had fallen in love with exercise and fitness during high school when I was training to become a competitive collegiate cheerleader (yes, I was a cheerleader. Captain, even. No shame!). I’ve always wanted to be able to help people, and becoming a NASM-CPT with a college degree was my way of doing so.
I started working at a big box, well known commercial gym in lower Michigan right out of college. The uniform was a tight shirt and yoga pants, and I was judged daily on my body. I mean, no one wants a fat trainer, right? ((facepalm))
I was once even told by a fellow trainer that I was “a great trainer for fat women because I looked as though I had been fat before too”.
Surprisingly, I resisted the urge to kick his ass.
It’s no shock that my work conditions fueled my dieting. I began learning and trying everything I could to lose weight and get 6 pack abs so I would be better respected as a trainer. I went Atkins, ate “clean”, counted calories, tracked my macros, went completely fat-free, Paleo, Keto, and obsessed and worried about what I was eating all the time. Yet funny enough, even though I was so stressed about what I was or wasn’t eating, I would secretly binge late nights and weekends.
I would start by telling myself I could have just one bite or just one cheat meal, and it would turn into eating a whole pan of cinnamon rolls because they’re there so I might as well, and since I’ve already eaten those I might as well order a pizza.
Fucked up, but that was my reality.
The other half of that was my obsession with exercise. Before having a family, I would spend HOURS working out each day. My fixation with food was only matched with my fixation with exercise. Similar to food, I tried just about every form of exercise out there in order to chase a slimmer physique and those fucking abs.
The funny thing about all of this is that considering how much I worked out and how little I ate, I actually didn’t really look like it. I mean, I was visibly fit, but never really saw the results I thought I should be seeing for someone who ate chicken breasts and broccoli every day and practically lived at the gym. Little did I know, I was doing it all wrong.
Then came the hardest year yet.
2013, Colorado Springs. My husband and I had been moved (thanks to the Army) and I was transferred to another big box gym. I was so excited to start, figuring that it would be just as awesome as the last 2 of the chain I had worked at. But it wasn’t. It was hell. I’ve never been in such a toxic work environment before. Every day I would wake up and cry as I got ready for work. Then I would sit in my car until the last possible second, crying. I would suck it up and “put the face on” for 8+ hours, shedding the occasional tear in the bathroom stall when I was alone. Then I would get in my car, drive home, and cry all night dreading the next day where I would have to start all over again.
Yeah, it was that bad.
It’s no surprise then that I started to reject the healthy lifestyle I once lived, because thinking of spending another minute in that gym outside of my work hours so I could exercise made me want to vomit. It was almost as if because I hated my work so much, which included all things exercise and weight loss, that I began to sabotage my own exercise and weight loss. Couple that with the news of my husband deploying for 9 months, and I went off the deep end.
Saying I crashed and burned would be putting it lightly…
I was depressed. I cried every day. I had zero energy. I was pissed off at the world. I found comfort in food. I stopped exercising. And the worst part was, I was a complete fraud. There I was, a trainer, prescribing workouts and meal plans and telling people how to get and stay healthy when my reality was far from appearance.
I didn’t care about myself. I skipped meals and ate a shit ton of take out. I would follow fit instagrammers and those fitness models I saw on magazines in hopes that seeing their thin bodies and 6 packs would get me motivated. I taped up old photos of myself at the mirror. I would start up my diets again, only to quit 3 days later. I would force myself to try and exercise like I used to, only to feel like shit and stop 10 minutes in.
I was a mess. I had never felt so unmotivated and like such a failure in my entire life. I was trying so hard to do what I used to do and be who I used to be… but fell flat every single time.
And then one day, everything changed.
I knew that if I wanted to get healthy again, I had to get a handle on my hormones and my mental state first. I needed a win, bad. So I set a goal for myself to walk my dogs for 5 minutes, one time per week. Yes, that’s it. I set the bar so low, I knew I’d be able to make it. And wouldn’t you know… 5 minutes turned to 10 minutes. And one time a week turned into two, which turned into three. And then I began feeling good enough to do 10 squats after. And then 20. And then a few pushups, and then even a whole workout after.
I stopped following those fitness models and fit instagrammers online that were actually making me feel worse about myself than they were motivating me. I stopped trying to follow strict eating because when I told myself I couldn’t have something I wanted it even more. I changed my idea of a workout “only counting” if it was 60 minutes or more and done in a gym.
And most importantly, I became curious.
I wanted to know why I was always hungry. Why did I crave sweet and then salty and then sweet? How come I wasn’t supposed to eat after 8pm? Why wasn’t I losing weight even when I was super strict? Why was I waking up tired but couldn’t fall asleep at night? Why couldn’t I be around food without being tempted to vault myself into it? How could I see results from workouts when I couldn’t stomach the idea of making them an hour or more? How could I make sure what happened to me in 2013 never fucking happened to me again? And how could I help other women going through the same experiences and struggles?
Looking back, I’m thankful for all those experiences. It’s lead me to where I am today where I know more about my body and what it does and doesn’t work well with without counting calories or points or any of that other bullshit. I can exercise because it makes me feel good, not because I have to out of fear of missing a day and getting fat. I can take a week off without stress, anxiety, binges, and weight gain. I can look in the mirror and like what I see.
I can be an example for my daughter so she doesn’t grow up torturing herself and trying every diet under the sun like I had. I can still be fit and see results, but without killing myself trying to do so. And I can teach other women how to do all of that, too.
This is me, this is my story, this is who I am, what I’ve learned, and how I found my passion. Welcome to Kenna Fit.
Made it to the end of this novel of a post? Fucking well done! I’d love to connect with you and hear your thoughts. Hit me up on Facebook or Instagram to tell me what you related to and if you’ve ever struggled before. I can’t wait to hear from you!