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ohai. i'm Ashley and i'm trying to love myself. (lengthy)

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Hi, i'm Ashley and I am trying to love myself. I am trying to become healthier and stronger. I am trying to set a good example for my children and be the woman I always wanted to be.

My story really begins about 9 years ago when I was 16 years old. I was in a abusive relationship (mentally, sexually, physically) and it wreaked havoc on my mental state. I was told I was disgusting and was led to believe I was worthless and that no one could ever love me. I have never ever experienced so much shame than I experienced in that year in my life, and at 16 you are just beginning to find yourself. To figure out who you are and who you want to be. You are very impressionable and are very self conscious. It has taken me a very long time to overcome all of the lies and abuse that was fed to me. Sometimes, even to this day, it still sneaks up on me. I'll be looking in the mirror and hear "you'll never be perfect" in my mind. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband (my real life prince charming) who always reassures me on a daily basis of how beautiful I am, inside and out. If he had not come along and rescued me when he did, I would be in a very bad place.

My husband and I got married in 2005 at the tender age of 17 (him) and 18 (me) after being together for a year. I was pregnant, but that was not the reason for our marriage. Without getting too mushy, I knew that we were just supposed to be together.... he made me feel like I had never felt before. From day one I loved him, and he loved me.

After we had our baby, i lost all my baby weight very quickly. Most of that was due to the fact that she was born with a number of birth defects and we spent 9 months in the NICU, where I barely ate at all. Mostly just lunch and dinner at McDonalds, the hospital cafeteria, or I would bring my own TV dinners with me to the hospital. It was not healthy at all.

We had our second child in 2007, who was born very healthy. Again, I lost all my weight quickly and I think breastfeeding played a big part in that. In fact, I dropped way below a healthy weight for my height. I am 5'4 and I weighed only 115 lbs. I continued to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. It was not uncommon for me to eat a whole sleeve of cookies and a huge glass of milk in one sitting as a "snack". I gained weight after I stopped breastfeeding, but I was already so underweight to begin with that it just didnt matter to me.

Fast forward to around March of last year. Between October of 2010 and March of 2011 I had gained 20 lbs. I was 145 lbs, and that was NOT muscle. It was 20 lbs of fat that I had put on in just 6 months. The feelings of disgust began to creep back up to me. I hated myself just like I did when I was 16. I no longer fit in any of my clothes. I was at the most I have ever weighed in my life (besides being pregnant) and I felt disgusting. I was tired all the time, I was battling depression, and I couldn't even do things like walk around the Zoo with the kids without feeling like I just ran a marathon. I was not healthy by any means, and I knew it. So I decided to do something about it before it got out of hand.

I joined MyFitnessPal and began counting calories and exercising a little. Just starting out with mowing the grass or walking 1 mile every day. I dropped about 5 lbs in one month. Then I picked up 30 Day Shred after it being recommended to me by a friend. I LOATHED the repetitiveness of it, but I stuck with it and got it done in about 40 days. I lost another 5 lbs and continued to log my calories. From that point I found the Couch To 5K program and I took up running. I had finally found something I loved and I did it religiously every other day. I got to I think week 7, where I was running for 20 minutes straight and then it began to get too cold outside and my asthma was making it near impossible for me to run in the cold, so I had to stop as I refused to run on a treadmill. At that point I had lost 15 of my 20 lbs and I felt pretty damn happy with myself.

Then came the holidays.... LOL. I put on a couple more pounds, but I had also stopped exercising since I couldn't run. A turn of the New Year meant the holidays were over and I needed to get back on track. Since it is still too cold outside for me to run I did a little research and decided I should take up strength training since I am already pretty happy with where I am weight-wise. I started just doing various exercises with my 5lb dumbbells, but that wasnt making me feel like I thought I should feel. I was not getting any sore muscles the next day. I was not feeling it working. So, I did a bit more research and stumbled across bodyweight training. I thought AWESOME since we dont have the money to go to a gym or buy a bunch of weights. From that search, I was brought to the beginner Bodyweight workout on the Nerdfitness Youtube channel, and my husband and I just started doing that on Monday. :smug:

I could FEEL the results and it was AWESOME! I began looking around the Nerdfitness website and decided it was equally as awesome as its beginner bodyweight video, if not MORE awesome. I decided I loved it and I wanted to join the community, so I did. And here I am. I am extremely interested in the Paleo way of eating, but I dont think i would ever be able to go full Paleo. So, I try to replace things where I can. Breakfast and Lunch have been easy to replace. Instead of a Lean Cuisine for lunch, I have been eating grilled chicken and steamed veggies. SO much more healthy and tasty. I am also no longer watching my calories, just making smart choices.

I am also extremely interested in lifting. I would LOVE to be able to lift heavy! Maybe one of these days I will be able to get a weight set and do it in the comfort of my own home. For now, its beginner bodyweight training for me. :) Baby steps to victory, and being healthy both mentally and physically.

On an unrelated note, I love photography, Star Trek, Batman, tattoos, vintage pin-up, and I am a huge music lover. I listen to most everything. I hope to be able to find a home here in this community... it seems like a great place with great people. :victorious: thanks for having me, and if you have read this far, I admire your perseverance.

"resistance is futile."

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Welcome aboard! Making smart choices is definitely the first step, and it sounds like you've already built a strong foundation to build on.

Hobbit Ranger
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