Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thursday Throwback Pics & More

I thought I'd have some fun and share some old and older pics of me throughout the years and maybe give a closer insight of my weight loss journey and why I am the way I am.. lol  (For some reason I now have the Eminem song feat. Marilyn Manson in my head)  I apologize ahead of time for the quality of the pics.. Some are pretty old and on the others just blame me - I'm a terrible photographer.

Well, let's start at the beginning - or close to it - shall we?

This is sometime in 1979.  This is the Four Generations of Females pic including me, my mom, her mom and her mom.  I was a cute baby if I say so myself. ;)

We tried to recreate the picture in 2010 at a family party with my daughter being the youngest and me, my mom and my Grammy being a bit older... The following was the best pic we could get... lol

Victoria wasn't in the mood for pics because she was busy playing with her cousins and there were like 10 people with different cameras crowding around yelling "Look here, look here!" and none of us ever looked at the same one.  #Fail  Also note my scary thin arms.  Yes, those are bones you see, not muscle.

Ok, so let's go back in time a bit.  This was, I'm guessing, some point in the late 1980s.  I think my sister was 7 or 8 here and I was a tween.  Although we didn't use the word tween back then.  It was more like "beginnings of hormonal rage".  But here we are on Easter Sunday with my Grandma.  This was before the cancer took hold of her.

It was a tradition to go to Grandma's house before church on Easter and take pics in all our fanciness.  Then we'd all go to church together before heading home to the big feast.

Before Junior Prom with my Grandma - 1996.  I only have this pic because my aunt gave it to me.  My family cut my date out of all my pics in a bitter rage after we broke up several months later.  Family drama...  My date and I actually reconnected on MySpace (before Facebook) about 10 years ago and keep in touch via the internet to this day.  We've both grown and realized what silly children we were back then.  Funny how life works out.  I still don't think my family is over it, though.  Oh well.  Wasn't I a hottie back then?  And can you believe I thought I was fat? 

Speaking of fat.... I don't have many "before" pics out there.  I purposely hid from cameras and I'm even ashamed of my honeymoon pics (which are in a box in a storage unit) because of how I looked.  My early adult life wasn't great and I gained a LOT of weight over the years.  I'd like to use the excuse "I didn't know any better", but that would be a lie.  I was simply self destructive for way too long.  All I knew was that one of the issues holding me back from having kids was my weight... So I started using videos at home - Leslie Sansone in particular - and lost a few lbs (probably around 15) before finally achieving a successful pregnancy.

This was in December 2004.  I was pregnant with Victoria.  I know it's not a great pic, but it's the closest thing I have to a "before" pic on this computer.  I'm sure you can see the weight on me in this, though... just look at my face and neck... The other "before" pic(s) I have are all pregnancy belly pics.
This was about 2 weeks before I gave birth to my little girl - April 2005.  Yes, I was pregnant, but you can tell that a lot of my body is simply fat.  Those sweatpants are a men's large, I think.  You can also see those stretchmarks... I can't blame all those on pregnancy, although carrying an overdue and large baby will do that to those of us predisposed to stretch marks.  My total pregnancy weight gain was 8 lbs, because since I adopted healthy eating and exercise during my pregnancy it all balanced out.

Fast forward a little and here I am 38 weeks pregnant with Vincent.  See the difference?  I'm much leaner this time around.  In between pregnancies I kicked up my weight loss and started this pregnancy off around 50 lbs lighter than Victoria's.  I was still a bit overweight, but not in the obese category as I was with Victoria.  I also had a miscarriage in between Victoria and Vincent but instead of eating my grief, I threw that into beginning strength training and higher intensity cardio fitness.

A few years went by and we weren't really planning on more kids - at least not yet.  I had my thyroid tumor removed when Vincent was 6 months old and my metabolism cranked up even more.  I was in the best shape since my teenage years - doing cardio, strength training and yoga and pilates.  I lost even more weight, gained a little muscle definition and then got a surprise in 2009.

38 weeks pregnant with Garrett in 2009.  Ignore the cluttered ugly bathroom.  Biggest difference yet.  I started this pregnancy 25-30 lbs lighter than with Vincent.  Finally a healthy BMI.  This was also my easiest pregnancy until the very end when he took on a bad position on my pelvis and I was in incredible pain for days.  I think weight does play a role in how a pregnancy progresses.

All fine and good from here, right?  Well, unfortunately no.  Garrett, being my best nursing child, nursed until he was 2 years old.  This (breastfeeding alone burns a ton of calories), coupled with the fact that I was now obsessed with being thin created a new problem - I was never happy unless the scale constantly showed a lower number.  I cut my calories to next to nothing (1200 max) and kept increasing my exercise.  See above Four Generation redo pic - that was when Garrett was 1 year old.  

This pic was taken at another family party a few months later than the Four Gen redo pic.  I was around 93 lbs here.  That dress - an extra small - hung off me like a trash bag.  Look at my rib cage you can see through my chest... I thought I was really doing it, really healthy and everything.  I didn't even eat a piece of cake at this party.. I think I picked at some fruit. :(  I was angry and confused and sad inside, even though I could smile in pictures like this.

Something happened and I wish I could tell you why or when or how but I can't.  I had to get strong again for myself and my kids - both mentally and, along with that, physically.  A couple of months after the pic above I joined a gym.  I got a personal trainer for myself.  I did research through him and on my own about nutrition and strength and endurance.  I changed my outlook on food - a big part was incorporating more real food instead of things with a brand name like Kraft or Betty Crocker stamped on it.  You know, what?  Simple proteins and veggies and fruit are just great, man!  Add some herbs and spices and maybe some olive oil and infused vinegars and why eat all that extra crap that comes in a box?  Anyway, I got my act together.  I started c25k and ran my first official race in 2012.  And, well, we all know where that lead to here.

I'm still not a camera fan... I think that's just a "me thing" but I'm too self conscious for daily selfies (the 30 days of yoga challenge was more of a feat in taking pics of myself every day than doing the yoga).  Sometimes I take them just for personal reference of body status, but I'm no Instagram attention whore.  But, my more recent pics resemble something like these:

This was taken a couple of months ago.  Nick asked to take a pic of my back because I worked hard on it and it would probably go down a bit due to marathon training.  This was totally unflexed - I'm actually texting on my phone here.  And yes, I regularly hang around my house with my bra all hanging out of a cami.  I'm white trash like that.  BUT - look at that back and upper body... no more scary thin bony arms!  I have to get an updated back pic here in a week or so once I'm done with my current training cycle.  Oh, I also want to say that all those spots on my back should be a reminder to you all to wear your sunblock because getting things burned and cut off of you at the dermatologists office is not fun at all.

I know gym bathroom pics, especially with the potty in view, are totally tacky as hell but I really wasn't meaning to show this to anyone.  It's one of my "body check" pics from the other day.  But, what the heck..  I'm not ashamed - my upper body is rocking and my core is lean.  I'll never have a six pack or anything without surgery to remove all the excess skin I have (which is a lot - underneath my waistband is a complete flap of skin from the combination of extreme weight loss and 3 c-sections), but I can lean down pretty well and at least have some definition peek through on the obliques.  Just for size reference here, the shorts are a Nike extra small and the top is a little girls XL from Target (I often wear little girls clothes - they are cheaper, often cuter, and fit me better in some cases - an XL or a 14/16 in girls is similar to an XS or S in ladies clothing.  I actually got this tip off another blog I read!).  Yes, you can see my heart rate monitor.  HRT for life! haha  I also have some nice quad pump here, which is strange because this was back day, but I guess the elliptical followed by jump squats could have done it.

 I guess the wrap up thought of this post is that I've finally found a happy place with regard to my body.  I'm no longer a slave to a number on a scale - in fact, when I'm not doing a specific plan/challenge/whatever, I rarely weigh myself.  I use the fit of my clothes and random pics like the ones above to guide me rather than a number.  I have a pair of jeans in my drawer that I refer to as my "fat pants" and I know when those start fitting a little too well that I need to re-evaluate where I'm at.  And so it goes...  I eat well and according to current goals and I'm not torturing myself needlessly.  I like being healthy and strong and I'm going to hopefully stay this way for many years to come!  I know it won't always be easy and there will be times when it's harder than others but it can be fixed with work and willpower!  I also know that I'll always have the "eating disorder monster" in the depth of my brain and I just have to keep it from taking control.  Sometimes I catch myself starting to get antsy about every gram of everything that enters my body and then I'll check myself.  Am I truly hungry?  If that answer is honestly yes - EAT!!  Just eat something good - like a banana and some almonds instead of sticking my arm in a box of dry Fruity Pebbles.  It's a mental game and I can totally empathize with anyone and everyone going through some similar stuff.  It's hard.

I hope you've enjoyed this little journey through my life and weight gain and loss and return to health in pictures.


  1. Thanks for sharing all these pictures Nichole! You went through such an amazing transformation and I'm glad you're at a good place right now with your health and body image. Can't wait to see the "after" pictures when you're all PUMPED UP :)

    1. No problem! I found a bunch while going through some stuff and figured what the heck.. :)

  2. Wow! You were really at such opposite ends of the spectrum throughout the years. That pic of you in the black dress where you can see the bones in your chest...and then the one of you heavier (hard to even recognize you in that one)... It's so awesome and inspiring that you moved way from both those places to the healthy, happy place you're at now. You look fantastic and healthy, and it shows that you're happy. Congrats on all that you've achieved! One question:at what point did you decide to become a trainer? After you started working with that trainer?

    1. Yeah, I really did experience both sides, so to speak.. Neither are great! To answer your question it was after I trained a bit and felt confident about my maintenance as far as healthy body and mind go. Also I realized from hanging around a gym more that there was a lack of support for women. Usually trainers tended to be guys training for max strength, training men yelling on the bench. Meanwhile you'd see women wandering around looking uneasy but curious and then just hopping on an elliptical or treadmill. Several visits later you wouldn't see them again. I just felt like I needed to help some people (men too, don't get me wrong) realize that yes it is possible to get strong and change your body and no, no one comes into the gym able to use all those plates on the squat rack on day 1. Gyms can be intimidating and often there's no support for the "newbies" or people that truly look like they need and want the help.

  3. I really enjoyed this post, it was pretty cool to see all your different looks, and I am glad that you are in a healthy spot right now. I may need to steal this idea and do one of my old pics and you can all see how goofy I looked. Also I see me and you graduated in the same year

    1. Glad you liked it! I'd love to see your pics too! I had a hunch we were about the same age. :)