• Shannon

My Fitness Journey Update–Where It Stands

Although I post frequent fitness related things on my Instagram account, I realized it has been a while since I updated my fitness journey here on the blog. Walks With Rama came about after a shift in focus after a traumatic life event; one which made me realize I needed to get moving and forge a path to a healthier me. It started with walking, then progressed to hiking, and in 2015 I decided to pursue weightlifting.

The Catalyst

A little background for those not familiar with my story:

I went through a difficult separation in 2011. I had a double mastectomy in 2012, followed by 5 years of complications and reconstructive procedures. I never had an issue with my weight (other than pregnancy-related weight gain) before this and have always been on the slender side, but I did have lasting issues from 3 pregnancies and 3 c-sections. I fluctuated between a size 5 and size 7.

The mastectomy at age 41 changed things drastically. The mental and emotional toll notwithstanding, the physical changes were monumental to say the least. Going through periods of recovery and inactivity packed the weight on, and I barely had time to try to lose any of it before I was going through yet another surgery. I lost count somewhere around the 14th surgery I guess. It just got so overwhelming that for a period of about a year there, I just gave up and tried to forget about how unhappy I was with my physical appearance. I ate whatever I wanted. Of course this approach didn’t help my health, and I became acutely aware of the need for drastic change when I became pre-diabetic and started having all kinds of weird symptoms. I stopped buying jeans at size 15.

The Beginning Of My Fitness Journey

I hired a personal trainer on the recommendation of an acquaintance. I joined a gym. I slowly changed my diet. I scaled back the latte addiction (I had no intention of giving up my Starbucks), began eating more frequent meals and tracking measurements. I started carrying a water bottle around with me everywhere. I tracked everything. I didn’t focus on my weight so much as I did measurements. The number on the scale has never been as important to me as how I looked.

I began working out 3 times per week. It was a big mental hurdle, showing up at the gym and struggling around all these fit people. I would say the mental far outweighed the physical in my case. I remember when I couldn’t do a plank for more than 5 seconds or even a single push up. Slowly I was able to do more reps, more difficult exercises. I began to get back some of the range of motion I’d lost with all the upper body surgeries. I felt stronger and I felt happier. Like hiking, the physical exertion of working out helped tremendously with my depression.

Bumps In The Road

About a year ago, my trainer moved on to a new career and I floundered a bit. I stayed active and kept eating clean, allowing myself some indulgences on the weekends. Eventually I slacked off, not going to the gym as much as I normally did. As many moms can attest, it is very easy to get sucked into the vortex of your family responsibilities and ignore your own needs. I didn’t hike as much; my husband travels a great deal and I’m usually so worn out from dealing with squabbling kids that the least relaxing thing to do is to attempt to bring them hiking with me. See some of my older posts for that nonsense. I found it hard to stay accountable without someone there to guide me. I needed to re-focus, switch it up and figure out the next step.

I looked back at my before photo and had a friend take an after photo. There was definite change. I had lost about 40 pounds and had gone back down several pants sizes. Still, I felt for all the work I’d done I should be further along. I perused youtube videos for before and after fitness journeys, googled a lot and found a lot of folks had achieved their goals in less time than it was taking me. I think that’s a normal feeling; to look at others and their before and after photos and judge your own journey by theirs. You can’t really do that. Everyone is different and everyone’s situation is different. You can use it as motivation, though, and as proof that you can accomplish your own goals.

Where It Stands


A few months ago I began looking for a new trainer. I do best when I have someone to whom I must be accountable. I want to learn how to transform my body through weightlifting and for that I sought out someone with experience in competitive bodybuilding. I joined a new gym. I scrutinized my eating habits, I watched videos, I read. I’m still doing all these things. I am still working out 5 days per week, and I am currently looking at adding in other activities as well. I have sparsely peppered in some running (ugh) and yoga, but I am getting more serious about making this the year that I see some big changes.

I am keeping a daily log of food and exercise. I had a BMI done. While I see definite changes over the past few years, I’m struggling with feeling like I should see more results by now. One of the potential issues could have been my avoidance of carbs for so long. I do eat carbs; they are necessary, but as a lot of women do when trying to shed unwanted pounds, I stayed away from the majority of carbs. I have just recently increased my carb intake to coincide with my goals and I am hoping that this will lead to more visible changes. The science of it all is something I really need to learn more about. This is where having a personal trainer and/or sports nutritionist really helps out a lot.

I have also moved into the world of supplementation. Before now all I have ever used was a pre-workout supplement. I am hopeful that they will help me achieve my goals maybe just a little bit faster. Who knows? Stay tuned! For more fitness updates, food/meal prep photos and gym progress, follow our Instagram and Snapchat accounts. We are working on beefing up our YouTube channel. We hope to have some videos for you soon!

Do you have fitness goals? Are you embarking on a similar fitness journey? I’d love to hear about it!

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