Welcome to Sweating Awesome!
Hi, I’m Christa Levesque! I’m a mom, a military spouse, a runner, and a health and fitness enthusiast! I transformed my life more than a year ago through changing my eating and exercise habits. I’ve come quite a long way but let’s start at the beginning.
My whole family struggles with weight but most of them are not obese like me. I have been overweight since I was a kid. I remember a family member pointing out my bulging belly at 10 years old and asking me how much I weighed. “Well, I didn’t weigh a hundred pounds until I got pregnant!” she said. My family didn’t have much money. We ate a lot of McDonald’s and Hamburger Helper. As a result, I learned unhealthy eating habits from the start.
All the years from Elementary through High School I was teased and left out because of my weight. Even as an adult, I have had to deal with rude comments or dirty looks. This molded me into a miserable and very insecure person. As a teenager, I would try to lose weight. All I wanted was to be thin and I’d even challenge my friends to diet with me. We would give up soda for a month or we would eat salads for lunch at school. We would turn around and eat burgers and fries for dinner. Well into my 20s, I didn’t understand what eating healthy really meant. I just wanted a quick fix to be skinny because I was ridiculed for being fat my whole life.
In 2009, I did a low-carb diet and initially found success with it. I went from 290 pounds to 220 pounds. I felt amazing having lost 70 pounds! However, I fell off the wagon after 9 months of being very strict on my diet. On my birthday I allowed myself to have some potatoes with my dinner and cheesecake for dessert. It was all downhill from there. I’d had a taste of those delicious carbs and I couldn’t stop cheating! I struggled to get back to my disciplined eating and eventually gave up completely. I gained 85 pounds back.
Over the next 6 years, I tried to do the low-carb diet several times. I would always lose about 15-20 pounds before caving and gaining it right back. In January 2015, as a New Year’s resolution, I was trying that diet yet again. The first month went well with some small weight loss. In early February, I was on a lunch break at my former job and took a bite of a Slim Jim. This is a perfect example of something that I thought was healthy because it was low-carb. I instantly felt nauseous and spit it out. Turns out, I was pregnant! This was great news and ultimately the biggest and best change my life has ever seen. I started to really educate myself on healthy eating for the first time ever at 27 years old! I wanted to eat right for my baby and I knew that I’d want to set the example of health in the future. I didn’t want my child growing up with the same struggles I did.
Pregnancy was the first time in my entire life that I had a reason to celebrate my body. Learning about the changes a woman goes through during pregnancy really opened my eyes to how amazing our bodies are! I decided that even though I wasn’t always happy with how I looked, I was going to love my body. I had gained 30 pounds during my pregnancy landing me at 335 pounds before giving birth. After my son was born, 12 pounds disappeared instantly and I worked to lose the other 18. I didn’t exercise at first, I just continued to eat healthy and focused on being a new mom. I got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight of 305 pounds in December 2015 and I started counting my pounds lost after that. After losing about 20 pounds, I joined a gym in May 2016. I set a goal of working out 4 days a week and stuck to it. My workouts were simple: walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes and then doing 30 minutes of machines or light weight-lifting. I would also do Zumba classes because I enjoy dancing and it’s a great workout. After only a few months, I had jumped up to a 45 pound loss!
I always told people that I would never run. It just seemed impossible to me. In September, my gym started a new running group. They caught my interest because they were very insistent on being open to beginners. I was really scared to join but suddenly, with this encouraging group, running no longer felt like an impossibility. I told myself that I would just go to one meet up and see if I liked it.
I was terrible at running. I couldn’t even make it a quarter of a mile. The poor instructor had to stay back and run/walk slowly with me while the rest of the group ran together. She was very positive and supportive and told me to keep running! So I did. I registered for my first 5k and followed a Couch to 5k program on my own. I ran on the treadmill or around my neighborhood. I slowly built up my endurance and my confidence with running. Pretty soon I was able to run a quarter, a half, three-quarters of a mile, and so on. Every little milestone made me feel so accomplished! Running also brought my weight loss to a new level. I was dropping pounds faster than before and that was a big motivator to continue running. I would also register for a new 5k race every month to keep giving myself an event to work toward.
This all brings us to now. I’ve lost over 100 pounds and counting! I have participated in several races and I even ran my first half marathon October 1, 2017! I still continuously set achievable goals and push myself to the next challenge.
It’s hard to put into words how amazing I feel. It has been a complete transformation inside and out. Where I used to feel sluggish and lazy, I now have loads of energy! I used to struggle with depression and now I’m happy and upbeat most days! When I would go shopping before, I would cry in dressing rooms because I felt so hopeless. This journey has brought me such confidence! I’m still a work in progress and I am far from perfect. I still have plenty of jiggle but I don’t care. I know that I am loving myself by treating my body right and I’m living a healthy lifestyle that’s going to carry me above and beyond my goals!