September / October 2016
By Chelsea Padilla
My name is Chelsea Padilla, I live in League City, work for CCISD, and am very passionate about health and fitness. This wasn’t always the case. Here is my story:
Dedicating time to health and fitness did not seem likely for the first twentysomething years of my life. When I reached age 26, I was the morbidly obese mother of 3 children that were all under the age of 4. I was also employed as an elementary school teacher in my community. I struggled with emotional/stress eating and my weight for many years, but this was the point in my life at which I felt called to change and be the role model of health that my children, and also my students, needed. My daughter was approaching her first birthday and I weighed more than I did when I was full term with her pregnancy. My children were paying attention to what I ate and I knew that I had to change my habits while they were still very young. I didn’t want them to have a mom that was always “on a diet.” I wanted them to have a mom that lived a healthy, balanced life, did not suffer from obesity related disease and was happy in her own skin. Additionally, I was still grieving from the untimely loss of my own mother. I saw making these changes to my lifestyle as preventive care to keep me from becoming clinically depressed. Change started small, with a gym membership and cutting my food portions. I attended my gym 3-4 times per week, doing mainly low impact cardio like walking on an incline on the treadmill and using the elliptical machine. I signed up for once a month sessions with a personal trainer so I could learn how to use the equipment and start lifting weights. Once I became used to smaller portions of the foods I loved to eat so much, I started to change the contents of my plate. Lean proteins and vegetables became staples of my meals and I said goodbye to sodas and the frequent trips to eat fast food. I was able to lessen the amount of breads and simple carbs with every meal. Days turned to weeks, which turned to months, and after a while I had lost 30 pounds. I began to feel the joy of success and people around me started to notice the positive changes in my life.
By 2012 I had lost about 65 pounds and felt myself needing something more to keep me focused on my health. I did not want the stress of my life to lead me back to negative food choices. That is the year I began running. I went out and purchased some brand new running shoes. I’m talking “running specialty store” type running shoes. My next step was to commit to a running event to give myself a concrete timeline and goal. I chose a huge event here in the Houston area called the Houston Rodeo Run 5k. I downloaded a “Couch to 5k” app called “Get Running” from the app store and started my training. The pleasant British voice coaching me and cheering me on as I made my way through the workouts became a welcomed experience after the stress of the work day, and sometimes at the crack of dawn before work. I made my way through the workouts and was able to “run” for a sustained 30 minutes and felt ready for my event. After essentially being a non-runner my entire life, the feeling of happiness and stress relief led me to running the Houston Marathon, my first full marathon, in 2014.
Since the start of my journey, I’ve lost 100 pounds, going from nearly a size 22 to a size 8-10. While I am pleased that I feel and look better than ever, I am most proud that I am setting an example for my children by living a healthy and active life in front of them. They know their mom eats healthy foods and they know she loves to run and workout. They can see that my health is important and that I am happy.
Weight loss and maintenance can be difficult, but very rewarding and worth the effort. I have found support, motivation, and inspiration through social media. Scrolling through Instagram and reading posts of other women and men who have shared the same struggles helped me realize that I am not alone in my quest to lead a healthy lifestyle. Through my social media channels, I celebrate the success of others who are living fit lives. Come join the many women who are living a healthy lifestyle. You can find me on instagram @chelseasfitlife and @IGFitmoms. I also post workout plans and healthy meal ideas and recipes on my blog www.chelseasfitlife.com and YouTube channel, Chelsea’s Fit Life, weekly.