Taking Back My Life

Coach Caitlin Reed has lost over 80 pounds in the last three years by making lifestyle changes with the help of Beachbody coaches and products.

Left, March 2012. Right, June 26, 2015.

Growing up, I was fat shamed. I routinely heard such sayings as “Okay, it’s YOUR body” (when I asked for a sugary snack), “How will you get a boyfriend when you eat like a pig?” “I’m going to put a voice recorder in your pocket on your first date to see if you burp; that’s disgusting,” and other such exciting phrases. We were made to eat our vegetables. Once, we were denied a promised trip to the movies because we ate popsicles before we finished bringing the groceries in. Food was a punishment and a reward when I was a child. It was used to control and to keep me in my place. My relationship with food was very much equated with my potential for relationships with men and how men would see me.

I was not bullied in school for my weight but I had very low self-esteem. I had learned that fat people don’t deserve love.

Fast forward to age 18 when I met my first real boyfriend. First kiss, first love, first everything. Including first husband. Despite my mother trying to tell me that there were some red flags I should pay attention to, I was hell bent on marrying the guy because I thought it was all a big mistake, a fluke, because I was fat and there was no way that someone would actually want to be with me. So we got married on June 26, 2009.

Three months later, I realized I had made a mistake. He’s not a bad person, we were just a bad match and I was nowhere near ready to be married. I didn’t know how to communicate because I had never seen a model of a healthy relationship to follow (no offense meant to my parents, but I never saw them fight… just suddenly they divorced). After 2.5 years of marriage I moved out in January 2012, armed with some newly grown self-confidence and the knowledge that I didn’t have to settle for a life that made me so unhappy.

In December 2011, I weighed 300 pounds, my highest weight in recorded history. What a reality check – I had lost all control. I needed to take it back.

Once I moved out and we got divorced, I began the work of “Finding Myself.” This included a new job, a new apartment, discovering Dave Ramsey and paying off my car, and paying all my own bills like a grown ass adult. Minimalism ensued because one of the easiest ways to make a radical change in your life is to get rid of everything you own.

Then a woman messaged me on Facebook and we began a friendship. She saw me post a question about vegan diets in a health group. And she was a Beachbody coach.

That patient, patient woman talked with me on and off for eight months before I decided to sign up and try this workout and Shakeology stuff she was telling me about. I signed up as a coach because I can’t resist a good discount. And it was great! I loved it.

For some reason, on Thanksgiving day 2013, I quit working out. Shortly thereafter I canceled my account to save money.

Patiently again, my coach kept supporting me, finally letting me know about a new program called PiYo. I wondered, “What if I actually stuck with it this time?” and I signed up as a coach again.

Guess what day the box arrived in the mail? It was June 26, 2014. An ordinary day of the year to anyone else, but to me it was a reminder of a life shed and left behind. It would have been my fifth wedding anniversary.

I tore that box open, popped in the DVD, and TOOK IT BACK.

That date is now mine. It is my anniversary to myself. It is a reminder that I am enough, I am beautiful, I am confident, and I am capable of doing anything I can dream. It is a reminder that “what if” is an amazing thing. June 26 represents everything good in the world to me, because it’s the day I took my life back for good.

The key, for me, has been practicing self-love and working on myself emotionally as well as physically. How can I expect to treat my body right if deep down I believe it’s not good enough for me, that it’s ugly or useless or horrible? You cannot make lasting changes due to hating your body; you make lasting changes when you love your body. Learning to love myself (body, mind, and spirit) has been huge for me.

It has been a year since I took it all back and I am happy to report that I did not give up in the middle of my workout. I completed PiYo. I completed 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme. I completed Combat and Pump. I am halfway through a 20 week TurboFire schedule.

I can honestly tell you that I love exercise and crave it like a drug. I can honestly tell you that my coach and my supporters in our accountability groups have changed my life. I can honestly tell you that Shakeology is worth every penny to me because of the way it makes me feel and the way it fuels my body.

Beachbody is how I took control of my life. Now I’m actively coaching and helping others take control of theirs.

Happy anniversary, Caitlin. I love you unconditionally. Finally.

All time top weight: 300 lbs, December 2011
No measurements available from this time. I wish!!

Weight 256
Bust 48”
Chest 40.5”
Waist 44”
Hips 53”
Thighs 31” each
Calves 17” each
Right bicep 16”
Left bicep 15”
Neck 14.5”

Weight 213.4 (lost 42.6 lbs in a year, 86.6 since December 2011)
Bust 43” (lost 5”)
Chest 35” (lost 5.5”)
Waist 37” (lost 7”)
Hips 47” (lost 6”)
Thighs 26.5” each (lost 4.5” each)
Calves 15” right, 15.5” left (lost 3.5” total)
Right bicep 13.5” (lost 2.5”)
Left bicep 13” (lost 2”)
Neck 13.5” (lost 1”)

My advice to people who want to make a huge change in their life?
1. Never give up.
2. Love yourself.
3. Never give up on loving yourself.

Total Money Makeover, Week 8

Week 5 in Financial Peace University was called “Buyer Beware” and discussed the power of marketing and advertising, which are common saboteurs of a healthy budget! Companies want you to buy their product – and they go to great lengths to get your business!

Companies market via…

  • Personal selling
  • Financing and convenient payment methods (store loyalty cards, store credit cards, mobile payment, 90 days same as cash)
  • TV, radio, Internet, and other media outlets (did you know a 30 second TV commercial costs $300,000 to produce?)
  • Product positioning in stores (companies pay to have their product stocked in a particular area of a store)

An important note about the 90 days same as cash scheme – 88% of those are not paid off in 90 days and are slammed with 24% interest dating back to the date of purchase.  Don’t do it.  Save up your money and pay cash.  Nothing is so important that you have to buy it right now, brand new, on credit.

We go through physiological changes when we spend money.  That’s why Dave is such a proponent of using cash instead of cards – so you FEEL the money you are spending.  It’s the same even when we save up and buy significant purchases.  Significant purchases can mean different things depending on your budget, but Dave suggests $300 is considered a significant purchase.

When I was married, we did a budget. For one month. Because it didn’t work and I never wanted to try again. We decided that each of us could spend $100 without asking the other one, that was our fun money fund.  He financed a $1,000 laptop and justified it because “the payments were only $100 per month.”

I can’t even begin to wonder what that marriage would have been if I had discovered Dave Ramsey sooner in my life.  Just as well that I didn’t, though, because I now have happiness, self-esteem, and self-respect.  Can’t buy those.  Can’t finance them either.  #do-over
Dave’s suggestions for purchases include:
  • Sleep on it – wait overnight before making a purchase
  • Weigh your motives and intentions – do not purchase something to make you happy; no amount of “stuff” is going to fill a void
  • Know what you are buying – don’t buy things you don’t understand
  • Consider the “opportunity cost” of your money – you have to give every dollar a place to go; make sure it’s a good place
  • Seek the counsel of your spouse – when you are single, you only have to answer to yourself; when you’re married, every decision you make with money has the potential to impact your spouse.  Always talk about where every dollar will go.

My favorite part of the lesson was the discussion about negotiating.  I really can’t wait until the next time I need to buy something!  Some important tips:

  • Use cash
  • Walk away – they will follow you and make a deal
  • Learn to shut up – they will talk themselves into a lower price
  • Say, “That’s not good enough.”  Also see: Walk away
  • Identify the good guy/bad guy technique – a car salesman goes to “talk to the manager” and regrettably reports that the mean ol’ manager just won’t go for a deal.  Know when to walk away from this.
  • Master the “If I take away” technique – A salesman offers you a TV with a DVD player and surround speakers for $X.00.  Say, “Okay, but I don’t need the speakers or DVD player, if I take those away, what is the new price?” (also useful for car purchases where they want to sell you luxury options).

Confession time

I have a confession – I spent some money on a luxury this month.  I have a Facebook friend who is a coach for BeachBody, and I signed up for an exercise program and nutritional shakes.  There were three outcomes from this purchase:

  1. Best case: I love the DVDs and shakes, I get closer to achieving my fitness goals, and I like the purchase.
  2. Neutral: I don’t love the DVDs or shakes, I return them for a refund.
  3. Worst case: I don’t love them, but I forget to return them in time and I do not get a refund.  I learn a lesson to not buy things like this.

One week after the kit arrived, I’m going with case #1.  I only lost 1.4 pounds in the first week, but I did lose FOURTEEN INCHES over my entire body (measuring bust, chest, biceps, thighs, calves, waist, and hips).  It has definitely been a good purchase, in my case and in my opinion.  It’s easier for me to do the workout at home than to go to the gym.  This is not an endorsement that everyone should go sign up for BeachBody, but it’s my personal experience and I found that it was worth my money in this moment.  We’ll evaluate as time goes on.