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Before and after over the course of four years. Approximately 25 pounds down from my highest weight.

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The Muir Forest, Marin County, CA

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Hi! My name is Sheena and I'm starting my 7th year of SPARKING! Here's my story:

I was a 90's kid with parents who never forced me to do anything I didn't want to do. As a result of too much autonomy at too young of an age, I WAS FAT. I mean it. I'll never forget crying and crying because I weighed 80 pounds in the 2nd grade and people teased me often and I had panic attacks every day before PE class. Things continued in this fashion until around the time I hit adolescence, when I started dropping pounds by picking up some awful habits.

Like too many young girls, I battled with eating disorders that I never talked about and starved myself through high school. By the time I entered young-adulthood, I wasn't equipped with ANY healthy/positive body images. To me, it seemed the only options were eat and be fat or starve and be normal.

I also didn't think I was capable of exercising, because I had been told all my life I was too broken. See, I had scoliosis very badly and as a result, I have a fully-fused spine. My exercise options seemed non-existent. In their defense, my parents did *try*. They signed me up for ballet classes where I was told "not to exert myself too much and just have fun." I felt like a walking liability lawsuit waiting to happen. All my life, my parents, my doctors, my coaches and peers, they told me I couldn't. I shouldn't. I was too fragile.

Then, one day when I was about 17, I realized I was fed up with feeling so AWFUL all the time, I came across a book. It was a magical book that has changed my life forever. The name of this magic book is, "The American Yoga Association's Beginner's Manual" I don't know how or why but I thought to myself, "I can do this. I will enjoy this. No one watching. No competition. Just me, my soul and some quiet reflection." I bought the book and have since had to buy another copy because it's gotten so much love.

Yoga changed my life. Yoga brought me to myself. I started slowly and then my practice grew to an hour a day, every day. I signed up for yoga classes at a local gym. My teacher believed in me. She had a fused-neck and she told me magic words that no one had ever told me before, "Listen to your body. It is smarter than you are." My yoga practice grew to include pilates and then light cardio. I signed up to join the gym where I took yoga classes, because it was only a few extra dollars each month. For the first time in my life, I was fit, healthy, happy and covered up in long-lean MUSCLE!!! My eating disorder vanished. My confidence sky-rocketed. I felt so comfortable in my own body!

Then, I fell into some dark days. In the matter of two years, my childhood best-friend died, I married a man who lied to me, cheated on me, and emotionally abused me. We lost a baby together. I was barely 22, newly divorced and had just lost my child but held onto the baby weight, then we find out my mom is dying. Needless to say, I was DEPRESSED. I stopped exercising. I turned to food for comfort. I spent my days taking my mom to and from chemo appointments and then eating the delicious soul-food the church ladies would bring to my family. I somehow found myself overweight again.

I was in denial about the extra weight, but there was no denying it when I went to the doctor and she told me I was at 159. My all-time highest weight. I went home and got out my wii fit and when I put in my weight and height it said, "That's overweight!!" and then it made my avatar a plump little blonde girl. I was devastated. This is when I found another magical thing that has since changed my life for the better.

I stumbled across Sparkpeople in late December of 2007, while searching for fitness information. It seemed legit, so I signed up. I had no idea what I was in for. I started slowly again, with my yoga and my light cardio DVDS. I used my wii fit. Eventually, I started following the nutrition plans. I started eating healthy food and tracking my calories. I lost a few pounds and got more motivation as a result. I started doing easy weight-lifting. The rush was amazing. I was HOOKED.

I didn't lose much weight at first but that wasn't the point. I was slowly beginning to develop the lasting life-habits that sparkpeople preaches to its users. I started drinking my water, made myself a priority, exercised (almost daily) it was awesome! Then my mom died and I fell into a pit of despair and the old ED flared up again. I dropped so much weight it was pathetic. I was pathetic.

It took my dear husband's proposal for me to realize that I am NOT my depression. I am NOT the number on the scale. I am NOT my failures or successes. I am a beautiful girl, a human soul, who is worthy of being loved and giving love. This gentle push to take care of myself for OUR future, made me kick the ED once and for all. I didn't want to be pathetic and miserable, no one truly wants that.

I'm almost three years free of destructive and disordered eating. I don't hide anything, anymore. I KNOW I have to fuel my body with healthy foods if I'm going to stay fit and healthy. I'm done with ups and downs, the gaining weight and then starving it off. It's a sad reality that so many girls feel or have felt the way I did. It's a reality that needs to change.

These days I am SO HAPPY. In the past three years since my mom's death and my husband's proposal, I have become the healthy, happy, beautiful girl who always lived inside of me. The person my mom always wanted me to be, but couldn't force me to be. I had to find her for myself.

I do my yoga practice almost every day. I love weight lifting. I love cooking. I've taken up tennis with my husband. We go for long walks. I still love my cardio dvds. I love the elliptical and the stationary bike. I love hiking and easy bike rides. I LOVE being active. I love eating and cooking healthy things. I finally feel like I'm FREE from my own destructive thoughts. Of course there are bad days. Of course there are ups and downs. If there weren't, then it wouldn't be LIFE.

The most important thing that sparkpeople and daily yoga practice have taught me is this: I AM good enough. I AM strong enough. I AM worth it.

Member Since: 12/13/2007

Fitness Minutes: 26,631

My Goals:
My number one goal is to maintain the healthy/happy/fit lifestyle that I have achieved with the help of Sparkpeople.

My Program:
My nutrition program is all about moderation. Nothing is off limits, as long as I control my portions!

My exercise program is very intense. I strength train for 1 hour 3-4x/week and do some form of cardio almost every day. I love aerobics, dancing when no one is watching, lots and lots of yoga and pilates. I love beachbody DVDS! I collect the ones I can afford! :) Chalene is my hero!

Personal Information:
I'm an Alabama baby born and bred, but I love to travel. I study foreign languages (french and spanish) I've spent most of my adult life muddling through academia, finally settling into a program in contract law. I'm in my senior year of my undergraduate degree in acquisition and contract law/management and I hope to get into law school after graduation. I live a fast-paced lifestyle and can't sit still for ten minutes! I used to do a lot of volunteer work, but I've had to cut back on activities. However, after school, I would like to afford more time to helping others.

Other Information:
I love music and dancing. I play guitar and piano... drums, bass, mandolin, you name it! I'm also newly-wed to my childhood best friend and I've honestly never been so happy. We love to travel and go on hiking trips often. He is definitely my better half! However, cooking for both of our tastes is our only marital challenge. :) He's learning that vegetables aren't scary! And I'm learning to relax and have honest to goodness ice-cream every once in a while!

Read More About SHEENUH - Profile Information moved here. (Updated July 26)

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  • v JUDY1260
    Hi, I had to visit your page after reading your gripe about the well-intentioned (but unnecessary) advice to watch your bread intake. hehe I "get" that you need lots of calories to fuel your workouts. Extreme calorie restriction + heavy workouts = disaster. After five years on Spark People, it sounds like you know what to do. :)

    I want to share a link to Go Kaleo's FB page. She lost about 80 lbs and is now lean & strong. She consumes roughly 3000 calories a day. She believes in "eating the food" to fuel your workouts. Check out her page.

    2873 days ago
    Saw you comment about the nutrition naysayer and thought you might like this post from my fav Paleo blog:

    Congrats on your success and charge on even with raisin bread in hand!!
    2875 days ago
  • v CANNIE50
    I loved your comment on the "getting up earlier to train" thread. Your comment about not being able to get up earlier to "meet Jesus or save the planet" made me emoticon You made some very good points, too, about adapting to our own bodies rather than what we think we should be doing because that is what other people do. Thanks for posting your wisdom. emoticon
    3009 days ago
  • v AMBERLYNN777
    Hi there! Hope it's OK I added you as a friend! I saw your forum post on turning to food when stressed & noticed your food tracker was open. I love seeing other people's trackers to get ideas (and also to keep me tracking!) Hope you have a wonderful day! :)
    3039 days ago
  • v TACDGB
    Hi... I so can relate to your love for music and working out. I too love my music........and weight lifting.... emoticon . I like seeing my muscles grow. I also have a killer butt too.... So keep up the great work that you are are so worth it. Remember that when you think you can't do it.......God is right there for you.......He loves you. Go get that body you want...................... emoticon (((HUGS)))......Terri
    3043 days ago
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