Workin’ on my fitness

Well, I am going to get real with y’all on this post. I am going to tell you lots of details about my health, and I will be completely blunt. Remember: this blog is my opinion and my opinion only. I might be super harsh with some of my comments but it is my personal opinion. Also: I am not a professional or a doctor so just take everything as my own personal experience which may or may not mesh with yours.


{sorry, obligatory ’00s reference}

Back in my senior year of boarding school I was doing pre-season training with field hockey when I collapsed. I had a massive exertional heat stroke and was trucked to the hospital. Awesome. And yes, that can cause brain damage for the doubters out there. My Assistant Coach told me to spit out my mouth guard and put my hands over my head. When I did that I fell over like a tree and was out for a few minutes. We quickly realized that I was paralyzed (thankfully temporarily), my heart was slowing down, I remember being unable to talk or move anything but could hear everything and was crying. I quickly went into shock. The EMTs could not get an IV in me as the ambulance was bouncing around so much, and they kept saying “we are losing her.” Oh boy, fond memories. I remember seeing the entrance to the hospital, and then not opening my eyes until about 8 hours later. To this day, since my parents were not there, we have no idea how they treated me as the Dean of Students was there post-arrival.

Anyway, so I was in the hospital overnight, got back to school, and was in the nursing wing for a few days. Again, my senior year of boarding school! What a bummer, ‘eh? I lost a ton of weight, and my metabolism was completely different after that point. I was anemic, now add onto that potassium deficient, and was incredibly weak. It didn’t help that this time of my life included several medications (your teenage dream combo of ADHD/depression/anxiety/Trichotillomania) so I was a hot mess. I was essentially benched for the rest of the senior field hockey season, and spent my free time running fitness trails behind campus (it on a 350+ acres property) and using the rowing machine. I was pretty much a size 6 all the time and was rather active walking all over campus.

When I got to college I was really bad about binge drinking but also was good about eating regularly and working out so I was pretty much consistent in weight, still a size 6. {Nov of Freshman year of college above}

It wasn’t until I left school {after the ugly thing happened}, and took a Gap Year living in Baltimore that my weight got a little weird. I was keeping weird schedules working at Nordstrom, going to bars, sleeping was off, diet was shit. I did work out but not in the traditional sense.

SO, my weight went up a bit, but not a huge amount. {my face gets wider when I gain weight}

However, when I moved to Charlottesville and lived on 14th street I was in a house of very healthy, green eating ladies. It was wonderful. It was inspiring and motivated me. Plus, Cville is an athletic city – lots of biking, runners, etc. – and I got on board with that really quickly.

I then moved from 14th Street out into the county so I could pay a cheaper rent. The apartment community was great as it had a wonderful gym, and when I started working for the USDOJ the basement had a gym as well. I worked out all the time. I just did the elliptical and handweights. Nothing fancy. I was also on the breaking-up-with-unsuitable-boyfriend diet, which was essentially “one stomach flu away from my goal weight” … although I had no goal weight.

Well, then, in 2008 I collapsed while at work. I had to go to the hospital and they told me I had a condition called costochondritis and for me it was the chronic form. It basically gives me heart-attack symptoms although you aren’t having one. Talk about confusing and frightening! UVA really took great care of me and UVA and Hopkins have kept me healthy since then thanks to a lot of communication with my doctors. It was not the best time. And my weight got even lower. I had my wisdom tooth surgery taken out that summer and lost about 15-20 pounds as I had four taken out at once and they had to break my jaw in two places for 2/4 teeth were impacted. At that point, really, to some friends I was almost too skinny but I couldn’t help it due to my health:

I am not going to lie, I really loved how I looked, I still had a figure, I have always been VERY long-waisted and my chest and butt were still nice and guys seemed to love my body. Yes, I went there. However, I became more aware of how diet is essential, particularly when you have pre-exisiting chronic deficiencies of major vitamins! Esp. important ones for your heart and brain (see potassium and iron).

From from Sept 2011-Jun 2012 I was pretty inactive. When I saw this photo I felt really sad as I knew I had really lost my curvy, toned figure completely (I may have even said ‘ew fat face’):

So then I started the workout routine I have now. I sleep AT LEAST 7 hours a night. Eight to nine hours is my average.

{Boarding school classmate, Trish, who is a rockstar and my hero!}


I have never had a personal trainer but some of my friends are trainers so that helps. Here is my routine which normally lasts between 30 to 60 minutes, depending on my energy level, how I feel, etc…

I get up at 6AM on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to do these exercises.

I first do your classic calisthenics we learned in gym class at our elementary schools:
-jumping jacks
-calf raises.
3 sets of each, with no cap – but normally about 25 each set.

Then I go into weight training. Since I have not been as active as I used to be, I have been doing the low-weight, high reps method. I use a pair of 8 lb dumbbells I got when I did cross-country in 9th grade. No major kettlebell training at this time, but just a little bit and then I use my smallest kettlebell, which is an 18-pounder.
-Dumbbell swing with one of the 8-pounders. I normally just do this until my arms get tired, but I’d start at 3 sets of 5 if you can manage it.

-Kettlebell swing, I do this for about 5 minutes straight. That is a good goal, but very hard for a beginning if not in good cardio shape. I squeeze my glutes a lot doing this exercise.

That is my normal workout. I also will run stairs at our house, and I am deliberately mobile at work to make sure my activity keeps me burning at least some of the calories I put in.


Since New Years, and being diagnosed as a Celiac, I have been eating gluten free. I no longer eat and then balloon like a pregnant woman, no longer have diarrhea, no longer have chronic energy issues, no longer have anxiety, have dramatically lessened my joint and muscle pains, no longer have intense rashes on my arms. Here is an average day, food-wise for me… Let me note that I have been eating organic, locally-sourced (normally) foods since 2006. I do not eat anything that is from a package… if I do it is incredibly rare.

-Smoothie with the following: 1 cup of spinach, 1 banana, 1/2 raw mango, 1/4 cup pineapple, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup raspberries or strawberries, 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt. I eat this post-workout. And it is just under 32 ounces worth. I know that is a lot.
-Secondly: From getting up, to workout, to shower, to driving to work, I drink 1 Le Creuset teapot of chamomile tea. This pot is about 32 ounces.

If I do not get a fresh steak salad from the salad bar across the street (they make it in front of you so mine is really healthy), I tend to have a rice flour wrap with fresh Boars Head deli meats in it. This wrap will include some avocado, peppered turkey breast, pepperjack cheese. I will have 1-2 cups of freshly chopped raw carrots. Sometimes I will throw in a Ziploc a handful of Grandma Utz chips for some salt. I will often have 1 can of Cherry Coke at lunch and follow it with about 16+ ounces of water.

Chicken breast, grilled salmon, or pork loin. I often do rice as a side now… with curry or coconut milk, etc. for savory flavors. I then have a salad or cooked or roasted vegetables with it. Not potatoes though – carrots, onion or shallot, zucchini, etc. We have a huge cabinet of fresh spices and I really do spices to make up for what I miss gluten-wise.
Sidebar – During my commute home, I will continuously tighten my abs and butt. No, I am not kidding. I will clench for a few seconds and release… the entire 40 minute drive home. You will feel/see results, I swear!
I either have another can of Cherry Coke on my commute home (35-40+ minutes) or water. And then drink with dinner white wine, red wine, or another 32 ounce pot of chamomile tea.

Let me throw this out there. I am not a snacker. I do not drink coffee. I do not do mid-day snacks. I don’t get munchies ever. If I do I am normally ovulating or PMS-ing so I will have about 5 peanut M&Ms (jar on my desk which I haven’t refilled since before my honeymoon in Oct) or maybe a dark chocolate square or GF granola bar. I do drink white wine, red wine, and liquor, but I track my calories on FitBit (I like the format more than the MyFitnessPal program) so I eyeball how much and cut back that day ahead of time. So those are hidden calories lots of people forget about that I really don’t have in a measurable sense. I am not a big dessert person, but I do miss having a simple chocolate chip cookie once in a while, or even a croissant, which I used to have like 2 or 3 a month, and now I cannot have those anymore since they have gluten. I have cried over that about once a week the past four weeks. I miss them a lot when I am ovulating. Once I master some GF/gluten-free/Celiac recipes, I will share them if you’d like.

Since New Years (when I started bothering with a scale post-Celiac diagnosis) I have lost 12 pounds. I have, since October, lost 1″ from waist, 3″ from hips/butt, 1″ from each calf, 1/4″ from both biceps. And I have always been all over the map at different stores but naturally clothes are fitting the way they used to, skinny jeans are not cutting off circulation in my legs/butt/hips, and I have gone down an entire size in lingerie bottoms (and um, gone up a cup in my bras, which is annoying since I am already a 32DD/E… boohiss). Lingerie bottoms are often in a WIDE range so of course I did a happy dance when I pulled out some old favorites and they fit perfectly again. Of course that perks a person right up.

I will continue to keep you guys updated on my progress/body changes, and please let me know if you have questions!

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Virginia based lifestyle blogger Whitney of WorthyStyle shares her beauty, fashion, gluten free cooking, family life, and more. Follow along!

18 thoughts on “Workin’ on my fitness

  1. W you are made of such good and fantastic stuff. i am in awe of your strength, determination and courage. i welled up at a few places for the pain you've had to endure but dang it lady it is just so you to come out fighting and winning! i am glad they diagnosed the celiac and you've figured out what was going on. i will be along you as you continue this journey. much love. xox P

  2. I'm glad to hear that going Gluten Free is going so well for you, and that you've managed to find a health balance with all of the things you have going on. The only thing though is I'm a little concerned that you're calling costochondritis a heart condition, since it's an inflammation of the costal cartilage and while the pain may mimic that of a heart attack has nothing to do with your heart itself.

  3. Very open and honest of you. Thank you so much. Seems you are really making progress all the time towards health and happiness.

  4. I'm so glad that you posted this! Are all of those symptoms that you listed associated with being Celiac? Those are all issues that I struggle with on a daily basis, seriously. Every single one. I'm really struggling with finding a healthy plan that works for me. This sounds like it's been great for you!

  5. This post is amazing. I really admire you for not only working to be the best you can be, but achieving so much and being so open about your experiences. Thank you for sharing this with me and everyone else who reads your wonderful blog!


  6. Awww thank you so much, P! You are so sweet. Believe me there are times where I have just wailed with frustration over my bad luck, but I am so happy to be feeling so whole again.


  7. From what Mayo Clinic, and what my doctor told me about my symptoms, yes – those are Celiac symptoms. They told me that often some people get diagnosed with IBS when in reality they have Celiac, or at least need to try a gluten-free diet to see how they feel after a month… so I would definitely consider going “GF” and see how you feel. You still get plenty of nutrients and all of the vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy, so it is worth a shot if you want to try it!

  8. Thank you so much! I always feel like being {somewhat painfully/unflatteringly} honest is always the best thing to do sometimes. Being encouraged and supported helps, too, so thank you for that!

  9. Wow, you really do have an amazing outlook! I am a snacker and eat pretty badly so after a long day at work I don't make good food choices. I am a picky eater but I am trying more and more foods. I think that is making a big difference for me

  10. Thank you lady! I know it is hard to make good food choices with your job – the husband was a picky eater but over the past five years I have gotten him into being more flexible and trying new things. It is all about easing yourself into it! I know that definitely makes a big difference.

  11. Thanks for sharing your stories! And so glad to hear that you have found what works! That's awesome! Oh and thanks for posting what your smoothie recipe. Can't wait to try that!

    Jayme & Mendi @ Her Late Night Cravings

  12. I hope you guys enjoy the smoothie – I also put a heaping tablespoon of flax seed in the blender, and feel free to sub out frozen fruits if something is not in season. Might yield a different amount of smoothie, but it will still taste great!

  13. You are SO on the right track. HAve you ever checked-out The China Study or Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat To Live. Long story short…whole foods, plant-based, nutrient-dense diet. The evidence all points to it, and it is especially important in controlling conditions of chronic inflammation (like yours), diabetes, heart disease (Bill Clinton totally reversed his heart disease this way)….if only more people would take this up…..I would be out of a job (nurse practitioner) , right enough, but the world would be a healthier place. Good for you for your honesty and willingness to share this with others.

  14. I am so grateful that you, with your background, think I am on the right track. I really appreciate when educated opinions weigh in and help reassure me that the advice I am getting is the right one. I will be sure to check those books out this weekend, they definitely sound right up my alley! Thank you so much, again.


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