Ashley Azevedo was in a car accident that left her unable to exercise. This is how she turned negativity around to help others.
How has weight see-sawed?
Growing up I was always the skinny girl. While that sounds crazy to most, I also know there are other ladies who went through a similar situation and feel the same. When I don’t work out, I lose muscle and quickly drop weight to below the average. It elicits negative comments, so I work out to maintain my physique and to be strong and healthy.
When did training become serious?
When I was 16. Growing up, I didn’t fall into the “normal” weight range and it was a constant struggle to keep on enough just to be coined healthy during doctor visits. I got tired of being teased about my weight and began searching for ways to gain some. So, I signed up for my first gym membership, began lifting weights and fell in love.
What was your turning point?
A few years ago, I was in a car accident that left me unable to exercise for an entire year and resulted in a loss of about 18lb of hard-earned weight. I dropped down to my 112lb frame as I went through a year of physical therapy and pain management. After my last set of spinal X-rays, the doctor recommended against me ever running or lifting heavy again. I felt completely defeated, but refused to accept this diagnosis and became determined to build myself back up. This was a turning point in my training, but also in my overall mindset.
I realized how much of a gift it is to have a healthy, functioning body and how I’d taken that for granted. As a society, we put too much emphasis on shape and size, and not enough on the person inside, or how much of a gift it is just to be able to move. It’s now my mission to help other women feel comfortable and confident in their own skin and realize true fitness is about how you feel, not how you look.
What was the first step towards gaining control?
After physical therapy ended, I inched my way back into fitness. I began walking around the block, trying to add a little distance each time. After I felt good with that, I stepped back in the gym. It was a slow process, but it felt amazing to be challenging myself again.
How did you change your diet?
My diet mimicked things I read from fitness models and friends who trained regularly: fish or chicken and veggies. It wasn’t something I could maintain or enjoy. The more I researched, the more I realized I could incorporate the foods I love and maintain my physique. It’s all about balance! Now, I love sharing this approach with others so that they can enjoy themselves and still live life.
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