Health | Wellness | Yoga | Chicago

How Did I Get Here? Part Two.

This post is  a continuation of a former post, “How Did I Get Here? Part One.” If you haven’t read it, click here!


I was kind of at a standstill, I didn’t want to keep restricting myself, but I wanted to look and feel good. I decided to start @shapedupsam. Starting an Instagram about my health journey has tremendously helped me through it. I will forever be thankful for people that follow me and actually give a shit about the food I make and the choices I make for my body. I did a lot of research. Not just googling random articles, but ACTUAL research about how food affects our entire bodies. I starting becoming passionate about health and sharing my findings with others and I finally felt that I was finally at a good place with myself and the way I was eating. I sat down and thought long and hard about whether I should keep “restricting” myself from eating certain foods. I decided that the way I felt when I wasn’t eating gluten and dairy was AMAZING and I did not want to lose that feeling, but I also needed to explore the relationship I had with food. I dove into the world of healthy recipes and healthy desserts and eventually, I truly stopped craving unhealthy, processed, and fast food. I now satisfy my “cravings” with foods that don’t contain grains, dairy, or sugar, and they are even better because they both taste better and make me feel better. I realized that instead of looking at the labels on the front of food packages, that I should have been looking at the ingredients on the back. Yes, maybe it does take me twenty extra minutes at the grocery store because I read the back of every damn package in depth, but it is SO worth it.


November 2016, mostly gluten-free & dairy-free diet, working out 4 days a week, weight: 120


It did take my digestive system a while to adjust to my new style of eating. I had to figure out by myself, which foods made me feel shitty (even if they were healthy) and which foods make me feel 100%. It was really discouraging and frustrating when I was eating so healthy and clean, but then I would still get bloated and feel sick. The doctor informally diagnosed me with IBS, but she wasn’t much help at all (more on that to come). I went through periods of “testing” which foods my body can tolerate, and which foods my body cannot. I found the foods that my body can’t handle too much of, and I now only eat them on occasion (bananas, raw almonds, sugary fruits, dates, etc.) Although it was a tough process, I am grateful that I was able to get so in touch with my body’s desires; it is a feeling that is hard to explain, but feeling connected with your body and honoring your body is an amazing feeling.


I LOVE food, and I eat as much as my body needs. I have learned that food really is fuel and food really does HEAL. I have never felt stronger, more confident, and more focused than I do now, since I made the decision to cut out unhealthy foods from my life. I have gained a couple pounds since I lost the majority of my weight, and I am totally cool with that because I feel awesome and I have gained a lot of muscle! I currently eat according to the Paleo lifestyle (more on why I went Paleo to come). Eating Paleo means no gluten, no grains, no soy, no dairy, no legumes, and no refined sugars. Those foods can be extremely harsh on one’s digestive system and I truly feel a billion times better on the Paleo “diet.” Yes, I did lose weight, but more importantly, I lost negativity in my life. I would like to stress that everyone’s bodies’ are completely different and respond differently to different ways of eating, and YOU have to find what works for YOU.


Through changing my lifestyle, I have now come to love HIIT running, weight training, yoga, spin, and all kinds of workouts! The food I put in my body keeps me motivated to workout and take care of my body in all respects. I could go on about how these changes have affected my life. I am so passionate about health, fitness, nutrition, natural “medicine,” yoga, and overall wellness and I am excited to share this information with all of you.


January 2017, strictly gluten free & dairy free, working out 5 days a week, weight: 123


It’s been a rocky journey, and my intentions were not genuine when I started. In the beginning, my goal was, “lose 25 pounds.” But even when I achieved that goal, I wasn’t necessarily happy. I am not going to sit here and say that I don’t care what my body looks like, because I do care about looking lean and strong and making progress in my fitness journey, and that’s OKAY! It’s okay to have goals for the way you want your body to look, you just have to find  balance and not let those goals become obsessive. Now, my main goals revolve around feeling good rather than a number on a scale, and being able to look in the mirror and feel confident and happy.


LEFT: March 2016, weight: 146; RIGHT: May 2017, weight: 126 (paleo diet, working out 7 days a week)


I truly hope tha everyone has the chance to love their bodies and feel healthy, happy, and confident. I am so excited to share my knowledge and my journey. Thanks for listening!


**The reason why I disclosed my weight under each photo is to make a point that a specific weight doesn’t have direct correlation to health, but being overweight for your specific body type can be unhealthy. I have now found a healthy weight for my body that fluctuates within a couple pounds, and that’s okay. I have gained six pounds since November and I am super happy about it because I feel better and I have gained a lot of muscle! My number should never be compared to anyone else’s because weight really doesn’t mean too much when it comes down to it. I look leaner at 126 pounds than I did at 120. Feeling good will always be more important to me that a number, but the number is there under the photos to prove a point that changing your lifestyle for the better will most likely help you lose weight, gain strength, and develop a positive body image!**



Sammy Conrad


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