I've gone back and fourth on how to go about discussing my journey with fitness now for quite some time. I guess the reason behind why its so difficult to find the words or ways to talk about this is the pure vulnerability and raw honesty that comes with it. I hope readers can respect my words and more importantly relate or understand in some way. I hope this gives others hope and realization that there is truly no such thing as perfection and nothing comes over night. True strength to make a change lies within yourself. You and only you can make that change. If you want something bad enough, you CAN make it happen. With that motivational intro, here is how I got started.
Let me just say, it’s freakin hard being a girl. You don’t get a warning or heads up either. The battle starts fairly early. At least it did for me. I always wanted to strive for the term, "perfection". I guess that usually starts for a female in high school. I dealt with mean girls, I dealt with name calling, bullying, typical shit. I tried to keep up with trends, have only the hottest brand name clothing that was out there, but more importantly I wanted to look good in that clothing. I wanted to be “skinny minnie” in that clothing. I'll never forget sitting in class one day when the girl next to me (who happened to be very “popular") started talking to someone about how she was wearing her best friends jeans. She said, and I quote.."God, her fat ass...i'm a 00 and these are a 2! They are sooo big on me and I NEED a belt". I felt super awkward thinking about my jean size but even more awkward for her "poor size 2 friend". CHRIST, seriously?? Honestly.. in my opinion, curves have come a long way. When I was in high school you had to be a stick, a twig, transparent. Now.. I see girls in highschool exposing their curves, enhancing aspects of themselves on apps for Instagram, and trying to look thicker than what they are. That would've probably worked in my favor when I was in high school..but I'll stop myself right there. ITS STILL JUST AS BAD. People are STILL trying to change themselves and see themselves in a different way regardless of if its slimming down or bulking up. I'll be the first to admit it was a rough couple of years, I didn't like how I looked, I wanted to be miss double zero.
Fast forward to college, and EVERYTHING changes. I felt way more acceptance for sure, but honestly I think it was also the fact that there were thousands of students all shapes and sizes and no one really gave a shit about why you looked the way you did anymore. We were grown, a little more mature, had better things to do than depict someone else for what they looked like. Now, that doesn't mean people still didn't want to look a certain way, it just wasn't someones first priority. New world, new friends, new life. Oh, I meant new UN-HEALTHY life. You know what i'm referring to if you went to a 4 year school. BOOZE & FOOD, BABY. Sugary drinks, because us girls didn't care to know about 64 calorie vodka sodas till ~the bar days~. Late night pizza..because suddenly i'm starving in bed? Most importantly, dining dollars, swipes, food court frenzies. Every school has one, and usually they're stocked up on every food group. Primarily the pasta, pizza, cookie food group. Don't get me wrong, “dining hall dates” were great, and the conversation was even better, because usually it was about who left the party with “so and so” the night before..BUT guess who was paying the cost of alllllll this dining hall crap? ME. My body hated me after graduating. It screamed, "congrats on your diploma but shame on you for not taking care of me in the mean time."
When I left college and faced the real world, I was in a place in my life where things were a bit chaotic, a bit depressing, and a bit alone..for a lot of reasons. I moved to a new town, in a new home, where I no longer got to see my friends or experience the same lifestyle EVERYDAY like I once had. I didn't have my "big girl job" yet, so I really needed to fill my time and keep myself busy. So I started with fitness. The question was, HOW do I start? WHERE do I start? What will work for ME and MY body? I started running around my neighborhood, incorporating fitness in my every day routine, eating healthier, cutting out certain foods, and having cheat DAYS versus cheat WEEKS. I felt a little better with myself, but I still was going through some really hard challenges. I wasn't losing the weight or getting the results I wanted, and more importantly I was not happy. I was having mood swings daily, feeling really depressed, and just lost in my own head. My mother sat me down one day and pointed these things out to me, expressing concern and how she remembered at my recent physical that they wanted to re-take some of my blood work as my thyroid levels were off. For those who don't know, your thyroid stores and produces hormones that affect the function of almost every organ in our body. So essentially, if your thyroid levels are off, virtually everything is. Lucky me, my family has a long history of having a "hypo-active" thyroid. This means things are working a little bit slower, leading to things like weight gain, mood swings, and basically everything I was experiencing all at once in a pivotal point in my life. Tough shit. Tough year. Good news is, I got through it. I started taking a medication every morning that regulates my levels and turns my frown upside down. No-this is not an anti depressant in ANY way. It just helps to keep things moving along properly. Long story short, after having been on the medication for some time, I started losing the weight I was working so hard at and was back to feeling confident. I was healthy and happy.
Fast forward to a few years later and I was still happy and healthy. I had a job, a boyfriend, and a puppy! Lots of new life changes. My weight still fluctuated here and there but I knew it was up to me to stay on track if I wanted to maintain my goal once achieved. Fact of the matter is, it’s easy to fall off the path sometimes, what matters is getting back up. At this point in my life I was exercising everyday but not really being strict with my diet. My thought process was to never skip a day at the gym because I needed to work off the carbs or sugar I had the night before. If I worked out I could go to bed knowing I did my job, right? Still..it wasn't working for me. I kept thinking back to that summer when I initially reached my goal. What was I doing different? For the life of me I couldn't remember. I had to put those thoughts on hold though, because something bigger was happening for me that I needed to focus on. I decided to have a breast reduction. I always did a really good job at hiding my chest. I was never one to flaunt her accents. I guess that was simply because I didn't like them! Yes, I had suffered some back pain, grooves in my shoulders from bra straps, all the things doctors will ask you..but I also was just plain insecure and embarrassed. I had lost weight now from time to time which also meant there was more skin/ sagging versus actual breast tissue. This is why at my consultation with my surgeon he said this was going to be less of a reduction and more on the side of a lift. I was nervous but more ready than anything. My boyfriend was such a supportive outlet in deciding this and more importantly loved me no matter what I chose to do. Well, I chose the surgery, and I am thankful everyday that I did. I have never felt more confident than I do now. I made a choice for myself, something I had always wanted, and got through it by myself. My boyfriend had left for basic military training the day before my surgery, so I had zero communication with him during my recovery. Honestly that was really hard. I had to be strong though and this is where I suddenly gained the motivation I had been looking for with my fitness journey..part two.
After my surgery the recovery was where I faced certain challenges like not being able to workout. This is where I learned the most important aspect in making a change. DIET. I was not allowed to workout for 6-8 weeks. My old mindset of working out every day was FREAKING the hell out. This forced me to try a different route. If it wasn't for the surgery I would have never learned that eating healthy and keeping good portion control is what comes first before ANYTHING else! I was losing weight and I wasn't even moving-lol. I made sure to really only eat when I was hungry, to not over do it, rather than taking the whole bag of nuts, put some in a small bowl. I was so fearful of gaining weight during the recovery, this I cannot deny. So I didn't take cheat days, I didn't touch chocolate or a carb. I was disciplined. After a while of doing this, maybe 3 weeks, I didn't want the junk, I wasn't craving seconds or bigger portions, it was easy for me. So where did all this discipline come from? I had a goal. I wanted to match the confidence I had with my new set of boobs (lol) honestly. I wanted to see my boyfriend at his military graduation with complete and utter confidence in the skin I was in. Guess what, I felt my most prettiest that day without a care in the world. I finally achieved my goal, I was happy where I was at. I probably pat myself on the back at that point. I achieved all this because I had nothing to hold me back, and this time, I was keeping the goal consistent, I wasn't falling off the track, because this is a healthy, happy life. This is a life where I can wake up and know if I don't workout one day I will SURVIVE. This is a life where I learned its okay to have some chocolate or carbs here and there. This is a life where I make decisions for myself by myself. Do I have days where I still look in the mirror and wish I could change something or just feel... blah? YES! I'm a woman for gods sake. Thats something that will never get easier ladies, lets face it. The difference now is that I don't let it consume my life. I have to remember that there is only one body I get, there is only one person who can make changes, and there is only one persons opinion that ACTUALLY matters, and that is my own. I guess I've done a good job this time around maintaining my healthy lifestyle BECAUSE I've remembered all of that.