How Getting in Shape Saved My Life

By Gabby Montesano

Near the end of 2017, I was the unhappiest that I’ve ever been. I had been diagnosed with MS in the early fall and I had just gotten broken up with a little while after that. I was lost and confused. I had every insecurity that I’ve ever felt about myself amplify. I felt unloved and unimportant. I wasn’t showing up to class and my grades were dropping. I was hard on myself and at times I sincerely felt bad for myself. When the fall semester ended, I told myself that I wasn’t going to spend my winter break moping around. I didn’t have any exams and I was only working part-time so I needed to find something to do with my spare time. I have always been wanting to lose weight and get fit but would lose motivation after a few months. Every Summer, I would drop about 10-15lbs then gain it back and more the next winter. It was an unhealthy cycle – a cycle that I desperately wanted to get out of. On December 11, 2017, I decided to create a fitness Instagram account. I called it “gabbygetsfit2” and started planning how I would run it. I’ve followed many fitness accounts over the past years and was always too embarrassed to start my own. I saw how these people transformed themselves by staying accountable through posting workouts and meals but I never thought I could do it.

(1-month progress – December 11, 2017 – January 11, 2018)

I had a moment of reflection where I just knew that I had to do this one thing for myself. I had to stop depending on others for my own happiness. I started meal prepping and adding healthy protein, greens and even carbs. I go to the gym as much as I can and if I can’t make it, I do my entire workout at home. I also drink 3-4L of water a day and track my steps on my FitBit.

The first two weeks were the most difficult. My body was sore all over and I had cravings of all my favourite foods. I am in no way a fitness expert and have been overweight my entire life. I learned healthy eating habits and numerous workouts on my own and through the internet. I started by doing cardio everyday with some weightlifting and other machines at the gym. I focused on different muscles and parts every day to give other muscles some rest time.

By the end of December, I wasn’t as sore and I had so much more energy than I’ve ever had. I was surprised that I was dropping weight every week. From December 11th to the end of the month, I lost 6 pounds. I recently took some after pictures and was shocked how much my body changed in only a month. All I must do is keep pushing forward and I’ll be at my goals sooner than I thought.

(Mid-January)

At the beginning of January 2018, I started doing challenges such as the “Beach Body 21 Day Fix” workout guide and leg and booty challenges by Instagram fitness blogs. These new workouts helped a lot when I was getting bored of the usual cardio and weightlifting.

Having friends and family notice my weight loss and having them tell me that they are proud of me has been such a rewarding feeling. I’ve even had people reach out to me and tell me that I’ve motivated them to start going to the gym. Now in mid January, I’m about 10lbs down and I’m feeling powerful. The hardest part of this journey is starting it. After you start, everything begins to flow.

(Near the end of January)

I went from not being able to run because my left knee would give out, all from the MS symptoms, to having a strong body that I can be proud of. I have this image in my mind of how I’m going to look and feel by the end of 2018 and it has been all the motivation that I need. I feel so much healthier and that’s all that really matters. I don’t have to fake a smile anymore because I feel genuinely happy. If I could start this journey and succeed in it, then you can too. Working out and eating healthy never gets easier, you just get stronger.

Want to follow along on my health and fitness journey? Follow me on Instagram at @gabbygetsfit2