Falling in Love with Fitness

Growing up, I learned about body image from the behavior of those closest to me. It dawned on me when I was told to lose 20 lbs before my aunt’s wedding. I was satirized at family functions for wearing clothes that displayed my “excessive weight gain,” and beauty was defined by how thin you were. The insecurities about my weight were rooted in all of my attributes. One summer, I made a decision that I perceived as “taking control.”  

I wanted to fit into what everyone else’s perceptions of beauty were. So, I made the decision to go on what, at the time, I just viewed as an extreme diet. For three months, I skipped meals. I probably ate a max of one solid meal a day and occasionally snacking on a fruit in between. I lost weight excessively, and I couldn’t have been happier. Little did I know, I was harming my body.

It wasn’t until I was looking through old pictures did I notice that the change in my weight was  apparent. I was applauded for losing weight and looking thinner, but my body felt weak. I was constantly hungry. As I began to do research, the destruction I was putting my body through became eye opening. Even though everyone else was happy with the way I looked, I realized that this was an intensely unhealthy way to go about losing weight, and I couldn’t sacrifice myself just to make everyone else comfortable. 

As time went on and I got older, I became comfortable with my weight, but I still wasn’t content. I was concerned about my physical health and knew I needed to take a healthier approach to fixing it. I also realized that life is going to be filled with people who have opinions, and I was not in control of whether they would be negative or positive. I’m only in control of my reaction. It took me a long time to come to this conclusion in regard to my weight, and it wasn’t until college that I started taking serious action.

Woman Looking at Sunset

Naturally, when you meet friends in college, you get to know their interests and disinterests. My new friends loved working out, and when they invited me to go to the gym, I was hesitant. I’m not someone who likes to try new things, and it wasn’t an activity I was particularly interested in. Despite the fact that the first time I went with them I was completely out of breath and sore for days, it got easier as time went on. I started to fall in love with working out and eating healthy, so they naturally became a part of my routine.

Even though there is still so much more for me to learn about portion size and moderation, I’m happy that I took a step. Working out is a tremendous stress reliever and I’ve formed close bonds with my friends by doing it with them. Through working out, the years of feeling ashamed of my weight and the hurt towards particular people close to me have formed into something positive for my body.

Two Woman Doing Exercise

For a period of time, I created a deleterious relationship between food and my weight. I’m not in the same head space as I was in when I was younger, but I still have a lot of work to do to rewire my mindset. My weight is constantly going to be changing, and I need to remember to resort to healthy ways of dealing with it.  Whether you struggle with your weight like I did, or a different insecurity, it’s important to learn how to turn that negative energy into something productive. Find out what that is for you, and take full advantage of it. Fitness has become my outlet, and it is never too late to find yours! Become the absolute best version of you, and use your comeback story to uplift someone else. 

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