Phew what a task… writing the “About” section of my blog. I feel the best way to approach this is just to jump in with both feet. I was a heavy kid. I was a SUPER heavy kid. And guess what? I turned into an even heavier middle schooler, and finally a 200 lb 16 year old. And honestly? It sucked. I was called every name in the book, people laughed, boys didn’t look twice in my direction. Running in gym class was my personal version of hell. It was humiliating, it was terrifying. My only solace was softball, where being big wasn’t really a problem.
At the age of 16, I had finally had enough. I dropped 60 lbs and 5 dress sizes over two years by learning about portion size, making healthier food options, and starting to exercise (beyond just playing sports). So here I was, 18 years old (the picture at left is me the day I graduated from high school) and exactly what I always thought I wanted to be… THIN. I was a size 6, I could wear a bikini, boys wanted to date me. This was awesome, right? Wrong. Years of being overweight left my confidence in ruins and my relationship with food strained to say the very least. I lived in constant fear that I would gain the weight back. I skipped meals, picked up smoking (which turned into quite a nasty habit… but that’s a story for another day), obsessively burned 400 calories daily on the elliptical before eating a 200 calorie protein shake for breakfast. And, contrary to everything I believed as a kid, being thin didn’t make everything better. I often tell people who know me now, you’re lucky you didn’t know me at 18. I was a disaster.
Enter college. This was the first time in my life I wasn’t playing any sports. I was in the gym during my first week on campus and I saw a notice posted. The sign read: Do You Like to Workout? (Why, yes. Yes I do.) Do You Want To Get Paid For It? (I would LOVE that). And just like that… my life as a group fitness instructor began. I had an amazing mentor who introduced me to the fitness industry for the first time. Within a year, I held a Spinning (R) Instructor Certification from Madd Dogg Athletics, a Primary Group Exercise certifications from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and a Personal Training certification from the American Council on Exercise (ACE). However, I also during this time developed a pretty serious social life complete with a LOT of drinking. Slowly but surely, the pounds started creeping back on. No matter how many hours I logged at the gym, I just couldn’t undo the thousands of calories I was consuming with alcohol, late night take out, pizza, and cafeteria food. I took the freshman 15 to a whole new level… and I.was.miserable. The more miserable I was about how I looked, the more I drank and ate to feel better. It’s a vicious cycle. Here I was teaching fitness classes, pretending to be this picture of health, leaving the gym to slam beers, smoke cigarettes, and devour pizza with ranch dressing. I finished college 40 lbs heavier (you can see a montage of me at my heaviest below) than I went in and I couldn’t remember a time in my life when I had felt worse about myself.
And now here I am… I’m 25, I am gainfully employed, I pay my own rent (which makes me sound cool but actually REALLY sucks), and, for the first time in my entire life, I am trying to make peace with my body and think about my health instead of my looks. So that’s what I want to talk about here. I managed to lose the college weight and now I am trying to find a life of balance.
This blog is meant to be part personal and part educational. We’ll talk running, fitness, recipes, mental health, books, and other random life stuff sprinkled in! So come on this journey with me 🙂 I’m sure I’ll end up learning way more than any of my readers and I really look forward to that.