Monday, July 02, 2012
Chances are, nobody is going to read this, but that's okay because I honestly just want to express what I'm feeling right now.
Three years ago, I weighed around 180 pounds. I didn't eat healthy. I didn't work out. And most importantly, I didn't feel good about myself. I felt lethargic, large, lazy... I knew that I needed to change, that I needed to lose weight, but felt that the task was just too daunting; it just seemed easier to stay the way that I was. I remember thinking that as long as I never reached 200 pounds and just always stayed in the 100s, then I'd be happy with that.
I never necessarily struggled with weight throughout my life. I was always a bit chubbier than the other girls, even starting in elementary school, but I never struggled with it personally. My weight was a present fact in my life, and it was certainly a vulnerable subject for me, but it was never something that I felt I had to immediately change or deal with. I ran cross country in high school (I weighed somewhere in the mid-to-low 140s then...), mainly to spend more time with my friends because all of my best friends were cross country runners. High school cross country was pivotal because it introduced running into my life. After my first season of cross country, I knew that running would always be a part of my life, no matter how much I weighed.
I gained a lot of weight after high school. I had attended college right out of high school, but dropped out shortly after enrolling. While all of my other friends were starting their exciting college lives, I was working a banquet serving job in my hometown while living with my parents. This wasn't what I had hoped and planned for myself, and I became incredibly distressed over the matter. I was lazy that year. I did go back to school the following year, though, and things got better, but my weight was still high.
Here was the turning point for me: I gave up meat in 2009. Now, I'm not going to start preaching about the benefits of vegetarianism; as far as I'm concerned, people can eat whatever they want. When I first started, I had some ethical reasons for becoming an ovo-lacto vegetarian, but they ultimately faded over time. I realized quite quickly that I did not miss meat, AT ALL. I also realized that once I cut meat out of my diet, many of my food alternatives were generally a lot healthier (not always the case, but generally) and I was eating a lot more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In the beginning of 2011, I introduced fish back into my diet, mainly for health reasons, and have been living comfortably as a pescatarian ever since.
Once I gave up meat, my weight started to slowly dwindle over the years that followed. Last summer (2011), my friend and I started meeting at the track five days a week. We'd run a mile (or more), stretch together, chat, catch up, and go home. It was a nice fitness routine, and by the end of the summer, people were complimenting me on how much weight I'd lost. To myself, I still looked the same. Yet to everyone around me, I looked drastically more fit and healthy. I went to the doctor in November and she asked, "Have you been trying to lose weight?" "Sort of..." I said. And she ran through my weight numbers from the past few years; every doctor's visit was a lower number: 180...165....157...147. She turned to me and said, "Good for you!"
I found this to be both exciting and empowering. So I kept it up, mainly because I was curious and wanted to see just how much I could lose. Yet ultimately, it became less about weight loss and more about... establishing a balance in my life. I wanted to have energy, to do well at work, to get all my schoolwork done, to sleep enough each night, to eat foods that make me feel good... I wanted all of these things more than I wanted to lose weight. Yet ultimately, these goals fed in to my weight loss goals because of the fact that they were healthy choices for my life.
I weighed myself in January at 141 pounds, and then didn't step on a scale again until June 14th. To be honest, I was scared to step on the scale in June. I KNEW I felt good about myself, but I was worried that the scale would tell me a number that would make me feel lazy or unmotivated... a number that would make me feel like I wasn't doing enough.
But then I stepped on and I saw an amazing number: 135. I was floored. For the first time since childhood, I was in the healthy BMI range for my height and weight. I NEVER thought that was possible. And yet there it was. And suddenly, everything seemed possible.
Today, July 2nd, 2012, I weigh 132 pounds. I've been motivated by each small success and it has helped me to continue to stay active and eat well. But what has motivated me the most, much more than the weight loss, is simply how I feel. The girl who used to feel lethargic, lazy, and large now feels active, energetic, and strong. I feel the change in every single aspect of my life. And it feels good. REALLY good.
I feel like I can do just about anything.