Everyone has a story. Everyone has a background, something that separates them from the pack, something that ignites the spark, something that makes way for the passions and gifts they will pour countless hours into. Like many people my story and fitness journey began with an unhealthy insecurity about my body. As a kid in elementary and middle school I endured bullying about my weight and constant comments about how I looked. In today’s society people are given a standard to reach in regards to body image; I didn’t fit those standards, and people made sure I knew that. I would wear baggy clothes and roll my shoulders in the hopes that I wouldn’t look as fat and that people would no longer make fun of me.
I was always an active kid and involved in many sports including football and soccer; however I also loved to eat. I would eat all kinds of junk food. I wasn’t concerned with how much I was eating or the quality of what I was eating and I would stuff myself just so that I could eat more. It got to the point where at my heaviest I was 170 pounds as an eighth grader in middle school. This might not seem like much, but it was just enough to make me stand out amongst my peers in a negative way.
Freshman year I lost about ten to 15 pounds due to the amount of soccer I was playing. People began to take notice and for the first time I started to gain confidence in myself, but it wasn’t until sophomore year that I really made a change.
I was still playing soccer with the hopes of going pro, but I also had an agenda to become fit and attain those coveted six-pack abs. So I joined the swim team in hopes of preparing my body for the upcoming spring soccer season. It was here that my fitness journey truly began to take shape. The first thing I made sure and did was listen to my coach and I quite cold turkey on every junk food and anything that would prohibit me from reaching my goals. I went in with an all or nothing approach. Slowly but surely I started losing weight and my body composition improved and after about four months of swimming for two hours everyday with only one break on sunday’s I had lost 30 pounds. Through swim that year I learned that I loved working out and eating the right kind of foods. That year I gained so much confidence and self-esteem it felt so relieving. Except for the fact that where there used to be a problem with my weight something else began to haunt me.
Getting into fitness is great, but at times can have mental repercussions. Instead of enjoying my fitness and eating healthier I made it a job; it was something that had to be done or I wouldn’t reach the goals I had set for myself. I was too strict and it made relationships with others and my family extremely difficult. It seemed as if I was always on a new nutritional program or a new style of training and couldn’t stick to just one thing because I wasn’t being patient nor was I getting the results I desired. It was at this point where I was stuck in a downhill spiral. I was on a warpath to get the body I wanted and it didn’t matter who or what relationships I hurt to get it. It even got to the point where I didn’t eat thanksgiving dinner with my family because it was “unhealthy” and would deter my progress.
I tell you this not just to tell a story but to evoke something inside of you. So many people have the same problems and struggle with accepting themselves or prioritizing fitness and nutrition over relationships and people. I’m definitely not saying that I’m perfect or that I have it all figured out, but I have learned so much over the past 2 years of this journey and am learning new things each and everyday. It’s a slow process; fitness is not a sprint but more so a marathon so enjoy the journey! I still struggle with past insecurities in my life, but now I no longer let them control my actions or thoughts. I do prioritize my training and nutrition in life because I have a passion for it, but every now and then I will treat myself, have some fun with friends, or eat some ice cream because fitness is not something that should encompass your whole life, but enhance it! Challenge yourself each and everyday to get better and do what you love. Make the decision to not let it control you. Rather, you control it. You control your life.