Now that the holiday season is just about over, I want to address a topic that is important to me as I know a lot of people share the same struggle. This is the time of year when people make resolutions so I want this to be a source of inspiration and accountability. That being said, my weight loss journey is not over and has not been easy. There is no quick fix or overnight change. It is a process that happens over time and requires a lot of patience and consistency.
Growing up, I was never encouraged to exercise or eat healthy. I didn’t know this until now but I became an emotional eater. I turned to food when I was sad, when I was happy, and when I was bored. I had no problem eating half to a whole pizza on my own. My appetite was enormous and my weight was catching up with me. It was normal for me to continue eating even when I felt full.
When I was in middle school, we, as a class, took a trip to Washington DC. Being in a small school, we had only eight students in the entire high school. One of the families, who was a doctor, had their own private plane and offered to fly us. To figure out where each student and adult was to be placed, we all had to be weighed. Come to find out, I was the heaviest one out of the bunch. I was so embarrassed to find that I was not only heavier than the kids but also the adults. I became concerned but was told that it’s just baby weight and nothing to be worried about.
As I approached high school I was considered the heavy girl. If there was a group picture, I always tried to hide in the back so I wouldn’t be seen. I hated the way I looked. I would look at other girls who were smaller than me with envy, wishing I could look the same. From being told that it’s “just baby weight” to then being told that I’m “just bigger boned” left me feeling hopeless.
One day in health class, we were being tested on how fast we can run half a mile. I was the last kid to finish. Sure all the others were cheering me on but it actually made me feel worse because I knew that their encouragement was out of empathy. It took me 14 minutes to finish. I was so humiliated I never wanted to experience that again.
I knew in that moment I had a decision to make; I could either pretend it didn’t happen and continue the path I was heading or make a change. That summer I decided to prove to myself that I can beat my time. It was a very slow and frustrating process because of how out of shape I was, but I continued to push myself. I had low self-esteem and asthma to contend with. What kept me going was the drive to better myself and a little bit of runner’s high. My goal was to someday be able to run a 5k race.
I learned to push myself even when I didn’t feel like it and even when I experienced disappointment, low self-esteem, and my own personal challenges. I did not have a team cheering me on, this was on my own and only for me.