This is a weird post for me to write, because it involves me putting myself and my body out there in a way that I really haven’t ever done before. But I personally feel it’s important for me to share my fitness journey with y’all, and to do that the most effectively I need to provide some progress photos to go along with my story.
First of all, my quest to personal fitness is something I’ve been pursuing on-and-off for just about my entire life past age 11. Once I became active in sports like swimming and volleyball at a young age, it was pretty easy for me to keep weight off and build muscle instead. Even through high school, I had marching band which helped me shed the excess fat that built up over the portion of the year that wasn’t competitive marching band season.
I would say the problem started with college, but in reality, it started right before. During my senior year of high school, I put myself on a diet to ensure that I would look my best for prom. It worked- through a combination of cutting out dairy and counting calories, I lost 10 pounds in 2 months. After keeping myself on such a strict diet leading up to prom, afterwards I “balled out,” as the kids would say. I didn’t watch what I ate anymore, and it started to show. Having a summer job at a pizza parlor didn’t help.
By the time I started my freshman year of college, I had gained back those 10 pounds, plus an extra 5.
And as most college freshmen can tell you, the freshman 15 is real. I gained the freshman 20 in my first semester alone. I mostly blame this on the endless supply of cheap, unhealthy food that college meal plans have to offer, but I’m also partially to blame as well. I didn’t step foot into our campus rec center until December of my freshman year, and took way too many naps instead.
I wish I could say I made a change sooner, but I didn’t. I lost a little bit of weight the summer after freshman year (I strategically chose a job in retail this time), but due to personal reasons I gained back all the lost weight over the fall semester sophomore year. Sophomore year was really hard overall. Beyond my personal issues making it hard to focus on things like nutrition and fitness, I was also grocery shopping for myself for the first time and quickly gravitated towards unhealthy snacks like Oreos and entire bags of Ruffles.
The summer of 2018, right after my sophomore year, was when I finally realized I needed to change. I’m not sure what finally got it into my head that I needed a serious lifestyle adjustment, but I’m so glad I had my come-to-Jesus moment then. I started counting calories again (read my post about how I make calorie counting work for me if you haven’t already) and working out regularly. Working out in the gym had always been a struggle for me in the past. Since I have asthma, a lot of traditional forms of cardio, like running on a treadmill, are hard for me. Summer 2018 was all about changing my diet and finding cardio that worked for my body. And by the end of the summer, I had lost 20 pounds.
I kept up my exercise and calorie counting all through the 2018 fall semester. Slowly but surely, the weight kept coming off and I came closer and closer to my goal weight. By the time 2019 came around, I had lost an additional 15 pounds. And from the start of the new year to now, I’ve lost 5 more. Once I hit my goal weight, I’m excited to start building some more muscle and toning up my body.
I’m so happy with how far I’ve come and the self discipline it took to get here. But something that I may be even more proud of is that no matter my size, I never found myself unattractive. I always was body positive and loved myself no matter what the number said on the scale. I prefer how I look now, no doubt about it- but I made sure I loved myself every step of the way, too.
Anyways, that’s my fitness journey from 2016 to now. It spans 40 pounds and a variety of dress sizes, but the constant was always self love and acceptance. I hope to continue that as my quest towards better health progresses and I get closer and closer to my goal weight.