Someone told me a while ago that I had it in my genetic makeup to be thin. That working out is easier for me because I just love it. Well, honey pies, let me tell you my background.
I left law school back in 2002. I hated it. I had a year of debt under my belt, moved back home with my parents, no job, no direction, and I was 40 pounds overweight. My friends were all starting their adult lives after college, far away. I was lonely and lost.
I started working full time as a researcher at a museum. It was fine, but it was a desk job. The only place to get food was at the museum cafe (where everything was expensive) or at the local liquor store. I loved my daily pork rinds. My coworkers and I would make it our daily happy-maker to walk over and buy some treats.
I was miserable.
I looked for something to change but I had no idea what. I had no health role models. Back in 2002-2003, the health industry was not like it is today. There wasn’t the plethora of health magazines like we have today, no Biggest Loser, no Jillian Michaels, no Facebook with inspiring images.
I remember driving to work one morning, sipping my daily 1 out of 3 Pepsis, and listening to the radio. An ad for a local gym came up. I had NEVER considered joining the gym–what I considered full of meatheads and thin, pretty girls. No, not for me. But that moment, something clicked.
Something fired inside of me. Change or you will always be miserable. Do something that scares you.
So when I got home that night, I mentioned to my mom that I wanted to visit this gym and check them out. She came with me. We interviewed with the trainer, who was really a pushy salesman. Nevertheless, a fire had been lit inside of me. Do it, it said. You’re scared as hell. Yes, there are meatheads here. Yes, this gym is near a college so lots of cute guys your age who probably think you’re a whale. Yes, lots of stick thin gorgeous ladies.
Who the hell cares?
(That must have been the angel on my shoulder. Apparently, my angel cusses).
So I signed up. $1000 for 8 personal training sessions and membership initiation. Yes, I was making $24,000 a year and I still plunked down $1,000. I knew I had to do some hard work. I knew it wasn’t going to be instant. I knew it wasn’t a lap-band surgery. I still paid my hard earned cash because I knew I was giving myself a wonderful gift.
My training started with a chick named G. G scared the heck out of me at first. She had hard, flat abs, sinewy muscled legs and toned arms. She was beautiful and daunting. She had confidence up the ying -yang.
Our first session was at 5:30 in the morning. Yes, my fat ass that required 2 cokes before 9 am to function actually agreed to this training time. I knew I’d be too tired after work. I knew I had to do what was difficult in order to change my life.
Our first session, G tested me: my body fat, weight, measurements and caloric intakes. I still have those notes.
I was 33% bodyfat. This is in the obese range.
I didn’t give up. I didn’t say, “Woe is me!” I said, “Fuck this, I’m changing my life for good now.”
Seeing that number gave me power. There was no other way to go than to get better.
I trained with G 3x/week. The days I didn’t train, I did stairs at the gym. I did this 5 out of 7 days. I also got to work before anyone else. When my training package ended with G, I bought another. My confidence skyrocketed. I became happier and a better worker. I applied for scholarships available for nonprofits and was able to travel all over California for my job. My work loved me and was proud of me. I started dating. I bought cute clothes. I also started graduate school for a Masters in English.
Soon, my schedule was set in stone. Gym at 5:30 until 7. Get to work by 8. After work, go to school 3x/week. Every weekday. Rinse, Lather, Repeat.
I changed jobs. From my $24,000 researcher position to $55,000 as a copywriter. I was making good money as a single 24 year old back in 2004. I attribute it to my new-found confidence. I attributed my confidence to my new healthy lifestyle.
My new job was an hour away. So that meant getting up earlier for the gym. Honestly, THERE WAS NO OTHER OPTION. I’m not saying “no option” as in I couldn’t go after work. I mean, no option as I gave myself no option to give up and quit.
I started dating a serious boyfriend who lived 30 minutes away. I saw him 3 times a week as well.
Gym every day at 5.
Work every day at 8:30.
School: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for 2 years until 10:30 at night.
School work during lunchtime and on the weekends.
And a boyfriend to boot.
So yeah, you think I had it in my genetic makeup to be thin?
(You must not have been reading too closely, sugar pie).
I worked my ass off. I gave myself zero excuses.
So many people have come up to me and said, “Well, wait until you have kids!” And I say, “Oh, I can’t wait! Watch me!” My focus is on a strong, healthy and sexy body. A body that I am damn proud of, one that makes me want to be sexy around my husband. And yes, I am pregnant today. I want my kids to have a healthy and active mom because I want to teach my kids to be healthy, active, self-confident and know that nothing can stop them from achieving their dreams. I am a little more tired during the days, but I still run at least 4 times a week for 5 miles and I weight train every other day.
So yeah, just watch me. When I have kids, I’m still going to take care of myself because the better care I take of myself, the better care I take of my family. Because one thing I’ve learned is that when I take care of myself, I become happier. The happier I am, the more confident I am. The more confident I am, the better person I become. The better employee (business owner), wife, friend and hopefully, mother.
What I want to tell you, is you need to grow your own strength. Don’t expect it to come from the outside. It has to come from within you. You have to believe, even when you are scared, terrified, want to scream and cry, miserable and feel lost. You have all the support you need if you only look.
You also have to kick your own ass! This is hard. You have a lazy, negative fallen demon on one shoulder who does not want to change because it hurts to change. Damn right it hurts. But it hurts to stay frustrated and angry with yourself for not getting better. Listen to the good angel on your shoulder. This angel will probably confuse you, looking more like a sadistic whip-master, telling you to get your butt into gear and start doing the things you’ve never done before. Listen to this angel. This angel has your best interests at heart.
I hope this post helped. I’ve gone through the journey. If my fat, depressed self was able to reinvent her life within a year based on sheer determination and will, anyone can.
Tell me if this inspired you to make a change in your life. Or if you’ve gone through a similar experience yourself. What have you learned? What do you tell yourself to get you to do the hard, but necessary stuff out of the way?