Monday, November 26, 2012

Why exactly I am addicted to fitness (most of the time)...

So I decided I should take a moment and elaborate on why I exercise and try to eat right.

As is the story with many of us that write about fitness and our journeys, I always struggled with my weight even though I played Varsity Field Hockey and Lacrosse throughout high school. College food didn't help the waist ling one bit and by the time I was 23 years old, I was unhappy and fat. I was over 220 pounds, but to be honest I'm not exactly sure what my highest weight was. It doesn't matter what it was, all I know is that I was way too heavy for my 5'4" frame (and that height is on a good day) and I was embarrassed every time I needed to go clothes shopping or do any type of physical activity.

In an attempt to escape, I decided not to get a typical engineering job upon graduating form Georgia Tech (go Yellow Jackets!) and joined the Peace Corps. Long story short, I lost about 60 pounds while in East Africa due to a change in diet and regular exercise just to get through a day in a developing country. I didn't diet, I didn't exercise excessively, and the weight came off.

I returned to the states happy and proud to be who I was. People were shocked when they saw me because many of them hadn't seen me in over two years. I enjoyed food and started falling back into my old ways. It was during that time that I realized the effect of the American lifestyle on our bodies and health. I gained 20 pounds back during the first two months back in the US. That's when something snapped and I decided I needed to change, and I needed to do it quickly.

I joined a gym and my first day there I ran a mile and a half. I went back the next day and tried to do it a little bit faster. I was determined to not get fat again. This continued for months when I decided to train for my first half marathon. I skipped the 5Ks and the 10Ks and dove head first into the half marathon. I finished with my PR (which I still haven't been able to break) of 2:19:something and an irritated IT Band.

My IT band sidelined my running for a while so I started Crossfitting, still terrified of getting fat, again. Over the past 3 years back in the US, my weight has fluctuated within 15 pounds of what it is. I still run, which I am learning to love all over again, but currently don't Crossfit due to scheduling issues (working 3 jobs makes it hard to get in classes). I justify the juggling of activities as a way to not be bored and that in the long run they all meet my goals. My goals of being healthy and recognizing how far I've come.

I do all of this for me. Not to impress anyone else. Not to get into a certain pair of jeans. Not to be considered sexy or hot by anyone else's standards, but to know deep down inside that I am living the best life I can be for myself. I am happy when I look in the mirror everyday now, even if I'm up 5 pounds. I love knowing that I can throw on a pair of sneakers and get out the door whenever I want to and not have to worry about not making it home. I love being an inspiration to my friends and family who struggle everyday with self-esteem and weight issues (which may or may not led themselves to one another). I love when people ask me what I've done and how I've kept it off. But I'm just an average woman working hard to keep herself sane. Helping others is just the icing on the cake.

I do this for me...why do you do it?


  1. i love to run because of how it makes me feel. I know I haven't gotten much faster over the years, but I still feel proud of myself every time I go and that's worth a lot