My story is unique, just like everyone’s story.
I grew up heavier than all the other girls, and this resulted in my peers poking fun at something that I always struggled with. In high school, I put on even more weight because I just loved the comfort that food gave me – unhealthy foods, at that. I wore my weight like an armor; I was just really mean to people for no reason at all. I think that I wanted to show people that I was tough and not to mess with me or poke fun at me about my weight. It was me lashing out because I was so self-conscious.
My weight got in the way of a lot of things in life, one of which was my ultimate dream and passion in life: musical theatre. I was denied roles and denied admission to colleges because of my weight. Not only because of the way it affected the way I looked, but also because of the way it affected me internally. I have always had the talent and the drive, but the weight definitely got in the way.
In August 2010, I went off to Western Michigan University. Looking back at it now, I think I went to WMU to run from myself because I didn’t like who I was on the outside and on the inside. I went down a tough path during my two years in Kalamazoo, experimenting in things that I shouldn’t have for all the wrong reasons. I re-auditioned for WMU’s theatre performance major in spring of 2011 and was denied admission again. At the time, I actually felt like they totally overlooked me because of my weight. This hurt me extremely, and I knew I had to do something to change this. I needed people to notice that I actually had the talent, and my weight shouldn’t affect that.
I began my journey on May 15, 2011.
My stats at the time:
Weight: 198 lbs.
Measurements: 43″, 36″, 35″.
The changes that I made were intense. Most people who eat as I did tell me that I’m crazy for being able to change that, but I was determined. (I wanted it to be a quick fix and looked into diet plans and pills, but I soon realized, after doing extensive research, that I needed to do it on my own.) I cut tons of foods out of my diet: high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated anything, pop (I’ll drink the occasional Zevia now and then – it’s sweetened with stevia!!), fast foods, etc. I read labels – looking at sugar, sodium, calories, fat, protein, everything. I want good foods going into my body!
Over the summer of 2011, I did so well! I went back to WMU that fall having lost almost 40 pounds! I felt on top of the world, even though I knew I still had a ways to go. During my second year at college, I completely lost myself. I thought that I had “bettered myself” that summer, when in reality I had really just taken on a different persona. Losing a lot of weight had a large impact on me, and I didn’t know how to handle it! I went down a dark path, putting myself in terrible situations and doing things I shouldn’t be doing. By the end of my spring semester in 2012, the pieces were scattered so far away from me that I had no idea who I was anymore. I realized that I needed to get away from Kalamazoo, that my time at Western Michigan University had come to an end. I regret nothing that happened at WMU, no matter how bad it got, because I wouldn’t be who I am today without learning all of those life lessons. They have shaped me into the person I am now.
When I came home from WMU at the end of April in 2012, I knew that I needed to lose the last 15 pounds and find myself again. I needed to do that for myself. I started taking pictures of all of my food and posted the photos on instagram, gaining followers and eventually started to motivate others who wanted to take my same journey and spoke with other bloggers! I went to the gym every day, running for 30 minutes on the elliptical! It made me feel whole; it was the missing piece in my life!
I hit my goal weight in July of 2012 and found myself again. What a terrifyingly beautiful journey I went through. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Heck, I’d do it all over again if it meant that I could be sitting her, typing all of this out for all of you, smiling as I am.
My journey into a healthier lifestyle has changed my stats to:
Measurements: 33″, 26.5″, 35″.
My goal was ultimate happiness, and I’ve exceeded that! I’m the happiest I’ve ever been thanks to my healthy lifestyle change: I eat healthy, work out daily, go to bed early, and wake up early! I wouldn’t change any of it for the world!
I am now 20 years young, 88 pounds lighter, at Columbia College Chicago studying musical theatre and chasing my dreams, smiling along this new journey. I now do not drink, I don’t smoke, and I don’t stay out late. And you know what? I’m the happiest I have ever been. I love that I have my little morning routine of shooting out of bed to eat breakfast followed by getting my work out out of the way! I love that I go to bed early, even though all of my peers are out super late.
I’ve finally found myself. FINALLY, for the first time in my life. I know who I am, and I LOVE myself – inside and out. I’ve said that my whole life, but it actually applies. I love myself. I LOVE MYSELF. You guys don’t even know how good that feels to say that and actually mean it! I’ve always told people that I love myself, my body, everything about myself, but I never really did. And for the first time in my life, I can sit here and honestly tell you that I love everything about myself – even the things that I hate about myself, I love. Because those things are what make me ME.
My manly, muscular legs are something that I both hate and treasure! I worked so hard for those rock-hard legs! My stretch marks are so disgustingly beautiful because they show where I have been! Even the extra skin that I have on the back of my arms are freaking amazing! Because it all just reminds me of everything that I went through.
I am at such a beautiful place in my life!
My mom even said that she could see it as soon as I walked in the door last weekend when I visited home. She said that it was the way that I carried myself and just helped out with things that I wasn’t even asked to do.
When someone else says that they notice something that you feel (even when it’s, “I notice that you dropped a little weight!” when you’ve dropped 5 pounds). It feels so good to have someone notice something that you’ve worked hard for. Everyone that I’ve known since I was heavy notices that I’ve lost weight. That’s a given. But when they say that they’ve noticed a change in my well-being, in the way that I carry myself, that is when I feel the most proud. Not only did I work on my outside, but I really worked on my insides, too.
And for all of this, I am extremely proud of myself. Call me cocky, call me conceited, tell me that I’m so full of myself. I’ll still be the one smiling.