Throughout high school, I was that girl: swim team, tennis, soccer, softball. Any sport you can imagine, I was on the team and in the center of all of the action. In the summer of 2008, I found those sports drifting further and further away from my mind and my college dreams and future plans for my career were beginning to take over.
Fast forward to my sophomore year in college. I’d changed my major twice. I was facing a major identity crisis. I wasn’t going to be that lawyer I had aspired to be for so long, because I hated my criminology classes. I surely wasn’t going to be in the Olympics, considering I’d gained a whopping 50 pounds in the past two years. Yes, you read that right. Me, the star athlete, had gained 50 pounds. I had tried fad dieting- Atkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach. You name it and I had tried it.
I spent one long night sobbing. Who am I? Where is that confident, sometimes cocky, girl that used to live in my body? I sure couldn’t find her that night, but I was determined to find her again. That is where my true journey began. It would take a novel to write out my journey as it truly happened, but the following will be a summary. There were tears (lots of them), failures (double stack of cinnamon roll pancakes, anyone?) and plenty of times I doubted myself. At the end of the day, here is what worked for me.
The first key was consistency. Each day was it’s own. Regardless of what happened yesterday, I woke up each morning with a fresh mindset and I told myself “I can do this” every single day.
The second key was eating healthy. I was taking an overload of courses, I worked a full time job, I had a boyfriend, and I was spending each weekend with my sick grandma. I didn’t have time to exercise, so I knew eating healthy would be my best option. I planned out my meals each Sunday evening. I went to the grocery store and then spent four hours in the kitchen. Carefully, I prepared and packaged my lunch and dinner for the next six days. I cut up vegetables and fruit to snack on and eliminated processed foods from my pantry.
I spent the next six months reshaping my eating habits. Hello, Caesar salad; goodbye cheeseburger and french fries. I sacrificed indulgence, but I gained much more: my confidence. My “new” goals became clear. I wanted to be healthy and help others. I wanted to share my story. I wanted to follow my old dream of becoming a writer. After I realized all of these changes, I had also lost 40 of the 50 pounds I had gained. Most importantly, my weight loss gave me my life back.