When people ask me about my health and fitness journey, I typically go back to "where it all started" - the spring of 2011. Something clicked and after decades of taking my own health for granted, eating like crap and never working out, I decided it was time to wake up, pay attention and make some changes. I gave my lifestyle a makeover, lost about 15 pounds and have learned over the years that my health and fitness is just that - a JOURNEY. It's ever-changing and never-ending.
But yesterday, when I was folding laundry and listening to my 90's playlist, I realized that actually wasn't my first time around the block with weight loss. Back in the late 90's, when my family moved to Dallas, I was really depressed about leaving Miami and everything I knew behind and definitely used food as an emotional crutch. I wouldn't say I was overweight; I'd say that I weighed more than I should have. And as a girl who'd always had tons of energy and a quick metabolism, feeling heavy emotionally AND physically was really tough. Growing up in Miami, I was outside EVERY DAY. I rode my bike, I rollerbladed, I swam, I played hopscotch on the sidewalk and shot hoops in our driveway. I didn't play any team or organized sports... but I was always active without giving it a second thought. (I also took tennis lessons but much to my dad's disappointment I was not the next Steffi Graf... far from it. I took tons of different dance classes too, but sadly I was horrible.)
When we moved to Dallas, though, that all changed. Even though much like Florida, the weather was conducive to being outside most days, I suddenly had no desire to spend my time being active. I fought my parents' desire to send me to a private school because I was sick of the obnoxious, spoiled kids I'd gone to Gulliver with. So they sent me to public school, where I didn't get the individualized attention I was used to and definitely needed. I was in 8th grade which I think is probably an awkward time for most of us, but the fact that I was without much of a social life really magnified the ickiness of middle school. I felt lost. Most afternoons and evenings I watched Wonder Years re-runs and cried. My parents didn't know what to do with me. That first year in Texas was really, really tough on all of us.
When that summer rolled around, something changed. I decided to be a camp counselor at Perri's day camp, and I spent every day with the kids playing outside and running around. I lost the weight I'd gained and went to 9th grade feeling confident. That first day of high school was SO awesome... I hadn't really seen most of the kids I'd gone to school with over the summer, and I could tell a lot of them were surprised at how different I looked.
The funny thing was... I wasn't trying. I shed the extra pounds I was carrying around and my figure kind of just went back to the way it was supposed to be.
As we all know, it's harder to lose weight as you age. You HAVE to try.
But whether I was 15 or 26, the key to success was the same: I had to get moving.
This post is for anyone reading who is going through a hard time and knows they need to change. Maybe you're nursing a broken heart or a bruised ego. Maybe you feel like you're too far gone and it's easier to just accept the way things are and keep eating whatever, whenever. Maybe you're embarrassed because you've let things get bad. Maybe you're afraid to fail. Maybe you're afraid to start. Maybe you don't know how.
I'm here to tell you that it is hard and it will take effort. You will hit walls and you will hit your limits. You'll have to practice willpower. You'll have to commit. It will suck at times.
But I'm also here to tell you that IT'S WORTH IT.
When I was 15, I got moving by accident. I rediscovered my love for being outside and being active. When I was 26, I got moving on purpose. And it was so much more than physically moving: I had to change my eating habits, my sleep habits, my overall attitude and more.
My challenge to you on this beautiful Monday is to take a hard look and be honest with yourself. It is often the hardest thing, but luckily it's half the battle. Once you admit that you have to get moving, figuring out how is the fun part!