Where It All Began

It all started in Junior High, I think I was in 7th grade. But, I’m
not talking about getting in shape and actually striving to make
positive healthy lifestyle changes . . . that didn’t come until much
later. But, that specific day at school was one I would never forget all
because some kid chose to roll down the school bus window and yell,
“Hey, chubby! Why don’t you lose some pounds.” Or maybe he said fatty, I
don’t remember. I do know he said I should lose some pounds, because
apparently at age 12 I had a few extra pounds to lose. Which I did, but I
didn’t know that until some kid decided to tell me. And my world came
crashing down . . . I was a fat girl, what!? Seriously, after that I
started to look in the mirror and see chubby me, fat girl, unattractive
girl, shy girl, etc. I mean, yeah, my brothers teased me about being
chubby, but brothers do that. When someone else tells you you’re fat, at
age 12 it somehow becomes true. And I didn’t know how to do anything
about it. My mom tried to get me to run with her, which I begrudgingly
made as miserable as possible. I didn’t like P.E. when they would make
me run or do other difficult physical tasks, and when I got to high
school, I tried out for the golf club because at least they wouldn’t
make me run. Fortunately, golf was too boring (sorry for you golf
aficionados) so I decided to try out for the tennis team. And that was
the only sport I ever played in high school, and perhaps tennis saved
me. Gave me a little hope even though I despised when the coaches would
make us run around the court a few times. I thought I would die I hated
running so much.(Can you tell I hated running a lot?)

I grew up with a very unhealthy perception of myself (but,
seriously, who doesn’t?) and it was a long time until I ever thought I
could do anything about it. What can I say, I was a bookworm and did a
lot of sitting around reading and if I wasn’t reading I was doing
homework. I’d get out and ride bikes with my siblings or go for walks or
little stuff like that, but nothing life-changing. And, I think tennis
was the only thing that kept me from getting chubbier. I wasn’t popular,
and I wasn’t very outgoing. I was that girl that won reading contests
and knew most of the answers to teachers questions, and would complete
all the extra credit assignments even if I didn’t need them. I was a
school girl and I was good at it, except for the friends part, those
were few and far between. I wasn’t good at making friends because I
assumed everyone I met had the same perception about me that I held over
my own head. I know now that I was wrong. But, those words shouted to
me from a yellow school bus seriously affected me for most of my life.

7 years later, in college, everything changed for two reasons:
One, my mom had been an avid fitness junkie for as long as I can
remember. If she wasn’t cycling, or swimming, or running, she was
lifting weights. And every summer she was competing in triathlons and
other races. I thought she was pretty darn amazing and I wanted to be
like her. Second: (which was the catalyst for my jump start in to
fitness) was when my then boyfriend sat me down on the couch and
basically told me I was too fat, but that he still loved me and thought I
was beautiful. He also said I was always sorry for myself about my
weight (which was true) and that I was the only one that could do
something about it. I was very upset at him and hurt, thought I didn’t
show it, and I took those feelings out on the treadmill. So, basically I
was angry at a boyfriend and inspired by my mom. That summer I set a
goal for myself to compete in my first sprint triathlon a year from then
-which seemed like the most difficult challenge ever! And true to my
word, after a year of some hard training, a loss of almost 20 pounds, I
crossed that finish line the happiest girl in the world. I was hooked,
and I couldn’t wait until the next year’s season of triathlons.

I’ve come a long way since that first triathlon, and I’ve learned a
ton along the way. Even though I still have a lot of progress to make.
But, I guess I am grateful for the experiences I had growing up. I’m
grateful to my mom for being my inspiration, and I’m grateful to that
x-boyfriend, who fueled my anger which I then relieved by working out. I
started to see changes and I liked that I had control over what
happened to my body. Everyone starts somewhere, and though my story
started out a little rough, this time when I look in the mirror I don’t
see fat girl anymore. I see a girl who is trying to live a healthy life
and protect this body by staying fit and eating the right foods. I’ve
only got one life to live, and one body to live it with.

(First triathlon with my mom. I finished!)

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(Second triathlon and took second in my age division!)

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(Usually when I tell people I used to be really chubby, they don’t believe me. So, here is my proof. And I believe it is important to look back every once in a while just to see how far you’ve come.)

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