If we’re being completely honest with one another, I never thought I would weigh over one-hundred-and-fifty pounds. But there I was, four weeks ago, clocking in at one-seventy. And what a terrible kick in the teeth that was. That freshman fifteen took a quick turn into freshman forty. But it’s not fair to blame it all on college, even though I wish I could blame it for everything (it’s not like it doesn’t deserve it). But no, I had been struggling with my weight, with my motivation, and with loving who I am, long before college.
I knew I wasn’t happy with the way things were, so I made a plan. My husband and I started going to the gym, which is always scary when you haven’t been in a long while. Five days a week we work out, and beyond that, we each have our own little goals we check off during the day. Like, for instance, one of my extra goals is to walk ten thousand steps a day, and his is to do extra ab workouts. A few extra common goals we have each day are to go without sugar, to drink our protein shake, and drink a gallon of water.
It hasn’t been easy to wake up at five o’clock every morning to get to the gym before he has to go to work, but if we can do it (two of the biggest couch potatoes and sugar addicts in the world) literally anyone can.
The words rise and shine, the title of this blog post, carry a lot of meaning for me. When I was a small girl, my mother would come into my room, before the sun had yet to rise, flip on the switch (I know, call child protective services), and say “It’s time to rise and shine.” No one has said that to me in a long time, but those kick-in-the-butt words are exactly what I needed a month ago, when I remembered them during a short period of self-wallowing. And maybe that’s what you need to hear now. In the past month I’ve been on a journey, following a new fitness lifestyle – whatever you want to call it – so long as it is permanent.
During high school I desperately could have used someone who was like me. Someone I could watch and relate too. Someone who had yet to make it, and messed up and wasn’t perfect, and who’s advice wasn’t: “Eat clean and exercise and no matter what you’ll be fine.” I don’t remember having anyone I looked up to during those four summers when I would go to the gym for a few months and then quit because it got too hard and too inconvenient. I don’t remember relating to anyone, because everyone I was seeing on the internet had already transcended their human form and seemed to be untouchable.
I was almost there once . . . two summers ago. I even had the coveted flat lower belly (We have no pictures, of course, but I swear it happened! It did!) But I gave up on all of my hard work because I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I was working out to look good, to fit into small sizes, to make my dad proud. But then I would get bored, school would start back up and there would be “no time.” Maybe the girls were going to think I was weird for lifting weights. I was never really doing it for me. I was doing it for everyone else. So I could look good for others, so I would fit in with others, so I would make others happy. And that’s where you will always fail, where I will always fail.
It was never just being skinny by itself that made me happy. It was the physical activity that made each day better, the nutrition that helped me feel happier, and spending time and growing closer with my dad, and now with my husband. That’s not to say losing weight is a bad thing at all. In fact, it can be a catalyst for many of my points. Because I know how sucky it is to not be able to get your pants all of the way up, to not to be able to fit into most of your dresses anymore, or to almost cry in a dressing room because a size that fit not too long ago doesn’t fit at all anymore. Until it becomes about you, your physical health, your mental health, the way your body feels, the way it gives you confidence, and the way it must truly bring you joy, it will never work.
I’ve struggled with writing this, with closely documenting my journey, because it is a very personal, very hard thing. I’ve struggled with thoughts of who wants to see this? Because what they say is true: No one cares how the sausage is made. Nobody cares about the girl who hasn’t made it, and her stupid advice. But then I began to think, what about all of those times in high school that I would drop about twenty pounds, and then revert to my old terrible lifestyle simply because the one I was currently living was too hard to do by myself, and I felt all alone. I always figured I would have to build credibility first. I felt that I couldn’t be a pound over my weight goal, or even slightly off from looking like my dream body. I thought I needed to wait until I was perfect, until I was ready. But what does that even mean? When is anyone ever truly perfect?
I realized one day not too long ago, I could wait my whole life until I thought I was perfect, or I could give you a glimpse, a front row seat, into my journey. I could give you a very real timeline of how long it takes. I will never be “perfect.” And as tough as that was to swallow, it really set me free. I realized that I could help others along their way the same way I wanted to be helped a number of years ago (or yesterday). So here I am, swallowing down those fears, and chasing my dreams anyway.
Fitness and nutrition, over the past month and my several failed attempts before, has taught me how important it is. How our bodies can do incredible things if we only allow them to. Working out has given me new confidence that has seeped into other parts of my life. So, I don’t care if you don’t want to do what I’m doing, or if you don’t want to follow me. Please just do something. Let’s at least be done quitting together.
I want to write something different. A different type of blog for people who are tired of the same old, “Drink one of these a day and you’ll be skinny in a week,” or, “Eat only meat and nothing else for a month and you’ll have dropped fifty pounds!” No more of that. It needs to stop. I want you to see me, a real person, making a REAL attempt at losing weight and gaining muscle. By not starving myself, taking fat burners, using trick lighting, or lying about the amount of time that has passed in-between photos.
I won’t lie to you. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be hard work every day motivating yourself, going to the gym, meal prepping, and eating clean. But you know what? You can do it. I’m putting my faith in you, and I have no doubt that you’re going to meet your goals and then exceed them. I have no doubt that one day you’re going to be motivating me, and you already do. Every healthy choice you make, every time you lace up your tennis shoes, every time you eat nasty plain chicken you’re encouraging me. And I’m so proud of you.
If you haven’t, I hope you choose to go with me on my journey of working on self-love, becoming a stronger and happier version of myself, to finally stop quitting, and to become healthy for life. I hope this blog makes you happy, I hope that this blog helps you learn to love fitness and yourself, and I hope it inspires you. Because the days are going to pass whether you choose to get up and work hard every day or not. Finally, if nothing else, I hope I provide you with plenty of laughable mistakes. I want you to see me learn, struggle, grow, reach my goals and push forward onto new ones. And I want us to do it together.