I’m a woman
— Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman”
I’ve always loved that poem but up until recently, I didn’t really connect with it as much as I do now.
Let me start from the beginning: For the majority of my life, I struggled with my weight and being self-conscious with myself. Throughout middle and high school, I jumped on the fad diet school bus, and, at 16, I found one diet that let me lose over 50 pounds in 3 months. Impressive, right?
Wrong. I didn’t know a thing about proper nutrition, what my body needed and the vitamins and nutrients it was lacking from the diet I was on. In fact, I became so crazed with this diet and the limitations of foods I could and could not have, I stopped eating all together. Ironically, food controlled me as it did when I was younger and overate. This time it controlled me in a different way. Thankfully, my mother snapped me out of this toxic non-eating pattern and by the time I started my senior year, I was healthy again.
In college, though, I gained the Freshmen Fifteen – and my roommates’ Fifteens as well. Five to six days of drinking, eating horribly (2 packages of Easy Mac at 3 am is a prime example) and my exercise regime consisting only of dancing/stumbling around night clubs, I easily gained the 50 pounds back – and then some. By the time I was 20, I weighed over 220 pounds. At the time, I was unaware of where all the weight came from – and how easily it came. I needed to change. Bad.
Senior year of college – I tell you my life is just full of ironic, wouldn’t-ya-know-it, twists – I decided to start changing the right way. This was my initial step toward becoming healthy. I joined WeightWatchers and Shapes and got cracking. By my 22nd birthday, I had lost 35 pounds, gotten a grasp on my portions and felt empowered by my weight loss. I finally could donate my “fat jeans,” knowing that I would never step foot into those again.
Then, in the summer of 2010, a tragic event happened to my family that changed our lives forever. I won’t go into much detail in this post, but if you would like to read more about it, check out this post in my old blog. Needless to say, my personal health and weight loss weren’t the focal points during that time.
This summer, though, I made weight loss my goal again for a few reasons. One of those reasons you can read in FITNESS Magazine’s January 2011 edition. Teamed with that reason, I also wanted to participate in the Oral Cancer Foundation’s November 5K/1 mile Run in St. Pete. After training with Bekah at Fit For Fashion throughout the summer, I received 2nd place in the 1 mile run. This was the real moment of empowerment; of feeling phenomenal in every sense of the word. Not only did I do this for myself, but I did it for Dad. Next year, I plan to compete in the 5K and take home 1st place in the 1 mile.
After nearly 8 years of weight yo-yoing, I’m back to the weight I was in my senior year of high school, but this time, it’s healthier. I’m healthier. I feel like a phenomenal woman and it has nothing to do with the number on the scale. It has to do with feeling confident in myself, looking myself in the mirror and saying, “You are beautiful, strong, focused, successful and healthy.” Yeah, I’m not a size 0, but I don’t really have any desire to be. I can confidently say I embrace my curves and when jeans I’ve had since I was 16 fit now, I feel pretty damn happy. Because this time I know what I’m doing, I know how to work out effectively and I control the food. I don’t let it control me.