By my senior year of college, I came to realize I had spent the last 3 years putting on the “Freshman 15” with every semester that went by. I no longer owned any jeans that fit, I had to say goodbye to a lot of old clothes, and I couldn’t remember the last time I felt “good.” The year started with my ending a toxic relationship with a bad man who made me feel like I would never be “skinny,” and no one else would want me, but even after realizing I’d rather be alone my whole life than be with him, I still could never shake the thoughts that had been drilled into my head for so long: I was weak, and I would never change. Measuring at 4-foot-11-inches tall, I may have been “big” according to the scale, but at the same time, I felt small and defenseless, which was not the mindset I needed.
I had tried so many fad diets over the years to lose the weight, but it either didn’t work, didn’t stick, or the weight came right back because I didn’t stay consistent. Either way, I had no idea what I was doing, but one late night as I lay in bed, I thought to myself, “I may be small, but I don’t need to be weak.” For that split second, the thought crossed my mind that I did not need to lose weight. I needed to get stronger, and I could do that if I just tried.
When I woke up the next morning, I went to my mom right away and told her I was going to the gym. Being my biggest supporter, she got dressed and came with me to sign myself up for a membership, and I started to sweat. Unlike any other time I thought “I can do it,” I followed through. I didn’t let the thought pass, I didn’t wait for a Monday, and I didn’t even really have a plan. I just knew I couldn’t give up, or I would be the same as I was yesterday.
From that morning on to the end of the year, I found time every single day to make it to the gym, whether it was a 10-minute workout before class or an hour at the end of the day. Slowly but surely, it became routine. I didn’t give up on that thought, although that is not to say I believed in myself every day. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing in the gym, and of course I did not feel I could belong there when everyone else seemed so confident and fit around me.
On the days my mom came, I felt courageous enough with a buddy to try new equipment and different workouts, and on the days I was alone, I told myself stories on the treadmill of how all these strong people around me started somewhere too, and maybe how they also looked down to their feet once before and could not see them either.
My weightloss journey doesn’t start nor end here, but the fall of 2016 was a monumental moment for me in which I realized I didn’t have to believe everything I thought. In fact, I can choose what I believe, so I chose to believe the good thoughts instead of the bad.
I made it to the gym every day, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve by planning ahead, but life changed as I kicked off New Years Day in 2017 with a flight to London for my study abroad program. I was active every day walking all over the city, but I gained back all I had lost so far with my daily pub meals and countless beers. However, when I got back on track in March 2017, I lost it all again and then some, ultimately losing 60 pounds in 365 days. Just like in the beginning, all I needed was that belief that I could do it.
It all comes down to mindset; I learned to believe in myself because no one could do that for me. I asked for help when I knew I needed it, bringing my mom or other friends with me to the gym to keep me going. I wasn’t perfect every day, but I didn’t let 1 bad day define the next, nor would I punish myself if I fell off course.
No matter what, the most important thing is to keep going. When everything seems to be failing or you start to lose hope in yourself, choose to keep going anyway. Don’t give up, because that won’t speed up the process.
Remember: A little progress each day adds up to big results. It doesn’t happen in a day, but with the right mindset, you can and will achieve the results you set out to.