The Dirty Truth About Getting Fit, Finding Love, and Respecting Yourself

This year is my senior year of college and, as of October, 2016, I had gained 39lbs since arriving freshman year.  Lack of all the sports I did in high school plus terrifying eating habits resulted in nearly forty pounds of weight gain.

Last summer I made excuses every time someone asked me to hit the beach because I hated the way I looked.  All the cute tops I had made their way into a laundry bag hidden deep in my closet, replaced by baggy sweatshirts.

Summer 2016 a few girlfriends of mine got together and put together this list of things we wanted to accomplish throughout the summer.  Running a 5k, losing weight, gaining muscle definition, being more confident, going after what we wanted, etc. etc.  Typical new year resolutions in the middle of June.  Although we did stick to going to the gym, we weren’t 100% dedicated to our cause.  Casual drinking and occasional baking put a huge wrench in a lot of progress.

When school started back up again I can’t say I kept up with everything.  My main excuses were that I was too busy with classes and I needed to focus on getting good grades.  Plus, eating healthy was way too expensive (by the way, that’s a dirty lie).

In November 2016 I met my personal trainer.  One of my friends introduced us and I realized that it was now or never.  I needed to focus on my body and treating myself with respect.

Everyone who knows me knows I’m a ridiculous romantic.  I believe in grand gestures and soulmates.  I believe in finding someone who completes who you are as a person.  It wasn’t until November that I realized something really important; you have to respect yourself and find who you are as an individual before you can expect someone else to come into the picture.

Surprisingly enough, with a few good friends and a fabulous personal trainer on my side, I hit the gym and started meal prepping.  It became this sort of outlet for me.  Stressed?  Hit the gym.  Sad?  Meal prep.  Angry?  Weight train.  Worried?  Look on Pinterest for motivational gym quotes.  Every time I needed an escape, I looked towards this goal.  Even currently, I want more than anything to be able to love myself.

It has been three months since I started this fitness journey, and I’ve lost 30 lbs (photo below).  I’ve lost thirty pounds and everyone around me tells me I look incredible.  I have people contact me to tell me that I’m an inspiration.  The dirty truth, though, is that although I clearly see the changes I’ve made, when I look in the mirror I don’t see any change in the way I look at myself.  Although I know I’ve made a ton of progress (I have the ugly ass stretch marks to prove it), I don’t see 30lbs of weight loss.  I still see the same person I was before I lost the weight, and it’s heartbreaking.  But what gets me though all of this negativity and self-doubt are the women who stand by me and constantly lift me up.  My best friends who come to work and say, “Can I just give you a hug?  I’m so proud of you.” and the best friends who text me and say, “I know you don’t need me to tell you I’m proud but I really am and you deserve some recognition.”  I do need you to tell me these things, because you all make me feel like what I’m doing is worth it.  I’m getting my confidence back and I’d like to say it’s all because of me, but a lot of it has to do with the support of my friends.

In the past couple months I’ve been compromising what I want in a relationship because I haven’t had the balls to fight for myself.  I haven’t had the respect for myself.  Yesterday, a good friend of mine made me realize that I deserve grand gestures and attention.  I haven’t given up on that, but I’ve given up on trying to change myself to fit what others want me to be.  Although I still believe in soulmates and true love, I no longer believe in finding my other half.  As it turns out, I’m a whole all by myself.