But I haven't always been this way.
In fact, growing up I was no where near the health freak I am today. In high school I often skipped gym class to go to 7-11 for slurpees, corn dogs and potato wedges. I occasionally pretended I wanted to play sports but never for more than a couple weeks. I lived on Kraft Dinner and Pizza Pops when left to cook for myself. How I maintained my slim 115lbs throughout my early years, I'll never know. Youthful metabolism I guess.
When I moved out to go to school I gained the notorious 'freshman 15'. I made a noble effort to walk to school for the first month until I decided sleeping in was better than getting up the extra 15 minutes to walk. My college diet consisted of the cheapest foods possible, Sidekicks and Kraft Dinner. Suddenly my metabolism from high school didn't move out with me and I was finding myself spilling over the top of my size 27 jeans in what we know as the 'muffin top'. After a comment from a family member about having gained alot of weight, I decided it was time for a change. I needed to get some exercise.
My start into fitness humors me looking back. I set aside time every Tuesday night when my annoying roommates were off doing their cadet thing to get fit by playing Dance Dance Revolution and working out with Carmen Electra's Fit to Strip DVD's. Ugh, I know, I can hear you laughing and trust me I don't know what I was thinking. But at least it was a start.
From there I signed up at our giant recreation center with a 'smart key' program, that tracked your workouts on a programmable key. The routine was boring and I didn't stick with it long, instead signing up for a weekly bootcamp which I came to really love. I faithfully signed up for bootcamp season after season for two years, which is where I think my addiction for fitness began. I dabbled in an outdoor bootcamp over the summer to expand my fitness time and even took up running, despite sucking horribly at cardiovascular activity. I tried out kettlebells, and crossfit and enjoyed new challenges.
During this time I decided to add something new to my routine, something to help boost my confidence a little. I joined a dance class for women to do just that. During this class the instructor made a call for girls wanting to join a modern day burlesque inspired dance group. I put myself outside of the norm and decided to join which spawned another obsession...dance. My life was consumed with various dance classes and practices, stretching and of course my bootcamps and running occasionally. I was beginning to love the person I saw in the mirror as I gained both confidence and watched the muffin top disappear.
Two years of non-stop dance came to an end but I knew I couldn't go back to doing nothing. I went back to the rec center for regular runs and occasional weight lifting. I had a trainer create a meal plan and exercise routine for me to follow. I slowly changed my eating habits and worked more exercise into my routine. However I found that I wasn't getting anywhere working out on my own.
I ended up winning a free month trial of a small group fitness class at a private training facility. I loved this class more than my regular bootcamp as the trainer was actually there to help to with your form and push you beyond your limit, not to mention made it funny with his silly personality. I felt like I was actually a person here instead of just a body in a room doing what I was told. I went for a consult to see how much their services cost and nearly choked at the cost. Someone I got sucked in to signing a year long contract to attend this class 5 days a week at a slightly obnoxious cost for my tiny salary.
My family thought I was nuts, my coworkers thought I was nuts, my friends thought I was nuts. But none of them knew how good I felt to do something healthy for my body. I've been at this class for over a year now, going faithfully 5 days a week. My diet is carefully monitored, keeping as whole, fresh, and clean as possible. I'm criticized for passing up baked goods and alcohol and laughed at when I pull out a contained of snap peas at the theatre instead of eating butter smothered popcorn. I'm told I don't need to watch what I eat because I'm already thin and often try to tempt me with food they know I won't eat.
They don't understand how good I feel on the inside and out. I'm not worried about a friend or family member making a comment about my weight in a negative way, I'm happy with what I see in the mirror, and I'm at ease knowing that I'm not putting bad things in my body. I feel good knowing that my efforts to eat clean and get plenty of exercise will pay off for my future health.
You too can change your life into one of health and happiness. You may not enjoy spending six or eight hours a week in a gym or giving up cheese and pasta, no one said you had to. But start making small, positive choices for yourself and you will begin to feel the effects of healthy choices as well.
Yes, I may pass up Friday night drinks to go to my Bikram yoga class and I may pack a giant bag full of food when I go out of town. I may not make sense to you, but I make sense to myself. I'm happy and I'm healthy and my journey is nowhere near the end.