Today’s post is a little different – I’ve got a few Throwback Thursday pictures for you and part of my testimony as to why I choose to work in health and fitness.
First, these cards…we had our participants in our Fit Friends are Friends for Life presentation discussion at MidWest FitFest. We encouraged them to think about why they wanted to start working in group fitness or personal training, and to think about why they’ve stayed.
I thought I’d share one of my reasons with you today. I also am sharing it because it’s eating disorders awareness week. I have about a million different reasons, but this is a big one:
Every time I finish a workout, whether it was a personal workout or something I was teaching, I’m reminded of how truly amazing our bodies are and I remember how important it is to treat my body with respect, kindness, and love.
At one point in my life, I didn’t. It all started off with a [not so] simple digestive problem that led to severe weight loss. Then my mind challenged my body to keep it off. Anyway, I’m not letting that memory of who I was destroy my life today…but it was serious. Not only was I in and out of the hospital for tests trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I wasn’t doing anything to help and I was putting my health and my life in danger. OOPS. Let’s put that on the list of things no one should EVER do. This is one of those times where “never say never” does not apply. NEVER do this.
Needless to say, my senior year of high school/first two years of college were miserable. I was in crazy pain/discomfort round-the-clock from a GI issue, always cranky/freezing/irritable/anxious/upset/snippy, and obsessed with every little morsel that went into my mouth and the number on the scale. Again, things I NEVER want to be or feel again.
So…this relates to my working-in-fitness testimony how?
After months of yelling+tears+awfulness, I was forced to start eating more calories in an attempt to recover. In a health and fitness minded household and upbringing, I had the perfect way to make other people happy while making myself ‘happy’. I punished my body by working out. Working out was good for me, right?! I would spend hours on the elliptical at the university rec trying to work off everything I ate (and then some) and tell myself that I was still being good to my body….HA! I decided to pick up running after a lifetime (my whole 18 years) of hating it as a way to boost the calorie burn. And my then-boyfriend/now-fiance could run, so why couldn’t I?
Then one day after an hour-long elliptical sesh, I ran two whole miles without stopping. I will never forget that day. It was a sunny April afternoon, and there I was outside running trying to “burn off” a lunch I had been out to with my family. (Side note: God bless my family for putting up with me, then and always, but especially then)
Something clicked. I was so happy with what I had finally been able to accomplish and was amazed at what my body could do if I worked hard enough. That runner’s high people always talk about? It saved me from myself. I wanted more.
Long story short, you need fuel to run. You need to be HEALTHY in order to run. Sure I struggled, but slowly I got better. My GI issue flares slowly calmed down (to an extent) and I regained the ability to tolerate more foods.
I ran my first half marathon that October, with my favorite guy + support system by my side.
I started working out for the simple pleasure of feeling AMAZING about myself when I left the gym and fueled my body right. I tried everything I could – Zumba, rock-climbing, TurboKick, spin, and was always up for a run! I fell in love with the way it made me feel, not just about the calories I burned! No matter what type of day I was having, the energy + positivity I got from fitness made everything better. I still had some GI issues, but most were finally under control.
I got my happy-go-lucky, live life to the fullest attitude back. I got “ME” back.
I credit fitness for part of that. Health+fitness changed my life for the better. The positive atmosphere, the encouragement of others, and the feeling of doing something wonderful for yourself is amazing. It also helped me control my anxiety, which in turn has helped me come to terms with the fact that I have a nasty GI disorder that is uncomfortable and makes me feel like S*** (quite literally) sometimes.
I want to help others change their lives. I want to help others FALL IN LOVE WITH THEMSELVES and the way they feel when they’re healthy and doing good things for their bodies. I want to help others respect their amazing bodies and what they can accomplish.
Whodathunk any of this would have ever happened…six years ago, I never would have never dreamed I could:
And finally…I never would’ve thought I would have days where I would be self-conscious of being so thin. I do.
Falling in love with running + fitness likely saved me from developing a full-blown eating disorder. It saved me from the disordered eating patterns +and poor self image I was in that were slowly destroying my life. I know I’m lucky it didn’t get that far, but I also know how much crap I went through and that I’m not alone in feeling that way about myself.
This is just ONE reason why I chose to work in fitness. What’s yours?