Everyone who gets into fitness, each has their own reason to why they wanted to get healthy and fit. Whether it's to lose weight, get stronger, fight off an illness, or just want to look good, we all have our own personal goals and why they are important to us.
Thinking back on it now, I got into health and fitness because I not only wanted to feel better about myself but find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety. My senior year at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) was probably the year I felt the most emotionally unstable. Now I know college is stressful, especially during your senior year. But when you don't know how to deal with your emotions and the anxiety that comes with being a college student, college life can be even more difficult.
So going into my senior year (2013-2014), I knew what was expected to come. I already wasn't happy with the way I looked and I always wanted to get in shape. I may have looked fine to others but I had insecurities and I was not happy with the way I looked. Some may say "oh you're not fat, you don't need to get in shape" or I would have people to question why I wanted to get in shape because I wasn't over-weight (I will save this pet peeve of mine for another blog post). But at the end of the day, I was not happy. I wanted to get in shape for myself, to better myself physically, emotionally, and mentally.
So I started out researching different ways to get in shape and healthier eating habits. In the beginning, one of my favorite things to do was to go jogging. I would go jog at the river walk near my house in the mornings or afternoons with my mom. Once I went back to school and started my senior year, I knew I probably wouldn't have time to workout as much, so I focused on my eating habits. Meal prepping became my friend, and I started eating more whole/natural foods and less processed foods. I really enjoyed cooking and eating healthier alternatives to some of the foods I love.
As the school year went on, I was still struggling mentally. The panic and anxiety attacks were becoming more common. But I think having something else to focus on and I guess in a way distracted me, from focusing on my negative thoughts and emotions. So just through eating healthy alone, I started to lose weight, mostly fat. Now during this time, I was mostly just focusing on eating the right foods and not portion size and macro- and micronutrients. And no, I was not poking out, nor sucking in my stomach in the photos below.
After I got through college and finally graduated, I could then focus on my main goal which was to build muscle. I had got a gym membership and I was able to start doing weight exercises. I was going to the gym 6 days a week for an hour and a half to two hours at a time. I started drinking protein shakes and other supplements to help get my weight up. I mean I was deep into it! I was even once told that I was "obsessed". But I like to say that I was just dedicated. If anything, I always did my research to make sure anything I put in or do to my body was safe. But over time I started to gained healthy weight going from 100 pounds in college (2013) to 115 pounds (around 2014-2015), so I gained about 15 pounds in muscle.
Now I may not have the abs or the toned arms and legs (yet), but man do I feel so much better about myself! Not to mention, I am stronger now than when I first started so that's progress for me. I'm still working on my fitness goals, but if anything, I no longer feel insecure about my body and I am in a much better place mentally. I can't ask for anything more than that!