Have you ever really thought about “your story”? I hadn’t really given it much thought. A few years ago, I was asked to share my story and I had to really think back. It all started where everyone’s story begins…at birth.
I was born with asthma. No one knew it initially, but a few years after I arrived, they found out. I was sick and in the hospital just about every six months until age 4. Maybe even a little later. My mom jokingly told the doctors to “keep me until they figured out what was wrong”. Nice, right?! But it worked. Needless to say, they found out I had asthma.
Because I was sick all the time, I never wanted to eat. I had absolutely no appetite and was SUPER skinny. I mean, I looked like I was sickly. I can remember a picture taken of me when I was around age seven. I was on vacation with my family on Cape Cod, playing with my sister in the pool and wearing my two-piece bathing suit. You could see my ribs. It was not good. I was scrawny. Here’s a picture of my dad and I at our Father / Daughter Dance. My face is very thin and I was very pale.
About a year later, things started to change. My asthma started to get better and I discovered something so amazing, I thought I’d lose my mind. I learned what food was. Yes, I’m kidding. My parents fed me, but I found my appetite. I would eat anything and just about everything. I LOVED food! I remember on Sunday mornings after church, my family and I would go to a specific restaurant for breakfast. Sadly, this restaurant is no longer in business and my parents jokingly blame my sister and I for that. We could literally clean out the whole buffet if we wanted to. I definitely found my appetite!
Thankfully despite this appetite, I was active. I played soccer in the Fall and Winter and soccer and softball in the Spring and Summer. If I wasn’t this active, I would have gained weight a lot faster than I did. My parents were happy I had gained a few pounds, though. Because I was so active, dinners were quick – pasta dinner, fast food, microwaveable meals. If it was cheap and fast, my family probably had it. Strangely, I remember having lots of orange soda too. Odd.
My journey in sports continued through my Sophomore year of high school. In my Junior year, I stopped being so active because I had to get a job. I needed things, like a car, gas money, clothes, etc. My jobs during this time kept me active – I was a janitor, an umpire, a cashier and bagger at a market. I continued to have jobs like this in college, but that experience with food was much different. Let’s just say, I won’t forget those steak and cheese subs at 11:30PM. And adult beverages were everywhere. It was not good for my waistline. And being short didn’t help things. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice my body was changing yet.
After college, my activity level continued, but I was only working. At a normal check up with my doctor, she noticed a mole. She did a biopsy and initially the test came back inconclusive. The C-word popped up in our appointments. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. All I said was “Let me have hair for my wedding”. Because I only cared about looking good, not feeling good. I was 28 years old, I was the highest my weight has ever been, I was on medicine for high blood pressure and about to be put on medicine for high cholesterol. Yet, I still didn’t notice something was wrong.
I finally started to notice on a trip to Las Vegas. We went with friends, including a friend that had a baby shortly before and was already back to her pre-baby weight. And then I realized, I would be the “fat girl next to the skinny girl at the pool”. This is what I was telling myself. Yes, it was negative self-talk that got me started, but hey, at least I got started. In a quick 90 days, I lost two dress sizes and 15lbs. I had changed my eating habits, got myself exercising and off the medications. Even my asthma was better. I was feeling like I was on Cloud 9. Fitness became my drug of choice. I couldn’t stop and didn’t want to stop. I ended up losing 25lbs since my journey started and more importantly, I learned what it was like to be HEALTHY!
This was a comparison from our wedding day to our second trip to Las Vegas. I had changed a lot. And even since then, I’ve continued to chance. I have since put some weight back on, but have learned that life is about peaks and valleys and what we do with the challenges that we face. My work schedule is different now and I have to find time to fit in the health activities that I love. I make compromises to make it work for me. Today, my mindset is healthier and I’m happier for the journey I’ve gone down. Each one of us has a gift to give others and for me, I’ve found living a healthy life is my passion. I want to help others find the same and if my story can inspire just one person, then I’ve done my job.
If you have read through to the end, that means you’re still here with me. I hope I’ve helped inspire you in someway. If I can help more, I’d love to. Comment below or contact me to set up a time to chat. Together, we can help you find the life you were meant to live.