How I shaved a 5-year old off of my body
And how it’s changed how I view myself.
It’s insane to think that only 9 months ago, my life was so different. There were two extremes I was dealing with: starting a new job working for one of my best friends and weighing the most I ever have, a whopping 202 pounds.
But let’s start at the beginning — I’ve been heavy my entire life. Okay okay not like morbidly obese heavy but I’m a Latin girl who’s 5'3" — just think of every stereotype you can and well, that’s what I got berated to look like by my family. The stress of how my body looked paired with the insanely (not) nutritional Mexican food I was eating everyday didn’t make sense to me. My family members kept telling me I was getting too big. I have one aunt who would come visit from Mexico and without fail, she would always bring up that being bigger wasn’t pretty. So you can imagine what that did to my self esteem — I hated food and what it did to my body.
I could just look at a churro and gain 5 pounds. I hated family reunions because I would have to dodge the question of why I wasn’t eating healthier and that it would probably be better if I lost a few pounds. The outcome? Developing a love/hate relationship with food.
And yet, I love trying new foods. I’m always up for trying new ethnic places or going to that place in the city that has the ‘BEST (insert junk food here) EVER.’ So for the first two years I lived in New York City, I did just that. I was so busy at work all the time that I just went into a mode of work, eat, sleep, repeat. I was also drinking a lot when I would go out to clubs to mask the loneliness I felt. I didn’t feel attractive. I felt big and I was always consciously aware of that fact. That lack of self-confidence only exacerbated my frustration and at one point I began to think that I’d need to leave New York to find a girl who would even be remotely attracted to me. #desperateproblems
I was the prime example of a weight yo-yo’er. The cycle was always the same: I would go three to four months doing intense/crazy workouts, lose 15 pounds, feel awesome then fall off the wagon, go back to eating whatever the fuck I wanted and gain it all back plus some. But the months that would go between me working out had started to grow farther and farther apart. The numbers on the scale were ever increasing and I was consciously letting it all happen right in front of me.
It was around September 2013 that I started to notice a huge (for lack of a better word) difference. I had always had a bit of a muffin top but I was pretty good at hiding it (psh yeah right) with bigger clothing or coverups. But just staring at this picture when I got home from my Notre Dame visit was horrifying. My size 14 jeans were stretched to the brim, my muffin top was clearly out for all to see and my face was huge. I panicked. I had waited too long to start my gym workout. But at this point, I had no motivation to do anything. I had grown lethargic in my movements and winter was just around the corner. So I didn’t do anything different.
Cut to Christmas time 2013. I went home and my Mom was doing her best not to mention how much weight I had put on. I told her that I would take care of it but I also knew that I was just making excuses so we wouldn’t have to talk about it. It wasn’t until I was trying to play/run around with my ‘babies’ AKA my younger cousins that I realized I couldn’t keep up with them; I was out of breath and felt like a roly fucking poly if I was trying to get up after being on the ground with them. That was what woke me up over everything else. I wanted to stick around for them. I wanted them to have a great role model. How was I going to do that if I couldn’t play tag with them without getting winded?
So I made a decision. On January 3rd, 2014, I was going to make a lifestyle change. No, this was not a resolution (because fuck resolutions), it was a commitment to myself and most importantly, to my body. It became a two-fold promise:
- I was going to teach myself how to eat better without restricting anything. That’s right. No ‘cheat days.’ Cheat days implied that there was something wrong about what I was doing. And also, no calorie counting. Everyone had told me about My Fitness Pal but I have this problem were I commit to something like that for 2 days before I stop doing it because it’s too time consuming. I know that about myself. Instead, I said that every food on this planet (good or bad) was available to me for my consumption and continued to repeat it like a mantra. It was a matter of making a choice of what it was I wanted to ingest and listening to my body tell me how MUCH it needed to be satiated rather than full. [and it fucking worked]
- I was going to exercise again, but my way. I remembered doing boxing in college for a couple years and loving it so much. A traditional gym is so boring to me so if I was going to get healthy and lose weight, I was going to have a blast doing it.
So I paid for my new boxing membership and weighed in. 202 pounds. Yikes. This was the heaviest I’d ever weighed in my entire life and I was so embarrassed. But I was determined to stick with it; there was no way in hell I was ending up any bigger.
It was hard to wean off the free pizza days at work or the snacks people would bring in to the office but after a while, I stopped noticing those things. I started craving proteins and salads because I wanted to eat them, not because I had to. I also started juicing more and more while realizing how much I actually liked those concoctions; something I never thought I’d actually say.
I read Reddit’s subreddit r/loseit every single day for months as motivation to actually make it to the gym. As I mentioned, I’m a lazy fuck sometimes and I’m very good at talking myself out of going to the gym. But reading a story about how someone had lost 150 pounds and changed their life made me want to grab my gym bag and run straight to the gym. I didn’t let myself get frustrated if I wasn’t seeing immediate results because I knew in my head that it was coming. I was on my way to my goal of being 140 pounds [I have a post-it note on my monitor at work with this number written on it. Not kidding. I’m willing this thing to happen, folks] and I was absolutely committed. It would happen when it was time.
I stopped taking progress pictures in June 2014. I think I needed to SEE that what I was doing month to month was making a difference in the beginning. And once I saw that last photo, I knew that there was no going back. It had started to become apparent in my new photos with people that I LOOKED different. My face was slimming down and so were my stomach and thighs. I was really doing it and now it had 100% become a part of my weekly routine.
So why did I write this? And why now when I still have about 15 pounds to go? In the last three weeks, I’ve been getting one particular compliment over and over: ‘You look so…FIT!’ Every single time I hear that from someone, I almost burst out crying. I’m actually tearing up just thinking about it. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined pushing my body to the limits FOR FUN. Never in my wildest dreams could I have even thought to be considered a ‘fit’ person. It just blows my mind and I thank all of you who have said such kind things to me. Shaving 40 pounds off my body has been fucking crazy but it’s also been so incredibly rewarding.
For those who don’t know me, this is a recent photo of me taken last week before a work event tied to Fashion Week. I seriously can’t believe I look like this now. I’m in the process of retraining my brain to understand how to look at myself. My mindset on food has completely changed and my inner fatty is so grateful I finally took the time to learn what I really wanted.
From my social life to my dating life, everything’s completely changed and I 100% attribute it to the self confidence I’ve attained out of this experience and that I continue to glean as I get closer and closer to my goal. I finally had to learn what ‘game’ was (for the record, I still don’t know but hey, fake it ‘til you make it right?).
I’ve had friends and family reach out and tell me that I’ve inspired them to focus on themselves and THAT is the greatest compliment I’ve received thus far. I’ve also finally gotten the courage to workout with friends, which NEVER would have happened before because of a self-doubt that I wouldn’t be able to keep up.
Basically what I’m saying is, is that this fitness thing is fucking fun and I have no plans on stopping.