Become Your Own Inspiration

At her heaviest, Alex weighed 190 lbs.
At her heaviest, Alex weighed 190 lbs.

Some say that they simply woke up one day and decided to change their lives and get healthy. Me? It took years of embarrassing situations and uncomfortable feelings in my own skin for me to finally step up and make the change. It’s as if the lifelong struggle with my weight had to build up so much unhappiness that one day something inside of me just finally exploded and I was filled with such determination and drive to forever change my life for the absolute best!

The struggle with my weight began at the very young age of 9. My family went through a rough time when my Grandfather passed away with cancer. As a whole, my family turned to junk food for comfort. Eating out became a daily thing and our cabinets began to stock up with cookies and other “comfort” foods. Before I knew it, I had blown up like a little plum and was in the obese category for my age. Because of this, I could not shop at the same stores as my friends. The cute glittery clothing stores were out of reach for me and I was forced to wear clothes intended for girls way older than me. Of course at that age, being like your friends tends to be important, so being forced to be different was not the best feeling in the world.

As the years went on, the scales only went up. I had developed horrible food habits and I would find myself eating a big bowl of mac and cheese for a snack. I found that my weight really got out of control when I entered high school. I was pushing 175 pounds at the mere age of 14. I would never really notice my weight problem until I looked at pictures of myself or went shopping, so my eating habits continued. I grew older and I began disliking myself more and more every time I went shopping or squeezed into my cheerleading uniform. It is not exactly fun being the biggest girl on the sidelines, especially when everyone else was about half my size.

Before entering a new school year, I had to partake in a mandatory physical that took part in April. The physical happened every year so that students could participate in the upcoming school sports. This was an event that I always found myself dreading every single year.

My heart raced as I stood in line to get weighed. My biggest fear was just inches away and I knew that several people were about to see what the scale read. My name was called. I slid off my shoes and stepped on the scale. Embarrassment flooded my cheeks when the scale read 190 pounds. The school nurse whispered to me that I was very overweight for my age and needed to lose a few pounds. I had to hold back tears as I turned around to step off the scale, knowing that everybody else in line had just heard every word she said. I wanted to do nothing more than to run home and hide for the rest of my life.

I think that day was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. It is weird to think one of my most embarrassing moments in my entire life is a day that I’m the most grateful for.

"The only thing standing between a goal and myself IS me. I can do anything I set my mind to and so can anybody else in this world!"
“The only thing standing between a goal and myself IS me. I can do anything I set my mind to and so can anybody else in this world!”

After that day, I decided I was never going to feel like that again. Never again will I be scared to step on a scale. In fact, I made it a goal that by my next physical, I was going to be at my dream weight and that stepping on the scale was something that I would be excited to do!

When I first started my weight loss journey I found that cutting out things like sweet tea, afternoon snacks, and my every morning chicken biscuits quickly allowed me to drop the pounds. I was still eating my normal dinners, but managed to lose around 20 pounds by August. Just those 20 pounds pumped me up and really kick started my lifestyle change!

I began doing research and found new exercises and foods to help me along my journey. I found that cutting out foods like pork, beef, high fat dairy, fried foods, and overly processed foods really helped me shed the pounds faster. Also, I joined my town’s local gym and began doing online Pilates.

By September I was in full swing. I was eating smaller meals throughout the day and kept track of my calories. I had even managed to cut out my sweets, which was a major thing for me considering I would eat something sweet every night before bed time!

Around December, I had lost around 50 pounds! I was ecstatic and health obsessed! I was now cooking like a mad woman! I spent my free time researching healthy alternatives for my favorite recipes, cooking them for my family and making everyone around me test my new experiments.

Alex feels better than ever with a bright future ahead of her.
Alex feels better than ever with a bright future ahead of her.

As my love for cooking grew, so did my love for running. Before my weight loss I was unable to run a full lap around my school’s track. Even the word “running” would send me into hiding! Now I find myself going on runs that are at least three miles long anytime boredom strikes.

I was able to hit my goal weight around February of 2013, a few months before my next physical. I managed to maintain my goal weight and it was so rewarding to step on that scale. All the hard work had paid off and I was proud of the number that flashed across that screen! The look on the nurses face was also a plus!

Since then I have been working on toning and increasing my running distance. I have increased my caloric intake and my daily protein. Quest Bars have helped me A LOT in this section! My sweet tooth is still through the roof, so I now get to have a yummy sweet treat that also helps me get my daily protein! Lately, every day has become Christmas! Every time I see a new muscle begin to show, excitement fills my veins and it just keeps me pushing harder and harder!

Stepping on the scale is no longer a fear for Alex.
Stepping on the scale is no longer a fear for Alex.

Looking back on the past few months, there is only one thing that I would change, and that is how long it actually took me to start. I would always use the excuse “I don’t have enough time to exercise.” or “I don’t have enough time to fix healthy lunches before work/school.” I learned that you have to create time. If you wait until the right time to begin the change, you will be waiting the rest of your life.

This journey was not easy. I had to balance cheerleading, tennis, journalism, working part time, a social life all while maintaining all straight A’s! It took a lot of willpower and dedication, but in the end it is all worth it! Trust me, fighting that random cheeseburger craving and waking up a few minutes earlier to fix your lunches will just be little things when you finally reach that finish line!

Through this all I have gained a lot more than just a smaller body. I have gained a new love for cooking, self-confidence, nutrition, and running! But the most important thing that this journey has taught me is that I am dedicated, strong, independent, and my will power is through the roof! The only thing standing between a goal and myself IS me. I can do anything I set my mind to and so can anybody else in this world!

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