Over my lifetime, my head has been full of insecurities and self-doubt. Growing up, I was always "the chubby one" and I always struggled with my weight. I played softball for many years growing up and I can remember when feelings of insecurity started to cloud those happy go lucky days for me. There was this one time when there was a local weekend softball tournament. I felt so disgusting in my own body and I was so ashamed of myself (I was probably 7 or 8 at the time), that I refused to take off my over-sized hoodie to play baseball even though it was scorching hot out. I got heat stroke that day from being stubborn and I remember breaking down to my mom when I got home and explaining how insecure I felt. I didn't want people to see my belly rolls or to judge me for being overweight. I hated running the bases and I hated any sort of attention on me. I've worn glasses forever and I started getting acne at a young age. I went through issues at school with classmates picking on me and I can specifically recall "the bully boys" in my class making remarks like "hey fatty, why don't you go eat some more cookies?" or "watch out everyone, wide load coming". I hated gym class and always tried to scramble for excuses not to go or to sit out because my body was disgusting. I hated fitness tests, I hated that I had to wear shorts or run in front of people, and most of all I hated my gym teacher.
During summers growing up, my family camped seasonally at the local campground. As did several of my friends families. Overall, it was great and I had a few close friends BUT those years are also clouded with memories of my weight. I hated going swimming at the beach and always had to wear shorts or a t-shirt over my swimsuit. I hated that all my friends were so active, they would play soccer or go biking and I was always left in the dust. Overall, summers were way better for me than the school year ever was because I could avoid all those mean words from the bullies at school for at least a couple months. However, the time would come and I would have to go back to school again. Back to days filled with mean comments and gym classes from hell. I remember days and years of me going home on the bus after school and gorging myself on unhealthy food. I hated my body, yet I was addicted to food because food made me feel better. I would eat entire bags of chips, boxes of granola bars, ice cream, popcorn, pop and anything else that was in arms reach.
There came a time when my mom said enough was enough. She noticed that we needed to make changes as a family in order to help everyone. She started buying much healthier foods and she started exercising. I saw my moms body and outlook completely change right before my eyes and it inspired me to do something about my own body. The summer going into grade 9, I focused on eating healthy and exercising everyday. I went from 210 lbs down to 170 lbs before I returned to school in the fall. People were shocked at how different I looked and felt. I felt on top of the world and ready to tackle high school. High school was a different thing all together for me. I had a solid group of friends and things started to look up for me. However, other problems started to fall into place.
I got obsessive over counting/restricting calories and exercising to excess. I was terrified of gaining it all back and starting over again. The summer going into Grade 10 was when I started dating my "first love". He was popular and I never saw it coming. I continued on with restricting food and exercising excessively. We dated for 11 months and then he broke my heart. I had never felt so devastated before and I immediately put on the blame on myself. I knew it was because I was ugly and disgusting and unworthy. Things progressively got worse and I lived in a very scary place for about 6 months. I was extremely depressed, I would days and days without eating, I would run until my lungs felt like bleeding, and I would torture myself. That summer leading into Grade 11, I started to party and drink a lot. I would constantly go out with friends and drink to excess even though I hadn't eaten for days. I was in a very scary spot for awhile and my parents and siblings were terrified about what would happen to me if things didn't change or if I was left alone.
I'm not sure what triggered it but finally the hurt started to lift and my heart started to feel a bit lighter. I realized that I needed to do whatever it took to get out of this nasty cycle. I slowly stopped going to so many parties and drinking so much and I slowly started to find some peace and balance in my life again. I still had a few really good friends and I started to make better choices.
I don't want anyone to believe that my childhood was awful overall, these are just specific memories of how my weight overshadowed my childhood. I had wonderful parents who loved me and supported me, two amazing older sisters as role models, and great extended family and friends who always looked out for me. However, this helps to explain why I am now so passionate about health, fitness, and wellness. I don't think anyone deserves to feel trapped in their own body or ashamed of how they look. I want to be there to help guide people to make better choices for their health and to wake up each day to be thankful to have the body that they have. To teach people to be strong and in control of the choices that you make and to empower young kids to be kind to one another and to develop healthy relationships with their bodies at a young age.
I was recently offered a position at a new business in town as a personal trainer. To say that I am terrified would be an understatement. All those childhood doubts and insecurities start to resurface. I am scared that I am not in shape enough or skinny enough to be a personal trainer. I am nervous about my arm being a hindrance. I am scared to teach fitness classes in front of a group of people. But I will do it. I have taken the first leap of faith by signing up for the course to become certified.
So now I must keep my composure, try my hardest, and give it my best shot. Even if fail, I will be able to say that I tried.