The grass isn’t always greener: a perspective from the other side
I am a health nut! I love every form eating healthy foods to exercising. I started working out as a stress reliever (lord knows I could use it). At 15, I started running to clear my mind and I haven’t stopped since. It took me five more years before I started going to the gym daily and another year to really get addicted. I love how strong and capable I feel when I am at the gym. The endorphins kick in and I feel on top of the world. I love seeing how far I can push my body and it doesn’t hurt that I can admire myself in the mirrors as I do my repetitions. 🙂 I know it’s weird but I love feeling sore the next day; it means I gave 120 percent the night before. I walk out of the gym feeling amazing but it wasn’t always this way.
When I was 14, I had the start of an eating disorder. I thought I was too fat and I decided to try to get rid of the “extra weight”. In retrospect, I was 5’2 and weighed 105 pounds, I was turning into a woman. I couldn’t understand where this ten pounds came from and I was curvier than I had ever been. I felt like my body was betraying me. I have always been petite and growing up people would always tell me I was so small and to me, that was the best compliment I could get. I wanted a thigh gap and came to the conclusion that since I didn’t have one I was fat and flawed. I just tried not to eat all day but always failed during dessert because I couldn’t resist eating all the yummy treats available. I would be so hungry I would stuff my face full of snacks until I felt sick and then vow to run it all off the next day. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t losing any weight and thought that something was seriously wrong with me. Finally, I just tried to come to terms with my new body and get over it…but I couldn’t my body was on my mind from the moment I woke up until I fell asleep.
I started to compare my body to my friends and it was not a healthy cycle; the thing is no one had any idea this was going on! Everyone always assumes that the grass is always greener on the other side but let me tell you I’ve been on the “green grass” and it sucks just as much as everywhere else. People never suspected that I could ever have body image issues
Even looking at myself now, it’s ridiculous, I look perfectly fine, but at the time, I couldn’t stand it. Part of me wishes I could go back and tell myself that I looked fabulous. I guess that’s one reason for writing this blog: If I can help one person realize that they are worthy at any size, at any weight, at any stage in life, then I will have done my job. I don’t want others to suffer like I did. But, I cannot change the past only the present and future making sure that no one on my watch has to deal with what I did.
Fast forward six years, age twenty, still trapped in self-hate. I thought I looked horrible and would not even wear shorts out in public because I thought my legs were too fat. I wasted so many years, that I will never get back, trapped. To me, it almost felt like a disease that I was stuck with. I just felt like this was never going to change so I didn’t bother treating my body with respect. I wasn’t taking care of my body, eating properly, getting sleep, I was hanging out with toxic people, and as you might imagine I was depressed. When I took this picture I decided to change and this was day one.
I didn’t want to be sick anymore, I didn’t want to compare myself with anyone else. I wanted to be healthy and truly happy. So, I went to the gym and started getting well. It was so hard and often times I messed up. I wouldn’t go to the gym for a week or two but eventually, I would find my WHY again and hit the gym even harder.
For the first time in five years, I felt amazing. I felt good about my body; although I still wasn’t 100 percent on my diet( that was to come much later) I was making progress. I went to the gym and had the confidence to use the machines I wouldn’t go near before. I was killing it and I felt on top of the world. I was finally understanding why people were crazy about working out… working out gave me a sense of confidence and strength. It didn’t matter if I had just had a horrible day, the gym was always there. It was such(as still is) a form of therapy. The gym doesn’t care how you look, how you feel or what’s going on in your life. I would go to the gym and get my aggression out. I was angry about many things and I would work out until it was gone. I walked away lighter and felt gloriously empty.
I was strong and loving it. I could see how happy my body was and I wanted to treat my body nicer with the things I put in it, people I hung around, etc. This is when I decided to stop eating dairy mainly because of my digestive problems. I switched to nut milk and found a love for Silk’s Almond Milk and Silk’s chocolate cashew milk
My stomach was thanking me and I felt a lot better. I wasn’t in as much pain as before; which, got me thinking: if removing dairy from my diet helped me, how would I feel if I stopped eating meat? There are some things in life that require going cold turkey and this was one of them. I’m not a go-slow kind of a girl, but more of an all or nothing, and that’s what I did. My body was thanking me so much and I experienced so much energy. I ran my first half-marathon as a vegan and crushed it. I felt on top of the world. I thought nothing could go wrong and everything would always be this easy. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I had been dying to work at a summer camp and, last year, I got my chance. I was hired as the rec aide. Basically, my job was to set up all the fitness activities, facilitate the zip line and rock wall. I stayed at the camp for six weeks, and unfortunately, they did not follow a vegan diet. I had a choice to eat side salads for the next six weeks or I could go back to eating an S.A.D ( standard American Diet). I chose to eat what everyone else was doing. I loved being outside for the summer but didn’t enjoy how my body felt.
At the end of the summer, I decided to still workout but continue eating dairy and meat. I went back to waiting tables, hanging out with friends, and drinking alcohol. My body started to feel the same way as it had the year before. I couldn’t understand how I spent so long living like that. I quickly got back on track again and hit the gym again. I stopped eating dairy and meat and started actually cooking. This is where my love of food began. I made the choice to eat out less and start packing my own foods. I began adding more fruits and veggies into my diet. By the end of 2017, I had a new mindset and a new, healthy body.
I went into the new year excited to crush anything 2018 sent my way, but what I didn’t expect was the year of learning and growth I was to be handed. I thought my new mindset would see me though but I guess I spoke too soon. Thousand-eighteen has thrown more at me than I thought I could handle, but I have grown so much in this year. I am a whole new person, and often times, I don’t even recognize past Kellie. I have shed my skin for a bigger, better one. I still struggle with my body and sometimes those negative voices still drowned out the positive ones. I am not perfect and am still learning. I now choose to get more sleep, speak well of my body, have a healthy work schedule, I cut off the negative people in my life, and live in alignment with my highest self. I am growing into an amazing person and I love it. I choose to speak life over myself and I continue to go to the gym. I have even started to help other girls find their way around the gym. My journey does not end here, in fact, it has just begun!
I am so thankful for this amazing body. It has taken me far and has allowed me to do many things. My arms allow me to hug my favorite people, my legs have carried me 13.1 miles without stopping, my heart beats 24/7, my mouth allows me to speak life over others, my muscles allow me to type on this keyboard, my stomach will eventually house my future children. How can I hate a body that does so much for me? I choose to value my body whether I feel it is deserving of love. I feed my body nutritious food to fuel my activities.
I refuse to be mean to myself. I am too valuable and too fabulous. I have worked hard on this body, too hard to cut it down. I, Kellie, love my body. I commit to treating it well in my activities, the food I consume, the friends I hang out with, and the sleep I get.
Will you join me?