Editor’s Note: Today’s post is written by Mandy, who struggled with depression and body issues for many years but felt helpless and didn’t know what to do about it. Four years ago she finally decided to take control and reach out for help, including starting to see a personal trainer. This is a super inspiring, relatable story and I love what she says at the bottom about the way people see her vs. the way she sees herself!
PS, you can check out Mandy’s blog right here!
Four years ago, I decided I wanted to live. I was fat, miserable, depressed, and sick. I just didn’t care about myself. It wasn’t that health and fitness were completely foreign to me. I was an active kid and participated in sports. I worked out hear and there in college. However, depression took over. The dark side of my thoughts dominated my mentality. I used binge eating to punish myself because I thought I was worthless. One day, I was laying in bed crying. I picked up the phone and called my dad (who was waiting for this call for years) and told him it was time to get help. I’d had enough.
The health and fitness part of this story was a bit of an accident. I didn’t have that wake up call, that moment when I saw a picture of myself, or couldn’t zip up my pants or anything like that. I didn’t set out to lose weight or be super fit. I just wanted to live. Yet this part of the journey has turned out to be the best thing to happened to me in my recovery. After a couple of years of drugs and therapy, I signed up for a gym membership and met an amazing trainer. I didn’t even intend to work with a trainer but she changed my life. When I started with her I couldn’t hold a plank for 5 seconds or do a squat or lift more than 5 lbs. I worked hard and she showed me I could improve and get better and do things I never even imagined. I kept showing up to the gym and slowly but surely fell in love with how I felt after working out.
When I decided I wanted to learn how to eat, my trainer taught me how to count calories and understand you must expend more calories than you take in to lose weight. I found there are two ways to reduce your calorie intake. Eating reduced calorie processed foods or eating naturally low calorie foods such as fruits and veggies. Not wanting to give up the things I love, I started out with reduced calorie versions of all those yummy things. Did I lose some weight? Yup. But then I discovered I got more bang for my buck eating naturally low calorie foods. Even better, I discovered that I felt better, both mentally and physically, when I ate unprocessed foods.
Everything has been a natural evolution from there. I want to pushmyself further and explore the possibilities of my body. I tried a lifting program several months ago and loved it. Now, I decided that I want to combine my love of high intensity workouts with lifting and signed up for CrossFit just this month. I’m loving it so far.
Today, I feel pretty darn good. Many of my previous health problems are non-existent. Have I lost weight? About 55 pounds and counting. But on this journey, I discovered that eating healthy is more important than the size of my pants. There is no point in being a size 2 if you can’t live a healthy, happy life. When people look at me they see a fat girl. When I look in the mirror, I see a girl who finally broke the vicious cycle, a girl who understands chicken nuggets are not real food, a girl who discovered lifting weights make her feel good, and a girl who doesn’t give two shit balls what you think of her big ass. And so, I’ve become a fat girl gone healthy.