“It’s been somewhere over two years since I remember lying in bed awake, again, thinking of how far I’ve slipped and how impossible it would be to get back. Weight has been something I’ve struggled with my entire life.
I was an overweight youth, I was bullied growing up. I’ve lived my life with body-image and confidence issues. I started my first efforts towards weight loss when I was 12. Throughout my life, I’ve gained and lost weight, but this time was different.
I had gained more weight more quickly than ever before and I had lost more weight more healthily than ever as well. All in all, I’ve lost over 70 pounds in well over 100 weeks of work, so it wasn’t the fastest, but it’s been about a lifestyle change rather than any extreme diet or exercise.
I started my journey a little before my mom was to be released from a rehabilitation center. My mom suffered a brain aneurysm on July 4, 2015. She was in a coma and rehab hospitals for 7 months until they deemed she had plateaued and was to be released since insurance would no longer cover her.
She didn’t recognize me the first day she was back. It was a very emotional time for me. I had seen her in the hospitals where she could barely speak, I had seen her in the ICU where she couldn’t. I had seen her on the floor unable to wake up. To see her stare without the longing of a mother was heart wrenching. It put a world of self-pity and pain in perspective to me.
As I began losing the weight, she soon started to recognize me more and more, and I’m so appreciative to once again see that sparkle in her eye.
My good friend was also in an emotional time after a breakup and wanted help to get in shape. It was a perfect reason for me to start something new as I felt a new appreciation for life after that summer. We started out small, a light barbell workout and agreed to do pushups every day. Soon I was waking up and going for walks while listening to uplifting music.
My happiness grew and my confidence too. I started jogging and doing sprints, pushing myself a little more and more. I sought new ways to work out, I found YouTube channels like ‘Yoga with Adriene’ to help fill those times when I wanted a workout at home. I began doing yoga and working out almost every day.
I posted on Reddit because I was honestly at a low. I asked them to rate me and I was astounded by some of the positivity. It made me want to care about myself more, it made put an effort into myself.
Soon I found a little home on Reddit and then the progress picture I posted exploded! I could barely sleep that night, it was amazing. The comments were all so uplifting and inspiring. Many called me a real life Disney Prince, the highest compliment of them all. It’s made me choose to chase a dream of becoming a model or maybe an actor one day.
That sort of response fuels me still and I think it will for a very long time. I hold it close during my workouts. Now I’m chasing a bigger goal and I feel for one of the first times in my life a motivation for more.
Being home helping with my mother has been a huge help and motivator for me as well. She’s the toughest person I know and gives me a constant appreciation for life. She’s always telling me to take a day off and I love her so much for it. At the end of the day, I just want to make her proud.
So now I stand over 70 pounds lighter, and I appreciate every breath I take. I’m using the love and support from everyone around to continue working towards my ultimate goal in life, which is to simply be love. I’m not entirely sure what that means just yet, but I hope to find out.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jeffrey Kendall, 26, of Torrington, Connecticut. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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