“When you are 18 years old you expect to begin your life and look forward to everything that will eventually come. For me, I hit rock bottom as an 18-year-old. I grew up being overweight and always suffered from low self-esteem because of it. Constantly being called fat burdened me so much. I would play it off acting like it did not hurt me, but it would make me feel miserable about myself.
I weighed 220 pounds as a freshman in high school but fell in love with working out and eventually got down to 160 pounds as a sophomore. I was so proud of myself and saw so many things in my life start to fall in place. I started to do very well in school and my relationships with people improved because I was so happy with myself. I realized that when I am happy with who I see in the mirror, it carries over to all aspects of my life in such a positive way. I ate very little and worked out constantly to lose all the weight that I did. Over time though, I gained all the weight I lost back, and even added on an extra amount. I got up to 234 pounds as an 18 year old. I was so disgusted with myself and asked why I let this happen to myself again.
I turned to food to deal with any struggle I had in my life. It was the way I grew up, looking for release from eating. I would literally eat fast food every day and eat until I physically could not anymore. I never would accept the possibility of being depressed because it was looked down upon. I did not want people to feel bad for me or give their pity so I always kept how I felt to myself. I moved away for college because I thought it would help to deal with my self-image issues since it would be a fresh start. It really hit me hard how much I had let myself go once I moved away. I was paralyzed. I did not go to classes and would lay in bed for days feeling empty. I had no motivation, no direction, no hope. There were many nights where I would break down and think about giving up on life. It was the lowest point of my life and I had to go back home just for my sanity because at least my parents were there. They have always been accepting and having that type of reassurance during that time possibly saved my life.
I moved back home and tried to lose weight again, but it was a circle of getting nowhere. I eventually discovered MyFitnessPal and learned all about tracking calories and weighing out my food. Over time, by being consistent, I started to lose weight and I felt happy again. I was able to get down to 180 pounds in 2012 and I felt that happiness again that I had when I lost weight in high school. Once again, I started doing well in all aspects of my life. I was going out more and doing well in college.
Over the coming years I would gain weight, lose weight, and gain. It was never-ending and I would have times where I was happy then be hit again with depression and sulk. It was this year in 2018 that I thought maybe I should work with someone to lose the weight instead of fighting it on my own. I had hired an online coach, Chris Lavado, thinking that having someone I can be accountable to would be good for me. By working with him I developed much better habits when it came to food. If I eat badly, I do not let that guilt destroy me and go on a binge for days on end. I’ve learned self-control and discipline when it comes to eating and feel like I can eat anything in moderation. Part of the reason why I am able to keep going is because of the progress I saw. Each week I would drop weight and get leaner while at the same time I was not being so aggressive with my diet and training like in the past. I was able to get down to 178 pounds and am genuinely happy with myself.
I look forward to my days and feel like I can handle things in a much better way. Instead of letting my self-image consume me and make me miserable, I am able to look in the mirror and be happy with who I am now. I still have days where I am so down on myself and struggle with my thoughts, but I tell myself it will pass and things will get better. This really was the only thing that kept me going during my whole journey. ‘It will get better, don’t give up,’ I would tell myself. I had put myself in a place of sorrow and despair and I really felt like it was me who had to set myself free. To this day I tell myself I cannot let myself get back to where I was.
When I look back on it I can still feel the pain that I once did. It keeps me going forward knowing I do not want to feel so low ever again. I am able to enjoy going out now and feel like I am better equipped to deal with the lows I experience. I am more open and engaging instead of closed off from people. All my issues did not go away from losing weight, but the strength I gained to deal with them has helped me and I truly believe I am finally happy with myself.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jag, 25, of Los Angeles, California. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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