I was thin in high school. No, I swear, I was. I started college equally thin, but gained the Freshman 15 my freshman year. By sophomore year I lost some of that weight, mostly because I wasn't eating at the dormitory cafeteria anymore. (That food was awful!)
When I see photos of my 21st birthday (at the beginning of junior year), I still looked pretty thin, although maybe a smidge chunkier than I was in high school. But that was before I went to study abroad in France - second semester, junior year. Forget the Freshman 15. In France, I think I gained 30. I literally passed a croissant bakery every day on my walk to the university. You might deduce that more often than not, I could not resist stopping for a hot, freshly baked chocolate croissant. On top of that, there were very few fresh greens available at the grocery store, and baguettes and cheese, although delicious, were not exactly diet food.
I returned from France quite the chunky girl, but got into a workout routine pretty quickly and lost quite a bit of the weight I'd gained. However, the weight I lost didn't stay gone for long because my girlfriends and I were 21 now, so we could all go out anytime we wanted for live music and....beers, of course. And it doesn't take too long for all of those beers to add up. By the time I graduated from college, I looked like a pufferfish. No, seriously, my face was literally swollen from all of the drinking we did. I'm not proud of it, but it's true. We decided to start celebrating graduation at least a month before we actually graduated, and it showed.
After graduation I moved to Hawaii, and being poor in Hawaii - I only made $6.30 an hour as a tour guide - actually helped me lose some weight. Next was a move to San Diego where I learned to surf and probably got into the best shape I'd been in since high school. Again I was poor (this time making $8.00 an hour at the bookstore) so this kind of helped too. I liked good food, but just couldn't afford it. And Top Ramen works pretty well for diet food when it's all you eat.
I moved back to Sac from San Diego and just stopped being as active as I had been been in SD. I eventually got into swimming, which was great, but I never lost much weight with the swimming. And so the pounds kept sneaking on, one by one until, until now, and the buck stops here. My health is now being affected, not to mention my self-esteem and general quality of life.
So two of my friends and I are training for a 5K on January 23, and already I've made some progress. On Day 1 I couldn't jog for more than a minute without gasping for breath. Now, 2 weeks into it, I can jog for up to five minutes without stopping! My goal is to be able to jog the full 3 miles by January 23, but if not, I will be happy just to jog most of it. After all, it's a great improvement from what I was doing, which was....nothing. And that was going to get me.....nowhere. Also, I just feel better about myself now that I am making an effort toward a change. This is so much better than feeling horrible about myself, but not doing anything about it. I heard recently that gratitude is great, but action is better. As blessed and as grateful as I may feel about my life in many ways, there are also a lot of things that could be better, like my health. And talking about it isn't going to change anything. So I'm taking matters into my own hands and making it happen. Because I'm the only person that ever will.
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