I've been hesitant to share my "before" picture on the web. The one on the left, from high school. I don't know why exactly? Maybe because that girl, she was me. She IS me. I was afraid of her/me being judged.
You probably want my transformation story now. But, I am thinking about a different message to share.
I deal with low self-esteem on a daily basis. If you are a girl (or maybe guy, too), you likely can relate, which is sad. You might also relate to that look people give to me now, in 2015, when they don't understand — WHY? Why, would I have anything to be low about?
Delve deep inside my psyche and you’ll see that I am mostly still my same high school self. It's during that time, I was called fat, I wasn't asked to many dances, didn't get kissed or have a boyfriend, and often found myself friendless on the weekends. So, out of habit, now, I tend to be quite a pessimist about myself and an emotional eater to cope.
Sure, I HAVE come very far from that picture on the left. I am a much healthier individual and more athletic all around. I am incredibly proud of myself. Don't get me wrong. But, I am also constantly beating myself up. The more I have accomplished, the more everyone around me has expected perfection from me in diet and completing my goals - namely qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Which, I have yet to do. The more I accomplish in the fitness realm, the harder it is to see the improvements I need to get there. It requires more work for smaller achievements. Most of which no one can see or understand, so they think I am just being static.
The critics, so I’ll call them, don’t understand the struggle of being at war with my inner fat girl. They only see the marathon runner — who they judge for not being as thin or accomplished as they expect a runner should be.
Unbeknowst to them, I picked up running as an anxiety/stress relief during my parents divorce. It wasn’t something I was just born, set out for as a method to lose weight, or even had the desire to do. It was just a cost-free escape from a household in shambles.
The benefits of weight loss followed, naturally. Then the pride of accomplishment. Then I started to enjoy it and wanted to see what I could do. Then the interest in nutrition came. And then one day, I found myself with a sub-4 marathon at the St. George Marathon — the picture on the right.
So my message…. before and after. This doesn’t tell the full story. Appearance is such a small perspective into a person. Yet, we are so often characterized by it. It happens to be one small part of my story, but it’s less defining of me than you should attribute. I just want to be me. And I want other’s to see my transformation and realize, once you transform, you don’t just become something new entirely. You are still you, some habits may transform, others not so much — it may introduce more struggles. I am happier than I was in 2000, with more confidence. But, I am certainly not without temptation or challenges. Be proud of yourself today, no matter how far you’ve come and no matter what other people want you to be today. Don’t allow shame or judgement into your life and don’t do that to others. That is the main transformation I am working on in life. I think that’s more important than Boston Qualifying.