A new outlook on life.



I'm going to get serious with this post. I know this is a very touchy subject for so many people, but I want to get this off my chest. I am not, not have I ever been "fat and proud", "Cheerfully Chubby" or "Courageously Curvacious". I mean no disrespect to people who have the confidence! But that's never been me.

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For more than 15 years I've been battling my weight and my health. I suffer from a number of illnesses, many of which can be attributed to stress and anxiety. I'm not dying. I don't have cancer. But I'm not very healthy either, and haven't been since I was 9 years old.

Me at age 9. I took dance religiously since I was 2. After I was 10, I had to stop because I was too heavy.

Right after my 10th birthday I was hospitalized off and on for the better part of a year. The doctors had me on a lot of medication and when they introduced a new pill into my regimen, my body rejected it. And I got very sick. In order to help me out, they had me on a number of steroids. Within a year I had gained more than 40 lbs. I was bullied and got into fights constantly. I was teased at school, my local hangouts and even Sunday school. And over the next 5 years I had to change schools 3 times to avoid harassment.

Me at ages 13, 14 and 15
All of that changed in High School. Per my Jr. High principal's suggestion, I applied to the magnet program at a different affiliate and got away from the people who bullied me in Junior High. High school was amazing and it's where I finally found "my people". It was then I began to be dubbed 'Queen of the Nerds' and I've never looked back. When I walked across the stage at graduation I received a standing ovation. I cried.

Fast forward to the present. I'm 25 years old, happily married and I have a full time job and many friends who love me. Yet still I felt something empty inside. I've let stress overtake my life and play the victim all these years. Who I felt I was was taken away from me when I was 10. And I've never once looked into the mirror in the last 15+ years and accepted that I am this person. A constant reminder of my demons that have followed me all these years.

So this past year I made a promise to myself...

I will stop playing the victim. I will stop letting my weight and my anxiety define me. I will get down to a size 10 and look fantastic at my brother's wedding. Losing weight is not my main focus. Being fit and being healthy is! And I've taken up some new life style changes to get me there.
  • Yoga at home every day.
  • Weight training
  • I go running at least once a week.
  • Training for my first 5K.
  • Dancing, Hoola Hooping and other fun activities.
  • Little to no alcohol.
  • Absolutely no aspartame, artificial sweeteners or caffeine.
  • Healthy meals, all three meals.
  • I have a bed time.
  • Low GI diet.
Our diet is now a Low-GI diet to help me control my stress and anxiety. In just 2 weeks I've noticed a world of a difference. I feel so much stronger and more confident. I'm using Fitocracy when I can remember. And Reddit's amazing nutrition, loseit and fitness communities have been a big help.

I may not be brave enough to wear a bikini this summer. Or to wear a Slave Leia costume at comic con just yet.  But I feel confident. And that's all that matters.

Here's what has improved in just the past few weeks:
  • My skin and hair are healthier.
  • My body is toning up. My posture is improving.
  • I've been grinding my teeth at night less.
  • My insomnia has pretty much disappeared.
  • My headaches are gone.
  • Panic attacks are becoming more rare.
  • My happy-silly attitude that I was known for in HS has returned.
  • I feel like my old self again.
My goals are simple. To overcome my stress. Take back my life. And feel confident in the body I was given. By eating better and living a healthier life style, I'm taking control of the things that were holding me back. I'm happier. I stress less. And I actually love myself when I look into the mirror.

Today.


Thanks for being so supportive.

<3 Stephanie

9 comments:

  1. Yay!!! I love this post!! My big problem is when I have a bad week and don't exercise, it's sometimes hard for me to get started again. But the more and more I exercise, the more of a habit it becomes. And the more I exercise, the less stress I have. It's amazing what good food and exercise can do for your mental health! Also, I can't hula hoop. :( Makes me sad b/c I bet that's awesome exercise for the hips and my big back porch.

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  2. You are rad. Good for you for taking control and choosing a healthier, happier lifestyle for yourself. That takes a lot of courage. It's far to easy to just sit back and play the victim. Sometimes it's necessary, though, to get you to a point where you can make a choice that will improve your overall health and wellbeing.

    You're a rock star. I look forward to hearing more about your journey and to seeing more pictures of you feeling confident and strong!

    xox

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  3. That's awesome! It's definitely hard sometimes to not let your anxieties define you, I know this all too well. The biggest challenge is always in making the first step towards fighting it, but once you've done that it all gets easier from there. And you look fantastic already!

    Awesome post! :)

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  4. You. Are so. Fucking. Rad.

    Seriously. You are awesome and your honesty is courageous and inspiring! I am so proud of you, as I know that this must not have been an easy post to write... but I'm also willing to bet that it was empowering to put that into the world, and if you're anything like me, letting other people know my intentions tends to keep me in line and away from, for lack of a better term, "wussing out." It keeps the accountability up and it keeps me on my wellness path!

    Again, I'm so proud of you and happy for you. <3

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  5. *grabs a tissue*

    hooray for being so honest and true to yourself. i'm so sorry to hear you had to go through some of that but i'm really glad you're finally standing up for yourself and giving yourself the love you deserve. it's always really hard when you look in the mirror and don't recognize yourself anymore.

    i'm so happy to hear all the changes are making a difference and that you are feeling better! i'm glad you have a goal where feeling better is the end result— i can't wait to follow along <3

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  6. Good for you! Taking control of your health is difficult, but so empowering! Awesome how fast you're feeling better already!

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  7. damn girl! This hits very close to home. I completely understand your struggle... to feel like you are not comfortable in your own skin. I too got sick 2 years back and have since gained 15 lbs... I know that doesn't seem like a lot of weight but on a very short person like myself it is. I can no longer fit my old clothes and continue to workout with no results. Gah! I'm glad someone else understand.
    Love your blog btw.... new follower. I wish you the best of luck with your journey and can't wait to hear about your progress.
    xo
    Taylor
    http://www.nothingbutapigeon.com/

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  8. Hell ya to brutally honest people keeping themselves accountable. Thank you for your honesty Stephanie. Honesty to oneself and others can go a long way and I bet this post has inspired so many people already. I'm so excited for you and your new outlook!

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  9. I think you look great. Good for you for deciding to get fit and healthy. I really hate it when I see bloggers talk about how they want to lose weight and then share "fitspiration" photos of girls with their bones sticking out. I want to scream at them that looking like that is not healthy. It makes me sad for them because if that is their goal, then they're never going to be happy with their body until they are too thin. I'm happy that you are feeling better. That's probably the best reason to exercise and eat healthy. I've been doing yoga lately and I feel so much better. And I've been hula hooping too. I got a weighted one and I do it while watching TV. It's way more fun than doing crunches :)

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