I love food, I always have and I always will but over the last few years I’ve had to revamp my entire diet because of the worsening of my severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome and a recent diagnosis of Celiac Disease. Foods that I had always eaten with no distress were now enemies to my digestive tract. At first, I felt helpless to my conditions but through diet and exercise (as well as finally finding the right medication) I’ve been able to lessen my symptoms and it’s been my inspiration for getting creative in the kitchen!
My fitness journey began my senior year of high school, when I laughed at the idea of people who exercise for fun. Me? Work out? That would never happen, but after taking my first Cardio Kickboxing class, I was hooked! I loved the post-workout rush of endorphins seeping through my brain, creating a happiness that was like no other.
That happiness though was soon clouded with a vision of what it meant in my mind to be “fit.” My only idea of a workout was cardio, and lots of it. I would hit the gym, hop on a machine for 45 to 60 minutes in attempts to burn as many calories as possible and call it a day. I wasn’t trying to become faster or stronger; I was, like many women in America, just trying to be skinny.
After forcing myself to finish Shaun T’s cruel and unusual punishment of Insanity, I had reached a plateau for working out. I was NOT going to complete the program again and I did not want to go back to being a Cardio Bunny. Through classes at my local gym, I found HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). I liked the idea of a super speed work out that got me just as sweaty in a shorter amount of time but I was still using the elliptical like it was my day job! I would lift a few weights here or there but it wasn’t a focus or goal of mine. The elliptical would continue to be my go-to-workout program.
Then, after a herniated disc injury, I saw a personal trainer to learn how to workout without causing pain or further damage to my back. His first question left me dumb-founded, “What are your fitness goals?” I just sat there, I had none. For me, working out was something I did to maintain my weight but in that moment, I decided I needed to have a better purpose for getting my sweat on. I decided I wanted to become stronger and increase my muscle tone. During my senior year of college I was introduced to weight-lifting and fell in love. Now, my typical workout is a combination of lifting/strength-training with HIIT moves in-between.
I have never felt better about myself, my body, or fitness level since I started lifting.
Lifting weights has boosted my confidence and appreciation and love for my body. Self-love and body-love are two things that I think majority of women struggle with and I want to help them overcome those struggles. I’ve stood in front of the mirror and picked myself apart or felt guilty after indulging in a sweet treat before, but why? Because society tells us women that in order to be beautiful we must be stick-thin, super tall, wear makeup, and not lift heavy things.
WELL, I DISAGREE, be your own kind of beautiful.
To me, being beautiful is being happy. What makes me happy? Eating carbs, plates full of protein, spoonfuls of peanut butter, spending time with loved ones, wearing pink, sunshine on my face, loving my body as it is and no longer picking it apart, looking in the mirror and smiling at what I see, appreciating my body and all that it does for me, lifting weights, body weight cardio, staring in the mirror super sweaty at the gym and being proud of my progress.
Everyone’s definition of beautiful will be different. Some people ask me why I want my arms to be muscular or what’s the point, girls don’t lift, and I smile and say, because it makes me feel beautiful and happy, and for me, that’s good enough.