Self Confidence issues have plagued me most of my life. The times in which I would feel good about myself were few and far between. Those times were often short-lived too. As soon as I felt I was headed in the right direction I would let someone or something bring me down. My only sibling and older sister Melissa and I grew up in a large community. The neighborhood was flooded with kids of all different personalities and faiths. I struggled to fit in. Often bullied and made fun of, my self-esteem took a beating.
Once the going got tough at anything I would quit. I tried dance but that didn’t last long. To this day I’m not the most coordinated person. I spill a lot and have been known to fall “up” the stairs. Not very athletic so sports wasn’t my thing. I took up swimming at age 8 and actually enjoyed it primarily because of the social aspect. I enjoyed being on a team and made some friends that for the most part were nice to me. I wasn’t good at swimming but always looked forward to the season. That is until my teenage years when things became much more competitive. I would always finish close to last in any meets and had a coach that belittled me badly. He made me feel I wasn’t good enough. He sucked the fun right out of swimming and helped bring my confidence level to a new low. So I quit!
My weight has been a life long struggle. There’s no denying I love to eat. Through college and into mid 20s the self-confidence roller coaster continued. I went through a couple of heart breaking relationships. I believed that I wasn’t good enough for anyone nor was I good at anything. By my late 20s I began to develop friendships with people who were just as miserable in their lives. I felt a sense of acceptance when I was around them. Whoever coined the saying misery loves company wasn’t kidding. I hung with one girl on a daily basis who seemed to just hate life. We found comfort and stress relief in food. We spent day after day eating McDonald’s, pizza, and all the delicious junk foods while bitching about our lives. I ballooned to over 175 pounds and didn’t care at the time.
At the age of 30 life would take an extreme turn. The people who mattered most voiced their concern about my weight gain getting out of control. That was the intervention of sorts I needed. Knowing that I was disappointing people who love me was quite the wake up call. I realized that it was up to me to make the necessary changes in my life. I immediately signed up for Weight Watchers and was determined to knock off some pounds. It wasn’t easy to change my habits but once I saw the number on the scale going down, the confidence level went up. That was an amazing feeling. Before long I lost 30 pounds by following their program and felt like I had a new lease on life. I felt a sense of accomplishment
That same year I met the love of my life, Jimmy! We would sit and talk for hours learning everything, and I mean everything about each other. We became best friends who fell in love. I’ve never had anyone make me feel so special. He would tell me how beautiful I am both inside and out. Compliments that continue to this day. Talk about a confidence booster. I began to believe that I am a good person and good enough for someone. Not only did I shed some weight, I also started shedding the negativity from my life.
My sister is an avid runner and was my inspiration to start running to lose weight for our wedding. Running soon became the other love in my life. It was my form of therapy and stress relief. I started running races, not to compete with others but to challenge myself to continue becoming a better me. Running groups have allowed for me to become more social. Some of my very best friends now are those I have met through running. No longer a follower I have become a leader doing something that I’m passionate about with people I’m passionate about! We currently run a marathon training site for CARA, the nation’s 3rd largest running association.
Just over a year ago my mom passed away after a long bout with cancer. I believe her strength and tenacity throughout that battle rubbed off on me. Going through that as a family I believe made all of us stronger people on the inside and given us a desire to live life to the fullest. My Dad and I remain very close. He’s yet to see me run a race but I’m hoping to change that this year.
Earlier this year we learned to eat better by joining a 21 Day Fix challenge group. This was a program that focused on portion control and clean eating coupled with 30 minute daily workout videos. I’m proud to say that the unhappy, out-of-control, low self-esteemed, overweight woman I used to be is so 50 pounds ago!
My increased self-confidence is a direct result of my decision to make much-needed changes in my lifestyle. I have surrounded myself with so much positive energy. In this new world… I fit in, I am accepted, I am happy! My goal for 2016 is to meet new people out on the pavement, make a difference, and later this year qualify for the 2017 Boston Marathon. I know I can accomplish this because “I believe in me!”
I hope that you will follow our journey.