It’s been a while since I shared this story with you all and I think now is the perfect time for a reminder that fitness is rarely a linear journey. Like most things, it usually involves a few ups and downs along the way.
When I was growing up I was always on the tall and lanky side, my grandpa actually nick-named me grasshopper because he said my legs were longer than the rest of me.
In high school I started competing in various sports (say hi to your 3x cape coast conference high jump champion) and learned that I really loved to win and compete. I didn’t pay much attention to my weight at this point, I just loved sports and being an athlete.
When I got to college, I was no longer an athlete. That identity was suddenly stripped from me and I had to form a new one, along with learning how to feed myself.. yikes. At the time, I was also starting to get into fashion modeling. With all the skinny girls around me, I was so afraid that I’d gain weight without sports that I began to eat less and exercise more. I liked seeing the scale drop and with everything else going on in my life it felt like the one thing I had complete control over.
But I was constantly tired and really weak. Maintaining my weight was a chore and I resented exercise. I knew that attaching my self-esteem to a number on a scale couldn't be healthy and I knew I needed to do something about it, but I wasn't sure what.
Shortly after, I met some really awesome girls in the gym who were working on gaining muscle and it blew my mind. Gaining weight to look better had never crossed my mind before. But they did look great and I started to envy their feminine curves. “I could do that” I thought. And my journey with weight lifting began. Soon that competitive spirit came back and along with it came my confidence.
I started to focus on building muscle and getting stronger. I focused on new numbers, like how much weight I could deadlift. I stopped starving myself and started tracking macros to make sure I was getting enough food.
And my body changed.
It changed a lot. And I did gain weight, but in the best way possible. The first photos are from 2016, I had just started weight lifting and was already gaining healthy weight and muscle. The second are from this morning, apparently I am less tan (a lot less, yikes) but I've gained a whole lot more! Strength, and muscle, and confidence, and I have never looked back. (Well almost never. Like I said, fitness is rarely a linear path and I have definitely had my share of ups and downs, including a brief stint as a bikini competitor that dragged me back into my old ways. But that's a story for another time.)
Now I live in Miami with my amazing boyfriend and our pitty pup, Bella. I am more comfortable than ever in my own skin and now I exercise mostly because I love it and I know my body needs it. My story is far from over, but I'm thankful for every single step along the way.
The bottom line is that fitness has truly changed my life. It gave me some of my best girl friends who are always there for me no matter how far apart we live. It made me realize that smaller isn’t always better and self-worth should never be attached to a number on a scale. It made me the woman I am today and now I get to teach other women to change their lives through exercise and healthy eating too. I can't imagine what could be more rewarding than that.
So that's me. That's my story, well at least part of it. Hopefully now you feel a bit closer to me and realize that I'm truly no different from any of you. We all deal with ups and downs in our fitness journey. And whatever your story is, it's still being written. Every single day you have the opportunity to change it, to get a little stronger, to become the woman you're meant to be.