It all started when I went home after the end of freshman year. I had packed on the weight. We’re not talking a little weight- I’m talking a solid 20+ pounds. Combine this with the less-than-toned physique I had when arriving at Ohio State, the fact that friends on my floor called me three-hundo, and you can imagine how self-confident I felt. All of my friends from home still had their same high school bodies and I was just plain fat. Nothing fit right and I felt unhealthy and gross.
My dad, realizing I needed major help, intervened. His method was a bit unorthodox- he and my brother kept referring to me as a tick about to pop. I know. The reference still makes me cringe. However, their taunting was the only thing that actually lit a fire under my lazy bum.
I started running with my dad. It was brutal. I was more out of shape than I ever had been in my entire life. Slowly but surely, as I cut out the booze and the dorm food and increased my mileage, I saw results. The farther I ran, the better I felt.
I went back to college that year feeling better than ever. Sure, I was still larger than I wanted to be but I was no longer a tick. I actually had leg muscles! Friends complimented me, saying I looked great. It felt amazing because it was the first time ever that people complimented my figure.
Unfortunately, I reverted back to some of my old ways. My friends and I would go out 3-4 nights a week and eat terribly most days. I was still running and I took up cycling & group fitness classes, but the little work I did was no match for my diet. I felt my smaller jeans getting tight again and I hated it. I picked up my workouts in the spring and summer, but a busy summer of being an Orientation Leader at Ohio State wasn’t conducive to weight loss. (Although it was the best summer of my life!)
I went home for a month at the end of that summer, determined to get myself into shape once and for all. I ran nearly every day and running became huge part of my life. I biked like crazy- long rides up and down the PA mountains. I swam in my parent’s pool.
When I got back to school in September, I felt like a million bucks. Andy was stunned and his positive reaction to my weight loss made all of the hard work worthwhile. My sorority sisters kept gushing about how good I looked and how they were jealous. For someone else, this may have been no big deal. I have never had much body confidence so this was literally the coolest thing that had ever happened to me- people asking me how to lose weight, how to exercise, and telling me that I looked fantastic. Honestly, I felt like a different person. It was insane.
The positive feedback gave me the confidence I needed to pursue a recent dream: I love, love, loved the fitness classes at the RPAC at Ohio State. They made such an impact on my weight loss journey. I wanted to become an instructor. I wanted to help others lose weight, get in shape, and feel as great as I felt.
I went to tryouts one Sunday morning after putting together a short cardio routine. All of my friends were hungover and passed out from the football game the day before but I got up and made my way to the gym at 10am. I had a cute new outfit and I was feeling great. I rocked the tryout, as did everyone else- we all got into the training program that would last 2 quarters. We would go to lecture once a week, go to a workout session once a week, and observe other instructors. BuckeyIRobics training was all-inclusive. We didn’t have to get any outside certification, our boss trained us until we were ready to teach. It was such a great program.
I worked out harder than I ever have during those two quarters. I wanted to be in my best shape before I ever started teaching any classes.
Unfortunately, things got busy. I became President of my sorority and I ended up having to choose between teaching & DZ. Ultimately, I chose DZ but I always wish I kept up with the program and started teaching fitness classes.
I kept taking classes religiously while at Ohio State. Cycling was always my true love and the hour-long class was like my sanctuary. I kept the weight off through running, cycling and decent eating for almost 2 years. Until Spring Quarter Senior year.
I’ll never regret that quarter because it was one of my most fun in college. I hung out with friends almost every night and we had a blast. I discovered that a hot wing pizza could be delivered to our favorite bar with a quick phone call. I ate Jimmy John’s at least 4 days a week. I skipped the gym to be with my girlfriends or to watch baseball with Andy’s old roommates. We ended college with a bang and it was 100% worth it.
Once I graduated and moved in with Andy in Akron, the reality set it. I was once again feeling very pudgy and not at all happy with my appearance. I began working out a little, but things picked up in the winter when Andy got me a spin bike for Christmas. I started putting together my own routines and kicked my butt a few nights a week on the bike. In February, my friend asked if I wanted to sign up for a half marathon. I jumped at the chance to have an end-goal and we signed up hastily.
Half-marathon training rekindled my love for running that had waned over the past year. We trained religiously and crossing that finish line was one of the proudest moments of my life. We didn’t run fast, but we finished and that was what mattered. I was back in reasonable shape!
Since that time in May of 2010 my weight has remained pretty consistent. I gained a few pounds during the first semester of law school, but lots of exercise and healthy eating second semester got me back to “normal.”
I find that my weight it relatively consistent nowadays. I have lost a few extra pounds just by eating a mostly plant-based diet, full of fruits and vegetables and whole, unprocessed foods. I have started lifting weights in exchange for endless hours of cardio, to see if I can finally get the toned body I so badly want before my wedding.
My weight loss strategy has changed so much over just 4 years. I no longer beat myself up for eating something “bad.” I try to focus on exercise as a positive time in my day, instead of punishment for an indulgent night. I work hard to keep a positive body image when everyone around me complains about hating their body.
I never want to go back to looking like a tick, or being called three-hundo. I would never wish that feeling of self-loathing on anyone. For me though, now it’s less about looks and more about how I feel and being healthy. I want to live a long, active life without disease and excess weight. I want to look in the mirror every day and be happy with my healthy body.
My original weight loss may be over, but the journey will never end.