Why I Got Started
I was 19-years old and had no idea what it was to love myself. There was not ever a day that passed by that I wasn't uncomfortable in my own skin. I grew up in an Italian family where food is huge part of the culture - we ate for every occasion and who knew what a portion of anything was? Who really cared? Food was for celebration and comfort and boredom. But I just got to a point where I was done.
I went to my second choice college for a few reasons, one of which was my weight. How was I supposed to go to my first choice school in Miami looking the way I did? Then it clicked mid-year, I was making decisions for my life based on the fact that I was fat and knew I wouldn't be comfortable or accepted.
I realized that year that my body was the one thing in life I had total control over and had the power and ability to manipulate on a daily basis. I decided I didn't want to live my life that way, I wanted to be comfortable, I wanted to love myself and live my life on my terms.
The following summer when I arrived home from school, I just started moving 150 mph towards being the person I knew I could. I started attending the gym with my brother and learning things he would tell me, I started reading everything and anything I could get my hands on, and I drastically changed my diet from one day to the next. The rest is pretty much history …
How I Did It
One of the most important factors in going through a lifestyle change and transformation like I did was the support of others who I was surrounded with on a daily basis - my family and friends. My brother was always athletic, although overweight himself, and he was the first and best supporter I had.
I told him that I wanted to change and from that day forward he was in the gym with me teaching me exercises and proper form. He attended the gym with me for a few weeks until I got the swing of things and then I had my own routine that I continued to work with that summer where I lost 60 pounds in three months.
My family and friends were absolutely the best support I could have asked for. My friends even understood what I was trying to do and worked with me in terms of putting me in situations that would deviate me from my goals for example in terms of restaurants we would eat at and even the choices they chose.
Aside from my external support, I needed to find the internal strength and motivation to suit up and show up every day. I found bodies I admired or clothes I liked but would never wear unless I lost the weight, I found motivational books and quotes, whatever worked. I pulled motivation from everywhere.
I decided as with life, the journey of changing your lifestyle is a battle, but it is a battle between who you want and know you can be, and yourself - so the decision you need to make, as I did, was who you are going to let win?
Suggestions for Others
Do not give up! I found out along the way how important motivation is - find it wherever you can! Ask questions, they are never dumb or stupid! Seek out knowledge through people or reading or on the internet. And ways to hold yourself accountable such as writing in a food log and keeping a workout journal.
If you are unsure how to do something ASK - it is not worth an injury! Listen to your body! Work smarter - not harder! Overall, find what works for you. What works for me will not work for everyone else.
Drink a lot of water! Do not get discouraged because you do not reach your goals as quickly as you may like or because you encounter a few speed bumps - it all makes us stronger. Push through the last reps, even though they suck those are the ones that count the most! Always think 5 more! Push beyond your comfort thresholds, be uncomfortable - it always has a way of making us grow.
Most of all, even if no one else does - Believe in yourself!