My name is Katie and I am a 19 year old sophomore at the University of Washington in Seattle. I am writing this story in hopes that I can inspire others to follow in my footsteps and adopt a healthy, active lifestyle.
I grew up in Gig Harbor, a small town south of Seattle. I was never an athletic child and music was always my main area of focus. Practicing clarinet and piano constantly left little time for physical activity or sports. I played soccer for a few years in middle school, but was never any good so I put forth as little effort as possible. When my freshman year of high school came around, I decided to join the cross country team but I hated it. I was known as the “slow girl” on the team, always being put in the lowest level running group and finishing every race last, so I quit. At the time I was 13 years old, 135 pounds, and had no idea that my body would eventually start changing. My parents continually tried to push me to do some sort of physical activity, but I fought them every time until they finally gave up and let me be as lazy as I wanted to be. That’s when my body really started to change for the worse.
I believed that I could eat whatever I wanted without consequence and, being young for my grade, I wasn’t very concerned with my appearance and I was totally unable to see the changes in the mirror. My weight continued to rise through high school until I hit my peak during my senior year. I was 182 pounds at 5’6 and no matter how much my boyfriend told me I was beautiful, I just couldn’t believe him. A struggle with my self-esteem along with his inability to understand my issues led to the end of that relationship and the loss of many of our mutual friends. This was a really painful experience for me. I lost my appetite completely, stopped eating for 8 days, and dropped down to 155 pounds.
Because of this break-up, I realized that I could “control” my weight simply by the foods I ate – or didn’t eat – no exercise needed. This led to a horrible string of yo-yo diets, dropping weight, gaining it back, gaining even more back, dropping it again. Although I was losing weight, I was miserable, counting calories, not seeing the results that I wanted, hungry all the time, unhealthy, moody, depressed, and irritable.
After I left for college, I began to move on from my past but this didn’t lead to any better results. Leaving for college exposed me to a vast diversity of foods that I could eat anytime, and this led to constant binge eating. Ultimately I gained a lot of weight and sat at 172 pounds for the past year and a half. I still believed that food was the best way to control my weight, and I never truly saw how unhealthy or unflattering my body was.
I never in a million years imagined that I would be writing a story on this blog. I have always considered myself a lazy person, and my past does not prove otherwise. I am the girl who would do week-long fasts or juice diets to try and drop a few pounds, only to gain it all back (and more) the next week. I am the girl who would use yahoo answers to research the fastest and easiest ways to lose weight without having to exercise. I made excuses for myself, always comparing myself to others and blaming my weight on the way I was raised. I have always been a quitter, I have failed at every weight loss attempt, and I enforced into my mind that I would forever be a “bigger” girl and that losing weight is just impossible for me.
Not anymore. This time around, I am determined to no longer be the “fat girl,” overweight, unhealthy. I am determined to LOVE what I see in the mirror, instead of being so disgusted with myself that I can’t even look before I get in the shower.
I turned to a vegetarian lifestyle this year after being inspired by my uncle. I started to eat healthy, cutting out processed foods and eating whole, clean meals and snacks. I have stopped over-eating and I have learned to stop when I’m full. I have also started exercising regularly, and the results have been amazing. I went from the girl who drank diet coke every single day to only drinking water, tea, and the occasional coffee. My meals at work used to include multiple donuts and pastries in one sitting and a caramel macchiato with 2% milk. That same meal is now a cup of mixed fruit, green tea, and a bottle of water. I exercise nearly every single day and I am so proud of my results.
My skin has cleared up. My hair and nails are strong. I have energy from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed. I push myself to exercise and eat clean no matter how much I don’t want to. I am becoming fit. I am leaning out. I am getting toned. I feel great. I feel healthy. I feel confident. I feel happy.
I hope that my progress can inspire you to do something of your own. Everyone is different, but I now know that lifestyle changes are possible no matter how big. Take it from me, I was the most unmotivated, undedicated person that I knew but I am no longer a quitter. I am no longer a failure. I understand the importance of health and physical activity. I am knowledgeable. I am excited to continue watching my body change. Good luck to you!