Every person who has set out to become better versions of themselves all have something in common: they have a past and a story. This is mine.
I sat on the couch in pajama shorts and stared at my legs with disgust. “I hate them,” I said out loud as I picked up my thigh and examined every stretch mark. Then, I rested my leg back onto the couch and said, “I hate how fat and wide my legs are.” I spent the next hour picking apart every last detail of my legs repeating to myself how much I hated them. I was 20 years old. My reality was never one of a thin girl. This wasn’t the first time I struggled with accepting my body. When I was much younger, I was teased for being the fat girl, and finding clothes that fit was a damn near impossible task. I spent 20 years hating my body for how it looked. And one day, things changed.
“You need to lose the weight. Your blood tests revealed some serious issues, and you need to lose the weight before it gets worse.” I considered myself barely an adult despite moving out at 18, and yet here I was faced with news that I couldn’t continue to mistreat my body. And believe me, I was desperately mistreating my body. I ate like crap and would circle the parking lot until I found a spot close enough to the entrance so I wouldn’t have to walk so far.
I was 20 years old, just 5’4”, and topped the scale just shy of 200 pounds. Maybe it doesn’t seem so overweight, but you must consider that my entire life I was constantly made aware of how unhealthy my weight was. I wasn’t taught to value my body or take care of it properly. And, the shorter you are, the more of an issue it is.
So, I took the meds prescribed to me that later I’d find out I should have never taken in the first place. Meds that a different doctor would reveal to me could have done irreparable damage to my reproductive organs. Meds that no woman of child-bearing years should take. A full year later I was 21, and while children were not on my immediate timeline, I knew I wanted a family one day. I put the thought that I might not be able to carry a baby at the back of my mind, and instead turned my attention fiercely to my health.
It started with running. I hated running almost as much as I hated my legs until…I didn’t hate my legs anymore. And then, I started to love running, which sparked a love for my legs. Were these actually the same legs I couldn’t bare to look at just a year earlier? As time went on, I racked up the miles until a 10k was a normal distance for me. I entered in my first 10k race to celebrate that I had lost 20 pounds. The race was killer and mostly uphill, but my legs carried me through til the end.
Tragically, an old ankle injury I sustained in high school had resurfaced, and ultimately, I had to retire from running. I filled in my love of running with weight lifting. It provided a new challenge that my competitive nature thrived on! Now that I had shed about 40 pounds and started to lift some serious weight, my body had begun to transform yet again. I could actually see the muscles in my legs working. I was mesmerized by this sight because never in my life have I witnessed this. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my body could perform at the level it was performing.
Every time I worked out I had this mantra in my head, “my body is a well-tuned machine.” I never got used to how my body looked. In fact, I was more obsessed and impressed by what it could do. Every time I racked on more weight on the squat bar I became more confident in my body’s ability rather than it’s aesthetic.
Weight lifting made me feel unstoppable. I can’t fully describe the amount of confidence it gave me, especially when I was approached in the weight room on whether I was a bodybuilding athlete. I wasn’t, and so I always responded with, “I just really love how this makes me feel.” Though, lifting weights came with a price. It made my muscles stiff and sore. I had taken a few yoga classes here
and there, but I didn’t have a consistent practice. Ever guided by the universe, my ankle injury made another appearance. I had to pause lifting weights, and this time I dove right into yoga.
Because my motivation for becoming a healthier version of myself was driven by how I felt, I didn’t feel bothered by the softening definition of my muscles. I was happy to be able to still move my body. I’ve always been a spiritual person and developing my yoga practice deepened my spiritual connection. While running and weight lifting had transformed my physical body, my inner world had taken the most dramatic shift through yoga. I could practice yoga anywhere, anytime, with no equipment, and even if I had an injury I could still experience the same enlightenment.
To this day, yoga has been the most consistent form of movement for my body. It’s been my safe haven for almost 8 years. Three years ago, I took the leap and completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training because I want to inspire people to fall in love with yoga as much as I have. I believe it carries most of the tools needed to thrive in happiness. Yoga has always been there for me. It was there for me through my ankle injury resurfacing multiple times. It was there when I relapsed with Epilepsy and experienced the most insane seizure in my history. It was there on the morning of my wedding to calm my mind. It was there when my father survived a mass shooting and I hosted a community yoga event in my hometown. Yoga was there when I became pregnant with my miracle baby. And yoga is still here for me today, and for the students I am blessed enough to teach every week in a small beach town on the Washington coast.
I’m entering the last year of my 20’s, and I fully understand what it means to love and accept my body. I think I’m a goddess in my own right, and I love myself more than I ever have. I’m not in as good of shape as I used to be, but I am proud of what my body has achieved. And if I ever start to doubt that, I gaze onto my beautiful daughter and my purpose is realigned.
Thank you for reading my journey! If this resonated with you, or if you’d like to connect and follow along. You can subscribe to my blog! Or, follow me on Instagram @magicmama_