I think fitness saved my life.
Okay, I could be exaggerating, but I definitely think that fitness and nutrition have turned me into the person I want to be, gotten me out of a rut, and saved my mental health.
Before I met my husband, I was a member at Planet Fitness…home of the $10 workout. I would go once a week, MAYBE, and I would force myself to get on the Treadmill. If I felt really saucy, I would mess around with the machines, having no clue what to do, of course.
When I met my husband, he was into fitness and eating well. He was at a gym called 9 Round, which is 9 Rounds of kickboxing and high-intensity circuits. He thought it would be awesome to take me with him one day. I passed out on round 3. And I mean…really passed out. When I came to, Sam was hovering over me, double-checking that I was okay. His concern was legitimate, I mean, I was in tough shape, but I just said it was because of the humidity that day. Truth be told, I was overweight & under-motivated to change anything. My family on both sides has health problems.
In general, African Americans are more likely to die at younger ages and have higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Unluckily for me, my IMMEDIATE family has suffered from all these statistics.
So, from that day on, Sam challenged me to be more active. We would eat better at home, we would go on bike rides (which I had to take breaks during because I just couldn’t do it), and we would go on long walks. I had no idea that I was starting the pathway to being the happiest version of myself. Instead of turning to tv and a cold brewski on my worst days, I would turn to going for a walk or biking to the nearest Beer Garden. I couldn’t give up my brewskis completely!
A lot of people turn to diets, but fitness saved my life.
I remember the first time I did my first “fad diet,” thinking that it would help me lose 10 lbs. I was eating the Paleo diet, and I was convinced this was it. If you don’t know what the Paleo Diet is, it’s a take on “Whole 30” (which I also don’t believe in for several reasons). I was convinced that I just had to cut out all the “bad” food, and I would be okay. I had such a healthy mindset around food all my life, and by starting this diet, I was jeopardizing that. I loved to eat, but I also knew a lot about my ‘full meter’ and when to stop. I never recognized and acknowledged that my mindset around eating was the correct one. I never allowed myself to see that being healthy was more than eating vegetables. The diet culture that was allowed space in my mind could have ruined me. I thought that starting a diet (my first one ever) would help me be the most successful in my journey.
Thank goodness that I quickly learned 5 lbs is not worth giving up cinnamon rolls…EVER!
So, I got educated. I created a space for myself to learn more about fitness and nutrition. I created the time that I kept saying I didn’t have. I allowed myself the chance to love my body by being GOOD to my body, whether that was by eating the food I loved or giving it the nutrients it craved. I stopped being reliant on the phrases “good” and “bad” when it came to food, and I started embracing “nutritious” and “nutritiously dense.”
I didn’t know what I was doing the first time I picked up a dumbbell or a barbell, but I chose to let my ignorance guide me, my failures teach me, and my accomplishments drive me.
I am now 4 years into the health and fitness journey that started with “Eating Paleo and running a 15-minute mile”. I am now on 1 postpartum journey into learning about muscle memory, retraining my core strength, and conditioning my body to use all my “mommy muscles.” And every day, I am more convinced of the fact that fitness saved my life.