Over a year ago, without really realizing it, I started on a journey that would make me into something I never in my wildest dreams thought I could be.
It all started when I began studying for the LSAT. I knew I needed to cut out TV to focus better, but I needed something else to do with my free time. So instead, I replaced the hours I would spend watching TV with hours in the gym. I’ve always low key hated weights and the treadmill, which is why I started with something simple that I’ve used plenty of times before – the elliptical. I went from ‘running’ for 15min, to 30min, to 45 and eventually 1hr30min. It went from a way to kill time to an activity I had to do otherwise I would feel awful and be incredibly grumpy. Essentially, I became addicted to running – which is super ironic since my old motto in life was ‘there is nothing worth running for.’
What I never realized was that my new favorite past time was completely transforming my body. At the same time, I had completely changed my diet to better support higher brain activity. Where I used to eat take out at least once a week, I almost always ate steak and spinach. Where I once ate Fruitloops and other super unhealthy cereal, I now only ate Cheerios or Kashi. Instead of drinking a gallon of milk in less than a week, I cut out all dairy except for in coffee (because coffee without diary is just unfair.) And it was paying off; my test scores for the LSAT were extremely high. But it was also working with my new exercise habit in ways I didn’t imagine it would.
For most of my life, I’ve tried really hard to diet and exercise. I always tried to make myself into the ‘ideal woman’ in the magazines. My legs were always too big. My stomach always too fat. My arms too large. But I was extremely active. Most of my body was muscle, from what I could tell. I ate what I thought was healthy food. At times I barely ate at all. I tried everything under the sun to be the ideal woman, and I never could get there. Even swimming an hour every day never got me there. I had actually accepted the fact that I would never be society’s idea of ‘beautiful’ – I was me, and that was all I would ever be. I had never been smaller than size 10, and I accepted that I never would. I just wasn’t physiologically capable of it. To be honest, this mindset was actually very good. I was very comfortable with who I was, and was confident (finally) with what I looked like. But, as life goes, as soon as I was okay with something, everything changed.
I first noticed I was smaller than I had previously been when I went on a trip with my father in January. My pants didn’t exactly fit right, but I spent most of my time at home in yoga pants for the gym or a swimsuit for my job. So it really didn’t matter to me – why buy new clothes when I never wore normal clothes?
Then February came. I was going to spend the next month and a half in Europe with friends, and needed new clothes. So I went to target and grabbed what I thought was a size 10 – after all, I had never been smaller than size 10 so obviously that was as small as I could ever be. On accident I actually grabbed size 8, and when I put on the pants and they were too baggy, I was utterly shocked to find that I was wearing such a small size and it was actually too big for me! (I immediately messaged my university friends, absolutely elated and shocked and almost speechless, barely able to comprehend this new development in my life.)
I ended up buying $500 worth of new clothes in that euphoric high of fitting into such small clothes (which I promptly took back once the high wore off). Size 6. How could I fit into size 6. This was absolutely incredible!
What was so shocking, though, was while I was the smallest I had ever been in my life – smaller than I ever imagined I could be – I was not the lightest I’d ever been. At the time I was 175 lbs, 25 lbs heavier than when I was 16 years old and size 10. I didn’t understand, how could I be so small but still not be the lightest I’ve ever been?
That was in February. Eight months later, in October, I’m only 10 lbs lighter, weighing in at 165 lbs, but I’m wearing a size 2. Size 2. The size I thought no human could actually fit into fits me. A goal I never thought was possible was reached without me really realizing what was happening. Every health barrier I thought was impossible to pass had been not only passed but absolutely obliterated, without me even realizing. It is actually to the point where I don’t want to lose more weight – a feeling I’ve never had and never thought I would have. None of my clothes fit anymore, but not because I’m too big. For the first time in my life, they don’t fit because I’m significantly smaller than I once was. Even the clothes I bought in February barely fit. It’s so surreal, I’m not even sure these words really capture the pure mind-fuck this entire experience has been. I look in the mirror and literally do not recognize myself. Going through photos, I can’t believe what I looked like versus what I look like now. It’s absolutely mind blowing.
Yes, part of me thought that my new diet and exercise habit would lead to some weight loss. Some. Not a pure transformation of who I was. And honestly, I am not 100% sure I love it. But those are personal feelings that I have to work through myself, and eventually come to accept. Maybe one day I’ll write another blog about it.
An extremely important conclusion I have come to is – there is no such thing as a barrier. If you put your mind to something, even without realizing, you can break every wall you thought was blocking you, even some you didn’t realize were there. And also, I don’t care what your scale says. It doesn’t matter if you are 110 lbs or 170 lbs, all that matters is whether you are healthy (which, according to my doctor, I’ve never had such good blood tests in my life) and if you are happy. Size doesn’t matter – your attitude does.