I was not always so outgoing and carefree. In fact, I was always self-conscious about my weight throughout middle and high school, and amongst my friends, I always felt I was the “heavy” friend. It was never something I talked about, but I felt it inside. After I graduated high school I went away to college and between booze and fast food, I gained more weight. I was not happy with myself.
After one year of college, my family moved to Florida and I chose to move with them. I met a guy shortly after we moved and we dated for 3 years. We ate out at a lot of restaurants and the weight just kept piling on, until I couldn’t even bear to weigh myself any longer. I felt frustrated but I didn’t know how to control my weight, and I didn’t know who to turn to.
Meanwhile, my parents had enrolled my younger sister in a martial arts after- school program and for Christmas that year, my 8-year old baby sister gave me a one-month free trial membership for martial arts. I had no intentions of using it.
Then I saw this picture of myself:
There are plenty of pictures of the “heavier” me, but this picture sticks out in my mind as being the turning point. I was horrified when I saw how heavy I had gotten. So, somehow, I found myself wearing a white uniform in my first martial arts class. I felt like a huge lumpy marshmallow. It was January 2003.
My martial arts instructor (pictured below) is one of the main reasons I didn’t quit, and he still inspires me and pushes me on a daily basis. I am so grateful for his influence on my life and I know I would not be where I am today without his help.
In 2008 I achieved the title of First Degree Black Belt and in 2009 I achieved my Second Degree Black Belt and will be at this level for several years.
This is me (right) and my *little* sister at my First Degree Black Belt testing. She was testing for Second Degree that day also. Now we are both Second degree, for the moment.
My journey to black belt was filled with sweat, tears, frustrations, and of course, soreness and bruises! But I also learned a lot along the way about myself, both physically and mentally. Joining martial arts was the beginning of my journey into health and fitness, and now I hope to supplement that with running. I still have a little ways to go before I get to my desired body shape/fitness level, but I now have the confidence to be proud of what I’ve accomplished thus far and know that my body is strong enough to carry me through anything I ask of it. I look forward to setting more fitness goals and I hope some of you can join me on my journey