Feb 27, 2012


This coming week is my one year gymiversary.

A year ago on a rainy evening, I called my Ukranian friend Natasha in tears of desperation and asked her what gym she went to. She told me she had just arrived at the gym and I took a bus to meet her there, stopping at the ATM along the way to take out the cash for a membership.

I joined the gym out of a desire to have an outlet for my sadness and anger following a difficult life experience. I felt out of control emotionally and knew I needed an intervention. The only thing I could think of (besides gallons of margaritas) was the gym. So I joined. Not with the intention of losing weight (thought I knew I was unhealthy) but with the hopes of working through my feelings and letting out my steam in a healthy manner.

At first I would tell myself to "leave it on the treadmill" and crank away until I felt better. And you know what? I did feel better. I was amazed at how the positive effects of endorphins affected my mood instantaneously. I went to the gym everyday for a month (to form a habit) before my sister's graduation from college and at the end of that month I had lost 6 pounds. A little light went off in my head - if I could transform my inside through excercise, perhaps, just maybe, I could get transform the outside as well. (ya I know, I'm a smart one).

I started small because I knew that too many rules would push me away. I've lost and re-gained the same 20 pounds since college, and I didn't want this to be another fad. I was in it for real this time. I joined classes, encouraged friends to join the gym with me, started lifting weights and completely changed my eating/drinking/sleeping habits. I read articles online on healthy living and weigh loss and healthy diet. I watched my calories, salt, sugar, fiber, and protein, and made sure not to be too harsh on myself during the process. My lifestyle has done a 180.

I have lost 32 pounds this year, gained control over a life-time of disordered eating and cultivated a positive relationship with myself by transforming my own body image.

I did it because I was sick of making excuses for why every picture was a bad picture.
I did it because I want to have a baby someday and I want a baby bump.
I did it because I wanted control over my emotions.
I did it because my body is a temple not a trash dump.
I did it because I was sick of telling myself that I was, "the average American woman." Well you know what? The average American woman is overweight.
I did it because I was sick of having Chin.ese people tell me I'm fat to my face and knowing they were right.
I did it because I wanted to feel healthy.
I did it because I had degraded myself with negative thoughts for far too long and deserve better from myself.
I did it because I want to live a long life.
I did it because binge eating is expensive.
I did it because I want to get married to a healthy person.
I did it because my outward appearance is linked to my inward self.
I did it because I felt like a hypocrite if I told Chine.se girls to love themselves and my body so obviously said that I did not love myself enough to take care of myself.
I did it because I knew I could and it was time.

I am not to my "final goal" weight yet. I actually don't know what my final goal weight is, I don't have one. haha. At this point, I am more focused on pushing myself on weights and seeing how I can transform my body that way. I know that my healthy lifestyle will be an ongoing experience with no expiration date. It's a daily battle - experienced through small choices encountered daily.

To celebrate my one year gymiversary, I am giving myself a present.

I signed up today for the 2012 Great Wall Half Marathon, held Sunday, May 19.

My friend Jessica and I will make the journey to Beijing together. I'm so stoked I cried when I emailed in my application.

I've been deciding over the past few weeks whether or not to do it. A few friends and I have talked about it on and off for several months. It's a financial commitment, a time commitment, and a beast to train for (5,142 steps!). Coming off a trip to India, I wasn't sure if it was the smartest financial decision. This morning I woke up, took a look at the paperwork, and knew I needed to do it - to give myself this experience since I am in the best shape I have ever been and to reward my hard work with...more hard work. ha. And I live here...why not try something awesome?

This is my reward for a year of treadmill workouts, yoga stretches, dead lifts, and squats. It is my reward for knowing something needed to be changed (internally and externally) and doing something about it. Finally. It's another journey, another chance to commune with my Maker, and another way I can continue to grow closer to myself. My imperfect, flawed, yet made whole again self.

Happy Gymiversary to Me.

walk slow. xoxo.


agapelife said...

what a powerful testimony Jessica, thank you so much for sharing!

Miss Lynda said...

Thank you, Jessica, for the beautiful inspiration and example you are to me, (and so many others). Would that I had even one quarter of your wisdom, tenacity and courage.... Wow! Think of all the wonderful places I could go. I am so excited for you, and thank you for taking me along on your life's lessons. It is an honor and a privilege to "travel" with you, to see all that you have accomplished, and have yet to do. May the blessings and adventures continue! Love you.

Momof5boys said...

I am amazed by your maturity and positive outlook on your life situations. What an awesome accomplishment and a great way to reward yourself! Hard work breeds more hard work, it is an ongoing process...you are quite an encouragement to many!

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