How I Found Happiness Through My Health and Fitness Routine

How I Found Happiness Through My Health and Fitness Routine

There was a time in my life, relatively not that long ago, that the thought of finding happiness in my health and fitness would have sounded absurd.  I was overweight and lazy, at least when it came to being active.  As I worked on my weight loss journey, I first focused on what I was eating, and one day, took my first tentative steps into my college’s fitness center.  Improving my health and fitness has been one of the hardest, yet most rewarding things I never could have done for myself.  In the last few years, it’s astounding just how much I have found my own revolution, found myself.  Things that bring a smile to my face today are the same things I never would have thought I could do before this journey began.  Yes, the 75 pounds I’ve lost bring me joy, but it’s how drastically my life has changed since that is what brings me true happiness.

beating my own accomplishments.

Since I started running in 2007, I’ve crossed about thirty finish lines.  A pretty minor accomplishment for some, but for this girl who had spent most of her life with the “I’ll run if I’m being chased” attitude, it’s pretty huge.  My first 5k was a pretty rough experience.  When I ran, it wasn’t exactly fast, and I took a lot of walking breaks.  To say I went into it undertrained is an understatement.  As I’ve watched my pace gradually improved since then, it brings me such joy to see how far I’ve come.  In April, I ran my third half marathon and absolutely crushed my goal for the day, but shaved more than thirteen minutes off my best time.  There were so many happy tears as I crossed that finish line.

lansing half instagram

it’s the little things.

As fun as it is to cross a finish line and make a new personal record, there doesn’t need to be something monumental to find happiness.  This summer, I’m finding I can run up hills that I always had to walk before.  I was absolutely ecstatic the first time I ran a mile in under nine minutes.  When I can finally hold a pose in my yoga class that had always felt elusive, I want to stop the class right then and there, and shout it to the world.  “Hey everyone, look!  I can do crow pose!”.  When I realize that I can lift weights that are a little heavier than what I could handle before, I get excited.

you’re telling me, I eat what now?

I had a season in my life when I had absolutely atrocious eating habits.  In college, I could easily dominate a pint of ice cream and be ready for me.  I got by on a diet of processed junk food.  To be fair, most college kids are not a shining dietary example, but I’m pretty sure I took it to a whole new level.  Fruits and vegetables, what are those?  Whole grains?  Heck no, bring on the macaroni and cheese in the blue box.  Even though I’ve really worked over the last couple years to clean up my diet, there are still days I can’t help but smile at the fact that I willingly put spinach in my morning smoothie, and even more, find it delicious!  Believe me, if you’ve never had a so-called Green Monster, it certainly does not look like anything to smile about.  They look disgusting and my co-workers don’t hesitate to tell me as much.  These days, I’m eating foods I never had heard of before this journey started, let along would ever eat.  Don’t get me wrong though, put a red velvet cupcake or a slice of pumpkin pie in front of me, and I will own it.  Nobody’s perfect, right?

increased self-confidence.

Not to say that I don’t still have my insecurities, because whether we admit it or not, we all do.  Yet, as I’ve cleaned up my diet and increased my fitness, I have discovered a self-confidence that I never knew I had.  Yes, the weight loss is part of that newfound confidence, but it’s so much more than that because I know I have changed my life for the better.  For so many years, I was uncomfortable in my own skin.  I hid behind layers and clothes that covered up the parts of my body I was ashamed of.  The belly, the chubby thighs, the flabby arms.  It’s not to say that those have completely disappeared, but I no longer feel the need to wear jeans in the heat of summer because I don’t want people to see my legs.  I see my larger calves not as something to be ashamed of, but I see them as strong and muscular.  Legs that have carried me through mile after mile.


this is just the beginning.

When I think about how much my life has changed in the past several years, I can’t help but be proud of how far I’ve come.  For Pete’s sake, I’m in the midst of training for my first marathon this summer!  But, what really gets me pumped is knowing that where I’m at now is just the tip of the iceberg.  This girl has some big, big dreams for the years to come.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

3 thoughts on “How I Found Happiness Through My Health and Fitness Routine”

  • Your story is so inspirational! I love your attitude and I definitely think you’ve made a new lifestyle, not just a new routine. I bet it’s pretty rewarding that all the new people you meet will only know this girl, because that’s who you are now!

  • This post had me smiling the whole time I read it. I can totally relate to your “befores”, and as I had previously lost almost half of what I need to lose total (before I gained it all back), I know what it’s like to experience some of those “afters”–the NSVs (“Non-Scale Victories”), as some like to call them. I’m just now beginning my journey anew, and reading this has really brightened my day and reminded me that it *can* be done, and each new NSV will feel amazing along the way. Heck, I just had my first NSV of my new journey today (bested my average pace on my 5k training). Who would have thought I’d be on top of the world for breaking an 18-minute mile pace?!?

    Anyway, I think your final paragraph is my favorite. No matter where you are in your journey, even at 75 pounds down like you are, it is always “just the beginning”, because the future holds SO MUCH for us. Oh man am I excited now. Thank you for writing this!

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