Let me take you guys back to the beginning of my life, when I was growing into a young woman.
Growing up, I was always overweight. I started to put on the little extra weight when I reached the third grade. I wasn't super big, just definitely a little bigger. I remember seeing myself in the mirror and just wondering why I was a little bigger than the rest of my friends. However, I did not allow my weight to determine my happiness. I still felt beautiful.
My parents were always so supportive, they just wanted me to be happy, and healthy. My dad would always encourage me to eat healthier options like oatmeal in the mornings, and mom would suggest that we take walks together. They were and still are today my support system.
The fifth grade came around, and I was still putting on the weight. I started to develop some bad eating habits at this time. I ate a lot of candy, desserts, breads, and more. It was around this time that I made the decision to join a local swim team that summer in my hometown of beautiful Bend, Oregon. I loved being in the water. It was also a great workout, and I hoped it would be something that would help me get back down to a normal weight since I knew that I didn't have the best eating habits.
Once I made it to the sixth grade, I switched from attending a private Christian school in town to the local public middle school. I was beyond nervous my first day, but I did it. That change ended up being the best decision of my life, because I made a plethora of new friends and began to grow into my real self. However, the weight was still coming on, just a little bit, year after year. Although I was still a part of the swim team, I still didn't change my eating habits. I ate pretty much whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.
By the time high school came around, I was the heaviest I had ever been. I had tried certain weight loss programs but none of them ever really were able to keep my weight off for good, I always ended up gaining it all back and getting back into my old eating habits. High school was so much fun, but I felt insecure because I was overweight. Those four years were full laughter, tears, confusion, happiness, sadness, and just a bunch of mixed emotions. Also, I wasn't a Christian yet and I know that there was this huge gap in my heart because of that. I needed God. By the time senior year in high school came around, I wasn't happy with my life at all. I applied for college and decided that I would be going to Oregon State University in the fall of 2009.
The first few years of college consisted of more of my struggles with trying to keep the weight off. Freshman and Sophomore year I was all about going out and not watching what I ate. It wasn't that I was obsessed with self-image or wanted to be stick skinny, I just wanted to feel good about my body and treat it like the temple that God created it to be, and I knew that I wasn't doing that. By the time junior year came around, I was at a point in my life where I was at a mental and physical low. I just didn't know what to do. That was when God began to speak into my heart.
God changed me from the inside out. And gave me the strength to get on a healthy eating plan that taught me how to eat six small meals a day. It was hard, and there were a lot of tears. But I pushed through. I lost forty pounds! By the time I had lost all of the weight, I was THRILLED. I felt healthy and that I was finally in a place where I was treating my body like a temple.
The picture below is the first before and after picture I put up after my weight loss.
That is my story. I have kept the weight off for four years and I couldn't be happier. God is good. He gave me the strength to do this. I wouldn't be here without Him. Remember, don't focus so much on how much you weigh, it's all about how you feel. I believe that EVERY body is different and beautiful. The reason that I lost weight was because I wanted to be HEALTHY. I believe that God wants us to be healthy and treat our bodies like the way He sees them, as His temple. I didn't feel good about my body, and God wanted me to be confident! Y'all are each beautiful in your own individual way, regardless of your weight.