~”The smaller Hilda represents so many amazing qualities – authentic, self expressive, loving and much more.”
Growing up, especially during my preteen years, I was the chubby girl. I was not as active as I should have been during this time and loved (and still love) to eat. That combination led to my oversized figure until I reached my high school years. It was during my 10th grade year that I realized the potential of physical activity and its influence on my body. That year, I joined the volleyball and basketball team. I began to shrink, by accident. I stayed this way until my freshman year of college and gained the infamous”freshman 15″. By my sophomore year, I started exercising regularly and being more conscious about food choices. I resorted to fad diets (specially the cabbage soup diet) by my third year of school. I was feeling desperate about having my lean body back that I felt this would be the best way. Of course, it was not a successful strategy but I felt desperate. And I now know that fad diets don’t work.
Then by the time I had reached my fourth year of college, I was married and started having babies. From that point on, my weight steadily climbed. By the time I had my last child in Spring 2006, I was at my heaviest weight ever. I had some moments of weight loss success in subsequent years, however, it was short-lived due to my growing responsibilities (wife, motherhood, college, and my career). As you can imagine, exercise was not a regular part of my lifestyle. I was a mother of four and starting my career. At the end of a workday there were so many tasks that needed to be accomplished. A lifestyle of exercise did not seem to fit.
In order to overcome this obstacle, I decided to become a certified fitness instructor. I was tired of having the excuse of not having enough time to exercise or funds for a gym membership. By 2011, I had accomplished that goal and started working in a gym teaching step aerobics. I was so happy to be able to help myself and others at the same time. Then another major life change put a monkey wrench in my plan, the end of my marriage. It became challenging trying to balance my responsibilities outside of the home with the stress of separation and divorce. So, I decided to stop teaching classes until my life settled down a bit.
By January 2012, I was officially divorced and at a period in my life where I was focusing on strengthening my mind and body. I was not working full time at this time, so I decided to get back in the gym as an instructor. I got a job at LA Fitness and began teaching several classes a week. The weight was dropping off of me during this time as I was eating super healthy and super active. Consequently, I was at my lowest weight ever as an adult and feeling amazing!
Things changed when I started to work full-time again. Going back to work was bittersweet though. I was happy to be working again so that my financial situation could improve but I was scared about gaining weight. I know the reality of how challenging it is to stay active as a working mom. Ten hours of my day are devoted to my job. After work, I need to prepare dinner and check homework. Most days, when all of that is done, I am wiped out. I stopped teaching at the gym when I got my job so that I can get adjusted to things but decided to start back a couple of days a week as my emotional and psychological health was declining since I wasn’t working out like I wanted and needed. So, a year and a half later, I see the numbers on the scale increasing and it is really making me a little anxious. I am so petrified of gaining all the weight back that I occasionally have nightmares that I am back to where I was. Yes, nightmares.
So, this past Christmas, I bought a spin bike for the house so I can get in some cardio and overcome the barrier of not having enough time in the day to get to the gym. I was so hopeful at the beginning of the year that I could start working on gradually losing some of the weight I had picked up over the last year. I was doing great and feeling inspired by the new purchase until I was involved in a car crash that left me with a concussion. I was told that I cannot workout until I recover. I can’t even do yoga. As you might imagine, this news did not sit well with me. Exercise is the one thing that keeps my mind healthy. I need it like I need water.
It is very frustrating to be in this position, however, I am grateful that it is temporary and that I will soon be back to my normal self. In the meantime, I watch my caloric intake, take salads for lunch, cut back on alcoholic beverages, and take low intensity ten minute walks when possible. When I get medical clearance, I will be back on a mission to achieve my desired weight -back in the gym, getting leaner and stronger. Some people wonder why I am making such a big deal about my weight. To them, I look great. Well, I do not feel the same way. And what is interesting is that those that say that I am overreacting about my weight gain desire the same for themselves as well. I want the best for myself so much that I want to be in peak physical health.
So, what is the big deal? I don’t want to look like the heavier Hilda. At that weight, I was not at my best. I don’t ever want to go back to that mental or emotional space again as an adult. The smaller Hilda represents so many amazing qualities – authentic, self expressive, loving and much more. No matter what anyone says, I will strive to be the best person I can be. I do know that I can get back to where I was and that it will happen as it is supposed to happen. I know that despite my physical size that I can maintain the same qualities that I have gained over the past few years of personal growth. Ultimately, I accept what is and am looking forward to more growth throughout this process.
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