For years, I struggled with an eating disorder, which landed me in the hospital for a little over a month and afterward, an intensive treatment center. I struggled with not only my eating, but with myself as well. I never thought that I was good enough in any aspect of my life, whether that was at school, socially, or in physical appearance. My exercise also got out of control, and at one point I was working out for 3-4 hours every day, usually doing some form of cardio. When I was at my worst, I had to stop running and I could barely go on short walks without becoming tired. I couldn’t concentrate on more than a sentence at a time, and my body was slowly collapsing on itself. I remained in a bubble, where all I thought about was food and how much I hated myself. My mental health also suffered as well, and I became majorly depressed and extremely anxious. I had multiple panic attacks a day and was so weak and depressed that I could barely move my limbs to get out of bed. I wanted to die. I couldn’t believe that life could be this painful. It was like a demon of epic proportions had taken over my body and brain, and it was taking everything I had. I had no idea how it had gotten this bad, and I didn’t even recognize myself inside or out. My eyes were sunken in, my hair was falling out, and I looked grey-pale all over.
Fast forward to today, where I am double majoring in nursing and health science at MCPHS University, and I am happy and healthy again. I am getting my nursing assistant certification on weekends, and am nourishing my body with healthy food. I have never felt better in my life, both mentally and physically. How did this happen? A lot of hard work and support, and…lifting. When I discovered the iron, I found an outlet for my anxiety while doing something that makes me feel powerful and confident. There is nothing like accomplishing a new max weight or trying a new lifting workout. Lifting has given me the confidence and the go-ahead to become confident in my abilities to achieve wonderful things and it has enabled me to start loving my mind and my body again. I have realized that I am enough, just the way that I am. I don’t need to starve myself to feel pretty, I love my muscles and think that they are beautiful. There are some days where I cannot lift as much as I may want to due to being tired, etc. but this gives me the opportunity to listen to my body and respect its needs, something that I would never have done before. I now look forward to working out, and it is not something that I dread. I have found what empowers me, and I feel blessed to say this, because I never thought that I would get to say those words in my life.
There is an instructor at Healthworks, Maya who teaches the Tuesday evening Sculpt Yoga class. She is very positive and is in school like I am, and seeing someone who also has a packed schedule remain so upbeat and energetic is inspirational for me and I’m sure many other people. Maya often tells us that we are always stronger than we think. This has become my mantra, both in and out of the gym. Whatever comes my way, I know that I can handle it with strength and grace, and with the silent confidence that I carry with me throughout my day.
Healthworks has helped me in many ways, one of which is seeing that women can be strong when we are all together. Women who go to the gym are strong, confident people, and when we all work out in the same environment, it is a wonderful thing. I would certainly love to see more women lift since as it has helped me so much. I firmly believe that there is no better way to fight weakness than with strength.