Dear Bully: Thank You

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Growing up I was pretty active with sports, soccer/swimming/karate/ gymnastics, I tried them all. I was pretty active and social as a young kid, always getting in trouble for talking during class and making new friends. In second and third grade my teachers noticed I was falling behind with reading and recommend this tutor. He really helped me become more confident in reading and not get overwhelmed. Unfortunately, one day my mom dropped my off at my lesson and there was a note on the door that read “John had a heart attack and passed in his sleep”. This was my first encounter with death. We drove back home and I was a wreck, I ended up crying on the couch with seemed like the rest of the day. I would say this was the breaking moment that changed my life. It felt like it was around the same time, the gymnastics gym that I attended was moving just next door to a bigger facility, but I couldn’t handle it. It was too much change all at once, so I quit. I stopped swimming, I stopped playing soccer, and I was no longer in gymnastics. I went from constantly doing something to nothing and the weight started to pile up and I didn’t even recognize it until it was to late. Mind you, I’m in elementary school….

This is when the teasing began which made things worse, my self confidence started to wither away and then soon enough there was none. Once that happened, I started to distance myself from other kids and was no longer active during recess. Now the “icing on the cake”… I am a VERY picky eater… Do you think I ate my fruits and veggies growing up… or even meats… Nope. I went through that phase no meat after watching bambi.

Fast forward after years of torture of name calling and eating your feelings away, and now I am in middle school… Best years of you life…NOT. These were undoubtedly the WORST years of my life. I packed on probably 100 pounds or so give or take. I remember trying to eat healthy to lose weight, or cut my portion sizes down, but nothing was working and I was getting more depressed. There was one day that was distinctly familiar and I will never forget it. It was a tuesday, and I only know that because it was FAT tuesday… A kid in my class kept asking me how many Paczki I had had that day and how many I was going to eat later. I was a wreck. This literally was the straw that broke my back and I couldn’t take it any more. I was depressed, and I didn’t want to live. I got the help that I needed to start loving myself again and not worry about what others said or thought about me… but I was still overweight.

I didn’t know how to lose the body fat that had accumulated over the years, and every time I tried it was to hard to think about and over come. It seemed like a battle that I couldn’t win. I would lose 10 pounds and then gain 15. It was so mentally frustrating and fatiguing that I just wanted to give up.

I am now in high school and a freshman at one of the largest high schools, Plymouth-Canton. This was my turing point. The school was so big that there were cliques, there was something for everyone. I joined the marching band as a percussionist that year, and that is what started my weightless journey. That winter I joined the swim team as a bet to one of my friends. Mind you, I am going in to this at my heaviest weight(recorded 270,but more likely 300).

The first couple years I lost weight and put it back on, but for the most part everything was going down. I didn’t hit rock bottom moment of actually trying to lose weight until my senior year. I was bound and determined to lose it and keep it off. I started watching my portion sizes when we would go out to dinner. I was watching the holiday food items and telling myself “NO”. I stopped drinking soda and made that hard transition to just drinking water. I though I had it all figured out. I had lost about 100 pounds and felt great! My confidence was returning. I thought I was on top of the world, then the comments started trickling in. Family and friends were starting to get concerned because I did a 180 and now I was looking too thin. My swim coach asked if I was eating, I had family members make remarks at family functions about being to thin and wasting away. I felt like I couldn’t win. I was either too fat or too skinny and I felt like I just couldn’t get a break.

My goal form that point on was not to care what people thought about me and focus on how I felt about myself as well as just being healthy. I wanted to go to school to get more education about health and fitness so that I could help others as I didn’t have that help.

The most important thing I’ve learned is you can’t do it for others, you have to want it for yourself and realize it isn’t a short journey. There are good moments and there are tough moments. I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t want to go workout but I did, or how many times I wanted the ice cream and didn’t eat it. It’s also interesting because one of my motivating factors was also what got me to be so heavy. I remember working out on the elliptical listening to christina aguliaras “fighter” and just thinking of all the name calling over the years and continually telling myself that I am a fighter and I’m going to win this fight. Kind of funny know that I think about it, but I will tell you this. My journey is still continuing and I am still fighting, and I will be fighting for the rest of my life because I never want to go back to that person that I was. So when you are down and don’t want to workout, or you’ve just had a long day at work and your tired, just keep reminding yourself that you are a fighter and you will win this battle.

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