For those that have been following my fitness instagram page for a while now (ashley_lgfit) you have kind of seen a little glimpse into my past here and there. I have never truly shared my whole story of how/why I became so passionate about health and fitness with anyone except maybe my husband, but I feel in my heart that its time!
High school was a really difficult time for me, as I know it is for a lot of people, and especially girls. I cared way too much about what other people thought of me, and no where near enough about my education. I don’t have regrets. I’m thankful for every part of my journey because I know its the reason I am who I am today. But I cant help but think every now and then, how much better those years would have been for me if I had the strength to be myself.
If you knew me in those years you probably wouldn’t have guessed there was a battle going on on the inside. I wasn’t quiet and reserved. I was always an outgoing, people person who somewhat enjoys the spotlight. But on the inside I had a constant fear of what I looked like, and what people thought about me. I would have loved to audition for the school plays, but I didn’t because I feared people would think I was weird for it. I wish I would have continued with dance, but I quit because I didn’t think I was good enough. I wish I would have studied more, but I didn’t because to me it was better to not try than to try, and still get a failing grade. When it came to my looks, I was my biggest bully. I stood in the mirror and pointed out everything I hated. I needed others approval to feel pretty. I was extremely self conscious of my body. I struggled with a cycle of “eating disorders”. I would try and “eat healthy” for a week or two, but when I didn’t notice in instant change in my body I would try to just not eat at all. After about a week of that (cause lets be real I love food too much) I would binge eat. I was an emotional eater so anytime I was feeling anything but happy I would pig out on everything unhealthy. Occasionally I would get mad at myself for doing this and make myself throw up. Then when I felt motivated again I would start the cycle back over at the healthy eating. I had an unhealthy relationship with food and with myself. I hated the way I looked and refuse to wear a pair of shorts in public for about 3 years straight.
Fast forward to now, almost 23 years old, I have learned to completely love myself for who I am. There are two things that helped make this happen.
I am a believer, and follower of Christ. Now before you roll your eyes and leave this page, I’m not here to shove my beliefs down your throat and tell you it’s the only way to be happy. But if you want the truth to my story than this was a big part of it. When I accepted Christ as my savior I learned that I didn’t need any one else’s approval. That by being myself I’m embracing the person God made me to be. There may be people I meet along the way who don’t like me, and that’s fine. I don’t fear that anymore. I have family and friends that love me for me, and I’m happy so that’s all that matters. I’m not saying you have to be a follower of Christ to love yourself and be happy, it’s what saved me. But you DO have to learn to love yourself for who you are completely.
The second major thing that helped me was when I gained the passion for health and fitness. This does not mean I’m only happy now because I lost 20 pounds. Yes, this gave me a new confidence boost. But it’s because I learned to have a healthy relationship with food. I learned to embrace my athletic/muscular build. Instead of stuffing my face to deal with emotions, I spend an hour of “me time” in the gym and fill my body with endorphins. I’ve learned to eat healthy to nourish the body, not trying to starve myself to look a certain way.
Looking back at that time, I thought I was the only person who struggled with this. Now I know the truth, and how many younger girls and woman struggle with this daily. I wish I could look each and every one of you in the eye and say YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!! You are not the only one struggling with this and you CAN get through it.
Because of my journey and the changes I’ve made I have been filled with a burning desire to help other woman that may have some of the same struggles. Because not every day is perfect, and yes there are days still where I want to stay in pajamas and not leave the house because I hate how all my clothes look on me or my hair is a hot mess (ladies can I get an amen) . I want you to have somewhere to go where you can maybe get just a little inspiration to put one foot in front of the other in the right direction.
I’m going to be doing a new thing on my blog called your daily dose of beautiful. You can come here each day to find some sort of message to help remind you why you’re beautiful for who you are, and it’s time for you to embrace it!!!