As I write this, I am 31. Over the last 15 years, I’ve weighed anywhere from 124 and 163 pounds. Can you guess where I am today? The answer is…it doesn’t matter.
My body has changed considerably over the years. But more importantly, so has my attitude toward it!
Growing up, I had dear friends and a close-knit family. When I look back on my late adolescent and early adult years, though, I regret that I immediately think about my insecurities.
The topic of weight seemed so taboo. I wasn’t comfortable openly talking about my self-consciousness, and the few times my loved ones tried to talk to me, I shut down and left with hurt feelings.
In the words of the Faces, “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.”
Shortly after I graduated from college, my grandpa passed away. Heart disease is prevalent on both sides of my family, and his death gave me something to fight for. So in 2006, I completed a Breast Cancer 3-Day: a 60-mile walk with a fundraising component.
This was the first time I committed to something, put myself out there and asked for support, and trained for an event. And to my surprise, I did it!
It was the first time in my life I looked past what I saw in the mirror and really appreciated what my body was capable of. The following year, I walked the Flying Pig full marathon and did another 3-day with my mom.
I got hooked on the sense of accomplishment that came with crossing the finish line. Over the last 8 years, I found yoga, pole fitness and running. My favorite events involve lots of mud and obstacles 🙂
I spent years and years unhappy and resentful of my body, and that doesn’t change overnight. My BMI tells me I’m “overweight,” and my short frame will always have curves.
But I’m an athlete. My body is so much more than what you see. I am HEALTHY and I am STRONG. I am amazed by my body’s ability to grow and heal.
I still face challenges with nutrition, comparing myself to others, and being too hard on myself. The difference now is that I know I’m not alone. If I struggle, I talk about it. I’m not afraid to cry. I bitch. I ask for help. Most importantly, I know I can get through it.
And now, I’m paying it forward. Last year, I made one of the hardest (but easiest!) decisions of my life: I decided I wanted to be a dietitian. I hope to combine my past career in clinical research with a knowledge of dietary science to help others. If I can empower even one person to live a healthier and happier life, I know I’ve made a difference. To me, that’s all that matters.
Alison is a lover of sports and wellness. She recently decided to take her passion for wellness to the next level by going back to school to become a registered dietitian. Alison hopes to eventually work with kids in patient care. Alison’s hobbies include rooting on our Cincinnati sports teams, yoga, pole fitness, and mud runs. Her biggest passion is helping others and empowering those around her to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Got a question for Alison? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. She’d love to hear from you!