Senior Year '07
I've been dancing since I was 7. So naturally when I went to college, I thought I'd be exempt from gaining weight. I had a whole plan. I'd go to the gym at least three times a week on top of auditioning for the dance program (you have to audition so they know what level to place you). At first, I did extremely well. I ate balanced meals at the dorm's cafeteria and went to the gym. Two months into my first semester however, the cafeteria food started to get unbelievably disgusting! There was a hot bar where food had been sitting out under heat lamps for who knows how long. Then there was the salad bar where there was mold in the shelving that held the plates. So I started to turn to the sandwich station or even the second hot bar where they actually cooked the food to your preferences. Even that after a while became tiresome and not always appetizing. So, like many college students, I stuck with way too much pre-packaged foods that I could heat up in the microwave that was in my dorm room.
Things started to look up. I auditioned for the dance program and got into the basic class which was held four days a week: two days was Ballet and two days was Modern. I also found the local grocery store. Since I was from the east coast, I didn't even know the name of the grocery store. So I'd go to convenience stores. But as soon as I found the grocery store I was able to buy healthy options.
During my second semester, I was getting into the best shape of my life. By spring break, I was able to go half way down in a push up! (That is a big deal for me.) However, spring break is when my plan was disrupted. I had to get emergency surgery. This forced me to drop my dance class and be inactive for months. Since I was upset I couldn't dance, I emotionally ate...junk food.
Sophomore year, I did take Ballet classes all year and started getting back in shape. However, I sprained my ankle twice and was forced to take my junior year off. My major was Sign Language Interpreting. I didn't need to be athletic to be successful. As my work load piled on, my health took the back burner. The weight, needless-to-say, piled on as well.
Senior year, I was able to squeeze in 4 dance classes and eat healthy. I did lose a lot of weight. I was still, however, overweight.
After graduation, I started looking into veganism in order to eat healthier. I had a couple vegan friends so we'd meet for a support group where we'd share recipes, watch documentaries, and talk. It was a lot of fun and helpful.
Then I dated a man for about a year and a half. He was a meat lover. I couldn't afford to buy meat, so it wasn't strange for me that the most meat I ate in a week was tuna. He'd pay for a lot of meals or would cook for me, which included a lot of meat and not much vegetables. By the time we reached a year, I wasn't eating how I had been one year prior. I was eating poorly and picked up his bad habits. That's when I started analyzing my diet and relearning about nutrition. By the time we broke up a couple months ago, I decided to go vegan. But it was a picture I saw of myself at my heaviest that made my decision final.
At a party '13
It took me over two years to come to the decision to go vegan. I did not decide it on a whim. It's not just changing what you eat, it's a lifestyle change. It's a huge adjustment and one that I'm still nervous to talk about with my family. I know it's the right decision for me.
When I started my weight loss journey a couple months ago, I weighed 64.4 lbs. over my goal weight! As of today, I have 48 lbs. to go! I'm so excited!
All you can do for yourself is to keep to your goals and push yourself to be the best you that you can be. And accept yourself for who you are. When life gives you hurtles, do as my favorite quote by Walt Disney says, "Keep moving forward"!
"Keep Moving Forward"