I feel like I should really pick up from the last time I used to blog in college. Those who knows me now would probably get the impression that I'm a fitness freak and always have been. To those who knew me way back, they would know that I was a completely different person then.
With that, I thought I'd share on how I started my fitness journey and what kept me going all this while, and I hope this could inspire some people to take the first step forward someday.
Before I remotely got interested in fitness, I was always known as the child who had a pretty face, but was unfortunately fat. Growing up, that was what I was always labelled and I grew to accept it. I didn't think I deserved to look good, nor did I even dream that I could wear nice things that could draw attention to myself. I just didn't think I was pretty enough to deserve it.
That's me in the middle, age 15, on a holiday in Phuket, Thailand.
Despite being constantly called the chubby one, it never bothered me too much until one day at a rosary gathering among our church group. So there was this aunty who was known to have a sharp tongue. She says whatever she wants to say, she does what ever she wants to do, regardless of what people think of her. They don't think of her too well.
Anyway, it was the end of the rosary session and as usual, there is bound to be food at the end of it. At that time, I had a heavy dinner so I didn't have much of an appetite. So when somebody offered me to eat, I politely declined to which the aunty said, "Yeah, better not la. You're becoming too fat." and somebody chuckled.
That's how it all started. She then went on and on about what I can do to lose weight and constantly criticized my big tummy, or my chubby face. It just continued until somebody decided to leave. We were in a room full of adults and nobody said anything but just listened to her the whole time talking about me.
It was and is the most horrible night of my life. I remembered crying for a week because I felt so worthless and ugly. I didn't want to go to school for a day or two because I was so depressed and to this day, it has really made a dent in me.
Fast forward to a few years later. I was 17 at that time, on a student exchange program in Italy. It was there where I truly learned to appreciate the beauty of all bodies there.
As you can see, my host sister comes from a large family. Whenever we're going out, I always see that she makes sure she dresses to the nines; from the most stylish clothes to the most elaborate makeup. I thought she looked gorgeous.
Most of the girls were quite surprised at how plain I was then. Because everybody there makes it a point to look their best no matter where they are. It was there that the people said I was beautiful. Wherever I went. Complete strangers would call me beautiful, even though I thought I was far from it.
After coming back from Italy, I decided to learn how to look my best no matter what the occasion and that has built my confidence a little. Just a little.
One day, I fell in love but like any young love, it was bound to end quickly. I thought he was the source of my true happiness but now I was left alone (I know, SO cliche. What was I thinking?)
It took me about a year to finally pull myself together and I knew I needed a distraction. One that could make me a better person and make me happy again. A project.
I remembered the lowest days when I was mocked for being fat and I decided that that was what I wanted to change in myself. I wanted to lose weight and have a slim body! (Also, in my pettiness, I really wanted to be my ex's hottest ex girlfriend)
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I was a cardio bunny.
Of course, I didn't know where to start or what are the first steps to losing weight. Naturally, I just went for the easiest thing which was the treadmill. And I hated it.
To this day, I still don't enjoy being on the treadmill. Its so boring and uneventful to me. Eventually, I took up swimming until one day I had an injury to my foot where I had to do a surgery so I could neither swim nor run on the treadmill for a while.
I was doing so well at that point; I stopped eating carbs and cut my intake to half. I was steadily losing weight and made great progress. I couldn't just stop right there and wait to heal.
That's when I discovered Pilates on YouTube. More specifically, that's when I discovered Blogilates.
I first discovered her through a beauty vlogger on YouTube. What I liked about her the most was how positive she was and so encouraging. Pilates wasn't the most strenuous exercise for my injured foot, so I thought I'd give it a try.
Boy was I challenged! Even though the exercises are injury friendly, it wasn't easy either. The more I followed her videos, the more addicted I became to that feeling of muscle soreness and waking up to a stiff butt.
More than just the exercises, I felt that I was working out with a friend, a friend who was so full of energy and positivity, it really rubbed off on me. Which is why I HIGHLY recommend that if you're a first timer to the world of fitness, get a good trainer or a partner to keep you going and to guide you on your first steps to swoleness.
As I moved forward in my fitness journey, I always pushed myself to new challenges; from learning how to lift weights, to doing scary stuff like headstands. My greatest achievement so far was to be able to do 200 burpees in a row. Not bad for a cardio phobe like myself!
What Kept Me Going?
Now, like most people who joined the gym after new year's resolution hoo haa, I too have faced the temptations of just 'taking a break' or 'getting back into it another time'. Whenever I have those thoughts, I always ask myself, "Why did I start? Who am I doing this for?"
And that's when I'm always reminded of that day in the rosary group; a young 15 year old girl being mocked for her chubby figure among a group of adults. If I could turn back time, I would give her a hug and tell her that she's beautiful and I would never let her down.
I am responsible for my own happiness. People may come and go, some who has even enhanced my happiness, but no matter what, I alone have the power to feel beautiful and happy.
And that's what kept me going. To this day, I always try to challenge myself to achieve new levels and it really gives me a sense of purpose.
To those who are waiting to take the first steps in your fitness journey, I say just do it! You may stumble around a bit, but you will find your way. Have a purpose and a goal to keep you going, and I promise you that it'll change your life for the better.
Anne is the author and founder of this blog. She likes to write about current issues, travels, food and the general struggles of a millennial.