Hi there! I’m Beth, a 20-something located in Pittsburgh, PA. I wear many different hats throughout my daily life, including wife, health and fitness enthusiast, amateur chef and biological chemistry research scientist. My journey toward health has involved a 45-pound total weight loss spanning from 2010-2013 and a transition from “hating running” to now loving my workout regimen and craving an endorphin high. I can’t imagine a life without fitness!
I grew up chubby. Some of my most vivid, earliest memories are of being told I was fat, or sitting with my friends and realizing that my legs were a lot thicker than the other girls’, or my tummy poked out in a way that nobody else’s did. Throughout high school, I reluctantly participated in sports but never felt truly comfortable on the soccer field or the volleyball court. It wasn’t a lack of talent that held me back; it was the fact that I couldn’t keep up with the other girls in our track runs and suicide sprints, and I always seemed to need the largest available size shirt and shorts. I remember several doctor visits in which I was told I should “lose a few pounds” or “focus on getting some more exercise.” In the middle of my high school years, my doctor brought up my high blood pressure as an issue of concern and even ordered several tests to make sure there was no underlying problem causing my blood pressure to run high. These visits burned themselves in my mind, reaffirming my poor body image and causing me to worry about my health, but I never had the confidence that I could truly change my health and appearance for the better.
My college days arrived in 2005 and I embraced a fresh start. I made friends quickly, immediately fell in love with my social and academic environment, and became engrossed in my chemistry major coursework. I had scholarships to keep and grad school already on my mind as a freshman. I was still unhappy with my weight and fearful for my health, but I learned how to earn the praise of my professors and stay at the top of my classes – and my craving for validation was satisfied.
Weeks after I graduated from college, I met the love of my life. We met at a Pittsburgh sports bar where we had both been invited to watch the Penguins with a mutual friend. Sparks flew immediately and we were “official” three weeks later. Mark rapidly became my rock and source of stability in countless areas of my life, but romance brought back the severe body image issues I had tried to ignore for years. I began to doubt my worth, placing too much value on physical appearance and telling myself I didn’t “measure up” because of my weight. These thoughts began bother me again, but this time they bothered me to the point of action. I started to actually focus on nutrition and regular exercise, subscribing to Weight Watchers online in 2010 and becoming a pro at calculating and recording every point I consumed. I joined a gym and singed up for personal training, learning to love strength training for the first time in my life.
The weight came off slowly but surely. There were many tearful nights when I wondered if my work would pay off. Many weekly weigh-ins that left me wanting to throw my scale out the window and many too-early wake-ups when I would drag myself out of bed and onto the treadmill. I could always see progress though. I would record my weight every Saturday, and regardless of the results, I tried to always look at the bigger picture – how far I had come since the beginning. In the midst of this, I started to realize that I needed a goal. Mark would ask me what weight I was shooting for; what number I would finally be satisfied with. I repeatedly ignored the issue. I couldn’t answer because I was afraid to stop. Afraid of no longer having the exhilaration of watching the number on the scale go down.
It was then that I realized that my goal would not always be the same throughout this journey toward health. Sometimes, the goal is weight loss. Sometimes it’s weight gain. Sometimes it’s shaving some seconds off my mile time. Sometimes it’s increasing the weight on the barbell. Sometimes it’s just being able to stay up on that damn stability ball for more than 2 seconds. Regardless of the goal, though, the purpose is the same: achieving balance, health and wholeness.
I’m so glad you stopped by, and I do hope you will stay with me as I document this beautiful journey.