Such a change of pace for the Cassidy Culp blog over here with a fitness post!!! This post has been a long time in the coming. I didn’t really know how I wanted to tell my story or if I even wanted to share it at all. But what I realized recently is that we are all a work in progress. But even though we might not see ourselves as perfect, we all are in the eye’s of God. And if my fitness journey can help just one person feel like they are not alone, then I have done my job!
So here we go… ever since I can remember I was the chubby girl. There is literally no other way to put it. I was always bigger than all my friends and it definitely made me have really low self esteem growing up. When you’re in elementary school and you notice that you’re a little different, it’s definitely not a good feeling at all. Even though I played volleyball, track, soccer, basketball at one point or another growing up I was still bigger. I realize now that it had nothing to do with how much I worked out. I was a really active kid always playing outside or going to a sporting practice. But, that doesn’t matter when you have a bad relationship with food.I had the unhealthiest relationship with food while growing up. First off, I wasn’t in tune with my body. I wouldn’t stop eating when I was full because there was still more food on my plate or more dessert to be served. It didn’t matter if my stomach hurt for an hour as long as I could eat another handful of Nerds. The stomachache was worth the five seconds of joy while consuming the food… or at least that’s what I told myself. I had such a “sweet tooth” I say it in quotes because I have so much more of a salty tooth LOL but you get the picture. I was always craving something not good for me. And when you are ten years old you don’t exactly know how to curve a craving.
I let my love for sweet and salty foods get the best of me. Then when I entered high school and tried out for the volleyball team I knew I was in for it. There was so much conditioning along with the volleyball playing that my body couldn’t handle it with all the junk food I was eating. I let food consume my life and it was just easier to complain about being fat then to actually try and do something about it.
I did try numerous times throughout my high school career to lose weight. I tried to go to condition camp in the summer… the first day I went and they told me to run a mile for warm up and I couldn’t even run one lap so I gave up. To me at the time a mile seemed like the most impossible task and it didn’t help that there were girls and guys there that I knew… that intimidated me so much. I wanted so badly to be as good as they were at working out and I felt so embarrassed that I couldn’t do it. Also in high school I went on a couple fad diets and you could see a difference barely. I wasn’t as strict on myself as I could have been and I let my love for junk food get in the way.
(Just for reference… this was me freshman year of high school)
Coming to college I knew that I did not want to gain the freshman fifteen. I was excited to be on my own for the first time and experience what all college had to offer. From the very first day the dining halls where challenging. They’d either have really good food and I would want everything or all they had was junk food and again I’d still eat it. Nothing was healthy at all. I also had way more access to fast food, that of course did not help at all. But I did find the rec and I loved going to zumba and just running on the treadmill and elliptical! I found a passion for running. It wasn’t easy at first but it was worth it! I loved running my mile and beating my time! It was my most favorite thing to do. But again I still didn’t have the eating part right.
During the beginning of my junior year I hit a plateau. I wasn’t gaining any weight but I wasn’t losing any. I also didn’t love the way I looked. I’d have my good days and my bad days. I would do my hair and makeup all pretty and take a good photo but then the next day I would see a different photo of me at a bad angle and I would lose all the self esteem I had built up for myself. It was like a roller coaster and living in a sorority house didn’t help when all I did was make late night fast food runs.
I made myself numb to the feeling of myself and I didn’t want to think anymore about my weight or appearance. That all changed when I found the Whole30. I read all about it and I knew that’s what I needed. I needed to be told what to do and I needed it to be strict. So in January 2017 I started my first round of the Whole30 and I started the year of me. During that month I learned more about myself than I ever have. I learned when my body was full and when I was hungry. I learned what my different cravings meant but most of all I learned how to tell my body no. I told my body no to a month of no sugar, dairy, gluten, processed foods and more. I told my body no to eating junk food and guess what?? I made it out alive. I am a better person today because of that one month.
During that month I also focused a lot on my non-scale victories and my biggest victory of all was falling in love with myself. I fell in love with my body and how I looked. I learned that there is so much value in loving yourself. There is never going to be another you so be the best one that you can. I also started to workout a lot more. I loved pushing my body and seeing how far I could go. I learned if you treated your body right in return it would treat you right. I also fell in love with cycling. I tried my first class while on the Whole30 and I was hooked. It is such an amazing workout that not only helps your body but your mind and spirt as well.
Even after my Whole30 journey in January I still continued to workout and eat right. I did let school get the best of me towards the end of the spring semester but that’s okay! I still remained listening to my body and worked out when I could. Then this past summer when I studied abroad in Peru I walked everywhere and got so much exercise in everyday it felt amazing! Even though I was panting all the time from the high altitude, I loved it! I never want my body to feel slow and tired. I always want to be energized and ready to take on whatever is thrown at me.
Now flash forward to today and I am in my second full round of the Whole30. I am even more in love with myself than I have ever been before and LOL not in a narcissistic way. To get anywhere in life I believe you must love yourself first. This past fall semester put me through a lot but I came out victorious! I stuck to my guns and most of all I did what I wanted to do. Never in my whole life have I stayed that true to myself. I worked really hard this past semester to improve upon myself and I did just that. I listen to my body and my mind and made no apologies for the person that I am.
I am so happy now to be in my second round of the Whole30 already proud of myself and my body. Last Whole30 I was still finding myself but now that I have myself together and it’s going even better. I wanted to push my body harder than I did last time, because to me that’s the only way I am going to see change. So I started the Bikini Body Guide twelve-week workout on January 1st. This has pushed me in so many different ways and I am so thankful for it. I had
already found a love for cardio in college but now I love it even more. The guide makes you do workout circuits three times a week and then the other three days are cardio and I just go ham. I love running on the elliptical for an hour or going to run on the track at the rec and this guide makes me do it!
I have found myself more and more this month. I am way better at not eating snacks and when I do snack, I make sure it’s a nutritious protein and fat filled snack that will propel me through a workout. I also take more time to care for my body like getting in bed early or trying to read a book or do something that I really want to. That’s what life is all about listening to your body and doing what you want to do.
Like I said, if you take care of your body it will take care of you. It doesn’t matter what you did or ate yesterday as long as you do better tomorrow. First you have to love yourself, everything about yourself. Even if you have to stand in front of your mirror everyday and tell yourself you love yourself then do it! Do whatever it takes for you to be happy! And remember it’s a journey, life is a journey. Just take it day by day and always try to improve upon yourself! It’s okay to have a cheat meal and not workout, it’s called balance! I believe in you and you can achieve anything you set for yourself. You don’t have to set a number or even decide you want to lose weight. All you have to do is make a promise to yourself to make healthier choices in your life. It’s as simple as that, one step at a time.