...currently writing from: Murfreesboro, TN
Obtaining confidence in my own skin has been personally one of the hardest things in life for me to do. With an upbringing of sugar-filled drinks and convenient meals, it was hard not to gain weight as I got older. With the ever growing World Wide Web and social media outlets surrounding us, it truly was addicting to stay indoors and be on the web over going out and actually being human.
That was over 10 years ago. To this day, I still see those same sugar-filled drinks and quick convenient meals. I also see “get fit quick” schemes, fad diets, and crazy contraptions to "tone and firm." The Internet has become life itself for the majority of people.
Yet the problem doesn't lie within any of those things. It is easy to blame something external as the reason for: why we are, how we are, or who we have become.
The problem is that we are just not that well educated when it comes to nutrition and health. The reason why it was so challenging for me to have a positive mindset when it came to my body was because I had developed a disconnection with my physical self. I wasn't fueling myself properly. I was consuming and consuming – not putting the energy to use. Gradually after some time it lead to an obese part of my life.
Like everyone else who becomes unhappy with how they look physically, I tried losing weight in the only way I knew how: I stopped eating as much. Yes, I did lose weight, but that weight loss stopped soon after it even started. I was left with a “skinny fat” body, furthering the insecurities even more because my weight changed, but my body composition stayed the same.
Everywhere I looked I saw what the media would portray as "sexy" or "hot.” I kept the mindset of not being able to have that amazing body and became content with the status quo. That was up until recent years when I decided to make a change.
Somewhere between the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, I decided to give calorie counting a shot. It wasn't a complete 180 by a long shot, but it was a start. I started losing a bit of weight and gained a little confidence in myself. I kept up with the calorie counting and the weight did drop, but muscle wise, there was nothing.
That's when the gym made it's way into my life. I had never weight lifted in my life, until one day, my cousin invited me to hit the gym with him. From that very first workout, I was hooked. Surprising to him and even myself, I stuck with it and continued to go.
The change in body composition was what really drove me to keep on going. I was getting faster, stronger, and leaner! I started reading and experimenting more and more with my body. As my knowledge of nutrition and fitness grew, so did my confidence in my everyday life. Fitness not only reconnected me with my physical self, it improved my mentality on everyday life, and also spiritually. It is now a vital part of my life. I no longer find time for the gym; I make time!
My lowest point throughout all of this had to have been the initial breakdown, and wanting to finally make a change. It wasn't dramatic or anything, I just got tired of seeing who I saw in the mirror. In my opinion, people can be too over-dramatic when they are unhappy with themselves, yet they do nothing. I was like that myself, until I read “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen. That book alone has changed my life.
The only thing that held me back from living a happier life was the lack of mentality when it came to progression. I was lazy; I'll admit that I still am a lazy person. There are some things that you cannot change about your nature, but you CAN recognize where your faults are and take action to correct them. It's a life long deal, but in order to progress in life, you must accept your flaws, get over them, and strive to achieve greatness. Whatever it is that you believe to be great, go for it! You should never just accept things and limit yourself.
We are all human, and we are able to do whatever any other human can do. The goal is not to become like someone else, but to become the best you!
Every morning, you have two choices. Go back to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and make them a reality." - Arvin Lal
I invite us all to really think about getting in touch with our bodies and treating them with the utmost importance. Our bodies are the most intricate machines in this world. You wouldn't neglect regular maintenance, or put cheap oil in a Ferrari. Our bodies should be fueled with wholesome, nutrient dense foods, and maintained in the form of exercise.
We spend too much time picking at ourselves and being upset and questioning our flaws rather than actually doing anything to change it. We must make sacrifices for things that we want to have and achieve. Sacrifice a little sleep, time away from the computer or TV, or any other excuse as to why you can't get in a workout. Being in a gym is not the only way to get exercise. There are plenty of ways to be more active.
I invite everyone to make an effort to wake up an hour earlier every morning, and go for a one-hour walk. Put some headphones in and put on an audio book. Start doing this every morning and take that time to contemplate on your goals and prepare yourself for the day so that you can get closer to that goal. Make an agenda, plan ahead. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail. That's the mindset you should have. We need to get our minds out of a state of lacking and set goals and work towards something positive for ourselves.
Let's make a change today, starting with short-term, obtainable goals.
- Michael Nguyen.
"Growing stronger is about accumulating wisdom, learning from your mistakes and inspiring others to become the strongest version of themselves." - Elliott Hulse