“Clear your mind of can’t, because you CAN do anything your heart desires” – yours truly, Jenna Beil from www.crazyhealthyfit.com.
The best way to achieve personal health and fitness goals is through the motivation and support of others. This is not a story of personal weight loss, but a story of personal acceptance and learning to love yourself for who you are. Please read my story and reflect. My hope is to inspire at least one person.
During this time-period, I was a high school (“HS”) athlete. I played varsity soccer, which kept me very active. However, I was never very healthy. I was your typical HS student: always looked for a good party to attend and just wanted to have a good time. Junk food consumed my diet. My friends and I would order domino’s pizza and cheesy-bread on a regular basis. We would finish all of the food, and then later that night, we’d make brownies. We would also drink alcohol every weekend, whenever we would get the chance. We were not heavy girls, but that was only because we were active in sports. While we may have looked healthy on the outside, our immune systems were a wreck internally. Remember: It is possible to be a successful athlete and be unhealthy. Health and fitness do not always go hand in hand.
To make matters worse, as soon as I felt as if I was putting on a few pounds, my immediate reaction was to consume less calories. Calories were never my friend. I did not understand my body, and only cared about how I looked on the outside. Therefore, calorie counting became a part-time job of mine. In my mind, the lesser amount of calories I consumed, the leaner I would get. It did not matter what kind of food I ate. I remember eating dry cereal for breakfast, and chewing gum like it was my job to curve all cravings. My goal would be to consume no more than 1000 calories in a day. If I completed this goal, it was a good day. Trust me, 1000 calories a day for an active HS athlete is NEVER enough. I think back to those days and can only cringe at how detrimental I was being to my body. My goal was to please others. If other people were happy with the way I looked, then it did not matter to me how my body felt inside.
Throughout these years, I was a college student. I moved away from home and was (at last) free to do whatever I pleased. I chose to put sports aside, and joined a sorority. At the time, popularity was most important to me, aside from my personal health and well-being. I continued to count calories, and believed that 1000 calories per day was appropriate. Any alcohol consumption and/or “extra” calories over my 1000-calorie limit, I made sure to burn at the gym (usually running/walking on the treadmill and/or the elliptical). If I could not make it to the gym, or I over-consumed on any particular day, depression would kick in. I went through a period of depression, which ultimately led to more bad choices and weight gain. I began purchasing diet pills and experimenting with fad diets. I did gain the dreadful freshman 15. As a matter of fact, I believe I actually put on about 20 pounds in my first year of college alone. Unfortunately, these 20 pounds were pure fat, as I was not educated in weight training nor did I care. Of coarse, my soccer team weight-trained in HS, but our main focus was on cardio conditioning. During my college years, I hated my body and hated the way I looked even more. I did not love myself, which only drove me to purchasing more diet pills and experimenting with more fad diets.
At this point, I had hit my plateau. After two (2) years of college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (“IUP”), I decided that the school and the atmosphere just was not for me. My body was fighting me and I could not handle the lifestlye consisting of alcohol and partying. This was college – a place where one is supposed to learn. Instead, it seems as if everyone had one goal and one goal only, partying. There came a point where I was viewed negatively as an individual because I was attending my weekday classes instead of the party down the street.
I transferred to a school closer to home (and my boyfriend). This was the turning point in my life. I was living with three (3) wonderful girls at St. Joseph’s University (“SJU”), all of which had a good head on their shoulders. These girls were exactly the kind of people I needed at this low point in my life. One of my roommates was training for her first marathon when I moved into the apartment. This really got me thinking about running. So, I started running. It is incredible how a change in scenery and personnel can play a toll on your health and well-being. Little by little, I started to feel like a brand new person. I felt as if I was reborn! I joined the club soccer team at SJU and met a bunch of new friends. After surrounding myself with good people – people who genuinely loved life and cared about one another – my mindset and entire outlook on life began to change as. Running became my stress reliever. I usually ran by myself because it was my “me time,” which I enjoyed very much.
In 2009, I completed my very first race, which began my career as a runner. Running gave me the opportunity to interact with other health conscious people like myself. I attended race exposition’s, subscribed to health and fitness magazines, and followed the lifestyle of some popular fitness icons. This was how I began to learn about the importance of nutrition and fitness.
I graduated college in 2010 and remained in the Philadelphia area. I began to love my body for what it was and not for what other people thought. To this day, I am still running races. I ran my first marathon in November 2011! Running will always be a part of me – it is who I am.
I have recently learned a lot about the importance of strength training and proper nutrition. Therefore, I am now incorporating strength training into my weekly routines. I have also altered my eating habits, and now have a very clean-eating style. I aim for about 5 or 6 small meals each day, and focus on consuming the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat in my body. Ever since I began exercising and eating correctly, I have found that I have a lot more energy throughout the day and am overall a happier person.
Feel free to email me at email@example.com for questions about my journey. I’d be happy to share more personal information with you via email if you would like. I found that talking to others about my problems really helped me learn how to change the way I thought about things and become the person that I am today.
My blog – www.crazyhealthyfit.com
Fit Approach Ambassador (Sweat Pink and Race Pink Programs) – www.fitapproach.com
Team Beachbody/Shakeology Coach – www.myshakeology.com/jbeil