My (Sorta Long and Twisty) Health Journey

Many people, and life events for that matter, have been instrumental in my health and fitness journey. And what a long journey it has been!

Honestly, when I first started working out, it was for the wrong reasons. It started a little in college, and I did it then just because it was what people did. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I just copied things I saw in Shape magazine. Considering the fact that I was anything but healthy at that time (can we say “dorm food” and “never sleep”?), it really didn’t do me any good. Then after college I worked out obsessively and was insanely picky about my diet — but it still wasn’t for the health of it. At that point, it was because the guy I was dating made me feel as undesirable as a woman could feel. So I focused on working out every single day (literally) and never touching anything fatty or sweet, because I had to get as close to the girls on TV as I could get. Despite my efforts, however, my then-boyfriend still made me feel like crap about myself. What kept me going, though, were the comments from our friends about my body and how fit-obsessed I was. At the time, it felt like a compliment – like all my hard work was showing. Looking back now, I realize it was NOT a compliment, but at the time it’s what made me feel good about me. Made me feel set apart. So I clung to it tightly.      ~~During this phase of life, the instrumental impact came from: college boredom [eh, neutral and minimal impact], my ex [major negative impact], and some of the people I hung around with through the ex [negative impact]~~

Somewhere in the midst of that super unhealthy relationship, a good friend of mine asked me to to the River Bank Run 10K with her. That was what sparked my running career, and it was then that things slowly started to change. Don’t get me wrong, I still exercised obsessively for the wrong reasons; but it was at this point that I also discovered exercise could be a great outlet for the many frustrations I was dealing with. Major problem is I was still anything but healthy. While I rarely touched sweets or fatty/greasy food (and when I did cave and put a piece of chocolate in my mouth, I’d spit it out after getting the flavor, just so I had my sweet tooth satisfied but didn’t feel like I actually ingested the calories), I was constantly pumping my body full of alcohol. That was just my lifestyle back then. See how drunk you can get, how quickly you can get there, and how long you can stay that way. Oh but don’t you worry [note heavy sarcasm], I was always sure to workout before I got ready for the night so I’d have a “pump” and feel skinny. Heck, sometimes I’d even workout while drunk, because the booze would make me feel flubby. Yeah… definitely not healthy. But I guess a bonus is, with my new-found “workouts can help fix frustration”, sometimes I’d workout while drunk because someone made me mad, and doing some sit-ups, push-ups, and/or twists seemed like a better idea than going all crazy-drunk-girl spouting off at the mouth. [face-palm; eyeroll] Idiot. But all of that crazytown nonsense aside, apart from learning the tension-relief workouts can be, working out and training with my friend also introduced me to proper technique and variety. The more we learned and progressed, the more I started actually liking working out as a hobby, and learning that working out could make me feel *good*. It also opened up the floor for other friends to want to meet at the gym and workout together, which was always fun.      ~~During this phase of life, the instrumental impact came from: major issues with self-esteem [negative impact], good friends [positive impact]~~

Eventually, there was a tectonic shift in my life, which took me away from that horrid “relationship” I was in, as well as away from the people that came along with that relationship. Not that those people were all bad, I just wasn’t my best self around them and wouldn’t have gotten out of the deep pit I was in had I not walked away from them as well (side note: fortunately, the good ones are still in my life, even if only in a small way). Now, as with any time your life takes a major turn, it comes with some serious soul-searching. During this time, my workouts started being for *me*. Not as an anti-frustration technique, not for the comments from people around me, and not so I’d look like a perfectly made-up supermodel on TV in hopes to be found desirable. My workouts were because *I* wanted to do them because I *liked* to. I liked how they made me feel, both inside and out. And that’s what I needed – to feel good about myself – it had been *years* since I knew what that felt like. Oh, and it was also around this time that if I wanted a piece of candy, well doggone-it I was gonna eat it! Not that I wanted candy often, because I didn’t – but still, I wasn’t going to stop myself from indulging if I wanted to. Plus I stopped drinking like I was (imagine the dance party my liver threw!). So in my initial journey of self-discovery, I found that deep down I actually *am* a bit of a health-freak fitness-lover.      ~~During this phase of life, the instrumental impact came from: the wonderful journey of self-discovery, and me [positive impact]~~

Here’s the problem: I was still unhappy. Yeah I felt good most of the time and I finally had a healthy hobby, but I was still lacking something. I was using workouts to fill *every* void, and newsflash: that doesn’t work. It was then that I recommitted my life to Christ, and my world flipped upside down all over again – and in an incredible way. Through God I learned that I am worthy, wonderful, and beautiful inside and out — exercise-obsessed or not. Talk about the mega self-esteem boost! Added bonus: turns out it’s even easier to be healthy when you know you’re worth it — not worth it because you’re healthy. So at this point in my life, I started working out because I knew I was worth it — I knew I needed to take care of my body so I can be here as long as possible and reach as many people as possible.  At this same time, I met my now-husband. The man has [albeit unknowingly] driven me even more to be the best possible version of myself. Not just with nutrition/fitness, of course, but in all aspects. Through him I have found myself striving for new goals and pushing my limits. Specifically speaking of fitness/exercise – I thank him for my marathon and triathlon completions. Since I met him 3.5 years ago, he has missed maybe three or four of my races — one of which was in a different state, one of which I flat-out told him not to go to since it was just a “fun run”, and the other 1-2 he had to miss because of work. The support and positive-push I get from him is inexplicable. In fact, I’m pretty sure he wants me to BQ at my next marathon… but he might have to wait a bit for that hahaha.      ~~During this [current] phase of life, the instrumental impact came from: reconnecting with God, myself, my husband [incredible positive impact]~~

Other major and current influences are: my mom – as a major mommy’s girl, I can’t really get myself to do anything without support from my mommy!! (and to this day one of my all-time favorite race day memories is seeing her at the finish line of GR Half in 2015); the many friends that I’ve met through Gazelle Sports/Priority Health Run Camp; and my family – because even if they aren’t at the races or in the gym with me or whatever, they’re hugely important to me and I am constantly thinking of them and honestly, their love and loving them drives me! I guess that’s what family is for <3

So yes, my health journey has absolutely been exactly that: a journey. But it’s a journey I’m glad I’ve been on :)

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CKline829 CKline829
My life centers around three things: Faith, Family, Fitness. Faith comes first -- without Christ, I am nothing! I pushed Him out of my life for quite a few years, and my life went down the drain quickly. Now that I've reconnected and recommitted to Him - life couldn't be better! Family -- My family has been with me through all the ups and downs in life, and they always will be. I'm incredibly close with all of them and I consider myself very fortunate for that :) Family isn't all blood, by the way -- I have many friends that I consider family as well! Fitness -- Need I say more?! ;) Living a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition (most days haha) and staying physically active has really helped me find self-respect. Being a large victim of self-doubt, I have used fitness to push myself beyond my mental boundaries and prove myself capable of far more than I tell myself I am! Now I'm simply addicted - I love the feeling of sore muscles, sweat pouring off my face, and being short of breath from a challenging workout! It's all about pushing new limits/taking on new challenges, but having fun on the way :) (even if that limit/challenge is, "Okay, take it easy for a bit, Woman!" haha)

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