• Bethany Mac

A Happier, Healthier Me.

Healthy is an outfit that looks good on everybody.

To be completely honest, I have always struggled with my weight. Weirdly enough, my mom always told stories of how confident I was even as a little girl. She said my little chubby self would prance around in my booty shorts like I owned the place, lol. It goes to show how confidence can go a long way! If you're reading this expecting a magical "Lose 10 pounds in 10 days!" formula to weight loss... this ain't it honey. I hope my journey motivates someone to WORK for the results. You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

It all started in middle school. I was one of the first girls in my friend group that developed stretch marks. Let me tell you, I thought my life was OVER. Now that I'm a 21 year old woman, I fully understand how normal this is, but we all know how middle school girls can be. The embarrassment and insecurity ate at me. I was never that girl that could eat whatever she wanted and never gain an ounce. Honey... I packed on that number one combo from Chick-Fil-A.

Middle school is hard for every girl, especially a chubby, insecure one. One day I met a friend who introduced me to volleyball. I never played volleyball but had always been athletic and thought maybe I could get the hang of it. Try-outs came and I didn't think I was going to survive. Ya girl hated cardio. The amount of suicides we ran during TRYOUTS was probably the most I ran in a couple years. As if trying out for a sport wasn't nerve racking enough... the worst happened. Oh yes... I was the girl that threw up at middle school volleyball tryouts. Embarrassed didn't even describe. I ran to the locker room fully prepared to rip off my knee pads and get the heck out of there. Then, Coach Jerry walked in. Who was one of the hardest coaches I have ever had, but one I hold the up-most respect for to this day. In my head I'm like "yeah sweetie, you ruined those chances". But, Coach Jerry looked me in the eye and told me he expected to see me back on the court. Shocked? Me too. Oh wait, it gets better. I nervously walk out of the locker room and make my way to the court when he tells me... i made the team.

He saw something in me I didn't see myself. Coach Jerry pushed me, challenged me and made me a better person both mentally and physically. Many practices I doubted myself and my capabilities, but it was the simple 'yes' Coach Jerry gave me that kept me going. He instilled in my team what hard work and a little perseverance will get you. And well... it got us the PAC Championship title and taught me what it means to work hard. This was when my journey to a happier, healthier me truly started. Coach Jerry, If someday you ever end up reading this... thank you.

My senior year of high school I was fed up with the way I felt about my body. It's supposed to be a temple, but why did I hate living in it? I had a goal. That goal was to compete in my high school pageant... why? I wish I could tell you. This girl prefers sneakers over heels ANYDAY. I will say, this was one more goal that drove me into becoming a better me. It pushed me to clean up my eating and know what I was fueling my body with. That's half the battle! Yes. HIIT workouts, lifting weights and cardio are the other half, but I promise you will see the most results in your diet! Now back to our regularly scheduled program... overall the pageant helped me lose the initial weight. But for what? The approval of the snobby pageant judges? The cute boy in the audience I had a crush on? To be the girl that beat the same pageant queen that won every year?

I was so worried about the approval of others, I never did it for ME.

Fast-forward 4 years later. I realized that never changed. Sure, I had lost the weight initially, knew how to eat right and developed a strong work ethic. But whether it was for a relationships approval or the simple pleasure of telling someone "umm. psh. duh I worked out today"... I did it for the wrong reasons. I realized I would never be happy with how I looked physically if I wasn't happy mentally. That. That's when it all changed.

My world turned upside down when I experienced heartbreak like never before. That seems dramatic, but breakups hurt! They hurt deep. But, it allowed me to be by myself for the first time in years. I looked in the mirror and allowed myself to feel. Feel what I liked and disliked about myself. Mentally and physically. Through time in prayer and setting realistic goals, I realized it was finally time to focus on ME.

I discovered a love for becoming the best version of myself and it all started in my own head. I had to let go.

Let go of the approval of others.

Let go of emotional eating.

Let go of hating the body given to me.

Let go of excuses.

Let go of doubt.

Let go of the mindset "I HAVE to go to the gym today" to "I GET to go to the gym today!"

Fitness is something that has changed my life. My mind, body and soul. Something I have to continue to work at everyday. When my mindset changed, fitness became a drug to me. An addict of the time I get alone everyday to work on myself and my strength. This isn't the end of my fitness journey. Yes, I am happy, proud and confident in myself but I can't let that stop me from meeting the next goal. It's a continual dedication to the process. If you struggle with confidence, weight or how you see yourself, I hope you hear me. Hear all the raw, messy struggles of my own fitness journey. Keep pushing. Keep challenging yourself to dig deeper into the root of your struggles. The only person holding you back is yourself! If you would've told little middle school Bethany I would be writing this blog some day... I think she would look at you in disbelief. I hope I make her proud.

CHANGE: it is not only okay, but necessary for your growth to carry on the rest of the way.