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For most of my adolescent life, I had always hidden behind the somewhat comforting excuses for my weight: “You’re just big boned,” “You just have a slow metabolism,” “Someday you’ll grow into your body.” But there was no denying the obvious truth: I was fat, plain and simple. Since the beginning of the third grade, I was always known as just another one of the “fat kids” in the grade, and it was a reputation that stuck. No matter what I did, no matter what I accomplished, I was just seen as a very big kid and nothing else. From the endless stream of insults to the constant snickering behind my back, I never heard the end of it. I could almost never go a day without having someone poke me in the stomach, expecting to hear the Pillsbury Doughboy’s “Whoo-hoo.”
I took the insults and harassment throughout the years, accepting that that was all that I would ever be–one of the fat kids. But the summer before my freshman year in high school, I took a long look at myself and how I had shaped myself throughout my life. I knew that if I wanted things to change, I would have to change myself. This was the time in my life to reinvent not only my physical being and reputation, but my life as a whole. It was this crucial personal decision that catalyzed the biggest change in my life, a promise that I still follow to this day–a commitment to good health and exercise.
I understood that my entire lifestyle had to be changed to change myself, and it was all up to me to change my diet and exercise habits. For my entire life, I had never had any regard for what I was putting into my body; I never thought twice about the fast food, salty snacks and sugary treats that I ate. And my exercise routine was inadequate when attempted. These careless habits had undoubtedly led to my obesity and needed to be changed if I really wanted to transform myself. I began by setting a diet of only healthy foods for myself and sticking to that list no matter what. Freshman year I also started serious hockey training, including daily intense workouts of running, lifting, on-ice practices, and games. Over a period of about six months, my weight went from 200 pounds to 140 pounds, and my whole physique changed to the thin and healthy build I maintain to this day.
I knew that a mission like this would be anything but easy, but it did not deter me. Whatever I had to do to achieve my goal, I did, and I still practice the wholesome habits I learned along the way. Whether it is enjoying a salad with each dinner or riding my exercise bike when I am bored instead of watching television, how I live has changed for the better. I set my mind on changing myself and never stopped until I did it. I am now a much healthier person compared to what I was a few years ago, both physically and mentally, and it is all thanks to my will to change for the better in pursuit of a goal.
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