Positive Vibes Only: The Real Way To Approach A Fitness Journey

Positive Vibes Only: The Real Way To Approach A Fitness Journey

It took til age 21 to realize I was going about it entirely wrong.
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When I was a freshman in college, I was all over the dieting game.

I’d cut out carbs, cut out desserts, cut out anything remotely delicious. It was a continuous start-stop cycle. As you can imagine, in the latter half of the year, I thought I was killing it- between my restrictive intake and consistent gym visits, sure, I lost weight. However, despite the quick results, they didn’t last long. Simply put, I wasn’t working out for the right reasons. I used this goal of weight loss as a distraction from the chaos that surrounded my freshman year. Somehow, I correlated working out and losing weight with the reason things weren’t going right. I thought that if I slimmed down, I’d be happier. I didn’t have the right attitude. It’s funny, how things tend to connect, and I’ve asked a few family members and friends and it all seems to match up: I was my skinniest when I was the most unhappy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty positive person. However, as many people experience, freshman year of college is just plain wild. You don’t know who your friends are, how to handle academics, or if a guy likes you or simply wants to hook up with you. All of these anxieties, combined with my subpar self-confidence led me to put a whole force of energy into my appearance. It’s interesting looking back at it now, and thinking about just how much energy that took. I still have the remnants of that time period physically across my body. Like most women, I’ve definitely acquired a few stretch marks. They scatter like tree branches across my body, the reminder of gaining weight, losing weight, gaining it back, only to lose it once more.

As I hit the age of 21, suddenly my negative outlook on weight loss, fitness, and healthy living has acquired a new, positive perspective. It’s a day-to-day basis, and I’m relieved to have finally found the happiness in fitness. It’s not about the amount of calories burned anymore- it’s about the rush of endorphins afterwards. It’s no longer about restricting my intake- rather, it’s about balancing the days I’ll allow myself to splurge and the days I maintain a healthy diet. Fitness doesn’t have to be negative, nor does it have to be associated with low self-esteem. Although I have my days of insecurities, (don’t we all?) it’s different now. It’s happy. It’s rewarding. It’s acceptance. It’s learning to love every mark on my skin and it’s remembering that self love is so much more gratifying than self loathing.

When I was younger, all I wanted to be was skinny. Now? Not so much. Sure, I’d love a killer set of abs. I’d love to tone up my stomach muscles and arms. Who’s to say that can’t happen with a healthy approach and a good attitude? But overall, I want to be my healthiest, happiest self. We all have different fitness journeys, some just start off on a bumpy trail. The important part is to remember why you’re on your own: and if it’s for anyone other than yourself, it’s time to reevaluate.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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