From Skinny And Heart Broken To Strong And Happy

My life-changing fitness journey.

Childhood memories are usually the blurriest,
but there’s one that’s stuck in my mind and it’s so vivid. I was about 4 years old and I remember being with my mom at the grocery store. We were waiting in line and at one moment I looked up to the lady in front of me and saw her beautifully defined arms, slim yet curvy body, and I was amazed. I have never seen such thing before, since most women in Eastern Europe are either skinny or a bit more… let’s say round. She looked so graceful, strong and independent. I knew I wanted to be just like her when I grow up.

Years were passing by
and I was never really paying attention to my body shape, considering the fact that I was naturally skinny (I was also a ballroom dancer up till my early teens). I was eating “whatever” and not gaining one pound. I wasn’t gifted with big boobs or a round butt, I had no curves at all. And now that I think about my diet, my health wasn’t good either. I really didn’t care though, because hey – “the skinnier the better.”

In my late high school and early college
years, all I wanted to do was party. It would start on Thursday night and finish on Sunday. My weeks were on repeat: house parties, bars, sleepless nights, lots of alcohol – I was a complete MESS! But you only live once, right? And when you’re young, these are the things you’re expected to do.

On top of everything,
I was dating this hot guy (also the wrong guy) that I fell head over heels in love with. He was the “James Dean” type, charismatic and tall, with deep brown eyes – he had me in the palm of his hand. It’s because of him that I was starting to get more concerned about my physique.

Our relationship didn’t last too long,
but it was enough to break my heart into a million pieces when it ended. It was a painful moment, but also a moment of enlightenment. I got so mad and I promised myself that nobody will ever play me like that again.

Then I remembered about that “wow” moment when I was 4.
I wasn’t becoming that gorgeous lady that I wanted to look like. Instead, I was lost and spiralling down. So I put all my energy into one thing: I wanted to be the best version of MYSELF. Confident, intelligent, strong.

While still trying to figure out who I was,
what I liked, what was good and bad for me, exercising has become a habit. I was religiously working out around 5 times a week. I cut out the drinking and smoking, but also a lot of people who were trying to get me back into that lifestyle. When the main things you have in common with your “friends” are parties and alcohol, you should maybe reconsider the definition of this word. I started to spend most of my time reading about exercising (bodybuilding in particular) and nutrition, I got addicted to the post-workout endorphins, I could see my body change! I have never felt more confident and in control before.

If you come from an Eastern European family,
you’re going to relate. There are 5 decent jobs you can have: doctor, teacher, lawyer, engineer and accountant. By choosing one of these professions, you’re going to be safe for the rest of your life. You’ll have a house, a salary, a dog but MOSTLY, you’re going to make your parents happy.

Two years ago, I chose the fourth one,
and I swear I did my best. As much as I was trying, I was just not into it. From the very beginning, I had this voice in my head telling me that it was wrong, but I was trying to shut it up. If the first year was hard, the second one was a nightmare. I had no passion, I wasn’t driven – I was doing something I didn’t like for somebody else. The only time I was happy was at the gym, or working with a few clients that I was training.

That’s when I decided to take the hardest step in my life:
I QUIT engineering school to become a full-time personal trainer and I don’t regret it one bit.

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I realized that I could influence other people’s lives.
My heart was growing when I was seeing someone make progress because of me. Some people changed their eating habits, others lost weight, some clients even quit smoking and it meant the world to me!

Looking back to my past unhealthy lifestyle and relationship,
I can only be grateful for the path that I’ve been put on. From the naive little girl caring too much about what others think, I’ve turned into a confident woman who knows her value and is not afraid of being HERSELF. From an egocentric girl who used to only think about herself, I’ve become more compassionate and willing to help others. From a girl who would put her fake friends first, I’ve realized how important family is and became so much closer to them.

And from a weak girl,
I became a strong woman who doesn’t need a man to carry her things, to open her jars or to tell her that the weights are too heavy for her! ☺

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