Fitness Friday #1

In the very first installment of Fitness Fridays, I explain my path to fitness, what's working for me now, and why the hell it took me so long to finally write this.

"Teenage girl struggles with self-confidence and body image." Who in the world hasn't seen this headline or some variation of it? Despite the growing acceptance of all the shapes and sizes woman come in, it can be difficult to learn to accept yourself. 

I grew up pretty thin... kind of like skeletor, but I never really noticed. It was who I was and I was normal. Once I hit puberty, I was over the moon to finally get boobs (yassss), but I started to notice my body changing as my hips began to fill out. But, I was still thin, and society and the media love skinny gals. I remained pretty thin throughout high school thanks to daily dance classes. Sure I gained a little weight my senior year when I dropped out of my after school ballet classes, but no biggie. It wasn't until college that I became dissatisfied with how I looked. 

I didn't gain the freshman 15, but my body was still going through changes. Hello to all my other late bloomers! My boobs continued to grow (yassss), but so did my butt and my belly. No longer dancing or working out at all, I didn't know how to handle these changes, both mentally and physically, and I was still unhappy when I looked in the mirror. My friends got an earful of my complaints, and my boyfriend encouraged me to start working out with him if I wasn't happy with my looks and my increasing level of overall anxiety. (Turns out working out helps you chill out too!) But, I didn't want to put the effort in, so I made excuses because, "Hey, at least I'm not fat."

It wasn't until January of this year that I made a genuine commitment to "get fit." I had tried running programs... I had tried pilates in my dorm room... I tried barre classes... but nothing stuck. After losing weight at the end of my semester abroad, I wanted to keep it off in America. 

I started BBG by Kayla Itsines, a 12-week guide to shock your body into fitness. While I could feel myself getting stronger and my stamina increasing, I didn't see any difference. So, I made it through week 12 and got off the wagon again. 

But not for long. I knew I needed to find something I could really enjoy doing. I hate sweating, I hate push-ups, I hate going to the gym. I considered going back to ballet classes, but man, it's hard to see how bad you've gotten. Instead, I decided to try Pilates reformer classes... and I LOVE IT. I found something that helps my upper back pain, will get me major abs, and that doesn't make me sweat like a pig (major yasss).

So that's just it. I've been attending Pilates classes 2-3 times and week and I started back on my running program, which takes up another 2-3 days. The hardest part about getting fit is changing my diet, especially when I'm surrounded by goodies all day in an office, but I'm trying and that's what matters. 

The biggest hurdle so far has been more mental than physical, and that's learning how to love who I am. I am not going to lose the 10 lbs I gained during college, nor do I need to. My body is going to only continue to evolve and change as I mature, and I should learn to cherish that just like I cherished when I finally got boobs. I'm just being real with you guys, that was like a dream come true. 

And as for why it took me so darn long to get around to this? Well, I'm a creature of habit and I'm just not in the habit of writing yet... but I'm finally in the habit of working out. It's the little things. 

Regan Shorter

42000 Saint-Etienne

Regan is a freelance photographer and travel blogger.