This I Believe

Stephanie - Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Entered on March 6, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in myself. I know that I am capable of becoming a well-rounded individual who lives a successful and fulfilling life. Life is full of surprises that may bring exciting or traumatic events. Also, I have faith that I can overcome any obstacle that stands in my way, but one during my seventh grade will always stand out.

Pasta, vegetables, fruit, cheese, yogurt- all of the foods I always ate in excess. I was like a food disposal; food went in, got ground up, and stuck around on my hips. I started to become what I ate- an enormous food pyramid, small on the top and wide on the bottom. Everyday, my classmates would harass me by saying, “Hey fatty” and I would just walk away, ashamed. No classmate could see beyond my physical appearance and my frustration resulted in consuming more comfort food.

“Stephanie, you’re overweight and there are serious risks for you in the future if you don’t take the initiative to lose weight soon”, said my doctor during my annual visit. I knew how crucial to my health it was to shed the excess pounds, but I never had the desire to do so. Finally, when I was in seventh grade, I decided it was time for me to lose weight and show my disbelieving peers that I was more than the studious, rotund girl.

I considered asking my doctor for help, but I soon realized that I wanted to slim down by my own coaching without someone else telling me what to do. Constantly, I flipped through fitness magazines to find workout tips and the inspiration to lose the weight. I idolized what I thought were flawless women in the beauty magazines. I created a mental image of the perfect body for me and began from there.

Initially, I began by eating three healthy meals a day, monitoring my portions well, and avoiding snacks. I exercised everyday by attending dance class, doing aerobics, and abdominal workouts. Each pound I lost motivated me to continue losing more pounds. After nine months of strenuous activity, I had reached my goal weight of one-hundred and twenty-five pounds. I had burned a grand total of sixty-five pounds off of my body. Those sixty-five pounds surprised everyone, especially myself. I barely recognized myself, but I was grateful for my new appearance.

Several changes in my belief system occurred during my weight loss. I felt ready for any challenge and realized that hard work pays off in the end. I saw how cruel people could be and I responded back by praying to God that they would mature. I never had faith in myself, but being able to lose weight on my own proved to me that I can do anything I put my mind to. Most importantly, I believe in being myself and enjoying my time in the world because I only get one chance to live.