I have always been active. From baby ballet at five years old to playing competitive tennis all through high school, to teaching high intensity dance cardio classes in college all the way up to my last job as an instructor at Flywheel Sports, one of the nation’s top indoor cycling studios. And just for some background knowledge, I had my normal self conscious moments as a teenager, but there are rare moments that I can look back on feeling truly ashamed or embarrassed of my body. I have been quite accepting of myself no matter what my weight, in the sense that my internal dialogue was never too critical. I point this out because I want to be open and honest. My love for working out and my own personal mantra of “Sweat Every Day” never stemmed from self esteem issues or a breaking point where I needed to change my body.
There was a turning point in my life however, where “The Sweat Life” became how I defined my lifestyle. I’m not going to get into too much detail but at nineteen years old I was living abroad, I was unfulfilled by my schooling, going through my first heartbreak and making poor lifestyle choices leaving me heavier than I had ever weighed and TOTALLY depressed. To make the story short, I decided my current situation was not working for me and I needed to readjust because the path I was headed was NOT an acceptable one. I finally got to the point where I could see what my family and friends had been witnessing for months: I was at my emotional rock bottom. That very next summer I decided it would be my mission to just move…with no goal in mind, except to break the cycle, workout, and get me back to my happy self.
Naturally, that summer I dropped to my normal weight…but that was only the consolation prize. The real prize was learning how to get back into relationship with my body again and discovering that exercise could be my tool to making myself mentally stronger, provide a new challenge, give me instant confidence boosts, and just make me happy (YAY endorphins!) Now this is definitely not one of those crazy, physical transformation stories with wild before-and-after photos (love those stories <3) Rather, my story is of a total mental transformation where I committed to flipping the switch in my mind. Fast forward to today, almost ten years later, I SWEAT because that summer I got in touch with understanding my own SELF WORTH. I had reached the threshold of the negativity that I would allow myself to feel and decided that I valued my happiness too much to ever get to that low point again.
Today, I am obsessed with putting myself first and prioritizing my health and workouts because WHEN I HONOR MY MIND, BODY, AND SPIRIT I AM CONNECTING TO MY BEST SELF. WHEN I AM MY BEST SELF, I CAN SHOW UP FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD AT MY BEST. Living an active lifestyle has stopped being about the number on the scale years ago and how I FEEL has outweighed most of my physical goals now too. This lifestyle is a balancing act. It is meant to be sustainable and I am in it for the long run. I don’t restrict my eating and I ALWAYS enjoy life…Some weeks my fitness and diet is consistent and others weeks I can barely get a workout in…Because life happens. But no matter what life throws at me, I know I am my own strongest asset and I understand how much I VALUE myself at my healthiest and happiest. I am more empowered when I sweat. I am most relaxed when I sweat. I do my best thinking when I sweat. I am stress-free when I sweat. I am my favorite version of Natalia when I sweat. I have total power in unlocking my best self through sweat and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I know that everybody is on a different journey and there is no need to compare our stories but I urge you to put yourself first and allow for everything else to fall into place once you do so. It is so worth it because YOU are so worth it. Love and value yourself enough to take control of your life…whatever that may look like…sweaty or not. But I do promise if you can get in touch with your self, through moving your body…something amazing will happen 🙂
Love and Light!