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  • Writer's pictureJessica Gerlock

From Fat to Fit- A Girl’s Positive Mindset

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

I was about seven years old when I started to feel different because of my weight. Growing up as a young girl I never cared about what I ate or what I looked like physically. I was always on the chunkier side as a little girl and it only got worse as I grew up.

As a young girl I was a tomboy. I enjoyed playing sports. I played softball, baseball, hockey, swam competively and even Taekwondo. I never was amazing at sports but I was overweight and I was just looking to fit in. I felt boys were less judgmental on appearance and I always had more boy friends than girls. I continued playing sports until years later, until the boys weren’t so accepting anymore of playing with a girl.

It was the summer of 1999, I was seven years old and my brother was going away to sleepover camp for the first time. I wanted to go with him. If I thought the girls were cliquey at school, it was even worse at camp. I really did not have any girl friends I knew there, so it was a new experience for me. I was about 30 pounds heavier than my friends so for me wearing a bikini was already out of the question. A one-piece bathing suit was my outfit of choice for the summer. It really kills a girl’s self-esteem when you’re seven years old and you are the only girl in your cabin wearing a one-piece. I ended up feeling even more alone and homesick. I was not happy but I stuck through the 10 days and came home. I tried to act so tough but no matter where I went, I didn’t feel welcome.

I can clearly remember the first time I was ever called a ‘fat name’. It was a few years later also at sleepover camp. A boy called me ‘Free Willy.’ He thought it was funny. Something so insignificant to someone else, stayed with me for 14 years. 14 years of overeating, health problems, a lot of tears and lots of anxiety and depressive moments.

As a young girl I always cared about what people thought of me. I still do to some extent to this day. At school I worried about recess because I didn’t really fit in with the girls. I felt I was being judged if I played sports with the boys. I didn’t know if I would have anyone to hang out with. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still did have girlfriends but the Barbie and jump rope thing wasn’t really for me. I was unhealthy and nearly double the size of my peers. I just didn’t fit in and felt out of place.

I was bullied about my weight throughout school. The weight started increasing exponentially while I was in high school. That is when it started impacting my moods and the way I looked at life. I was suicidal at one point. I did not want to be around my friends and I started isolating myself. I became physically sick with stomach problems, mentally sick and looked down upon myself. I hit rock bottom.

The teenage lazy factor definitely hit me hard and I was eating out all the time and barely could keep up in gym class. Going to school in a very middle-to-upper end area, kids weren’t very accepting if you looked different.

My turning point didn't come for a while, not until long after high school. During grade 11, I was homeschooled for a semester because I refused to walk into the school. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin and I made myself physically sick. I was in and out of the hospital for stomach problems and eventually I was diagnosed as clinically depressed. Thanks to my teachers and my family I did graduate on time with my grade in June 2010, and then in September of that year I went off to London Ontario for college.

Throughout three years in college studying Interactive Media, I gained a lot more weight and hit the 200 pound mark. I lived alone in the same building as a lot of people I knew, but I didn’t socialize or go out a lot. I ate alone way more than people knew. I had many issues with friends and a few romantic relationships, but I did not love myself, so it was hard for people to love me back.

After finishing college and completing an internship at The Walt Disney Company, something clicked. I went to the “city of dreams”, Los Angeles in May 2014. I guess the time alone with my own thoughts finally cleared my head. Before I left for LA my parents were so worried about sending their depressed baby girl on a trip alone but it was actually – exactly what I had needed. It made me realize that I did not love myself and something had to change. I was so depressed and upset for so long, that this trip showed me that it did not have to be that way and I needed to focus on myself for a bit.

I’m not sure if it was seeing the beautiful people walking around Venice Beach, or the gyms every corner you turned, or if it was just the smoggy air but the day after I returned home I got a gym membership at a local community centre and then I also hired a personal trainer. I had a goal, and I wasn't going to stop – I needed to get healthy! I saw many health professionals over the years but in the end it had to be me who wanted to change. It had to be me who wanted to turn that frown upside down. It took years to learn to finally love myself and get to a healthy weight, but I guess everything happens for a reason.

Now after changing my lifestyle and gaining a positive mindset, I have lost over half my body weight and been able to keep it off for over 6 years. I am now a Nationally Certified Personal Trainer who wants to help women who are ready to make a positive change in their lives. I know how it feels emotionally and physically to be overweight because I have been in their position. It is always easier to not work out and eat poorly, but it feels so much better to stand up and change something you are unhappy with.

Stay Strong!

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