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Chapter 1: Fat and Afraid

It’s easy to look at someone’s Chapter 25 when you’re on Chapter 1 struggling to get started and keep going. It only took me 1.5 years, but I (for the most part) enjoy working out now and I feel confident in the gym. I look at my body and see healthy and strong. I’m not afraid anymore. Instead, I leap forward freely without looking back.

But that’s my Chapter 25. Let me tell you about my Chapter 1, which I like to call: Fat and Afraid

I showed up to my first personal training session after returning from a week long binge in the Bahamas of garbage food and strong drinks. I was so afraid, so nervous to workout with Jen. A million questions ran through my mind and embarrassing scenarios were on repeat. But I was damned and determined that I was going to give it a shot – after all, I already paid for it and told my whole office I was starting with a personal trainer.

So I showed up on a Monday, fat and afraid, and did everything she told me to. Inside, my body was screaming. Outside, I just kept smiling. I pushed myself so hard, I couldn’t even recognize myself – ha! Being a habitual quitter, I was quite impressed with the amount of effort I was putting into this session. And I felt proud of me!

December 2019

Until it hit me – a little of what I like to call “indigestion.” What that actually translates into is “might throw up, might pass out, or a combination of both.”

I was ashamed to admit it, but after a few worried glances from Jen, I finally confessed I didn’t feel good. She had a feeling – probably from the shade of green I was turning. We had about 15-20 minutes left of our session, so I really wanted to push through. But after I rushed to the bathroom to rip off my shirt and lay on the cold tile in attempts to not throw up, I decided to throw in the towel and head home early.

I got in the car and cried on the way home. Why in the hell did I think I could do this? I couldn’t even get through a full session and this is just the beginning – I knew it had to get harder! I felt anything but accomplished or proud in the moment.

So then I was Fat, Afraid, and Ashamed.

I went home and cried to my husband that night, but he encouraged me to keep going. “I know it’s hard and you hated it, but you’re strong and can do it. It won’t always be this hard and you won’t always feel this way.”

I woke up the next day with sore muscles I didn’t even know I had! I kid you not, I told all my friends at work that I had my first personal training session and already had broken my elbow. Yes, I was CONVINCED I broke my elbow. Doing what? Tricep push-ups. Ha!

So I had to have a tough conversation with myself, that went a little like this: enough is enough, stop being so damn afraid of the unknown. Just do the hard things until they aren’t hard anymore. I may be a little scared, but I am strong. And I will only get stronger.

Without my husband’s encouragement and Jen’s accountability, I would’ve walked away that day, afraid and never looking back, like I had many times before.

July 2019 > August 2021

It’s easy to reflect on that time, stronger and healthier, and think “See Mikayla? Look how far we’ve come!” But it was so dang hard in the beginning to look ahead and see the person I so strongly desired to be.

Don’t give up. Don’t compare your struggles now to someone else’s success. And don’t you dare let fear stop you.

I’m glad I didn’t.

You’ve got this,