My name is Cristina and I’m just like everyone else. I’ve had my ups and downs. I’ve had great successes and great failures. Sometimes I gather my courage and I pretend that I’m brave. I pretend I have confidence because maybe if I pretend enough, I’ll start believing it.

Here’s a glimpse at story.

The first photo is from my freshman year of college. I was 127 pounds and a size 5/6. College was the first time I wasn’t told what I could or couldn’t eat. It was the first time that I wasn’t told when to workout or when to practice. I did go cheerleading practice, but it wasn’t like middle school or high school when I danced competitively. Ultimately, hurting myself, not realizing that normal people who don’t dance 6 days a week need to be active and that I can’t just eat what I want because I want to, I put on a lot of weight – about 115 pounds. That’s a lot of weight

 

After packing on the pounds, I never thought I would be able to get it off, not even a little bit. Not only was I hard on myself, but others around me were hard on me too. It was easier to just keep eating and laugh it off. Looking back I realize I had an issue with binging. It was my way of coping, but at the time I didn’t see it that way.

This second picture is at the IGC hosted Midnight Breakfast my senior year of college. It was the end of the fall semester and the breakfast is an annual party hosted for the whole student body to relax. Think waffled from 9 pm to 1 am and lots of music. As you can see I was a very different person than I was during football season my freshman year. But that wasn’t the end of it.

I kept bringing on more pounds, and the heavier I got, the more convinced strangers were that I was pregnant. This not only made me feel horrible because I wasn’t, it made me realize that I was heavier than I was seeing in the mirror. Below is a photo from my senior ball in May 2011. I don’t even recognize that girl.

I wish I could say that the photo above was the worst, but I know it’s not. Below is a photo from my undergraduate commencement ceremony. She’s not the same girl, not physically, and she definitely wasn’t mentally. It’s easy to laugh things off, but inside I just couldn’t believe I had let it get to this point. I couldn’t believe that I was that hard on my body, that I just ate everything in sight. That I didn’t take the time to learn about health or nutrition. I didn’t even try. I just wanted to have a good time and that meant my body felt the consequences.

I take an awful lot of selfies, and I do so because I’m proud of the body Ive earned so far. There are definitely days when I’m not happy with myself, I’m not happy with this body, but then I see where I was and where I could still be and I realize that my bad today is no where near the bad it was before.

Today I was brave because I thought other people on this journey should see and understand that health looks different on so many people. Not everyone is perfect, and we’re not meant to be. Below is the picture I posted on my instagram account. I have loose skin form my weightloss because I hold my weight in my stomach. There’s some loose skin in my thighs too, but it’s not as noticeable. This body is frustrating, don’t get me wrong, but it’s mine and I’ve worked hard for it.

So today I was brave and showed you what I look like, what my real self looks like. Follow me on instagram at @runsweateatrepeat and tag me in a photo that you believe you’re being brave in. Show me your brave.

❤ Cristina
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