I love a new year. It’s a great time to leave everything from the past 365 days behind and start fresh. January 1st is like a walk in the park on a beautiful Fall day with a slight breeze and an array of autumnal toned leaves. It’s like washing your face on the morning of a very special day. It marks the journey to new beginnings.
Twelve months ago, I was ringing in 2012 with mixed emotions; emotions of both joy and sadness reigned over me. The joy came from the excitement of a new year and the unhappiness derived from the lack of change. I’ll quickly reiterate my struggles…In all of the fondest memories of my childhood that I remember, I was overweight. I was always the fat kid, the big one, the one losing his breath after walking up 2 flights of steps to a class on the next floor. I was the one who tried to leave gym class a little bit earlier than scheduled just so I can get a heads up from the large crowds and take my time so I won’t be out of breath. I was that kid who wore a hoodie on a gorgeous 80 degree Spring day just because he was embarrassed to disclose what was underneath. The Summer weather was my biggest fear, and my shame grew as the weather got warmer.The struggles of being overweight are beyond physical. The real struggle comes from within: Lack of motivation and purpose, feeling disgusting and out of place in the world and thinking of yourself as less valuable than the people around you.
I remember earlier this year, around late January, murmuring these words to my mom, “My time is now.” I was wholeheartedly convinced that it was my time to change, my time to take care of myself and my time to take control of something that has haunted me my entire life. I knew the journey would be long and tough, but I was ready. I set my goal, but feared it. The initial goal was to lose 60 pounds. The first few weeks of the year I began making a few changes, and continued working out. Mid March, while on the phone with a friend, I weighed myself and noticed I lost 10 pounds. I was over the moon and in complete shock. When I look back at it now, I laugh at how I reacted, but at that time, it was just what I needed to get motivated to continue, it was just the fire needed to light the flame. At the 30 pound weight loss mark, I convinced myself that I could lose even more, and with my doctor’s consent, I changed my goal to lose 70 pounds. Somewhere along the way, I became even more ambitious and I was working towards an 80 pound weight loss goal.
I accomplished it. I surpassed it, and I continue to do so every day.
Now I’m not saying this is something easy. I work my ass off every day at the gym, 5-6 times a week and I eat healthy and fresh. …and guess what? I love to do so. In the least sexual fashion, I love being dirty and sweaty. Initially, it was tough. I was turning down plates of food that I could not live without. No rice and beans? What type of Dominican am I? Saying no was very difficult. Imagine your heart telling you one thing, and your brain telling you another… Exactly.
At this point in my life, it’s not all about the weight loss, or about how I went from wearing a size 44 to 34. It’s about something beyond that. It’s about a person who was obese. Someone who hasn’t even lived 2 centuries and in the beginning stages of diabetes. Someone young and ambitious whose desire was covered by living overweight. Someone who if it wasn’t for his friends convincing him to attend his senior prom, would have missed it because he knew he was in need of bigger pants and was too ashamed to let his parents know. Millions of people, my age, younger, older, my race, black, white, my gender, my sexual preference, with my dreams, with completely different aspirations, all face the same problem. It’s about me. It’s about me overcoming something huge. It’s about me gaining confidence, a confidence that has always lived inside me but was covered up. A confidence that makes me believe that cliché quote that filled our ears as children, “You can do anything you set your mind to.”
This brings me to the subject at hand… 2013. This upcoming year will be a huge year for me. For those who don’t know, I graduated high school 1 ½ years ago and took a break after. During the break, my main focus was working with cakes (the family business) and losing weight. Things are about to change…
Though I do plan to continue making cakes, I will be stepping back a bit. I will start college in 2 weeks and I also plan on pursuing other artistic mediums in 2013. I will leave it at that for now! I will be making fewer cakes, but I will be following my heart, which is ultimately the most important thing, right? Life is too short to even consider dwelling on the possibilities. I proved it to myself this year, so think about it… What can’t I do? Give it a go, and I’ll see you on the other side.