By Jenna Kress
Not cool enough. Not strong enough. Not fast enough. Not skinny enough. Not talented enough.
The feeling of never being enough or doing good enough.
That is the story of my life.
I was once a young girl with a creative mind and imagination; I dreamed of being on Broadway, was somewhat shy, and quieter than the rest of my family. I also spent a lot of time in front of the mirror cutting myself down for being too fat. I had some talents and hobbies but never really succeeded in one. I really struggled with putting myself out there because of how I felt about myself – fat, ugly, I had bad acne, weak, and what I would call “socially awkward.”
Me. I'm the biggest thing that has ever held me back.
I do have to give myself credit because after hitting my heaviest weight, I did do something to change it. I changed my diet and started exercising. I started University, got into a serious relationship, and became physically unrecognizable
I learned that if I work really hard at something, if I’m persistent, and if I really want it, I’ll succeed. However, there was a lot of struggle during this time as well. I lost a lot of weight. It became an obsession. I exercised a lot, skipped meals, rationed my portions, and continued to shrink to a point where I knew people were saying things but never to my face- with the exception of my boyfriend at the time calling me a skeleton; “It’s like having sex with a Skeleton” he would say. I vividly remember a point that hit me before I started losing a lot of weight – my boyfriend had accidently slipped on a pair of my jeans and then went on to make fun of me for that fact that he could fit into them- So I went from too big to too skinny. Sadly my ex-boyfriend was more concerned that people thought he was the cause of my low weight, than he was about my health.
I tried bulimia. I remember shoving my fingers down my throat. That didn’t work. I tried the back of my toothbrush. That also didn’t work. I remember how my throat felt. Raw.
Since bulimia didn’t work, I continued to eat very little, so eventually I ended up with anorexia. One of the scariest things that I vividly remember was weighing myself in my parent’s bathroom and seeing 95 lbs (I am 5’7”)- the scary thing about it is I remember smiling because I was pleased with this outcome.
My mind was always on food – about when the next allotted time came up that I could eat and how many calories it would cost me. I suffered from depression and anxiety, which I was taking a prescription for, but this further declined my appetite and gave me terrible tremors.
I was very skinny but I never felt skinny enough.
I was never good enough even though I excelled at school and landed a great job after I finished my degree. I just wasn’t happy. I began to drink more – often skipping food to offset the extra calories from booze.
I can’t tell you how exactly how I made the switch to choose a healthier lifestyle, but I’ve made and continue to make a lot of changes to get where I am – I am a heathier body weight now and doing things I never believed I could. I am very active being an indoor spin (i.e. Ride, cycle) instructor (‘Motivator’) at Wheelhouse Cycle Club. Being up on the podium as a Motivator – leader – has given another level of purpose and self-worth to my life. I have confidence on the bike- I can dance, move and be who I want to be.
The adrenaline that I get from these high energy rides keeps my energy and mood up for days.
My rides are intense, fast, dance-y and frickin' hard, but I love it. I am continually surprised by my own capabilities. Riding and exercising has provided me both physical and mental benefits- but more importantly are the mental benefits I have gained.
On days that I have felt mental pain and fatigue- Riding has helped release that.
I have a better relationship with food because I know without it, I wouldn’t be as strong on the bike and wouldn’t be able to keep up with my active and busy lifestyle (I am also a Registered Dietitian and Certified Makeup Artist).
I have also been able to connect with others and am now part of a positive supportive community.
Leading rides has become part of the biggest thing that helps me love myself more- I love helping and empowering others to be their healthiest and happiest versions of themselves.
My personal journey includes experiences of struggles and successes. I’ve loved, lost, laughed, and ugly cried probably more than the average person. I still have failures but I continue to learn from them, take risks, get stronger, and happier. I am thankful for this body and that I can ride, I can run, I can do yoga, I can lift weights heavier than I ever imagined for myself. And finally, I am getting better at appreciating myself and recognizing that I AM already enough, I’m more than enough.
If you don’t believe in you, how is anyone else supposed to?
Be excited about yourself! xo Jenna