A fitness journey you might relate to.
Meet Izzy Shishko. She’s a Junior at Clark University in Worcester, MA and a Leadership Ambassador at our Fit University chapter there.
Last week in a 3-part series, Izzy shared one photo on her Instagram per day, opening up about a different part of her fitness journey in each of the posts. Izzy’s goal behind the posts? To share her story in an effort to help others that may have gone through (or are currently going through) a similar situation.
Day 1: Childhood
Izzy gets real about the comparison game she played with other girls in elementary school. Anybody else relate? *Raises hand*
She talks about how even though she was an athlete and good at sports, she “still felt odd being a heavy girl good at something athletic.” Then, at 9 years old, the combination of her parents divorce and a diagnosis of hypothyroidism hit her hard, causing a weight gain of 20 pounds.
For the next three days, I’m going to post my story. This is kind of a personal post but I feel like it’s important to share who I am and why I have this Instagram to share my journey, so maybe more people can relate or understand what this lifestyle is about. It’s more about the physical side of who I am rather than my eating habits/lifestyle like usual. So stick around to read it and hopefully it will have a positive effect on at least one person 😊 🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹 Part 1: I have always been a little heavier since I could remember, probably a lot having to do with genetics, my family is not stick thin. But I remember in about 4th grade, there was a point where I could feel that I was a pariah in terms of looks compared to the other kids. Now I’m all about not comparing myself to other people, but try preaching and instilling that thought process in a 4th grader who just wants to run around and play with the other kids without the risk of being teased (because kids are mean, also note to self: change how kids talk to each other). However, I have always played sports, about every sport you could imagine since like day 1 of my life. And I was good at them too. But I still felt odd being a heavy girl good at something athletic. Then, at the age of 9, my parents got divorced. Being that age, I was just old enough to understand what was happening but not understand why, and I took it incredibly hard. That same year, I got diagnosed with a chronic illness called hypothyroidism. Essentially this means that my thyroid underproduces the hormones that help my body metabolize and grow. This meant I could exercise all I wanted, eat well, but I couldn’t metabolize any of that and it would result in weight gain. So at the age of 9, I gained a little over 20 pounds that year. I tended to use this as an excuse as to why I kept gaining weight, and while some part of it is true, when I got on medication that regulated it, the excuse became invalid and it was just me that was causing my unhappiness… to be continued. P. S. I was around 15 in this photo. #fitbitchwithafitbit
Day 2: Middle + high school
Ah the good ol’ days. Remember this time? As Izzy describes it, “the dreaded years that no one is really comfortable in their skin.” She opens up about being teased in middle school.
“People would call me fat, boys would rate me compared to my friends, they’d call me ugly, and one time was even compared to a picture of a pig on someone’s shirt. They said as they pointed to the pig: “Hey look, it’s Izzy!”
She gets real about the effect this had on her and how depression and anxiety entered her life.
This is part 2/3 in my insta series about myself/my life. If you want to catch up, go to my profile and check the post before 😊#fitbitchwithafitbit 🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹 Part 2: Then came middle school and high school. The dreaded years that no one is really comfortable in their skin. I don’t really talk about it often but I was teased a lot. People would call me fat, boys would rate me compared to my friends, they’d call me ugly, and one time was even compared to a picture of a pig on someone’s shirt. They said as they pointed to the pig: “hey look, it’s izzy!” I wasn’t even around to hear this, my friends told me later. I don’t care who you are or how thick your skin is, these are not comments that are easy to hear on a regular basis, especially from people you thought were your peers. But the problem was, I let it takeover me. I would eat to excess, eating crap and large amounts of it. The first thing I would do everyday when I got home from school was eat. And then an hour or so later I’d have dinner. And then I’d eat more. I gained easily 60 more pounds throughout those years but my mental health took more of a toll. Depression and anxiety go hand in hand with your physical appearance. The way you feel about yourself determines your mental status. And when you get influence from outsiders, it’s even harder to believe in yourself… To Be Continued. P. S. This picture was taken within the last month or so and is pretty accurate as to how I look untouched/unfiltered/makeupless/not flexed
Day 3: College (AKA, now)
Izzy went to college, and dropped out after a week. But when she did, she started taking her physical and mental health seriously, going to a therapist (yes, a therapist!) and exercising regularly. And then, she drops this truth bomb.
“When I found my love for fitness, it changed my life. I found a way to exert my anxiety through something other than panic attacks, and I found a way to feel good about myself other than “being skinny”. All I’ve wanted in life is to be thin and then all my problems will go away. False. I will NEVER be “thin”. It’s not my body type. Physical appearance does not determine your worth and fix your problems. What I actually am? Strong. Sexy. Fit as fuck. Comfortable in my own skin. Has cellulite. Has stretch marks. Has a big butt, big hips and a thick build. But I can proudly say I’m in the best shape of my life (so far) and don’t need to be a size 2 to do that.”
This is the last part in my series about myself. If you enjoyed learnin about me and found it at all useful comment below, I love to hear what you guys have to say! #fitbitchwithafitbit 🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹 Part 3: When college came around, I was not at my best. I started at a school right after high school, and within one week of attending, I had dropped out. I was lost, anxious, depressed. Idk what changed, maybe I was just ready or maybe I saw that time off as an opportunity for me, but I finally started to take myself seriously. I started working out regularly, taking care of myself, eating better, and when I started at a different school that winter, I already felt better about myself. (Please note I also did extensive therapy, and friggin loved it, and recommend always, but I know it’s not for everyone). BUT I didn’t start truly enjoying enjoying working out until I went full ham on it within the last two years. When I found my love for fitness, it changed my life. I found a way to exert my anxiety through something other than panic attacks, and I found a way to feel good about myself other than “being skinny”. All I’ve wanted in life is to be thin and then all my problems will go away. False. I will NEVER be “thin”. It’s not my body type. Physical appearance does not determine your worth and fix your problems. What I actually am? Strong. Sexy. Fit as fuck. Comfortable in my own skin. Has cellulite. Has stretch marks. Has a big butt, big hips and a thick build. But I can proudly say I’m in the best shape of my life (so far) and don’t need to be a size 2 to do that. Do I ever doubt myself and feel bad? Of course!!!!! I’m human. But I don’t let it phase me anymore, because life can’t possibly just be about how we look (shoutout to the media for that one) so I let it happen and then move on with my day and try to tell myself all the positive things I love. So for anyone out there trying to change yourself/your lifestyle, just know how possible it is. U can do anything you set your mind to and put in the hard work for. It will be tough and hella rewarding and people are here for you. I am here if you want to share P. S. Photo was a week ago, peep cellulite😜
Izzy, from all of us here at Fit University, we want to say thank you. Thank you for being vulnerable, thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for being part of the #fitufam. Stories like these and individuals like you are the reason society is starting to shift its perception of health and fitness. Fitness is not one look or one size, and we’re honored to have you as a Fit University ambassador spreading that message.
Give Izzy a follow at @quinoahandleit!
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