I’ve never been thin. There isn’t a single photo of me in all of the twenty-one years of my life that I ever thought made me look remotely thin. Not in my face. Not in my arms. Not in my belly. Oh bloated nemesis.

I am what you’d call lazy. At least I was until July 14th, 2016, a day that, in my mind, will live immortally. The day I first went to a gym. My sixteen-year-old self would faint if she could see me now.

I was one of many people who gave up hope. Being slender always seemed to be out of reach, not even in the case of women portrayed in the media, waifish creatures with unattainable appeal and bewitching lives. Things go so easy for them. Because they’re thin? Maybe. Even they are crucified for gaining a few pounds.

No, for me it was even out of reach to lose my tree trunk waist and jiggly thighs, despite my efforts at diet. Not exercise. Never exercise. I was devoted to cheating the system and becoming the pencil thin princess of my dreams. And my health suffered for it.

Years went in and years went out seeing a new diet, new scientific approach, new miracle pill. I’d snuck weight loss shakes from my mom’s stash. Weight loss pills from her medicine cabinet. I read the warnings: not for children under the age of 18. Not for me.

I didn’t care. There wasn’t a single side effect of these drugs that could be worse than the feeling of being FAT. And I had always felt fat. I had been declaring myself as being on a diet since I was in second grade. Choosing the skim milk over chocolate milk like that would make any difference. Never thinking that maybe there was more to life than how others perceived me. Or that walking home from school could be the remedy I was seeking.

It took twenty years. Five days before my twenty-first birthday saw me in a place I wouldn’t have been caught dead. Sweating. Lifting. Walking. I was in a gym. And today I’ll return to that gym as I have nearly every day since.

Because, for once, I can believe that I may one day meet my goal. Skinny isn’t everything. Healthy should be. I’m now months from eating KFC potato wedges, garbage that at one time had been a lunchtime staple for me. Over a month into a gym routine. And 30 pounds down. 40 pounds left to go.

Ladies and gentleman, I’ll invite you to join me on my journey. I’ll be keeping you updated on my progress as I finally, FINALLY get lean. I’ve found my lifestyle. I hope you’re all happy with yours!

-Alyssa Adamson