Learning to Love

This post is about my life story growing up as an immigrant in Atlanta. Honestly, what it’s really about is my journey on learning how to love myself. I hope this story can encourage one person to do the same and change their life forever.

Growing Up

Growing up my life was difficult but what immigrant’s life isn’t difficult? Living in a house hold were the language is Spanish not English, you can imagine making friends at a young age was a challenge all its own. Luckily, my mother was a stay-at-home mom early in my childhood. We had healthy home cooked meals every day that made life bearable. Unfortunately, that all changed when my father stopped supporting us, and forced my mom to start working full time six days out of the week. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would change my perspective of life for the next eighteen years.

It naturally effected me mentally and physically. Growing up, I soon became overweight at an early age and thought,

“This isn’t a big deal. What’s wrong with a little weight?”

Now, I know that it was a big deal. Looking back, I wished I would have eaten healthier, cared more and invested in my body. I used to eat horrible fried foods, packs of chips the family size one and sugar filled juices by the gallons. Unfortunately, sometimes it was all that I had to eat or drink. No vegetables at all in my diet. Green vegetables were like aliens to me.


One small factor that helped keep me from being obese early on was my love for playing football, basketball, and soccer. Even though my diet was horrible, being active helped my body stay some what normal. I could still run a mile in a decent time, so my diet was an after thought. This didn’t last long because when the sports stopped in high school my body started to showed it. I gained weight till I was 5’11 and almost 300 pounds. Most of my clothes became too tight to even wear.

It became so bad that I was honestly scared to even look in a mirror……

I knew I was fat, but looking at my myself made me believe I would always be fat. It is one thing to know something, it is another to see it. My situation made me feel horrible. It lowered my self-confidence to almost nothing and caused me to sink into a deep depression. Being obese lead me to the darkest time in my life.

Doubt and Defeat

For the longest time I told myself I would never be skinny or fit. Having self-doubt is the first thing that will stop you from any goal. Daily, I would read health articles and look up workouts to lose weight. Each diet and workout would only last two weeks before I would quit. I had the mindset of a loser before I even started.

It would lead me to crying alone which would make me eat more unhealthy food. My life was hell. I just wanted to give up on everything. I think dating was the hardest for me. Believe it or not, woman do not want an overweight man. Not saying you need a perfect shredded body to get woman, but you do need to be able to attract them.

New Mindset

Finally, in my senior year in college I had enough. I woke up one day, looked myself in the mirror and made a choice to gave up everything. I made a promise to myself on that day to lose weight or just forever be fat. This was it, all or nothing. I woke up every morning between five and six to work out and plan my meal for the day.

The first week was so hard, I felt sick everyday. I went cold turkey giving up all the process foods and sugars my body had grown so accustom to. I had withdraws from my tired, sleep schedule and caffeine. It made my head hurt, stomach ache and even made me feel even worse for the first couple of weeks. I felt like I was dying.


I was eating vegetables, cutting my calories and working out every day that my body could handle it. My life style slowly changed and my body slowly changed as well. After 4 mouths of constant focus and learning to love myself again, I lost over 80 pounds.

It wasn’t until my birthday in a family picture that I realized, I lost a ton of weight! I never looked in a mirror while on my journey because honestly, I was still scared to. Still, I was not happy with what I saw.

I continued my lifestyle change until now, I now love to cook! It is actually one of my favorite things to do and has even improved my dating life. I love going to the gym as well. Above all, I love being able to buy and wear normal clothes. I feel better, think clearer and view life more positively day by day.

Weight loss journey

I have now lost over 110 pounds and my life and attitude are starting to both reflect this change. My life has improved tremendously. I’m more confident in my physical condition. I can now look at myself in the mirror, and most importantly, I can now see that I was my own worst enemy.

What I have Learned

The only person that can keep you from becoming who you really are is yourself. Finally after the past 18 years, I am slowly learning how to love myself again one day at a time. Additionally, I have learned that losing weight is not about reaching a number. What it is really about, is developing a culture of a positive, healthy lifestyle that I can be proud of. Its about looking in the mirror and seeing a man with potential, passion and drive. Without lying, I can actually say, “I love myself.”

1 reply
  1. Jeannetta Cartmill
    Jeannetta Cartmill says:

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