Breakups—they make you doubt yourself and make you feel insecure about the way you look. After the split with my ex-boyfriend, I started eating a lot, consuming two to three cups of rice every meal. I also started bingeing on French fries. They’re glorious and unhealthy, and they were my ultimate comfort food. I was also drinking a lot in bars, clubs, and at home. It didn't help that my grandma visited us here in the US and she cooked so well. Add the fact that I was not active at all, and well, pounds tend to pile up.

I started dieting because I was depressed.
At first, I wanted to prove to him that I was
better than the person he had broken up with.

I took up swimming. Twenty laps a day kept my mind off everything and put me at peace, but the pounds dropped immediately when I cut off my carbs and substituted them with veggies and lots of protein. When I lost my first 20 pounds, I decided to continue on with the diet.

When summer ended, I had to think of a new activity. My brother, Jaime, is a gym rat. He influenced me to go to the gym. Like everybody, going there for the first time—getting familiar with the equipment and knowing proper gym etiquette—intimidated me. But I pressed on. It couldn't be worse than how I already felt. I started with cardio, walking 3.5 mph on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Over time, I started pushing myself toward running. Now I run 6 mph. I’ve also begun weight lifting... It took me eight months to lose 70 pounds.
It feels really great. I didn't know that I could push myself further. My goal was to only lose 50 pounds, but I made it to 70, so that's something. I’ve started eating carbs again but I monitor my intake.

I thought I wanted to prove to my ex
how great of a loss I was. At first, I
wanted to prove to him that I was better
than the person he had broken up with.
I imagined how surprised he’d be. But
in the end, that didn’t matter. I realized
I wanted to prove to myself that I am
more than what I think I am capable of,
that I can push myself to the limit.

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I had wanted my ex to see me for who I am, but I learned to love myself first. He's currently in a relationship, and so am I. I’m happy with myself, with who I’m with, but perhaps the most important thing here is that I realized that I don’t need validation from him or from anyone. I needed it from myself.

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