In 2015, I weighed over 300 pounds. I rarely looked in the mirror. I was in and out of the hospital, being told that I needed to change my lifestyle over and over again. That I needed to invest in myself. Because it shouldn’t be difficult to take a shower. It shouldn’t be difficult to tie your shoes. It shouldn’t be difficult to live. But it was going to be too hard (I kept telling myself). I can’t do it (I kept repeating). So I ignored the advice and continued my struggle to live.

Then Bobby and I started to have conversations about when we would start our family. I couldn’t wait to become a mother. So at my appointment in 2015, I brought it up to my doctor. She told me the last thing I wanted to hear. I was extremely unhealthy and overweight. While it’s my choice, of course, to try and put my body through that, she warned me it would be very risky for both me and any baby I would try and carry. Time froze.

So not long after on October 12, 2015, I showed up to something called Camp Gladiator. I had a cheap yoga mat and 3-pound dumbbells. For 60 minutes, I put my body through a wake-up call. And then I threw up everywhere.

I started attempting 5K walk/runs and went from barely walking one to running one the entire way through. The photos below show my very first walk (where my feet got swollen and I had to sit for a while before walking to the car). They show my first attempt to lightly jog the last stretch on Thanksgiving morning with the family. They show my first 4-mile jog through the city.  They show my journey. Since the day I decided to try Camp Gladiator, I have gone 310 more times as of this week. I lost about 90 pounds from that first day until March 2017 when I found out I was expecting our little Maci. I cried through most of this journey, felt weak at times. I prayed to find the strength to get past my sore body begging me to stop. I felt sorry for myself at times because it just didn’t seem fair that I had to go through all of this. That I was given a body that required so much. But I kept thinking of our future child, our future children. The little humans that would someday make this all worth it.

I finally showed my body that it matters and that I love it. I begged for it to forgive me for how badly I have treated it. That’s all it was wanting, love. Help. From me. And I had neglected it and said bad things about it for so many years. All it was needed was for me to pay attention to it. So that’s what I finally did.

I showed up to camp 5x a week. I started lifting heavyweights. I started paying attention to what I put inside my body. Within a year of Camp Gladiator, in August 2016, I participated in CG Games prelims. I knew I wouldn’t qualify for finals, but I just wanted to finish all four events. And I did.Meghan Boggs All of a sudden, I had so much energy. I was looking in the mirror. I was seeing a beautiful and strong woman who was fierce and proud of who she was. And that person was incredible. The fact that I had her hidden away for so long made me sad. I couldn’t believe this person was here the whole time just waiting to burst out. It took me such a long time to focus on being happy with who I was. It definitely didn’t just happen overnight. But the more I focused on understanding my feelings, my strengths, and my weaknesses, the more I began to appreciate what I had to offer the world. That in itself was transformational.

I took the photo on the left at the start of my journey. And the one on the right just a few weeks before I found out I was pregnant in April 2017.Meghan Boggs before and after Throughout my pregnancy, I attended Camp Gladiator over 50 more times up until 36 weeks to stay healthy and avoid gaining too much of the weight back. My body had other plans for me. I ended up gaining almost all of it back by the time I gave birth at 38 weeks. I felt upset about it at first. I felt my thoughts going back to 2015 about WHY this has to happen to me. Why would my body do this to me again when I had treated it so wonderfully in the last few years?

But then I saw Maci. I held her on my chest and felt her breathing synced with mine in our hospital bed for the first time. And I had my answer. She was my answer.