This article first appeared in the December 20, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper.
I’d like to start by thanking all of you. As a long-time writer, it was rather risky to begin a fitness column. After all, who am I? Why would you want to read what I have to say about health and wellness? Even without fully knowing who I am, you have embraced me and all I have brought to DailyFitness.
Allow me to officially introduce myself. I’m Nicole, aka Nikki On The Daily, a 28-year-old living on the South Shore of Long Island. I enjoy being active, trying new things, and surrounding myself with positive, open-minded people.
Initially, writing this column was a way to interact with the wellness community — likeminded individuals form stronger bonds. Although that mission has been accomplished, as the weeks progressed so have I. This undertaking has become a continuous life lesson. Now, it has turned into the best part of my week.
In January, I dubbed 2017 as “The Year of My Fittest Self.” As I approach 30, there are many in my age group starting to already see the latent effects of their decisions — excess drinking, late nights, and other unhealthy habits. Having always been more health-conscious, I wanted to see what my body could do if I dedicated myself to truly toning it up and taking care of myself.
I wanted to look like the girls in the fitness magazines, true, but my overall goal was to stop wanting to look like someone else and to be the best Nicole I could be.
My fitness journey this year has fluctuated between the best shape I could possibly be (around July) to going weeks — yes, weeks — without working out and overindulging in foods that were way too tempting to turn away.
While I’ve always had a slender appearance, I literally eat everything — I’m an equal opportunity eater. Which is why the hashtag #FitnessFoodie has become synonymous with my fitness endeavors. Part of it is genetics, another part going through health kicks to combat certain toxins, and the final part is working out. Another hashtag, almost a mantra, has been #StrongNotSkinny.
Being unhealthy on the inside, both mentally and physically, isn’t based on appearance. Health issues aren’t biased if you’re a size two or 12. I might wear a size four, but in January I couldn’t last an hour in spin class. Today, I make cardio a priority for my heart in addition to lifting weights to maintain a physical strength. I am strong, not skinny.
Above all, this year I finally understood that feeling my best was far more important than looking it.
I’m proud to say that I have rid myself of all self-hate and self-loathing, a lifelong goal. Rather, I have learned to completely accept my body in its every version. Whether I can fit into my favorite outfit or not, I still love the person reflecting back at me despite what I wear.
A lot of that has to do with the countless fitness articles I have written. By making fitness fun it has opened up a world of new experiences in addition to seeing a personal transformation.
But that’s not even the best part. The best part is walking through town, from Manhattan to Montauk, and being approached by somebody who recognizes my face from the column. Hearing that they tried one of the exercises I wrote about, or how they discovered something new, is almost like having a wellness buddy without the commitment but all the motivation.
That’s what all of my readers are. You are the motivation behind every step of what I do, not only for myself but for everyone else in our community. While my personal goals have been accomplished and then re-accomplished after falling off the wagon for a few weeks, 2017 has made me happier, healthier, and more motivated than ever.
To all of the companies that have been on my journey with me, from business owners to personal trainers, wellness companies and all those in between, I want to thank all of you for inspiring me to inspire others.
As I write my last column for the year in my first year as a columnist I cannot promise where the next year will bring us. But I can promise you this. As long as you believe in yourself, I will believe in you. Because I believe in this ever growing community and that no matter what age, shape, or size, we are all strong together. In Omnia Paratus (prepared for anything)!
You can follow more stories from me on Instagram and Facebook @NikkiOnTheDaily