Monday, April 16, 2012

New York City Saved My Ass

The first time I visited New York City I absolutely hated it. 
I was on my senior trip in high school. I was adamant that I wasn't going. After many weeks of begging and groveling, my friends talked me into taking one for the team, going to New York, making some good memories, and experiencing the Big Apple. I couldn't think of a worse place to live. It was so overwhelming. Every minute I was surrounded by people, lights, cars, and billboards, the more my grievance I felt. To be honest the trip was complete waste of time and money. Looking back a lot of the things we did, were stupid. We could have done most of stuff we saw in the middle of Ohio for goodness sake. By the time I got home I vowed to never visit New York City again.

Fast forward 3 years later. 
I wanted to graduate a semester early. Evan was on his first deployment, and when he arrived home in April I wanted to be completely done with school, not to mention I could save lots of money. So, that summer I signed up for a Communications class over the summer. The class was a trip to New York City. I was less than thrilled, but it got me 3 credit hours in a weeks time. I dreaded another entire week in city hell. I convinced myself to prepare for the worst. This time around New York was a completely different place. It was thrilling, exciting, unique, and historical. We ate at a little hole in the wall restaurant in Little Italy, haggled in China town, were dazzled by Broadway, stalked met Will Ferrell, shopped till we dropped, appeared on TV, stood on top of the Empire State Building, and did a thousand other things that completely changed my opinion on New York. I loved all of it, and I didn't want to leave! 

At the time I was 40 pounds heavier than I am now. I knew I was overweight, but I wasn't exactly motivated to change for a long period of time. Diets would last for a few weeks, until I'd cave and eat half of a chocolate cake. It was a vicious, degrading cycle. This is when New York saved my life. The very place I had once despised, became my liberator. Looking back losing weight all started in New York for a number of reasons. In New York there is a law that requires all restaurants to show the amount of calories in all food (on the menu) and on all packages. I immediately become very aware of what I was eating. I quickly noticed myself picking up a regular black coffee instead of a sugar infused latte. Up until then, I was unaware of just how many calories were packed into the food I normally ate. Secondly, in New York you walk everywhere. Even if you're taking the subway, you walk to get the subway. I had blisters all over my feet since I wasn't use to walking so much. Despite the pain of walking, I loved it. You had time to observe and appreciate your surroundings, instead of whizzing past them in a car. I ate lots of yummy food like Magnolia Bakery's cupcakes, pasta, etc. but I balanced it out by spreading it out, instead of eating everything I wanted at every meal. When I had pasta for dinner, I chose fruit for dessert. When I had soup for lunch, I had a cupcake for a snack. I stopped overeating. (Which I usually did --no joke-- daily)  In New York who wants to stuff themselves, and then be forced to walk 10 + blocks home? I learned that lesson fast! At the end of the week I noticed I felt lighter. I stepped on to the dreaded scale and noticed I had lost almost 5 pounds! From then on, I started walking, picking better food choices, and letting myself have a treat every other day, before I turned into a chocolate crack addict. It started by accident, but snowballed into one of the greatest things to change me, not only physically, but mentally too. 

Dear New York,
We started off our relationship kind of rocky. At first I thought you were obnoxious, loud, and your hygiene was less than satisfactory. I judge you too quickly, and for that I'm truly sorry. Yeah, you can be a little over the top and exorbitant, but I think we can find a middle ground. Your positives more than outweigh your negatives; I should have seen it sooner. For example, your the best cook I've ever met, and the clothes you find are out of this world! You are the most unique person I've ever met, and I totally mean that in a good way. I promise I'll visit again, sorry I stayed away for so long.

Love, Meredith     

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