letter #018 | dear younger me: from victim to victorious.

from victim to victorious.

Letter #018

September 23, 2023

dear younger me,

Six months ago, I weighed in at my highest weight of 201 pounds. Today, I finished my first Spartan race.

Spartan races vary in length and difficulty levels. This particular Spartan was a series of 20 obstacles like rope climbing, spear throwing, a 7-foot climbing wall, weighted burpees, and hundreds of stairs. The obstacles were spread across a 3-mile path that took place at a large baseball stadium.

Crossing the finish line today was not only one of the most significant moments of my year, but of my life. To understand why, we need to go back to about six months ago, before I ever had the idea of doing something like this...

in today's letter, we'll explore:

  • an illustration of six months ago.
  • 1/2 year of not missing a workout.
  • stop assuming you’ll “get around” to the life you truly want to live.
  • easy choices, hard life; hard choices, easy life.
  • the fruit of your own hard work is the sweetest.
  • the life you want is on the other side of the decisions you know you need to make.
  • dear future me...
  • this week's ✨ glimmer gallery ✨

an illustration of six months ago.

In March 2023, my health was probably the worst it’s ever been.

My diet consisted of tons of restaurant, fast, and fried foods and daily desserts. I regularly used food as a coping mechanism, often eating until I physically couldn’t anymore. As a result of living like this for the past few years, I had gained 60+ pounds in a relatively short amount of time.

My body felt stiff as a board and I experienced chronic pain each day. For months, I was in and out of urgent care and doctor appointments trying to diagnose and treat my frequent sicknesses, which were likely lifestyle-related and stress-induced.

My immune system was also likely compromised due to my poor diet, high stress, and chronic lack of adequate sleep and rest.

Lastly, I couldn’t really stand or walk for more than 20 minutes at a time without taking Advil or I would experience excruciating lower back pain.

I felt like I had aged 15 years in the last 3. It was bad.

Around this time, I had started going back to the gym but would stop pretty much anytime it wasn’t 100% convenient for me. As you can imagine, my lack of progress aptly reflected my inconsistent attendance.

I had known for a while that I needed to make drastic changes to the way I ran my business because of the effects it was having on my health, so in mid-March, I finally began that process on the business side. However, I was dragging my feet on making progress toward restoring my health.

Then, during the first week of April, I received one text from my coach and trainer Devyn that served as the catalyst for many of the positive changes to come.

1/2 year of not missing a workout.

I returned to the gym on April 3rd and by April 8th, it was no longer convenient and I was ready to revert to my old ways. I had skipped my workout from the day before and was enjoying my Saturday when Devyn messaged me to ask if I was going to make time to do my workout from the previous day. So, I got up, went to the gym, and did my workout from Friday.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had an experience like this, but in that moment, I just made one seemingly small decision—that I wanted to learn what it meant to be committed—and from there my whole life began to change.

I feel like something shifted in me that Saturday afternoon because since that week, I have not missed a single one of the 78 workouts I’ve had since. I also go for walks every day now.

Today marks the 26th week of not missing a single workout, so I’ve officially made it to half a year, far exceeding any stretch of consistency I’ve had in the past. And most importantly, I’ve done it properly and sustainably this time. My relationship with food and my body are the best they’ve ever been.

I have grown stronger physically, mentally, and spiritually and what this has done for my confidence, my trust in myself, and my sense of self-efficacy, has truly been remarkable.

stop assuming you'll "get around" to the life you truly want to live.

For so many years, I lived my life thinking that I would just sort of “get around to” the life I had always wanted to live. Sort of like it would just happen on its own accord.

After a while, I became somewhat of a bystander in my own life. I was watching the effects of the choices I had made wreak chaos and havoc in my life. And often, those choices seemed harmless at the time I made them.

But as time went on, I recognized when things weren’t aligning well with me anymore. But for years, it was so hard for me to walk away from habits, people, and situations that no longer supported me and who I was becoming. So, I’d stay. Much farther beyond the time I should have remained in those experiences. And the cost of staying could have well been the cost of the life I could have had and have always wanted to live.

better choices, better life.

For a long time, I saw the events and chapters of my life as something that happened to me.

I was often not the change agent, but the one constantly being swayed and shifted by the people and circumstances around me. If they were good, then I was good and if they weren’t, then I wasn’t either.

I lacked boundaries, assertiveness, and even grace when it came to dealing with others, partially because I rarely practiced them with myself.
My life felt hard, but my pain was self-chosen and I knew that.
I also knew that if I made different choices, I could live a better life.

easy choices, hard life;
hard choices, easy life.

And I don’t know, man. Something just shifted in me that Saturday afternoon in April and I just started walking along a different path.

For quite a while, it felt like I was walking deeper and deeper into uncharted territory.
I had never been as consistent as I'd wanted to be with my health or daily habits.
But I really truly wanted to learn what it meant to be committed to something.

Gone were the days when the things I wanted (namely good grades in the past) just came easy because I was “smart.”

This notion of having to work hard and sacrifice and continue showing up consistently for years was something I wanted to learn how to do well.

I had done it somewhat with my business, but as my good friend Sofía said to me on her birthday call today, “I knew I could have it all, and that’s what I wanted.”

I didn’t want to have the business at the expense of my health and I didn’t want my physical health at the expense of my mental health (which had happened in the past).

the fruit of your own hard work is the sweetest.

It’s honestly hard to describe just how much my life has changed in the last six months.

It started small. Real small:

I’d order the 3 piece tender meal from Rally’s instead of the 5 piece (the fries and large Hi-C were still a must though).

Slowly, I started declining invitations to events that I really didn’t have the capacity for or desire to attend.

I began going to sleep by 12am, then 11pm, 10pm, and now, by 9:30pm on days I can swing it.

I started giving myself permission to take time off to rest. I would sit in the park on a blanket in the middle of the day.

And, slowly but surely, I started learning how to slow down, to be present, and to be grateful, and it changed my entire life.
One by one, it was like I was lining up dominoes to produce a day as beautiful as this one has been.

As I crossed that finish line after nearly two hours of running, sweating, crying (all my crybabies, please stand up 😀🙋🏽‍♀️), getting hit with self-doubt over and over again because I didn’t know how I was going to finish, reciting my favorite Bible verses and affirmations to get me through the tough moments, and then finally doing it, conquering not just the race, but the version of myself from just a few months before that thought there was no way I could finish something like that…

Man, it was a feeling I wish I could just bottle up and give to people.

Like, this is why you make those hard decisions.
This is why you do things to take care of your current and future self even when you don’t feel like it in the moment and even when it’s wildly inconvenient at the time.
This is why.
The feeling was indescribable.
But indescribably

I have been crying on and off throughout the day and even as I write this, I just feel so deeply held by gratitude and peace.

the life you want is on the other side of the decisions you know you need to make.

6 months ago, I was in the worst physical shape of my life.

And not too long before that, I was battling thoughts of suicide.

Today, I am the healthiest I’ve been in years, if not my whole life, and I know I have so much to live for now. For that, I am so deeply grateful.

I mean it with all my heart that our lives can become better beyond imagination.

But understand that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

No one is coming to save us. People can help us, for sure.
But other people cannot make the choices and do the work that has been set aside for our growth and our individual journeys.

A better life is possible.

My life looks so different than it did a year ago and it is infinitely better today.

As I changed and bettered myself, my environment and the people I surrounded myself with followed.

A better life is possible.

Keep the faith and know that you are capable of overcoming hard things.
If you need some support: an ear, accountability friend, etc., just let me know by replying to this email or texting me at (909) 552-0805.

I appreciate you being here and I hope you have a beautiful week.

dear future me...

This section is for exciting upcoming dates & events.

This Tuesday, September 26th, 2023 at 11am PST, I will be doing my first speaking engagement about my journey as a full-time student and entrepreneur/business owner. I’ll be sharing mistakes I’ve made along my journey and what I've learned to do instead.

If you’d like to attend this free virtual event, please register here.

✨ the glimmer gallery. ✨

The glimmer gallery is a weekly collection of moments that made the good times better and the harder times bearable.

Have any thoughts about this letter? Did anything resonate with you?

Just reply to this email to let me know. It makes my day to hear from you and I respond to every message.

Dear Reader,

I hope life has been treating you well and that you have been treating you well, too. I appreciate you being here and I hope you have a beautiful week ahead.

Take good care.

With love,

Amahni E. Yarber


PO Box 814, Chino Hills, CA 91709
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