Social media saved my life.
I’m not being melodramatic. I’m completely serious. Social media saved my life. No, I didn’t get lost only to be found with the help of friends on Twitter and an iPhone app. I didn’t use social media to help me figure out what terminal disease I had. Social media did so much more.
Social media saved my life in a way I could have never imagined. Social media encouraged me to take better care of myself. Social media guilted me into working out. Social media introduced me to some amazing people. Social media used these people to make me a better Amy Kant.
I know I’m not the only person to meet life-long friends through social media. When I first joined Facebook in college (it debuted at UWM my senior year), I never thought it would be more than a tool for me to reconnect with friends and coworkers. When I joined Twitter in 2006 (or was it 2007?), I didn’t expect it to introduce me to the most amazing people I’ve ever met (If I were to list all of you, this post would never end, so consider yourself tagged). When I joined DailyMile in January, I thought it would simply be a place for me to log my exercise. And when I started this blog, my only intention was for it to serve as a diary of sorts, where I could document my journey to being a better me.
They saved my life.
I know that if it weren’t for Twitter and DailyMile, my life would be fast-tracking to a bad place. I was on a downward spiral to dying young. I was 100+ pounds overweight. I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without running out of breath. I had a hard time tying my shoes. I ate too much. I never exercised. I always drove even if my destination was nearby. I ate what I wanted when I wanted and ate my food so fast I rarely enjoyed it. I frequently enjoyed greasy, fatty foods with little regard to their calorie counts. I drank tons of (diet) soda and coffee. I always had some type of snack at my desk. Second or third or fourth helpings were always a possibility. Usually, they were a probability. I hated going places with friends where I would have to walk with them because I knew I would have a hard time keeping up without losing my breath. I wore dark colored clothes so I wouldn’t draw attention to myself. I tried to stand in the back of group photos. I tried to be the happy fat girl. I wanted to not care about my outward appearance. I saw a therapist semi-regularly. I was bloated. I saw a bleak, lonely future. I was anemic. I had hypothyroidism. I had high blood pressure. I needed to get tested for sleep apnea. I was tired. I was scared. I was 27 years old. I was dying.
Now, while many of these statements are still true to some extent, I can confidently say that I am no longer dying. I’ve lost 13 pounds. I’ve lost 18.5 inches. I’m working out 5-6 days a week. I did a 5k. I’m training for a half marathon. I can walk up a flight of stairs without reaching for my inhaler. I walk if my destination is less than 1.5-2 miles away. I’m cutting back on the unhealthy food choices, in favor of eating better and in smaller quantities. My desk snacks are organic fruit strips or granola. Third or fourth helpings are out of the question. I quit soda and caffeine, except for the occasional coffee or Sprite Zero. My clothes are falling off. My therapy appointments are few and far between. My blood pressure is back to normal. I have hope. I see a brighter future.
How did social media save my life?
It was my Twitter friends who encouraged me to see the doctor when I was freezing cold and exhausted all the time last fall. It was the “you need to change your life” talk with my doctor. It was seeing all the DailyMile posts feeding to my friends’ Twitter and Facebook pages. It was FitMilwaukee. It was you.
You inspired me. You encouraged me. You blogged about your own fitness journeys. You encouraged me to join DailyMile. You made me want to be a better person. Yes, you. You all did that. I would marry you if polygamy was legal. I am so humbled and extremely grateful for Twitter, DailyMile, Facebook and all of you bloggers. You are the catalyst that jumpstarted my life. You made me feel alive again.
Thank you, from the deepest depths of my heart. I wouldn’t have started this journey (or kept with it) if it weren’t for each of you. I owe you my life. #truth