Go Ahead, Tell Me I Can’t Do It

Posted: July 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

When I started high school I was overweight.

okay okay, I was obese. Well over 225lbs, lazy, unhappy miserable.

Before photo

In the early spring my first year of high school I was sitting in the balcony area of my school auditorium with my class for an assembly when the head coach of the local rowing club got on stage and talked about try outs for the high school team.

I thought it sounded cool and went to the meeting. I had always been in every activity and sport (… it clearly just didn’t show), so this sounded like something new and different and I wanted to try.

Walking out of the meeting with my sign up sheet in hand I was stopped by one of the mean boys.

… Yes, you know the one I’m talking about. Insecure about himself so he belittles everyone else. Sweet.

This boy made my life in high school miserable. The mean nicknames, the taunting, the… sound effects.

He asked if I was going to join the rowing team and I said YES. Of course in typical mean boy fashion he (and his friends) proceeded to tell me how wrong that was because I was “so fat” and I’d never make the team.

My response?

“Watch me”

… and then I’m sure I went home, downed two helpings of dinner, half a box of cookies, maybe some ice cream and sobbed into my pillow…

But that’s beside the point, I was now on a mission. I was going to prove him wrong.

And I did. I went to that first practice, I did the warm up run, I did the workout, I learned to row. It was painful and uncomfortable and yes, a little awkward and embarrassing.

Lumbering along Rothsay road to complete the 10K loop known as the “commons run” when the water was too rough, sitting in the bow seat of the women’s 8+ boat, uncomfortable because my behind was too wide and hit the sides of the boat.

april 15 003

But the thing was… I was there. Every.single.practice. I never quit, I pushed and did everything in my power to prove that stupid boy wrong.

And I did. I made the women’s varsity team and never looked back. That first spring I easily dropped pounds and dropped them fast. Tons of activity, all those activities leaving me too tired to stay up late watching tv and eating. It was easy.

By the end of my high school rowing time I was no longer part of the school team, but racing for the club… as a 135 lbs lightweight at Canadian Nationals.

april 15 001 As a teenager there was NO inner voice saying “you can’t to do" this”, it was purely external. No matter what anyone said, my response was “watch me”

(… umm… kind of how I ended up in Montreal, but that’s another post for another day…)

But something happened. The older I got, the less people discouraged me. In fact if anything, outside sources were encouraging me to push my limits, set new goals.

What was holding me back all of a sudden?

When Gillian asked me to run a 5 mile race with her, who was saying “you can’t run 5 miles in a ROW!”?

When I mentioned wanting to get on stage and compete, who was saying “that’s crazy talk, you don’t have the genetics/body for that!”?

Was it the mean boy? was it my parents? Was it my friends? Strangers on the street?

Um no.

raisehandThat would be me.

All the negativity, the uncertainty was coming from me.

I stopped believing in me. When this happened, where it happened, how it happened. Who knows.  Between disordered eating, bad relationships, a crazy lifestyle I stopped loving me.

With a bit of pushing from outside sources I took control of it. I said it was now or never, you can’t keep living like this, you’ll never know if you can’t do it if you’re too afraid to try.

So I hired my coach, I did my prep, I got on stage.


Did I win? Nope, not even close.

Did I follow through, finish a goal and begin the healing process of my self esteem and self worth?

You bet your ass I did.

… and then I continued to. Every time that negative voice popped up, it was time to say you know what, you CAN do this.

I ran my 5 mile race


I continued competing.

283867_226376937400392_100000842616031_608928_225557_n  I had my first photoshoot

I joined bootcamp classes

I ran away for a week to NYC with two online friends.

2634_59242309661_509844661_1408948_2462752_nI made the decision to leave my career and move back to my hometown

We all have limitations, negative inner voices, nay sayers, and self doubt. But it’s choosing to say “you think I can’t do it? Watch me” that makes the difference.

Maybe next time I won’t be so successful, maybe I’ll crash and burn, but at least I will have tried, and lived with no regrets.

What holds you back? Is it other people? Or yourself?

  1. Nikki says:

    Awesome post. Everything you say is so true. For the longest time I kept telling myself I wasn’t overweight and that I didn’t need to watch my diet or exercise hut eventually I wided up and kicked myself in the rear. Sometimes you really are your best friend.

  2. Dotsie says:

    Meeeee! I hold myself back! Other people can bug off-I always prove ’em wrong. It’s almost like I wish someone would tell me I can do something sometimes-just so I have someone to prove wrong! Nuts! Only once in awhile though.

  3. Lauren says:

    You are really amazing…did you know that?

    I definitely hold myself back. As much as I like to blame it on others, deep down I know it’s ME. From the outside, I appear pretty darn confident, but on the inside, I’m lacking and it’s something I’m working really, really hard on.

  4. Jess says:

    LOVE this attitude!! YOU CAN do it, girl 😀

  5. Wow this is so inspirational Becca. You seriously amaze me. I remember you talking a while back about being overweight but I never imagined obese. You are seriously one of the most inspirational bloggers on the bloggesphere.

  6. edebock says:

    Great post, Becca! Love your attitude!

  7. I quit smoking 7 years ago because someone said to me ‘bet you can’t’. Yeah, watch me. And look at me now!

  8. Such a great post. Sometimes i think when you are challenged like that growing up (I was bullied too, even by my brother who told me every day I was fat) you really do become stronger and that motivation to prove people wrong really sticks with you.

  9. Ann says:

    What a great post! You are SUCH a strong person!

  10. I LOVE this post Becca!! You are SO strong and determined and everything in life is going to fall into place for you. Because you’ll make it. 🙂

  11. I Love your attitude! sometimes we can be our own worst enemies I feel and in some cases I am my own, but I still find outside sources negative and that “think i can’t do it…WATCH ME” attitude is the one i have adopted.

    lots of love!

    Ill be away for a week so wont be able to read your blog but hope you last 4 day work week is not so bad.

  12. You are so inspirational! WOW, what a story of triumph! I’d love to share this blog on my website if you do not mind. This would be wonderful for my readers let me know if this is okay.

  13. chelsea says:

    Love it Becca! You are an inspiration and it just goes to show that we can all go out and just do it!

  14. Tenecia says:

    This is such an eye-opening post for me! I know, if I am completely honest with myself, that it’s ME that’s holding me back. I need to change that….like yesterday!

  15. LM says:

    WOW! I so needed to read that post, just found your blog. I am definitely holding myself back and I need to get to work on making changes! Thank you 🙂

  16. Christy says:

    You proved everyone wrong. I bet they would be jealous now.

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