How Physical Fitness Improved My Self-Esteem by Rachel

Last semester, I had the privilege of hearing Leah speak at John Carroll. What a motivating talk! I was so inspired by Leah's obvious passion for not just physical health, but emotional health as well. She made it clear that there is a strong link between taking care of one's body and having a healthy sense of self-esteem. As someone who is particularly passionate about women's health, I found Leah's focus on empowering girls very admirable. When I was in middle school and high school, and even afterwards, I really struggled with low self-esteem. I looked at myself and saw nothing special. I genuinely didn't feel any love for myself. Thankfully, my self-esteem has increased a lot since then, and I think taking care of my body more has really influenced that.

After hearing Leah's talk, I began a morning workout routine that I try to do 5 days a week. I do two sets of pushups, crunches, lunges, squats, planks, etc. I also life weights. It's a very basic routine, but in the mere two weeks since I began it, I already feel better physically and emotionally. Working out has also encouraged me to maintain a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and limited in added sugars. I find that, the more I take care of my body, the more I love it and the less I care about all the petty body insecurities I have held for far too long. I realize that taking care of my body should be something I do for me, not just to impress other people.

During her talk, Leah mentioned that in her work she seeks to show girls effective workout routines that they can perform in their rooms. When she first mentioned this, I was a bit confused. I thought, "why is this relevant? Why can't you just go to a gym if you really want to work out?" Little did I realize how exclusive gym memberships can be. This has made more sense to me in recent weeks. After some changes in my life, I have decided to relocate to New York City this summer. After calculating my costs of living compared to my income, I've realized that I will simply have no money left over to afford a gym membership in such an expensive city. So Leah's in-house workout routines have become very relevant to me.

Furthermore, it is certainly true that many girls do not feel safe walking alone to a gym or a workout center of some sort. This is very sad and messed up, but it's a reality that we cannot deny. In so many ways, women are still disadvantaged in our society, and so it is completely common for a girl to have reservations about walking to and from the gym in the dark after a day at work.
I firmly believe that taking care of one's body helps lead to emotional health. Once emotionally healthy, a girl is more likely to see and understand the great beauty, individuality, and worth that she has, and always will have. 

Finally, in addition to Leah's message being inspiring, Leah herself is inspiring. She is a young woman who has decided to mold her career and her passion into one, and to shape a career not just for income, but for a positive social impact. I personally was very inspired by her. Seeing Leah follow her convictions to spark change in society, I was encouraged to hold onto my own dreams, which also revolve around changing this world for the better. My hope is, when other girls hear Leah talk, that they also feel encouraged, and that they recognize that the power to change the world is within them too.