Another amazing spotlight to inspire us all.

This young ladies, Daria Mcnally, dedication has blown us away. What “Senior” in high school gets up and goes to a group training session before school? Not many, that is for sure. This young lady did just that. If she missed a session, she would drive on Saturdays or another day to our other fitness locations to make it up.

One thing at Get a Grip is we all inspire each other in different ways. Maybe looking at someone who is 65 years old and participating in the sessions, a pregnant women, someone who is on their weight loss journey, someone at the end of the session walking over and doing their pull-ups, and in this case a 18-year old young lady way ahead of her time and her commitment to her health & fitness is truly admirable.

I don’t want to spoil her story, but she accomplished SO much in just one year and I see her going so far in this world and making a big impact. I’m SO proud of her and we all just love her!

Here is her story as she tells it….

Looking back at my 18 years of life so far, I can say that most of them were spent struggling with body image.

Every since the third grade I consistently thought I was fat and wanted to lose weight. All throughout middle school I was a competitive dancer and although when I look back at pictures now I seem to be so thin, I remember still thinking I was “fat” and compared my body to rail thin ballerinas.

Living with an older brother that has always been into health & fitness, I went on “fitness highs” when I was younger, doing P90X or other beach body workout videos on Saturday mornings or after school but it only lasted about 30 days before I stopped using them  and went back to my old ways.

The summer going into freshman year of high school, my family and I moved to Fishhawk, Florida from South Carolina. This was my first move in my life especially coming from a small town I grew up in for 14 years. Starting high school, I faced a lot of rejection trying to make friends and in return I went on another health kick thinking that if maybe I was skinny, people would want to be friends with me. Again, looking back at pictures I WAS thin during that year. I bought veggies, did Insanity workout videos, but never went to the gym because of my fear of people seeing me sweat, lol.

My sophomore year comes around & my family moves to Riverview, Florida and I attend a new high school. I made friends easily and since I had an association of being fit with having friends, not being fit for myself, this is when I really lost myself. I was involved with a group of friends that loved every shape & size and accepted you at your worst which is awesome, but also allows you to lose self-care and any thought of having good health.

This group i was friends with just wanted to go out to eat at unhealthy places consistently and always made fun of how we are so unathletic and it became a “group-think” mentality. Coming from a year of rejection & finally gaining friends that loved me how I am, I had no thought of what I was putting into my body, not a single thought of any exercise, and  didn’t touch a scale for all of sophomore through junior year (a little over 2 years) because I felt that I didn’t have anyone I needed to impress.

I was getting bigger & bigger & bigger and I didn’t even realize it because it came on slowly. I would hate pictures of myself or my mom taking any pictures of me. I hated going to the beach and avoided any sort of pool parties/beach trips I was invited to. Spring break of junior year, my family went on a cruise and that was when I felt lowest of lows. Since it was spring break, there were all these beautiful college girls with “perfect” bodies and just seemed so comfortable in their own skin, something I always wanted, and just thought I would grow into and not have to actually work for.I hated wearing a swim suit, felt so self conscious the whole time, and felt very very down most of the time. It hit me during that trip that in one year I would be a college student, something I didn’t really think about too much during that time. I realized how far I let myself go & that if I don’t do something now about my body & health, I will never be like those college girls that I saw on that cruise.

I always wanted my dream body, but never thought that hard work was needed to get there. I thought I was just going through puberty & had the thought of “oh I will have that body someday” but when I actually had time to reflect and realize that high school is over in a year and I will be in college. This is when I told myself I need to change and I need to change now because I don’t want to feel this self-hating, jealous, picture-despising person anymore. I want to be the best version of myself at 18 years old that loves her body & has good health.

When I got home, I stepped on the scale for the first time in 2 years and was shocked. I had no idea that I gained that much weight and I was reaching a number that terrified me and that I never thought I’d ever get to. I had a gym membership but rarely ever went and when I did it was for 30 minutes walking on a treadmill and that’s it along with no knowledge on any nutrition.

That summer before senior year I looked up fitness classes on Groupon because I wanted a change and I felt having accountability and a trainer was the only way for me to see any results in my life. I also realized that at prom, graduation and all these milestone events, I didn’t want to hate the way I looked. That is when I joined GAG. I fell in love with the trainers & atmosphere and joined a bunch of challenges along the way.

My ultimate goal was to lose 70 lbs and a year later I am down 30 lbs. Although I thought I would be 70 lbs down by now, the one main thing I learned at GAG is that patience is key & trust the process. My weight loss journey is a lot slower than I expected, but it’s happening. 30 lbs down has changed my entire world & it’s not even half of the goal I wanted!

I completely learned a whole different way of eating rather than restricting diets, I learned that using weights burns fat more than cardio (who knew?!?).

I started running 5ks & joined my school track team (which I never ever thought I’d be a school athlete EVER nevermind a runner!!).

I learned that sleep, water, mindset and stress are also components to weight loss which I never knew before. Most of all, I learned that a weight loss journey is far more than the physical results but also about the mental results.

As I type this story and look back to a year ago, I was a completely different person. Physically, I hated myself. Mentally, I wanted to be anything but who I was, trying to find the next thing to get involved in. I had no idea who I was as a person at all or who I wanted to become.

Deciding to lose weight and take control of my health and future at 17 was by far the best decision of my life. Although having friends who love junk food makes it tough on me, I do have a mind for myself now knowing that my dream body goal is for myself and not for the approval of others.

This past spring break we took another family cruise, I wore a bikini for the first time and did most of the cruise, I wasn’t jealous of anyone or looked at others bodies in envy. I got the bootcamp package on the ship and exercised everyday on the cruise. My mental state was actually happiness.

Going into college this month, I am so much more of a confident woman and love my body for just the way it is right now at 30 lbs down and am excited to see how much further I can improve it. At prom and graduation I was confident in my body and actually liked almost all the pictures taken.

I know I need to trust the process and not put a time restraint on my goals but celebrate the little victories in the process. I am excited to go into college not having to struggle with what I did in high school and being able to go into my future with good health, quality knowledge on real health & fitness rather than the B.S. diets and fad pills that are out there. I know my heaviest days are behind me and glad that I can walk into my adulthood knowing that I can improve my body & health more and more everyday and can’t wait to see how much better I can be this time next year.

I still want to lose more weight, but more than anything I am so proud that I love where I’m at now knowing that the best version of myself is closer and closer. Thank you to Carrie & Arik for being the best trainers and helping me to do a complete 360 in one year! I am so grateful to have been at GAG for one year and being able to set a foundation of knowledge so I won’t have to have any weight struggles in my adulthood.

Its such a relief knowing that the hard part is over with and now I just have to keep doing what I’m doing now to continue living in good health & self love.

It’s me again…Don’t we all wish we were that wise at her age! She is one amazing young lady. She will go far in life, there is NO doubt. I also see her not suffering for decades like so many with food and body challenges.

Her journey is going to be one to watch for sure!