I watched my mom suffer the effects of obesity and diabetes. In 2007, at the age of 33, I was overweight myself at 237 lbs. Fortunately, I received a wake up call when I looked in the bathroom mirror while changing for a pool party at a friend's house. Over that summer, with a good diet and exercise (mostly walking), I lost 70 lbs and achieved a healthy BMI and weight.
But what I realize now is that I was much too focused on being skinny back then and I hardly even thought about building any muscle. That mindset stayed with me for a long time. My workouts were mainly on the treadmill, with some light strength work here and there, but no compound exercises to speak of.
It's only been in the last two to three years that I've gotten serious about strength training and building muscle. I try to work out 4-5 times a week, and compounds are definitely part of my program now.
One interesting thing I can tell you about myself is that I had open heart surgery at the age of 10. I think that may be one reason I wasn't into fitness and working out at an earlier age. I might have felt limited by it.
The rewards of this journey have been awesome. One is that I definitely have more self-confidence, especially in the gym. I used to hide away in a smaller gym that caters to casual exercisers, but now I feel very comfortable in the bigger gym operated by the same owner.
I've even been working with a trainer this year, and we added 30 lbs to my one rep max for bench in about 11 weeks.
I love pushing myself in the gym and trying to do even just a little better every time.
There's also been a change in the tone of the comments. When I was focused on maintaining a healthy weight, people congratulated me on the weight loss, but that was about it. These days, people say I look good and work hard!