So you want to hear about my weight loss journey, huh? It starts way back in the late ’80s or early ’90s. You see, I was overweight basically my entire life.
Although I played sports growing up, my physical activity was pretty much limited to that. I hated gym class and was never able to do the flexed arm hang or run anywhere near a mile. I tried every diet you can imagine, even as a young child. In high school I managed to lose somewhere around 20 pounds after developing an eating disorder.
When I started college in 2005 I put on quite a bit more than the Freshman Fifteen. Not only was the endless amount of food in the dining hall a challenge, I was struggling with deep depression and often turned to food to cope. The more depressed I became, the heavier I became, which led to a deepening of my depression.
A health scare in college should have opened my eyes to just how unhealthy I had become, but it wasn’t until years later that I would look back at photos and realize how heavy I had actually become. At my heaviest in college I tipped the scales at 240 pounds.
For my first year out of college, I yo-yo dieted while trying to get my life together. I had to climb a large hill to get to work every day and a group of us started going on occasional lunch-time walks, so I managed to lose a little weight. I wasn’t as depressed as I had been in college, but I wasn’t taking good care of myself, physically or emotionally.
My second year out of college I was inspired when a couple of my coworkers began training for half marathons. I was told by one of them that I could run if I built up to it gradually and started slow. I bought a pair of running shoes online, determined that if I spent the money I’d be forced to make use of the shoes. When they arrived I ran my first ever (incredibly slow) mile without stopping.
A few months later I signed up for my very first 5k and ran with a friend. I was very proud to have finished, but I still hadn’t quite found my love for running.
Soon after, the relationship I was in ended and I was crushed. It did, however, inspire me to focus more on myself and the person I wanted to become. I started eating healthier and picked up running again, this time truly finding a passion in it. I joined a local gym and started going every day either before or after work.
In March 2011 I went on a first date with my now-boyfriend Joe. From the moment we started dating, he challenged me both physically and intellectually. He pushed me in ways I needed to be pushed, though I didn’t always appreciate it at the time. Luckily he’s a good sport.
With Joe as my moral support I signed up for my first 8k and then my first half marathon, both in 2011. In early 2012 I signed up for my first ever bootcamp style workout and started experimenting with different forms of fitness. Between the working out and eating healthy, as well as many more races including two more half marathons, I lost over 90 pounds between 2009/2010 and 2012!
This may sound like a fairy tale story, but it isn’t. I still struggle. Every day is a fight for me to be healthy. I struggled with food addiction for years and being physically active is still somewhat new to me. Some days I struggle to find any motivation at all. I have gained back a little of the weight that I had lost and am now working to lose that weight and then meet my next weight loss goal of 100 pounds lost.
I am now a 3-time half marathoner and as of May 2013 officially a marathoner! Finishing a 26.2 mile race less than three years after running my first mile taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to, so that is how I am approaching my weight loss journey as well. What I get out of this journey will be directly proportional to what I put in, so I’m going to have to fight for it!