I have struggled with my weight since I was 9 years old. I never was especially “sporty,” and good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle were not really modeled in my home. I’ve always felt accepted by friends and family, have never been teased because of my weight, and my parents raised me to know that how you look isn’t the most important thing, but I’ve wanted to be thin for as long as I can remember. There have been several things in life that I have not done or tried because I was embarrassed by the way I look. I was the classic “all or nothing,” Monday starter. If I didn’t do my diet and exercise perfectly (which, let’s face it, is almost impossible) I would quit and have to wait until the next Monday, or first of the month, or after my birthday…you get the idea. I have started exercise programs that I hated the whole time, bought several videos, plans, gym memberships, pills, etc., and lost and gained and gained and lost over and over again.
Fast forward to last year. My dad had quintuple heart bypass surgery, and was scared that I was headed for the same thing. I was at my all time high of 250. I was wearing a size 22W in pants and dresses, and a 3XL in tops. I felt like there was a skinny girl inside me, just screaming to be let out. I was tired all the time. Very moody and emotional. I never wanted to do anything with my family or play with my kids. Heartburn was pretty much a daily occurance. I tried not to ever look at myself in a full length mirror. I just felt GROSS. I decided I needed a real change. A friend of mine told me that there was a Groupon for a fitness boot camp in Gardner (thank you, Becky Oxley!!!), so I decided to buy it. I figured I would go for the one month and see after that. I bought the Groupon in March, and sat on it for a couple of months. At the beginning of May, another friend asked if I would like to start going to Zumba with her. I tried it, and it was FUN! I had never enjoyed exercise before, and didn’t even know it was possible. It was only 2 days a week, so I thought that boot camp would be a great thing to do the other 3 days, and I gave Cory a call. I remember exactly where I was when I first talked to him. I was in the parking lot of Wendy’s, eating what would be my last fast food breakfast! Going to work out with a bunch of people I didn’t know was completely out of character for me, but I was starting to realize that if I wanted to change my life, I had to do it and no one else could.
I was so nervous that Wednesday, but I was ready. Everyone was so welcoming and encouraging, I almost forgot about how out of shape I was. Almost. I worked out so hard that day that I decided right then and there that I didn’t want to eat ANYTHING that wouldn’t help me achieve my goals. I decided to keep a food journal and track my daily calories. I also wrote out some short term and long term goals. My second day at boot camp, we did a 5k. I didn’t even know how far that was! I knew I would be the slowest and the last one to finish, and I was, but I did it. I walked almost all of it, and the whole time, I said this mantra to myself, “Getting my outside to match the inside,” meaning I wanted to LOOK how I FELT. All the other bootcampers would high five me as they passed, and Cory met me at the end and ”ran” very slowly with me to the finish. I so appreciated the personal approach that Cory took. I could tell this boot camp was different than any other class I had tried before. I vowed to myself that I would run the entire next 5k, and I did. Little by little, I started to feel better. I lost 5 pounds. Then 10. A month passed by. I was able to do more and more physically. I could tell this time was different. I was changing my life, not just trying to be skinny. It wasn’t even a question whether I would continue to do boot camp or not…this was my life, now!
I made the 20 pound club at Legacy Fitness, and I noticed that my clothes were fitting more loosely. By 30 pounds, I had to start buying some new clothes! I got rid of my “all or nothing” mentality, and allowed myself a treat here and there, usually after my weigh-ins on Thursday mornings and on Sundays when we would go out to eat with friends after church. I realized I really could still eat the stuff that I liked, just as long as I was keeping track of my calories and keeping up with my exercise. I got my friends and family involved through Facebook, and I signed up for my first official 5k in September. I got sick the night before, but there was no way I was backing out, so I did it anyway. I ran the whole thing and finished 3 minutes faster than I had done the last boot camp 5k. I was hooked! I started running on my own on the weekends, and I signed up for another 5k the next month. Around the 40 pound mark, I really started to notice a big difference in my appearance. I had already been receiving a lot of compliments, but that was when I really started FEELING it. I remember when I was close to 50 pounds, I was clothes shopping at Kohl’s, and I saw a shirt that I really liked, but they only had it in a Large. I grabbed it, and decided to try it on, anyway, totally not expecting it to fit. When it DID, I cried for joy! A couple of months after that, one of the biggest highlights for me happened when I won the “Most Weight Lost” award at the Legacy Fitness banquet, and I even got a trophy! Never in a million years would I have seen that one coming.
There have been so many revelations along the way on this journey, like when I realized this truly was a journey, MINE, and I needed to enjoy every second of it. And when I figured out that I really cared about getting and staying healthy (not just being skinny), teaching my kids healthy habits and that it can be fun to exercise and eat right, and that I could and would do this for the rest of my life. As of this morning, I have lost 64 pounds! I still have about 41 to go, and my weight loss has slowed some, but I am determined to get to my ultimate goal of 105 lbs. lost by June. That will be 13 months after I started the biggest adventure EVER. I’ve run four 5k’s so far (I’m trying to do at least one race a month), and would like to do a 10k, a half-marathon, and a full marathon by the end of this year. Life truly is a gift, and should not be wasted by sitting on the sidelines, wishing things would change. Be your own hero! Make this your year, and join me in DOING LIFE.