I decided to start this blog for a couple of reasons, but mainly as an outlet for me to share my progress of my transformation, vent my frustrations I have and do encounter on my journey, and maybe provide motivation and inspiration for someone out there who wants to change their lifestyle.
This is me at my high school graduation in 2003. Weight: between 230-240 lbs.
Four years later, here I am at my college graduation. Weight: 195 lbs.
Every time I pull out these two pictures to compare before and after, I am always blown away by how different I look. Though its span of four years, the physical transformation happened within five months between 2006 and 2007.
I grew up my whole life overweight. Although I was semi-active, taking dance classes for 15 years, playing tennis in the summer since I was seven, I always struggled with my weight. Looking back on it now, it was mainly due to my poor eating habits and reliance on food. I will admit it- I am an emotional eater. I would eat when I was sad or upset, when I was happy, or when I was bored. My parents did not help me regulate my over-eating or large portions, so I just thought it was the norm. Still today, I struggle with my eating habits, especially when I am upset or bored. Working on learning the difference between physical hunger and mental hunger is tough, but I am working on ways to change my thinking.
When I went off to college, I did drop a little bit of weight. Not only was I in a new environment away from my family and close friends, but I was also dealing with my parents recent divorce. It helped that IU was a fairly large campus and required lots of walking to get around to classes, meals, and extra-curricular activities. But, I slowly packed back on the pounds I lost and packed on even more.
In the fall semester of my senior year (2006) is when I got my wake-up call. A Friday in September I began experiencing heart palpitations. My heart was beating so fast I swore I was going to have a heart-attack right there in my room. After being freaked out by this and talking to my mom on the phone, I decided to go to an urgent care to have my blood pressure taken and to see if I could possibly figure out what was wrong. Turns out my blood pressure was extremely high- pre-hypertension. The doctor told me that I needed to see a doctor on Monday again to get my blood pressure re-checked and to see if my condition had improved.
Luckily over the weekend, the palpitations had gone away, but I still saw a doctor at the health center on campus. I learned that my blood pressure was still high and that I had a heart murmur. The doctor informed me that I needed to lower my blood pressure or I would need to be put on medication. Because of my age, he was hesitant to put me on medication so he recommended I lose weight to help lower my blood pressure by adopting a healthier, low-sodium diet and adding more exercise to my daily life. He also recommended I see a cardiologist to get an EKG done to look more at my heart. (At this point, I was at my heaviest, tipping the scale at almost 250 lbs.)
Nonetheless, I left that doctor’s appointment scared straight and determined to adopt new habits, break old ones and improve my life.
Over the next several months, I changed the food I ate and introduced more exercise into my life. I still lived on campus, so I made it my mission to walk everywhere on campus and only take the bus if it was pouring down rain or late at night. I took stairs instead of the elevator, and I frequented the SRSC multiple times a week to either take an exercise class, use the cardio machine, or walk/run around the track. As far as my food consumption, I made smarter choices: ate more vegetables, fruits, and protein. I chose water over soda and did not consume fast food for six months. I began to fall in love with healthy food that I never dreamed of trying. A hummus veggie sandwich was my favorite for lunch or dinner, some days both. (The sandwich: hummus, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green pepper, black olives.) My mouth waters now just thinking about it.
By Christmas of 2006, I weighed right around or a little above 200 lbs. My family and friends were blown away by the progress I had made in such little time. My clothes were hanging off of me- I was constantly pulling my sagging pants that a belt could barely keep up on my waist. I was very happy with the progress that I had made thus far and knew my journey had only begun.
By the time I had graduated college in May 2007, I was able to maintain my weight loss through the winter months and fluctuated between 195-199 lbs for the remainder of the year.
Once I landed a job outside of Cleveland in November of 2007, I was determined to not only keep my weight off, but try and shed some more weight. I struggled for a while knowing that I had plateaued in the my weight-loss journey, and needed to revamp my work-outs to shed some more weight.
Finally by mid-2009, I was able to shed another five pounds, bringing my weight down to 190 lbs. I was satisfied, but knew I would not settle for that. For a female of my height, 5’4″, with my BMI, I should weigh between 140-145 lbs. I knew cutting another 50 lbs would be a real challenge, but I needed to focus, work hard and be patient.
Throughout my whole weight-loss, I began running. I really credit that for helping me shed the necessary lbs. For those who have known me as my former self will tell you I was never a runner. But after slowly working on it, I was able to run for longer periods of time. I really enjoyed running through IU-such beautiful sites on an amazing campus. After I moved out on my own, I would run when ever the motivation struck me, which wasn’t often. I’d much rather go to the gym and use a cardio machine or take an aerobics class than lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement. A couple of years ago, my best friend began getting into running and running in races. I really admired her dedication and love for running and wished I could embrace that myself. After supporting her at a five-mile race last year, I told myself that I would give myself a year and run a 5k race. By the end of 2009, I slowly added running into my workout regiment.
My goal for this summer was to run in The Morning Journal’s inaugural Journal Jog 5k race and finish the race in 30 minutes. I slowly, off and on, began “training” for the race in June. I really wanted to accomplish this goal for myself, but was really nervous to run a 5k race since I had never participated in any sort of race before. July 7, 2010 I decided that I was going to run a 5k race before the Journal Jog so I could get my first race jitters out of the way and be more prepared to reach my goal. Oh yeah, my first 5k race was just three days later on July 10. It was a memorial race for the fallen Elyria Police Officer James A. Kerstetter, who was killed in the line of duty March 15, 2010. So this race was a way for me to honor his memory and also get a race under my belt. I was extremely nervous for this race, but luckily knew some women from my gym who were running in it and had suggested I run the race. Having only run once for 30 minutes on the treadmill between the 7th and the 10th, I finished my first 5k race in 35: 36. I was on cloud nine after I finished the race, extremely proud of myself and my time. Completing that race was the best natural high I’ve ever gotten.
The next weekend I ran my second 5k finishing in a slightly slower time, but accomplishing my goal of running the entire race-no walking. It was after this race where I won a door prize and received a gift certificate towards new running shoes from Second Sole.
It was at Second Sole where I was converted into a true runner.
After having this crazy runner woman tell me about her 130-mile run through Death Valley in 30 hours and her asking me if I’d considered running a half marathon, I walked out of the store with a great new pair of running shoes and a 12-week training schedule for a half marathon. I toyed with the idea throughout the day, and then said to myself, “why the heck not, I can do this.”
October 10, 2010 I will be running in the Towpath Half Marathon.
I am currently in week six of my training, I am already a much stronger and slightly faster runner. From here on out, I know its all about mental training-telling myself I can and will complete 13.1 miles.
Check back for my weekly updates on my progress, training, or struggles that I am facing as I work towards my goal.
“Runners just do it – they run for the finish line even if someone else has reached it first.” – Author Unknown
“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.” – George Sheehan
“Running is real and relatively simple – but it ain’t easy.” – Mark Will-Weber