This week my division at work is starting a Biggest Loser weight loss competition, so I thought I would try and post a few stories and articles surrounding the topics of weight loss and running. The first post today is a true story of our friend Shelly, who was able to lose over 80 pounds with proper nutrition and running. She is the person I can thank for motivating me and encouraging me to start running. I hope you find this story as encouraging as I did!
Here is Shelly’s story.
I lived my first 34 years as an overweight and unhappy person. I never had self confidence and thought I was doomed to be heavy the rest of my life. I decided to do Weight Watchers once my weight reached 230 pounds. I thought I would try it, give it 100% for 3 weeks and when it didn’t work (because I really thought it wouldn’t), then at least I could say I gave it my all. I wrote down everything single thing I ate and never cheated. And guess what? The weight started coming off. So I gave it 3 more weeks. And it still came off. I continued this for a few months and then started to slowly add some exercise. It started with a walk around the neighborhood, then I bought a free weight book and did a few of those in my basement. Then I bought a treadmill from Craigslist and walked 20 minutes everyday. Then, I decided to jog a few minutes at a time. Then before I realized it, I was jogging the whole 20 minutes. I still continued to count every weight watcher point and never “cashed” in my workouts for food. Within 10 months I had reached my goal and lost 100 pounds. I continued to do this through all the major holidays, on vacations, and during my husband’s many deployments. For the first time in my life, I had self confidence. I had enough self confidence to enter into my first 5k. Then, my first 10k, 15k trail race, half marathon, and then a full marathon.
I slowly quit tracking my food and sort of did the points in my head. I stayed on track until my full marathon training got under way. Something weird happened. I started gaining weight. Yes, gaining! I was running up to 60 miles per week and was gaining weight!!???!!!! I had this mentality that “oh, I ran 20 miles today, I can eat whatever I want”. I was always hungry and thought I needed to fuel my body, right? I know I’m not alone in this as I’ve spoken to many others who have had similar experiences. It’s a dangerous way to think.
I have had a lot of changes in the past 2 years and I didn’t really handle them well. My husband retired from the military, I had to go back to work, we moved and I’ve had a VERY hard time making friends and finding running partners. I quit running for awhile and quit tracking food. And guess what? The weight started creeping back up. So, I’ve rejoined Weight Watchers (even if its only online) and started running again (even if its only on the treadmill at 4 am because I now have to work). I do this every single morning. Where there is no time, you have to make time. I’ve been running consistently for about 2 months now and haven’t lost a single pound. I started tracking my food last week and lost 2 pounds.
So, why run? Running for me is so much more than burning calories. It is a way to measure accomplishment. It’s a way to do something that not many people can/will do. Sometimes when I’m running I just want to quit and I make myself keep going. I tell myself I’m not a quitter and that I can do this. You can surprise yourself in so many ways if you just don’t quit. It’s something I do just for myself. As a working mom, there aren’t too many things that are just for me. I know it’s important to give myself that. It also helps my daughters see me in a strong, positive way. To hear one of them speak about me and my accomplishments makes me smile for days.
I believe the key to losing weight is a combination of many things. You have to commit fully. You have to know it will be hard. You have to journal everything you eat. Be accountable. You have to be active in some way. You have to figure out what made you overweight to begin with and overcome that. There is no quick and easy way. But there is nothing worth having that is easy.
Later this week, I am going to write on the topic of reasons you gain weight when you are running that Shelly spoke of. Look for it in the next couple of days.
I hope you too have found this as motivational and encouraging as I did!