In 2010, I realized I was incredibly unhappy with the way my life was and the way I was living it and I was doing nothing to change it. I had tried anti-depressants from my doctor and that actually made things worse for me. I was in a spiral of being depressed and angry and many times I would direct my anger at the people around me. (Although in my defense, 2 teenagers and 2 pre-teens are quite the handful). We had power struggles in the home, I felt like no one respected me and that I was paddling upstream. It was a horrible time of my life and I have to say there are few times that I've ever felt so alone. All the work I had done at the end of high school had pretty much been lost and I was left a miserable fat blob with nothing to look forward to. I finally saw a picture of myself and realized exactly how much weight I had gained and why it was so tedious climbing up and down stairs. And why basically doing anything felt overwhelming. I felt like there was no escape and the more I thought about trying to change, the more difficult it became to even conceive the idea of a better life with better health. I felt trapped.
In January of 2010, I had a friend whom was planning getting lap band surgery and I thought "Hey, that sounds like something that could work for me!" So I went to several seminars, got really excited, pumped myself up, dreamed of not being fat anymore and then I got to financing. This part made me nervous, but I had found a weight loss surgeon whom I particularly liked that reassured me we'd find a way to make my insurance cover part of it. He said that with a recommendation, his documentation and reports of prior weight loss attempts that we could make a case for it. The first step was to lose 10% of my body weight. So on February 15, 2010 I started eating better and I started walking. By March 15th, one month later I had lost 15 pounds. I kept going until suddenly I'd lost more than the 10% required to begin the process of weight loss surgery. I had somewhat forgotten the lap band surgery and every time I thought of it, I remembered the repercussions that came with the surgery. I LOVE to eat. I knew I did not want to give up so many of my favorite foods and I started thinking to myself "If I can lose this much with diet and exercise, then maybe I can go all the way." I started remembering all my tricks and methods from losing the weight before and I quickly got into my niche. I found an awesome website called Sparkpeople.com where I tracked my food and exercise. I got a membership at the YMCA for myself and all the kids and started trying new exercises. I started using the elliptical, the first time I got on one I only lasted about 8 minutes. The next time I lasted 55 minutes. I tried Yoga, even started trying the Couch to 5k program. By May (or maybe June) I had started going to Zumba and loved it! The amount of courage it took me to enter that first Zumba class is immeasurable. With being overweight came a huge sense of insecurity and fear of crowds. But I overcame it. Suddenly I was on a roll and all the paperwork I had from the different weight loss surgery seminars had been shoved into a drawer somewhere. I no longer even considered that an option. The summer of 2010, I entered a Subway Weight Loss Challenge to which the winners would be announced at the Midnight Streak 5k. Since I was attempting (struggling horribly through) the Couch to 5k program, I considered signing up for this as my first 5k. Regrettably I chickened out, the running was not going as well I would have liked and I started doubting whether I wanted to pursue running at all or not. I did, however, win 3rd place for body fat percentage loss.
|I would love to get an after picture with Jared and the mayor!|
I continued on my journey and the weight loss started slowing down. Somewhere between the end of May 2011 or beginning of June 2011, I decided to try running again. This time all the hard work on the elliptical paid off and I started running short distances immediately. It was tough, but I knew I could do it. I decided to sign up for my first 5k, and what better way to mark an anniversary than to sign up for the Midnight Streak?
Since then I have ran a total of three 5ks, one Warrior Dash, one half marathon and a 25k. I have The Color Run coming up on June 23, 2012 and I plan on doing the Midnight Streak again in August. I just signed up for my first marathon in November for which I'm incredibly psyched. It's hard to believe that only a little over two years ago I was twice my size and could hardly manage getting up the stairs. Now running is just a part of who I am; do not mistake me, many days I still have to force myself out the door before I realize that yes, I did really want to go for a run. I just have to remind myself of why I run and why I enjoy it so much. I run for freedom, peace of mind, size 2 jeans, cheat days... I run to control my depression and anxiety issues. I run to breathe. I truly run for life. I can't imagine not being a runner now.
I still receive mail to this day from different weight loss surgery offices I had visited. It always makes me smile to see because I am instantly reminded of how far I have come.
It's been two years and four months since I started this journey and I have traveled a great distance. I have lost more than half my body weight. I have become an athlete. I instruct Zumba four times a week. I have deemed myself worthy. I've regained my pride. Now I'm focusing on bettering myself in all aspects of my life. Now when I see something in my life that I'm not happy with, instead of wallowing in despair, I look at how to fix it. How am I going to make my life better? It takes work and dedication, but it is by no means impossible. In fact, it's quite possible, see:
****By no means do I discount the effectiveness of weight loss surgery, nor do I think poorly of people that choose that option, it just isn't for me. I have a friend that has the exact same struggles that I do, encounters the same predicaments and fears, the only difference is that he has a little band around his stomach.