Friday, February 19, 2010

And now... the fat pictures are in!

So for those of you have been eagerly waiting, I give you the fat pictures! I have had a lot of people ask me for some before and after pictures of my weight loss. After digging through the archives, I did find some pictures to share. I hope these give you inspiration if you need it.

The weight gain had started my senior year in college in 1994. I wasn't playing volleyball anymore. I was living off campus, which meant that I was driving to and from campus, no walking. I had a thing for creamy soups, which also meant soups with a high fat content. My favorite soup was Chunky Brocolli Cheese Potato and I ate a lot of it! I also had a lot of beer. Hell, we were seniors now! We were at the bar all the time! I wasn't sure how much I weighed or how much I was gaining, but I was wearing size 18. I guess when you are that heavy, you stop weighing yourself because you are already depressed enough.

This picture is from my sister's wedding, 7 weeks after I had my son. This is one of the lowest points in my life. The smile on my face doesn't show the pain that was inside. Some of you are probably saying "Of course she had a bit of weight, she just had a baby!" I don't think it should look like I am still pregnant. I remember when we had to order our dresses the previous fall. The woman in the bridal salon told me that I should order a size 22, just in case. I remember walking down the aisle at my sister's wedding and I all I could think of was what the people were saying. "Wow, did she get big!" or "She is huge, she looks disgusting." It was supposed to be a happy day but in reality, I just wanted to hide from everyone.

This is me about 10 months after starting Weight Watchers, so this is 2003. You can see I was still on the heavy side. Losing weight is never quick. I love the Biggest Loser, but it's not reality. We have families to raise and jobs to do and don't have 6 hours each day to work out. We are lucky if we get in an hour! It took me 20 months to get 5 pounds within my goal weight. Also, I wasn't perfect. I cheated. I gained. But, we are human. All you can do is forgive yourself for the transgression and start over the next day.

Here I am in September 2009 after running the Rochester half-marathon. I am thinner now than I was in high school. If you had told me that when I started losing weight that I would run a half-marathon, I would have said you were crazy. Let alone 2 half-marathons in 2 months! 89 pounds seemed like an impossible feat, but I was able to do it. I often tell people that nothing tastes as good as thin feels. I think that is absolutely true. The weight loss journey is going to be a rollercoaster. You will have your up weeks and your down weeks. The weight gain didn't happen overnight, so the weight loss won't either. This is reality, folks. And the reality is that it is going to take awhile. But maybe that's what will convince you to never go back. It worked for me.
Stay fit and healthy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Finishing Day 4 of no running. It is driving me crazy!
See I made a big mistake on Saturday before I got on the treadmill to run three miles. I forgot to stretch. Shame on me, because I always stretch before I begin a workout. I think I was rushing around on Saturday to get a workout in that I forgot to do it. At the end of my run on Saturday (it was only 35 minutes), my groin felt tight, but nothing that would make me contemplate my Sunday run. I was finishing week 2 of the 12 week half-marathon training. Sunday's run would be an easy 6 and would not be a problem. Meanwhile, every time I walked on Saturday, I could feel the "twinge"
Enter Sunday. Had the Stabilicers on the bottom of my running sneakers so I could run in the snow. Speaking of: I forgot how difficult it is to run in the snow. You definitely have to use more leg strength to push off of snow than off of pavement. Because of this, I could feel the groin muscle getting overused and at the 5 mile point, it was definitely hurting. I had slowed down at that point and was just trying to get the run done. When I got home, the treatment plan was plenty of ice, relaxation and a Blue Moon. I don't think the beer has any sort of medical benefit. Maybe the relaxation part.
Woke up on Monday and I was walking with a definite gait. Time to call the Chiropractor. Since I have become a running addict, I have made friends at the Chiropractor again. I have also made friends with their ultrasound therapy machine. The idea of this therapy is that it reduces the healing time for soft tissue injuries by increased blood flow. I first used this when I had pain with my IT band after my Denver half-marathon. What a difference that made! I went in on Monday to have some therapy done. Monday night, I did a light upper-body and ab workout. Waiting to see if I could run on Tuesday.
Big mistake! I could only run about a half-mile and when I did finish, it felt like the pain was creeping all the way down to my knee. Treatment plan: time to ice again. Now, I'm getting nervous. Will my training be out of sync?
Wednesday: time to make friends with the Elliptical again. It was like time had never passed. If you are new to working out or are looking for a workout that is easy on the joints, I would recommend the Ellipitical. I was working up a good sweat, yet didn't feel any pressure on my groin.
It is now Thursday (actually it's Friday now as I haven't gone to bed yet), and I still haven't run. On Tuesday night, I felt defeated. So frustrated and angry, I felt like crying. How long was this injury going to last? What impact would it have on my training? I had done some google searches and found that people have been sidelined with this thing for a week, two weeks, a month, maybe more. What would my recovery time be? Maybe I was being a bit dramatic (I have been accused of that), but I felt like my running had reached a new level. My times were getting faster, my focus had returned and then this had to happen. What now?
I don't have the answers to this yet. Only time will tell. I am thinking of getting back on the treadmill tomorrow to see what happens. Maybe I will be pain-free. Or maybe I won't. All I can do is try again and let the chips fall where they may.
Until next time, stay fit and healthy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why do you run?

One of my Dailymile buddies posed this question a week ago to a bunch of us and I had to think back to the day I decided to try to jog rather than run. Because, here is the truth. I HATED RUNNING! (notice that is past tense)
I was not on the track or cross country team in high school. The sports of my choice were volleyball and softball. Sports that involved a quick lunge towards a volleyball before it hit the floor or towards a softball before it ran right past you. I was fine with that.
We used to have to run suicide sprints in volleyball, but not anything that was long distance. My softball coach had a different kind of running. Not only would he have us do suicide sprints, but Indian sprints. I don't know where that name came from but everyone would jog around the diamond and the person in the back would have to run all the way up to the front and it would continue like that. Any sport that involved little running, I would enjoy. Except golf. I still don't understand the enjoyment of hitting a small ball around a big course. Maybe it's the beer. Feel free to explain it to me.
Fast forward to two years after I first started my weight loss journey. My workplace, particularly my department, was planning on running the Chase Corporate Challenge, which is a 5K. I was 25 pounds from my goal weight and figured it was time to give myself a challenege. I had never run a race before. I had never run farther than a mile and a half. Even playing volleyball in college, I think the most we ran at one time was a mile. It could have been more, but I'm sure I just blocked it out. I had no idea where to start or how to train, so one day I just decided that instead of walking, that my feet were going to be running. I started out on the treadmill at first and would be out of breath after 1 mile. I then began to extend that gradually and slowly. The first time I ran 3.1 miles on the treadmill, I think it took me an hour. Huge accomplishment for me. Then it was time to take the show out on the road. I had never run outsidebefore. Big difference! Those of you who remember going from the treadmill to the road for the first time know what I am talking about. Talk about winded! Holy cow! How was I ever going to get through that 5K?
Well, I did get through it and ran the race in 44 minutes. Considering this was my first 5K, I was pretty proud of myself. Not once did I stop running and walk. I got through it. Six years later, I have been able to run a 5K in 28 minutes. I guess that's what a little practice will do for you.
Which leads back to the question, "Why do I run?" Because running is a challenge. Getting past a certain mileage that you thought you would never get to. Getting a PR on a route you have previously run. Another reason I run is I am thankful that I can run and that I am healthy enough to run. I run because at 89 pounds overweight, I would never have been able to run a 5k, let alone a half-marathon. Now, look at all the races I am planning on for 2010? I run because of people who inspire me, people who motivate me and people who dare me (more on them later) I run for the heavy people to show them that there is a way out, that you don't have to be a prisoner in your own body. It will take some time, it won't be easy, but you didn't gain the weight overnight, so don't expect to lose it overnight either. Just start moving!
Stay fit and healthy!