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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Physical Changes

The new year is here, with the new year is typically a lot of commitment. Promises to be happier, resolutions to be healthier and goals to work harder. No matter what commitment you made for 2017, the key is your desire to improve. Seeking improvement is a good thing. I have met a lot of people, in my work and in my personal life, who never really seek improvement. Years go by and they are still doing the same things, stuck in the same rut and really not even considering change. For a long time I was one of those people. I have been consistently working on improving my life each year. I haven't necessarily made resolutions each January BUT, I have been working on myself; starting with the outside.

A few years ago,  I decided I was the most miserable person physically. I would always want to stay home and I was about as much fun as a sack of potatoes. Actually, I looked pretty similar to an extra large sack of potatoes. I don't even specifically remember a moment where my thinking changed; it may have not been one exact moment, but smaller moments clumped together. Whatever took place I made a promise to myself to improve my physical appearance.

I started this journey by dragging one of my co-workers along for the most miserable lunch I had ever had, walking a half hour in the humid summer of Kentucky.  We survived that first lunch walk, then other lunches started being spent outside. With each lunch I could feel myself hating the half hour less and less. Walking slowly turned into a minute of running, then five minutes until I was running the entire half hour. From there, I took a big step and signed up for my first 5k race. In my mind, it was one thing to run on lunch when people are busy going about their day, it was entirely different running with people watching. But,  I sucked it up and made the best $20 investment of my life. That race was the slowest and most miserable race I have had to date, BUT I finished feeling like I had just took first place in the Olympics.

That 5k turned into a 10k then half marathons and eventually several full marathons. Years have passed along with numerous races. No matter how many races I finish, I still get emotional when I cross the finish line. The accomplishment I feel and the pride I have for myself is hard to put into words, even now. Running has been transformative and it's something I plan to do the rest of my life.

The next change I made was my eating. I started by reading and watching documentaries about food and healthy lifestyle changes (Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead; Food Inc.; etc.). These documentaries altered how I thought of food and nutrition. I discovered food should be nourishment; that was a concept I had never considered. But, I knew I needed that nourishment to fuel my runs.. that was the light bulb moment for me. After that,  I made slow changes to my diet.

Running and a new way of looking at food resulted in the loss of 70+ pounds.  I have days I don't eat healthy, but I don't hate myself for it. I have days where I can't run, I cut myself some slack and I plan better the next day. I'm not striving to be a size 2, I am a healthy size 8. I stopped worrying about weight loss after that first race. My focus now is my next goal and how I can challenge myself physically.  I avoid weighing myself. I know the numbers are always up and down depending on training or the time of year so avoiding obsessing  helps me maintain a positive self image.

The physical changes are noticeable but, nothing compared to the personal growth I have experienced. 

The picture on the left was at my heaviest in 2012, the right was last month after rock climbing with my honey.

Check out my Instagram feed (marathon_mom304) to see the struggle in photos over the years.

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