Little by little

I watched a video recently where a woman talked about how you can tackle anything if you’re prepared and I sat there thinking, “Well, duh.” But then I stopped and thought about all the times I thought about doing something, and my brain told me, “No. That’s too hard; we can’t do it.”

Laying the foundation or doing the groundwork often feels like too big of a task to lead you to this goal, so you dismiss it. Last year, I put it into my head that I would run a half marathon. Luckily for me, I was in my best shape since 2009 and laying the foundation (aka putting in the miles) seemed like an easy feat. Spoiler: it wasn’t. But that’s not because it was physically hard – obvi – it’s because I was stubborn about my training and wanted to do this all on my own, simply to prove to myself that I could.

I did it, and on April 30, 2017, I ran my first half marathon. So far it has been my first and only half but I still refer to it as my first because I didn’t hit my goal time and I want to train and run more. I do hope to run a full marathon one day; however, that isn’t in my near future. Because life is never easy, I stopped running right after I crossed the finish line due to an injury… and then I spiraled.

I started eating terribly. I couldn’t exercise for three months when I was doing PT. And I just lost myself. Now, nine months – or 275 days – since that half marathon I am fat, out of shape, and the thought of running anything seems daunting.

But I know one thing about myself: I can do hard things. I can buckle down and spend this year on myself. From 2015 to 2017, I focused on myself. I focused on getting in shape, cutting out bad foods, drinking less. But, like almost anyone who has started a weight loss journey, I wasn’t doing it the “right way.” I added exercise back into my life, something that I did from 7th grade through senior year of high school. I ran cross country, and I was skin and bones in high school, so when I stopped running in college and continued to eat like food was going out of style, I gained around 70 pounds without really noticing. Then, I graduated college and got a desk job where I added another 30 pounds… It’s shocking writing this down because I honestly knew I was gaining weight, but I didn’t know how I could change what I was doing.

So in 2015, two years after graduating college, I decided to change. I joined a gym and got a trainer. My trainer became someone who motivated me, pushed me, and coached me about eating right. He was someone who took me from a girl who could barely press 14 pounds to someone who has a deadlift PB of 225 lbs. From October 2015 to June 2016, I worked out with him twice a week and ran four times a week. We then parted ways when I moved, and I kept up my running so I could run the half in April of 2017. During my time with him, I thought I was eating right. However, looking back I realize that I was almost punishing myself through food and exercise and a little devil called My Fitness Pal. I was addicted to tracking my macros, and I wouldn’t allow myself to eat certain things due to their calorie count.

Fast-forward to now, I’m working out with my trainer again (now at a different gym), still twice a week with the same goal weight in mind. And I’m tackling the nutrition aspect differently. I’m not cutting out foods that I like just because they might have a higher calorie count and I will allow myself to “cheat” and not punish myself by having to workout hard or longer because if it. I am treating my body like the temple that it is, and I’m listening to what it needs vs. the past where I would only eat what an app told me I could.

Here’s the funny thing that no one tells you, weight maintenance is a slippery slope. I thought because I had reached my goal one weight at the half marathon and was working to lose a little more eventually, I could take it easy, and I would be okay during the injury and PT time. But when you stop EVERYTHING (running, lifting, counting macros, etc.) and start eating terrible you will not maintain. You will gain. I had lost 60 lbs, and within nine months I have put back almost 40.

This shook me to my core when I finally hopped on the scale on Jan. 1. I knew I had gained weight. I‘m not an idiot. My clothes weren’t fitting, and I was wearing things that I wore before my weight loss. I think that problem I have/had is that I wasn’t losing the weight the correct way and I didn’t lose the weight for me the first time around. I was losing it for other people.

I didn’t want people to refer to me as their fat friend, I didn’t want my family to be embarrassed by my size, etc. This time around it’s different. I’m doing it for me and only me – much like my half marathon.

But I’m not going to do it alone.

I will be open about my journey. I will share it, and I welcome feedback, I want to grow throughout this process so that I can maintain it. It’s going to be hard work, but you can do anything if you work at it little by little and prepare.

 

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