Thursday, June 21, 2012
When I was 23 years old, I weighed 289 lbs. Aside from the stigma that comes along with being overweight, I was generally happy. At 23, I accepted that I was one of those people who were just meant to be fat. I accepted that I would always shop the biggest sizes at Lane Bryant and Ashley Stewart, and that I’d always show Plus sizes at any store that carried them. But I’d always secretly wanted to be an athlete and that was a dream that I refused to let go of. So I decided that I would be as athletic as my chubby body would allow me to be. I committed to accepting myself in my current state and holding fast to a small dream that wouldn’t go away. I began with using the elliptical machine 3 days a week for 30 minutes at my company’s gym. It was difficult. It hurt. It was not enjoyable. But I had already accepted that it was my destiny to be overweight. I accepted that I could not let my goal of being athletic die. So I accepted that exercise would forever be a tortuous part of my life. The 23 year old, 289 lb athlete!
I befriended a seemingly healthy couple that had recently committed to working out 3 days a week, as well. They invited me to join them for weight training. At first, I declined, watching them work out on various weight machines while a toiled through my grueling elliptical session. I eventually joined them. I figured that a 23 year old, 289 lb athlete had to get used to being around athletes with normal body weights at some point. The first workout was humiliating. While they cranked out rep after rep and set after set, I could barely do 10 reps of each exercise. The second workout was even worse. That’s when I grew tired of being the weakest link of our 3 person workout squad. Someone had to step up for all of the 23 year old, 289 lb athletes. I secretly began working out 5 days a week so that I could build up my strength and endurance for my group sessions. Before long, I was able to perform the same exercises as them without feeling exhausted! The Chunky Athletes were prevailing!!! I had hardly noticed that after a few months, I was down nearly 40 lbs. I was still eating fast food. I still hated all fruits, except apples and pickles. I still wasn’t big on vegetables. But I refused to let go on my inner athlete.
Shortly after, a small group in our building put together a private Biggest Loser challenge. I overheard and asked if I could join. The leader reluctantly allowed me to participate. I added my $30 to the pot and got started. I wasn’t sure what would happen, but the now 24 year old, 250 lb athlete in me was up for the challenge. I told God that if He helped me to win, I would give the money to my church. He was listening! I lost another 36 lbs over those next 3 months and won the contest! As agreed, I gave all of the $300+ of my winnings as a special offering to my church. I couldn’t believe what God was doing in my life!
With the help of my gym buddies, I continued to push myself. Somehow, the 289 lb athlete became a 146 lb athlete. At 25, I was running half marathons without even training! I was getting more attention than I was used to. And although my weight loss was extremely slow to me (it took about 16 months), some family members and even people at my church were making up stories about how I lost weight (“You know she had surgery.”) and why I lost weight (“She was after some guy!”) I was crushed! It put in hours at the gym and became a very disciplined eater, just to have people discredit my accomplishment. I was used to being the chunky girl who was super funny and nice, but no one really noticed. Not the girl that every guy wanted to date and that was gossiped about from envy.
26-29 was a very hazy phase of dating all of the wrong guys, my weight going up and down, feeling unfulfilled and just outright out of control. My confidence had been demolished! But thank God for Grace! I joined Sparkpeople when I was 27, but never really committed to it. It is now 2 years later and I don’t think I’ve accomplished any of the goals I set back then. I was going to start a new Sparkpeople account for that fresh start feeling, but decided on a different route. With the help of the Lord, I’m going to fix what is broken! I have a proven track record of success! I know what I can do! My Chunky Athlete is back! The person that refused to let go of a dream. Who accepted her present state in life as her present state in life. She’s the voice that kept pushing me to go for the impossible. Who realized that achieving her goal would be extremely uncomfortable. And who kept moving forward in spite of it.
After all, life does begin at the end of your comfort zone! Let’s live!!!
Friday, May 20, 2011
So it has a been a LONG time since I've been on Sparkpeople. It's been even longer since I've posted a blog. And sadly, since I stopped logging on to SP, I've managed to gain another 20 lbs or so. And that's okay.
I've been through a lot of stress this year. I've been involved in some not so healthy relationships with friends, men, and food. But it's okay.
I've been more financially stressed this year than I have ever been in my life. And so are my family and friends. But it's okay.
I've felt like such a failure, very inadequate, and unaccomplished for the first 5 months of 2011. I haven't been able to catch my footing. It just seems like if something does go my way, 10 other things happen that knock the wind out of me. But it's okay.
You see, someone asked me if I believed that I deserve to have the life I dream of having. If I believe that I deserve to be fit and athletic? If I deserve to have a healthy and happy marriage? If I deserve to have a career that I love? If I deserve to love my life?
And the craziest thing happened. Instead of responding with a resounding "YES!" I actually started thinking of reasons I didn't deserve to be happy. But then I heard a sermon and the pastor said that just because you mess up, that does not disqualify you from receiving from God. He used Prince Harry and Prince William for an example. I think Harry was the Wild Child and William was the good son. That pastor said that just because Harry may have messed up, he didn't lose his position as a prince. He has a royal blood line and nothing can disqualify him from his destiny. God works exactly the same way! We can never mess up so badly that God refuses us the desires of our hearts. All we have to do is ask for it and believe that we deserve it. God will do the rest!
So I'm at a place where I can confidently say, "Yes, I deserve to love my life! I deserve to have the things I want! I deserve to wake up EVERY MORNING in love with Jesus and the life he's blessed me with! I deserve to feel beautiful in my own skin no matter what size I am! I deserve to love and be loved! I deserve to be healthy and athletic! And I am worth the time it takes to achieve the things I deserve!!!
Since I know what I deserve, I don't feel the need to see a 10 lb weight loss in 3 days in order for me to remain motivated. I'm going to enjoy the process of what I have to do to obtain it. And I will NEVER let Satan fill my mind with thoughts of inadequacy. I will never think that happiness is for other people and not for me. I plan to enjoy every single blessing that God has for me no matter what is going on in the world around me.
And if, by chance, I happen to make a few mistakes along the way...It's okay!!! I know that I still deserve the best!!!
Be blessed, SP!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
So I ran a half marathon today, after not running for a least a month. And it was the most painful run of my life. The race started at 7 am. I woke up late. I ended up having to park about a mile or so away from the start line. I heard the gun go off for the race to start as soon as I got out of my car. By the time I found the start line (amazingly none of the police officers who were blocking off the roads knew where the start line was) the race had already been going on for 13 minutes! The volunteers were about to pull up the thresh hold that runners have to cross in order to active the timing chip. So about 4 minutes after I cross the thresh hold, I see people running toward me. I'm thinking how far behind could I possibly be in only 13 minutes??? There wasn't a runner in front of me for what seemed to be an eternity! I was exhausted as I turned the first corner only to find out that I hadn't even ran a mile yet! That's when I thought about quitting. Until some enthusiastic volunteers offering water cheered me on. After all, it was about 25 minutes into the race, and I hadn't even ran a mile yet! I wanted to quit. I was overweight and out of shape. There's no way I could do this! Plus, it was about 40 degrees and the fog was so thick, it seemed like it was raining. I didn't have gloves. My hands were freezing. I couldn't think of anything except the pain. Then I turned the second corner and what did I see? Walkers! And the police car trailing them since they were believed to be the last of the half marathoners. I jogged a little until I was able to pass about 4 people. I wouldn't be in last place after all! I'll spare the other details, but I managed to finish the entire 13.1 miles in 2 hrs and 35 minutes. And it was the most painful run of my life! Not to mention the mile walk to the start line and the mile walk back to my car after the finish line. Every single part of my body hurts today. But I did burn over 2200 calories. And as out of shape as I am AND after starting late, I still managed to run faster than 200 other people.
I really learned so much about myself today. I showed up late. I was far behind everyone else. The weather and a lot of other elements were against me. It seemed like there was no one around to support me. I didn't know where to start. I couldn't see nor envision the finish line. BUT, I did show up. I did not give up. And even though it was painful, the further I got into the race, the more I improved. The better my running became. My endurance started to build up. And even though I ached every step of the way, I appreciated how strong my body was and it's ability to push past the pain to accomplish the goal!
After I showered and lay across my bed, I read my new SELF magazine and ran across 3 words that shook my world. "Happy New You!"
I just began to think about how my day started off. How last week went for me. How this year has been for me until now. I started thinking of all the things that made me decide to just dive into a 1/2 marathon without training or stretching or anything. Happy New You?
It made perfect sense! The truth is, we do not have to be anything that we don't want to be. No one can label you or make you believe that you are anything unless you allow their opinions of you to outweigh your opinion of yourself, and more importantly, who God says you are! You can decide for yourself to become who you want to be. And the awesome news is that you can become that person RIGHT NOW! You don't have to wait until tomorrow, or next week, and definitely not next year!
I want to encourage everyone reading this to decide today what you want to be. Decide to believe the report of the Lord! God wants us to have the desires of our hearts! It is not God's desire to tell us no! He wants us all to be happy and cherish the gift of life that He has given us! Make a list of the type of person you want to be. Write down all of your strengths and build on those. Make a list of areas you would like to improve and get busy improving them! Shoot for the moon! We all deserve it! Don't wait until 2011 to start fresh. Figure out the type of person you want to be and then get busy working on you today! While everyone else waits for midnight on January 1, 2011 to shout happy new year and start working on their resolutions, you can resolve on December 20, 2010 to be the best you ever.
When you wake up tomorrow morning, look yourself in the mirror and say...
HAPPY NEW YOU!!!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
So this holiday season has totally kicked my will power to the curb. For some reason, I just can't seem to resist having 2 or 3 cookies from our "12 Days of Cookies" celebration at work. And I don't even like cookies!!! I can't seem to resist all of the tempting treats at holiday parties. I just don't seem to have self-control anymore. Everyday is the last day that I'll eat unhealthy. Tomorrow is the day I'll eat super healthy and work out for 3 hours, and sleep for 8 hours. So I enjoy all the fattening treats I want today, and then tomorrow, and the day after that until my weight has gotten up to 172! Holy Moley! I haven't seen that number in 3 years!!! I'm 5'8 so I can hide it a little with clothes. But that doesn't account for my thighs rubbing together and my arms getting loose and chubby again! So last night, after I had my last fattening meal for the fifth day in a row, I was driving home feeling depressed about my body. So I started talking to myself. It went something like this.
Me: I can't believe I've let my weight get out of control like this.
Myself: Well, what are we going to do about it.
Me: I want to lose weight!
Me: So I can be skinny.
Myself: Why do you want to be skinny?
Me: So that I can feel neat and attractive in my clothes.
Me: So that I can feel more confident around people and feel better about myself.
Me: Because when I'm in shape, I feel healthy and in control.
Me: Because I know I'm making smart, healthy choices. That I'm not letting outside factors affect me internally. I'm deciding that my health and my body are more important than social pressures or stressors. I feel like I am honoring the gift of life that God has given to me. When I am fit, I feel strong, complete, and satisfied.
Suddenly, it all made sense! The real reason I want to lose weight had very little to do with vanity and more about how fitness makes me feel. I started to remember those highs that I would get after a nice long run or a strenuous workout. I loved pushing my body to its limits and seeing the amazing results. Going from 289 to 147 was something that I never in my life imagined that I would be able to do. But that single accomplishment rocked my world. I sought out new challenges without a doubt in my mind that I could accomplish them because God had already done the impossible in my life before. So I KNEW that all things were possible.
The more weight I gain, the less I feel that way. The more junk food I eat, the more my life seems to fill up with junk. The more crap I allow myself to have, the crappier I feel. So why would I continue to go down that road.
By asking myself "Why?" over and over again, I discovered the true reason that I want to lose weight. Sure, there is a little vanity there. But fitness represents discipline, hard work, determination, and relentlessness to me. When I work out, I carry that sense of accomplishment and confidence over to every area of my life. When I'm active, I feel like there is nothing that can stop me. That there's nothing that I can't do. I feel my best, no matter what the scale says.
So today begins my new life. The slate is clean. I'm not going all out, all or nothing, gunning it. I'm simply making fitness a priority and everything else will fall into place. I haven't ran in a while, but I signed up to do a half marathon this Sunday. And I'm super excited! My goal seems so much more attainable since I discovered my real motivation. And it's all because of one 3 letter word, "WHY?"
I want to encourage anyone who's reading this to ask yourself why over and over again until you find out your true motivation for whatever your goal is. Once you find out that your motivation has nothing to do with a number on the scale, you'll most likely pursue your desires with a new and revived intensity.
Let's do it!!!
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