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celebrating 5 years of beating obesity. Before/after pics

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This Sunday I will seal my 5 year journey with a kiss, the kiss is my first marathon, 26.2 miles to seal what I started. Don’t miss understand, it isn’t over, but it seems like a great way to close out five years.
I still remember how horrible I felt; always out of breath, no energy, tight clothes that always seemed to get tighter and tighter, feeling every roll on my body, feeling like my smile was lost in the weight that had to push it back to reveal “happiness” and being so embarrassed and ashamed of what I had done to myself that I never wanted to go anywhere or be around anybody.


But I also remember the night I had had enough of those feelings, the night I found spark people, the moment I told my best friend my plan and how I wanted her to hold me accountable, the night I made the decision to try to change.
November 4th, 2009 I weighed the heaviest I ever had in my life, heavier than either of my two pregnancies, and I fell into the “obese” category.

I had no idea if I could be successful with this journey but I knew I needed to at least try. Week after week, weigh in after weigh in, I was consistently losing weight. I followed the plan, I stayed within my calories given, I went out and was active and I lost weight through thanksgiving, Christmas, new year’s, and on.

I ran my first 5k two weeks into my lifestyle change, I wanted to run the whole thing without stopping, no matter how slow, and I did. It took me over 50 minutes, a guy power walked past me, but I did it and THAT started something in me, a real determination, because for the first time in forever, I saw potential in myself.

I’ve done countless 5ks, several 10ks, 15k, and 4 half marathons. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I’d run a 10k(let alone a marathon) I would have laughed and told you there’s NO way that would happen and then I would have cried about it eventually because of how upset I was with myself.





I never thought I’d run 26 minute 5ks, a 56 minute 10k, or that I could pull a 2:13 half marathon… but all along this journey I just keep surprising myself.
Just a year and a half ago I was still saying there was NO way I’d run a marathon, it sounded like torture to me. And yet, here I am, 4 days out from running my first. I stopped being as competitive with running two years ago and actually found real joy in it… suddenly running for hours on end, didn’t seem so bad.
Since day 1 of this journey I have worked hard, I lost 77 pounds, and even had a shout out from Bob Harper along the way.

This journey brought on a love of running... That love for running has brought really special people in my life. I love being a part of the running community.


I’ve done fun races with my kids.

I’ve done hard trail races.

I’ve done silly trail races.

I’ve done races in memory of someone special.

I even have a super inspiring boy that I run for now…


During the last five years I had my third child, had emergency surgery days after his birth, recovered, came back by losing what I had gained and am now at a total of -77.5 lbs. and my smallest since high school.


The journey is simple… eat better, eat less and get active…. But it’s anything but easy.


This Sunday…
All of the sweat

The thousands of miles

Countless races


Training on the snow

In the rain

In sub 15 temps
Mid-90s with 90+% humidity

Running circles in my backyard

All the times I ached in my legs
The moments I almost threw up
The runs with friends
The runs alone
The mocking
The encouragement
All the HOURS of training will come down to the moments that get me to the finish line.

My 5 year lifestyle change anniversary is Tuesday, November 4th… my marathon is Sunday, November 2nd.

I lost the weight.
I’ve maintained it.
I gained self-confidence.
I’m healthy.
I’m happy.
I did it.
And there’s no reason anybody else can’t.








God has truly humbled me through this journey. The support from my family, from my friends… its priceless.
Sunday as I make my way through each mile, high fives,
cheers from my husband


My kids

and friends… it’s going to be such an emotional day. I get so overwhelmed by the rush of feelings that I anticipate to have.
Grateful. Humbled. Thankful.
The journey is worth it my friends, and yours doesn’t have to include a marathon… but never say “never”

Much love,
Em

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOLAHORSERIDER 10/30/2014 8:56AM

    Wow Em! You look like a whole new person! You are an amazing inspiration! Great Job! You have chosen a long, healthy life to spend with your children and family! :)

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ANDREAG89 10/30/2014 8:55AM

    Brought tears to my eyes. And that's all I can say right now (besides "Thank you.")

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ABAKER34 10/30/2014 8:24AM

    You have done an amazing job and your blog is a reminder to us all that there are healthy activities out there (whether it be running, weight lifting, skiing, whatever) to replace the bad/inactive activities that suck up space in our life. I've taken up running over the last year and have signed up for a half marathon next year. My kids and I are doing a turkey trot together this thanksgiving. I'm so excited that my kids are going to be able to run with me. Awesome blog and awesome job! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EVER-HOPEFUL 10/30/2014 4:47AM

    great blog as usual love.can´t wait to see the photos and feedback from your first marathon.notice i said your first as i am 100% certain it won´t be your last love.take care and keep smiling but above all keep on keeping on. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RUSTYCRICKET25 10/29/2014 7:50PM

    wow you look amazon.

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JUSGETTENBY42 10/29/2014 6:42PM

    emoticon

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Running with Passion

Sunday, August 31, 2014

It was all rather embarrassing when I started to ugly cry while explaining why I loved to run. Why would such a question spark tears? As well as a lot of snot. I wasn’t prepared for that kind of response from myself nor do I think anyone in the room expected it either, after all it’s just running right?
Wrong.
The Women’s class I’ve been attending on Sunday mornings has been on “Christian necessities and delights” and this particular week we were discussing delights… what brings us joy, pleasure…. No one in that room was shocked that mine was running, they know that I’m slightly more than addicted.
“Why do you love to run?”
“When I run, I’m free” and with that last word my voice cracked and the tears started falling.

Running started out as a means to get healthy, lose weight, be active…
A life changing event occurred not even two months in, and it wasn’t for the better. I was so blindsided I didn’t really know what to do with myself other than to keep running so I wouldn’t lose what I had worked for. It didn’t take long to realize that running was going to be my outlet. It took away some of the stress and tension caused by the situation, it didn’t take away the pain but it helped, oh how it helped.
I found myself WANTING to run, NEEDING to run… I’d go out and push myself hard, I’d cry sometimes and sometimes I’d even smile.
Then I became competitive, better known in this case as selfish. Every time I went out, EVERY SINGLE TIME, I was racing myself, I wanted a personal best 5k, a super-fast minute mile and so on. I wanted to go out even when it wasn’t a good time (family wise) to go… you could say I was running from my problems, you’d be right.

Fast forward past a lot of “smaller” races, some bigger races, a couple injuries, a pregnancy, and an emergency surgery and you have me huffing and puffing at half a mile. Recovery… coming back…. Boy that’s humbling. I wasn’t making personal bests, I was rivaling my personal worsts. Yes I had “baby weight” to lose as motivation, but I wanted those feelings back… the feelings that made me happy, the ones that made me free. I didn’t care near as much about records anymore, I just wanted to run… for FUN! Things in my family life have changed a lot since almost 5 years ago, 3… even 1 year ago.
I’ve “grown up”
Yes, I still run for me, but it’s so much more than that. I’ve started praying during parts of my runs since I’m out there for hours, why not all of it? Well I’m one of those people that get distracted really easily *squirrel!* so anytime is better than none. I’ve learned to soak in my surroundings, the beauty in nature, the art of the sky, all of it is the works of His hand. I listen to some Christian artists and do some worshipping through music while I’m out there. I do a lot of thinking about life, how blessed I am… I think about the little boy I run for now, named josh, he’s an inspiring guy who makes my heart smile. I make a point to wave and/or say hi to everyone I come in contact with, I have found most people are happy to see a runner look up and say hi with a friendly smile vs. looking like they’re going after an Olympic medal.

I didn’t want to run a marathon before the end of last year. Zero desire… because I was overly competitive, though I’d give other reasons. But now… not only do I want to, but I am enjoying every step of training that’s helping me get there. The support of being gone for hours from my family makes me love them even more, which I never think is even possible and yet time and time again… goodness I’m blessed.


I’ve thought a lot this week about my crying over running in class and I’m no longer embarrassed over it. It really does mean that much to me. It helped me leave obesity behind, helped me cope during rough times, made me push myself and it brings me such great joy.
I ran 97 miles for the month of August... My highest monthly miles ever, and some of my happiest. To quote Forrest Gump ;) “I just love running.”
Do more of what He has given you that brings joy.

Much love,
Em

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ABAKER34 9/2/2014 8:12AM

    I love this blog, I was tearing up just reading it. Keep running, that is your best comfort and therapy!

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EVER-HOPEFUL 9/1/2014 5:26PM

    wow you will be trying for the 100 miles a month next.so glad you found your happy ground.keep on keeping on you are doing great emoticon

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WORKNPROGRESS49 9/1/2014 9:11AM

    emoticon blog!!! emoticon

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OPTIMIST1948 9/1/2014 8:39AM

    Inspiring.

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PMRUNNER 9/1/2014 7:12AM

    Great blog! Love the attitude shift and the joy that you get through running! It makes me want to lace up my shoes and head out!

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LIMOM2TWINS 9/1/2014 6:50AM

    thank you so much! I loved this blog - we should all do what makes us happy!!

emoticon Limom2twins

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TWEETYKC00 9/1/2014 6:15AM

    Go, run, be free!

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FORZACHANDMATT 9/1/2014 6:03AM

    Such a great blog - you are inspiring

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The journey is just as important as the goal.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

26.2 miles... You want to know why goals are so great? It's not just the accomplishment itself, it's the journey getting there. Training for my first marathon this fall hasn't been easy, and it's only going to keep getting harder. Yes, crossing the finish line will feel incredible... I can't even begin to fathom how many emotions I'll have going on at once!
Yes, the medal will be well earned and an honor to wear... But this journey has already been full of emotions and accomplishment. The discipline required to MAKE time to train, no matter how hot, how early, how far, how tiring... It's definitely something you have to WANT and ohhhh how I do!!
I have great respect for smaller distance races, and I'm not "knocking" them in anyway shape or form... I will say though that THIS is where it gets serious.

I have literally gotten goosebumps and chills while on a 90+ degree run when I think about the 26.2 mile race that's now only 81 days away! To some that may sound far off, but when you're upping miles every week... It's not far at all.
I imagine the feelings I'll have when we start out...

When bystanders cheer...

When I thank volunteers...

When I see my family along the way...

When the finish line is in sight... Oh man I can't wait!

I wonder if I will be struggling at the end, or if I'll be coming in strong... Regardless I am determined to finish!

Training requires determination...
I thought I was determined, then some friends who planned this same marathon to be their first as well needed to drop to the half. I'm not mad at all(bummed, sure, totally different), life happens and I think their decisions were smart ones. That was when it hit me... That I was kind of on my own, did I want it enough? It's been a difficult year for me emotionally and health wise... Did I WANT it? Could I do this on my own? I would be lying if I said I didn't give it much thought but in the end I wanted it even more then before!

Training requires brains...
Not saying you have to be a genius but you HAVE to be smart! It's not like a 5k/10k where some wait until 2-3 weeks before they end up training. I've been working towards this since last November. I made sure to run as consistently as possible through the winter so that I could jump right into training this year, because again, life happens and you don't want something to come and really set you back.
You have to be mindful of what you eat, you gotta hydrate, wear proper gear, make yourself go to bed early on a Friday night or get up and do it early before church on Sundays, you gotta be smart fueling your long runs... Yes, brains.

Training requires time...
I don't really know what to add to that other than you HAVE to put the time in. I'm out running 4-5+ hours every week.., next month and October it's only going to become crazier!

Training requires support...
I may be the one making my body run but my husband makes the time possible by watching our kids. He understands investing in the proper gear and provides it. He brings the kids out to cheer me on.
My kids love asking how my run went and what I saw, heck they enjoy running and stretching with me but they especially enjoy cheering for me. Having people who ask how training is going, who are excited for you, proud of you... Is huge. As is having other running friends to turn to for guidance.

Training requires passion...
If you don't love to run... I just don't even know why you would bother putting yourself through this, haha!

I am excited about race day but I'm also excited about training!

So set your goals, go after them and enjoy the journey getting there!

Much love,
Em

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECOMEFEARLESS 9/7/2014 11:19PM

    Good luck!

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_JODI404 8/15/2014 9:14PM

    Woo~hooo Emily!! 26.2 is a great, challenging goal! I look forward to cheering for you all the way!

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EVER-HOPEFUL 8/15/2014 4:13PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ARUNNINGKAT 8/15/2014 11:51AM

    Love this blog! Love your determination and your approach too! I know you are going to rock this upcoming marathon and cross that finish line with the biggest smile ever! emoticon

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WORKNPROGRESS49 8/14/2014 3:23PM

    emoticon

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TMW54812 8/14/2014 3:08PM

    You have already won many of the benefits of the race! Best wishes for continued good health and may you always possess such a grateful heart!
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Superhuman? Not even close.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Someone recently told me, "you seem really happy and strong" in regards to my posts on Facebook. Part of me was surprised because this has actually been a really hard year for me but then again I don't update the Facebook "world" on every struggle I encounter so I could see how she would come to that conclusion.
This year has been full of sickness, high stress situations and my own personal health issues. Am I trying to deceive everyone into believing I have it all together? No. A lot of my posts contain something positive, happy or some sort of proud moment... why? Because for me, a lot of the time I have to force myself to find the positive, to see the "little" blessings I may normally overlook because of being overwhelmed by everything else.
I'll post my proud moment of running __ amount of miles because the day before I had zero energy or motivation to get anything done.
I'll post about how one of my kids said or did something sweet or funny because until that point I was dealing with fighting/whining and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 
Now I'm not trying to turn this into a "woe is me" blog... But more like an "I'm human too" announcement.
I have bad days, I have hard runs, I get angry, I cry... A lot. But I also have good moments, great runs, I have things/people that make me happy, who make me laugh... And that's what I have to force myself to focus on much of the time. 
God has been good to me and I want to share and dwell on that.
I'm not superhuman.
I'm not the exception.
I'm me. I'm a daughter, sister, wife and mother. I'm just like every other person in this world. I get stressed out(more than I should) and eat a gigantic bowl of ice cream, I worry myself into an emotional breakdown, I struggle and you better believe I fail... A lot.
Because of Gods grace, mercy, and death and resurrection of His Son I have hope. I have a purpose. Even in my darkest hour I have hope, I just need to learn to hold on to that and trust Him.
"No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me."
I want to be a light, no matter how dim it may be in the darkness around me.
I'm not bounce off the wall happy, but I'm not unbelievably sad either. I'm not some strong energizer bunny but I'm not a constant couch potato.
The comment that brought on the blog entry in no way upset me, but it got me thinking... Am I a fake? Am I putting on a mask? The answer is no... I'm a very real person, especially with those close to me, but social media (I've learned from past experience) is not the place to share all your deep, dark, seemingly constant problems. That's what family, close friends AND your church family is for. 
No Facebook comment is going to rid me of my situation, and while it may "help" it's not going to be the help I (or anyone else) needs.
But family and friends who will pray for you, help you practically... Yes. 
This year has been humbling.
So here I am... A hot mess of a wife, a mother who doesn't get it right half of the time, a Christian who still sins *gasp* and an addicted runner TRYING to reach a new dream of running a marathon while dealing with life in the process.
If I can pull this off, it'll be by the Grace of God, a patient and supportive husband and my precious kids (and my awesome I run4 buddy, josh!) cheering me on... Not by my own strength or ability.
Go after your dreams now, life will never have the "perfect conditions" to do so!
Much love!
Em

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECOMEFEARLESS 8/12/2014 11:36PM

    Nice to see an update blog. It's been a little while. Take care.

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JTAMSYN 8/4/2014 7:08PM

    I was just thinking the same thing today. I also try to be the positive, upbeat person that I'm often far from feeling. However, it can help me refocus on the positive.

But I have to say, I think that any mother is a superwoman! You have so much balancing to do, especially with 3 kids. And I'm pretty sure even superwomen have bad days!

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ARUNNINGKAT 8/4/2014 3:26PM

    What a great blog! It is such a timely reminder to me too. I have been struggling emotionally for a variety of reasons I won't get into, but you helped remind me to focus on the good. Do my best and trust God with the rest! emoticon

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EVER-HOPEFUL 8/4/2014 1:33PM

    great seeing you bloging again em love.missed you.i am not that talkative at the moment so you will just have to put up with some emotions,lol emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Let's get real! Our enemy... the mirror.

Monday, July 22, 2013

We always want to "improve" ourselves, whether it's by:
losing weight
toning up
accomplishing a goal
constantly changing our hairstyle or color
whitening our teeth
tanning
or
even having the latest fashion.

There is nothing wrong with pursuing any of the above, though I think it's extremely important that we ask why.
Is it a need? Is it a want? Is it really going to benefit you or the others around you?
Is it for us?
Should we be healthy? ABSOLUTELY
Should we care about our appearances? Yes
There is a fine line between attaining these things, and obsessing over them to the point of destroying who you are.

We (especially women) are all self-conscious. We know people are looking, because we look too. Do we think negatively of others? No, well, we SHOULDN'T anyway.
But we look, and we always want what someone else has, and while we stand there being envious... chances are they're doing the same.

Is our self-esteem so low that we can't see our own self worth?

I've stood in front of a mirror and examined everything about myself.
my eyes
my teeth
my arms
my stomach
my hair...
you name it, I've probably stood there deciding what I did and didn't like, more so the last one.
I admit it. I admit it because I know I'm not the only one. We all do, some more than others.
For some of us the enemy is the scale, but for EVERYONE the enemy is the mirror.

I had a habit of standing there, and tearing myself down.
I could find multiple reasons I didn't like "this" about "that" and hated "that" about "this".
What good did it do me? Absolutely nothing. It made my self-esteem crash lower and lower... and increased how self-conscious I was to the point I never wanted to go out, ever.
This is such a dangerous practice... it can lead to depression, eating disorders, and just flat out hating who you are.

Why do we do this to ourselves?? It's HORRIBLE how hard we are on ourselves.
We have stuff EVERYWHERE telling us we're not good enough.
Not thin enough, not pretty enough, not stylish enough, not cool enough.... enough is ENOUGH!
The magazines, the ads all over the internet, commercials on tv.... UGH!
Do we do it for the opposite sex? No, I don't honestly believe we do... we do it to keep up with THOSE people, because we want to be them.
I'd rather be real. I'm sick of everyone telling me I need to be like this or that.
The typical sickly skinny, dark tan, perfect white teeth, bleach blonde hair or brunette covered in highlights, did I mention skinny and tan?!?!

Let's get real...

What should we do? Well, for starters, ignore all that CRAP, it's all a LIE. We ARE beautiful, we are worth loving, especially by US.
Be healthy.... YES! If that means losing weight because you're obese, do it. If it means eating healthier meals, do it.
Care about your appearance... yes. You are worth the time to take care of yourself and present yourself in a way that shows you care about who you are.

I dare you

I dare you to go look in that mirror... look at all the places that you have beaten yourself up over before, and decide if you're being RIDICULOUS, or if it's something you feel is worth the time to work on. Look at yourself... for every negative that you come up with you need to turn it around and have a positive to go with it.
It's not easy but it's worth it. You're worth it.
No more tearing yourself down because the world has stupid standards.
It's time to raise your self-esteem
It's time to stop being so self-conscious
It's time to be happy
It's time to love who you are

I dare you...

I dare you to see just how beautiful you really are.

Psalm 139:14
"I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well"

Much Love,

Em

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMURFETTE-FR 1/27/2014 3:21AM

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LAYLAROSE01 11/12/2013 3:13PM

  powerful!!!!!!

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GREGGWEISBROD 7/30/2013 4:08PM

    I think I still see areas that I would like to improve, but having seen the improvement from a couple of months ago, I don't really sweat those areas, and am more amazed by how good my body looks compared to then, and the knowledge that it will only improve every day that I choose to work at it. For some, it takes them a long time to see their results, so I guess I'm fortunate that I find myself in this mental state. Your post is so bang on though for those that refuse to see the changes, and who go past their goals to the opposite side of the BMI spectrum. Obsessing can be a dangerous animal if not kept on a leash. Glad you posted this, it's an extremely important message to ourselves.

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ARUNNINGKAT 7/23/2013 1:43PM

    Very well put. We have to be on this journey for the right reasons and give ourselves a break sometimes.

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ABAKER34 7/23/2013 11:56AM

    Great blog! I intentionally avoid camera's because I don't like to see myself in pictures, and all of the mirror's in my house are from the waist up (I don't like to see my big butt)...it's sad how much we pick on our appearances. But when my kids run up to me and hug me with big smiles on their faces I ask myself am I being overly critical?

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