Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a runner. As a child I would see runners on the street, looking free and determined. I wanted my body to be able to do that. I wanted to have the discipline and energy and love of running to become a runner, but it wasn’t in the cards until I was older.
I’ve had a weight problem my entire life. My mother ate (and drank and smoked) to numb the feelings of the bad marriage she was in and I learned my bad habits from her. Of course, I created some of my own.
By the time I was 28, I had ballooned up to 300 lbs. I was in an unhappy marriage and used food as my drug of choice to numb those feelings. Unlike my mother, I didn’t drink or smoke, but I made up for it with food.
My first marriage ended when I was 30 and at that point, I’d lost around 30 lbs. When I was 32 I decided when I was 33 that I was going to spend a year training for a bike ride that would take me across NY State. I figured it would help me lose weight, learn some discipline, including how to take care of myself, and have an experience that would forever change me. And yes, all of those things happened. I lost 50 lbs (I was still at 222 lbs but I did the bike ride anyway), I learned how to eat healthier and I had an amazing experience.
A year later I met my second husband-to-be and our love for each other and eating morphed into a wonderful relationship between 2 overweight people. Within a couple of years I had gotten up to 302 lbs and I knew that my health was in jeopardy. That was in 2010 and at that point I knew drastic times called for drastic measures, so I started looking into Gastric Bypass surgery.
I researched the surgery and knew everything I thought I needed to. I had it done on May 2, 2011 and it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I didn’t have any complications, but the mental aspect was and always will be the hardest part for me. I also started running at this point and I felt great. Part of my newfound confidence was that I had always wanted to go back to school for my bachelor’s degree, which I did in 2015 but unfortunately, when I went back to school, I no longer took care of myself because I didn’t think I could find the time. I gained 50 lbs.
In April 2018 I decided I’d had enough. I missed running and being healthier. I knew the weight would keep piling on if I didn’t do something about it, so I started taking care of myself again. This time, I had a new mindset. I decided if I had an off day or meal, that wouldn’t derail me into weight gain again. This new mindset made all the difference.
I started running again and even ventured onto trails. I live in Upstate N.Y. just south of the Adirondacks so there are tons of trails to enjoy. I knew it would take time to get out of my comfort zone of eating and doing very little physically, so I slowly found trails that were easily accessible and safe. I joined trail running groups on Facebook and started looking up info online about trail running. I knew it was different from road running and that I would probably need different shoes, but I had no idea how it would make me feel both mentally and physically.
Mentally, trail running has brought me confidence I never thought I would have. I go to a trail and know that different obstacles will come up and I will need to make split-second decisions. I wasn’t used to looking down all the time since in road running you really don’t need to.
Physically, I was using different muscles that I probably had never used before. Jumping and running around water and over branches, made for a really fun experience and a great workout.
It’s been almost a year since I changed my mindset about my relationship with food. I’ve lost 51 lbs (132 total) and I feel amazing. After losing and gaining weight so many times, my skin never really bounced back. The main issue I had was my stomach. I had loose skin on the sides that would really hinder my running and I knew that it was finally time to get the long-awaited tummy tuck I had wanted. I got the surgery on 2/4/19 and I’m healing amazingly well. My confidence is growing everyday and in less than 2 weeks I’ll be cleared to start running again, just in time for (hopefully) the weather to start getting a little warmer.
At 47 I feel I am the best version of me that I have ever been. I’m a runner, a wife, a chick with tattoos, a student, and most of all, someone who feels worthy of everything she deserves.
So very proud for you. Stay on the journey, it is worth it.
Thank you for having the courage to be your best you, and for sharing your story! You’re marvelous!