Never ever could I run. My throat would be ragged from heavy breathing within SECONDS of starting. My legs would give out, just too darn weak to carry my weight. Didn’t matter even when I got down to my lowest weight. Running was still somehow out of reach.
After my last regain, I decided I wanted to be smarter about my weight loss. First I had put on 35 lbs (ish) in about a year’s time. I made a firm decision that it took me a YEAR to put it on, so there was no rush to lose the weight quickly or set unrealistic goals.
Secondly I decided I had to change up my exercising. Previously I lost a lot of weight simply walking. It’s amazing when you walk an average 10-15 miles (on some odd days even 20!) how quickly the pounds drop off. Was this a bad thing? Well, the weight loss was great. In hindsight though, maintaining a 10+ mile goal 7 days a week was not reasonable at all! Sure I was capable of walking that far, but at what cost? I decided I didn’t want to spend MORE time exercising, I wanted to exercise more efficiently! I know people who spend HOURS at the gym. That’s not me! Don’t get me wrong I love to exercise, but for me the goal is to strengthen my body to do fun activities not spend more time at the gym
So here I am now. Got back into walking, but I shoot for 5 miles a day average. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I do not beat myself up about it! I also added strength training to my routine. Boy was that scary! My flabby arms, jelly legs, jiggly belly. I solved some of those problems…bought a nice workout shirt with long sleeves that keep my arms in check, purchased good walking shoes that eliminated my foot pain, and invested in a nice tummy controller to stop the belly wiggle :) So the firs time of weight training it’s sobering to set the weights and realize 15 # is a struggle for my arms, and in spite of thinking my legs were super duper in shape I struggle with leg strengthening. I didn’t let it stop me though. See, when you realize you are physically weak you need to push through those fears and disappointments and see this as a journey. At 15# I had uncovered the first stone. As I continue to do this and uncover more stones I will find greater treasures and success.
I set no lofty expectations for what strength training would do for me. I went into it with the hope I’d simply get a bit stronger and more toned. You can imagine my surprise when the other day I’m putting on my nightgown and suddenly notice my arms. Hmmm…not so flabby. Beach ready? Probably not, but noticeably tighter and more well defined. Do I also detect a firmness to my waist? Slightly more definition? I don’t think my eyes are deceiving me because my jeans fit better. Lastly, as I’m walking yesterday I suddenly get inspired to run! Can I run? Have I ever ran? No no only failed attempts that left me too tired and breathless to even walk. Yesterday I set a goal to run 1 min. So I’m running, listening to my music, and smiling, as I hit the 1 minute mark and continue to run. 5 Min later I stop, my heart is racing, and I am still smiling. I can feel my heart pumping and I feel absolutely wonderful!
I don’t know if I’m ready to run a 5K yet, but it’s suddenly a possibility! What a great feeling! When I think back at my heaviest weight, 352 lbs, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. At my highest weight I used to gasp for breath sitting at my desk. I couldn’t find clothes that fit. I hated myself…how I looked, how I felt. It was the saddest loneliest part of my life. For being so large, I felt so small. I’m so glad I’m not “her” anymore. I love being able to do normal things that people take for granted. Breathing normally, shopping for clothes, running, and most importantly loving myself! This has been an amazing journey!