Obviously, I was very tired. Since I was exhausted, I never felt like cooking, so I resorted to frozen food, fast food, pretty much anything quick and easy. Besides the fact that I did a 5-K (without any training) for the hell of it, my exercise habits were non-existent. From the time I graduated college until I turned 30, I put on at least 50 pounds.
When I turned 30, I went to the doctor to find out why I was having stomach problems. After a colonoscopy, he told me that I had a lot of polyps in my colon and that a person my age shouldn't have this issue. This was the wakeup call I needed to start treating my body better. I started making healthy changes: I stopped smoking, I went vegetarian, and I kept an eye on the foods I was putting in my body. I also left my job to find something that wasn't as stressful or exhausting. However, I still wasn't losing weight.
Even though I wasn't at my healthiest, I was intrigued by my friends who ran races, and I loved fitness culture. I thought that I could never be one of those super fit people because I had no idea where to start. But I finally decided that if I was going to run the Chicago marathon, I had to just do it—so I started training. It took me over seven hours to finish my first marathon, but I finished! It was the best feeling ever. I signed up for another one soon after.
Not long after that, I had my first mammogram, and I found out there was some suspicious tissue in my breast. After having a lumpectomy to remove the tissue, I did some research and realized that with my family history of breast cancer and my weight, I was really at risk for developing it later. At that point, I weighed 205 pounds.
I knew I had to do something different to start losing weight. Obviously, training for my second marathon and participating in fitness events, like the Spartan Race, weren't enough to help me reach a healthy weight.
I started talking to my athletic friends about what I should do to truly get in shape, and they recommended I start going to this gym called Fit Body Boot Camp. It was such a change from my old routine of just running at a steady pace. In each class, we do strength training and cardio exercises in circuits. It was like nothing I'd ever done before.
During my first class, I could barely do a pushup or a squat, but the challenge brought out my inner competitor. I started going twice a week and worked my way up to four times a week.
On top of that, I started to do a little research online about what it takes to lose weight and fuel my workouts. I learned that I needed to eat way more protein that I was, and that actually made the biggest difference. I started to notice more definition in my muscles, and the weight began coming off.
Two years after setting out to get in shape and improve my health, I weigh 163 pounds, and have gone from a size 18 to a size 8.
Besides being able to fit into a medium, shop wherever I want, and improve my marathon time by two hours, the best part about taking care of my body is that I have the best sense of self that I've ever had. I've always felt like an independent and strong person, but I never felt physically strong until now. My physical state now matches my mental state.
Be patient. I know that I'm not going to get to my goal weight of 140 overnight, but by staying patient and being consistent, I don't get discouraged and give up on all the progress I've made.
Try new workouts to find what you like. I love running, but if I didn't try Fit Body Boot Camp with my friends, I would have never achieved the results that I wanted or learned that I like to lift heavy things. It makes me smile when I go to class and see my progress every time.
Be okay with yourself. I know I'm not as fast or as strong as some of my athletic friends, but I feel good about what I've accomplished. That success helps me feel confident at the gym and assures me that I'm capable of reaching my weight-loss goal.