Friday, January 20, 2012

My Story

I have never been skinny. But I haven't always been fat. Confusing? Let me explain.

Growing up, I was also chubbier than most of my friends. I was always uncomfortable in my own skin and discouraged by the fact that I couldn't wear the same, cute clothes that they did. I played sports for a few years, but never fell in love with a specific sport so I just gave up. And that was the beginning of weight gain and inactivity. I wouldn't say that my family ate unhealthy, I would just say that I ate a lot of whatever we did eat. My portion control was way off and I have always been an emotional eater and a mindless snacker. Any reason to celebrate called for food. I had a great childhood, had all the love & material things I could ever ask for. I guess thats why I never, truly cared enough to do anything about the way I looked. I knew I was loved, regardless of how chubby I was!

I continued to gain weight slowly through elementary school, and then in middle school decided I needed to lose weight. Instead of doing things the healthy way, I did the complete opposite. I would go days without eating, and then the next few days I'd binge and then make myself throw up. It was a vicious cycle and looking back at pictures from 7th and 8th grade- sure I was thin, but I was also very unhealthy. I knew I couldn't live that way forever, and I was miserable feeling the way I did, so I just started eating again. 

I don't remember ever weighing myself until after high school, so I really don't know how much I weighed back then- I only know what sizes I wore. In middle school I was a size 8 or 10 (at my thinnest) and by the time I graduated high school, I was a size 18. I met my husband my sophomore year of high school and we have been together ever since. Every weekend we would go out to eat several times and the pounds began to pile on. I was still unhappy with my weight, but didn't have the motivation to do anything about it. I'd go on crash diets for a week, give up and go back to to my old, unhealthy habits.

During college I continued with this lifestyle and gained even more weight. I got married in 2005, the weekend after I graduated with Bachelors Degree and although I'm happy with my wedding pictures- I know I'd be a lot happier knowing my dress wasn't a size 16 and that I weighed close to 200 pounds. My husband loved me, didn't ever seem bothered by weight and we were just very comfortable together.



Then the babies came along! My first son, Austin, was born August of 2006. I was miserably sick for the first half of my pregnancy and ended up losing 20 pounds. By the time I was 9 months pregnant, I had re-gained those 20 pounds, plus about 15 more. I lost the weight fairly quickly after he was born, but you would never know since I was so heavy to begin with. 20 months later, my second son, Carson was born.
(pregnant with Austin, 2006)

I gained the same amount of weight with Carson, and again lost it soon after he was born. But my post-pregnancy belly was not a pretty sight. 2 babies is less than 2 years wreaks havoc on your stomach (not that it was ever pretty to begin with!). I began my life as a Stay at home mom, involving myself in play dates with friends and lots of quality time with my kiddos. No where in that time did I take time to take care of myself. My babies always came first. At my highest weight, I weighed more than I did at 9 months pregnant with either child. I had lost the baby weight, but re-gained 25 pounds of mommy-weight. While my kids still come first in many ways- I now realize that putting my health first is going to reward not only me, but them also. They will get to have a healthy, active mom who will be around much longer. 

It wasn't until August of 2010 that I decided I had to do SOMETHING about my weight. At 256 pounds and a size 20, I was completely miserable in my own skin. From the outside- you probably couldn't tell (that I was unhappy, it was obvious that I was fat!). I've been blessed with a very good life- awesome family & friends, a house we love & all the material things that we "need" and "want". However- deep down inside, I wasn't happy. I had no self-confidence and felt held back by my weight. I wanted to love what I saw in the mirror, I wanted to be able to walk into a store-any store- and try on whatever clothes I wanted, not just the ones that would hide the fat the best. I wanted to feel confident, sexy & healthy.

(pictures taken March 2010 at my absolute highest weight)

Right after my oldest son's 4th birthday, I started walking. At first it was 3 or 4 days a week, for 20 minutes each time. It was hard at first. I hated sweating and I hated making the time to exercise because it drove me crazy that I didn't see results immediately. I started logging my calories and tracking every single thing I ate. Whether it was a full meal or just a bite of the kids plate, I logged it using MyFitnessPal. I decided that Friday would be my weigh-in day and so every Friday, I would weigh myself first thing in the morning. I lost between 2 and 3 pounds each week for the first month and felt encouraged and determined to finish the journey that I had been on for so, so long.  After I had lost about 15 pounds I decided I wanted to try running. This made my husband laugh at first and he reminded me that I was the girl who do ANYTHING to get out of running the mile in high school each week. Although he laughed, he encouraged me and told me he knew I could do it. I started using the Couch 2 5k program and completed the 9 week training schedule. I continued to lose weight each week and LOVED the success I felt at completing 30 straight minutes of running. I never thought it was possible. I couldn't run 30 seconds when I started.

I entered my first 5k race on Thanksgiving of 2010, the Turkey Trot.
I finished in 42:17 and was exhausted. I didn't think I would be able to finish, but I did. I hadn't set any time goals because I wasn't sure what to expect. That was my motivation to sign up for another race and beat my time. The next race I ran was a month later in Santa Monica and I beat my time by 4 minutes, finishing in about 38:00. After that, I officially had the "race bug". I wanted to keep running so that I could continue improving my time, and also losing weight. I signed up for several local 5k's and 10k's and a year later, trained for and successfully finished my first half marathon in 3:00:34. I never, ever dreamed that I would be able to run 13.1 miles (much less 1 mile!) but I DID IT! And the best part? I LOVED IT.



(pictures from my 1st half marathon, November 2011)

Am I fast runner? NO WAY! And you know what? I probably never will be. And I'm 100% okay with that. I'm not focused on becoming an Olympian, I'm focused on enjoying myself and getting a good workout in. I'm completely comfortable with my "slower than average" pace (11:00 min/mi). I'm okay with not finishing first. I'm okay with occasionally finishing in the back. I try my best to compete only with myself, not other runners. I have fallen in love with running and the way it has changed my mind, body and spirit. I have gone from a size 20, to now a comfortable size 10 (although I recently tried a pair of size 8 jeans on and THEY FIT!). Running has made me more confident, its a way to clear my head, to remove stress & to tone my body. Although I will never look like Jillian Michaels or Beyonce, I am happy with the way I look and the body I was given. I know its not perfect, but its mine. I know that I'm taking care of it now, and that I'm treating it the way it was meant to be treated! Food is not a band-aid any more, its a way to re-fuel my body. I have learned that the labels "low-calorie" & "fat free" doesn't necessarily mean its good for you- it will most likely leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. Its all about a balance of fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein. Cutting the processed junk out, and filling your body with natural, clean foods. Its not about shopping exclusively at Whole Foods or Trader Joes and spending a fortune, its just about making smarter choices wherever you shop. Sure there are days I splurge and enjoy a cupcake or a piece of pizza- but that's a treat now, not a normal meal! Its all about balance and portion control.








I am blessed with a completely supportive husband that encourages me to go out and run whenever I get the chance.  My kids know that Mommy is a much nicer person when she gets her run or workout in so they like it too! Getting in shape has changed my life in so many ways and I hope that I can inspire someone else- even if its just one person- to go out of their comfort zone and try something they never thought was possible. You don't have to be rich to lose weight. Just get out there and take it one step at a time, literally. Walking and Running is something we can all do (well, there are a few exceptions, obviously). Its cheap and convenient and doesn't discriminate against age, race or size. If you are feeling stuck and like you need something new to challenge yourself, please contact me! You can email me or comment here, whatever is easiest for you. I would absolutely love to help you in any way I can. I know how important a support system is during this process (and after). Losing weight and becoming a healthier person is so, so rewarding and I would love others to feel the same as I do. I look forward to posting about my running adventures and struggles, healthy recipes that your whole family will enjoy & the journey of losing these last 25 pounds!


Will it be easy? Nope.
Will it be worth it? Oh Yeah.



15 comments:

  1. Wow Melissa. Im so happy for you I loved reading this and really found it encouraging. Im like the old you size wise and everything. I know i can do this but im my own worst enemy. I look forward to reading your blog and finding encouragment through your success. Thank you.

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  2. MOVE TO FOWLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I miss you so much and reading this (especially the early years) depressed me! I am the opposite and my kids are my work! I would love motivation and help, but my problem is everyone around me has kids and excuses! We need to talk! :)

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  3. Seriously so proud of you. Look at how beautiful, confident and happy you look now. So fabulous! :)

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    1. Thank you so much Jessica! And thanks again for featuring me on your blog..its an honor :)

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  4. What an incredibly inspiring post! SO awesome!!! Congratulations on your commitment and reaching your goals. SO incredible!!! Thanks for sharing your story... what an encouragement.

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    1. Thank you for the sweet comment Kim! I'm glad you found my story to be an encouragement...that was definitely my goal!

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  5. I'm happy to have found you through Jessica's blog. You are super inspiring! What a great story. You look amazing! I look forward to following your blog.

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  6. You look amazing and your story is so encouraging. :)

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  7. I got so smiley after reading your About Me and reading your posts. I just started running again and your upbeat attitude and success has me so excited. I just signed up for my first two 5ks on Friday! I'm glad I found your blog through Katie at Runsforcookies and will be following you, too! I love to blog and will add your blog to my list, if that's okay!

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  8. I loved reading your story! So much of what you said is similar to my experience. I have been with my husband since high school and I gained a lot of weight AFTER having my kids just because I put them and everyone else first. You have given me hope that some day I will be able to run a half marathon. I am not fast, but I've learned that it doesn't really matter. Just being able to run for miles is a wonderful feeling. I look forward to reading more about you!

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  9. I'm so glad that I found your blog via runs for cookies... Right now I'm injured and unable to do pretty much anything, but following blogs like yours' is keeping me motivated to eat healthier and can't wait to get moving again!!! Keep up the great work :)

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  10. Glad I found your log. You're an inspiration!

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  12. Loved this I am with u on thr journey you are an inspiration!!! Cant wait to get to where u are and I love ur end quote so true!!!!

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  13. Hey! I nominated you for a Liebster Award (blog award)! I promise this isn't spam, it's just a way to give visibility to blogs we like. You can check out my post right here: http://afeiock.blogspot.com/2013/08/liebster-award.html

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