I am a subscriber to a thread called "Plus Sized and Starting C25K for the first time." I have posted only a few times, but I was just feeling like I fit in, for a change. Today, I feel as if I do not belong, and need to find a new home.
I am very overweight. Although I used to be a very fit police officer who enjoyed running and working out, I left that life to study law, and somewhere in there plus three years of doing absolutely nothing but sitting and studying, I gained weight - a lot. Last August, 2009, I realized that I was unhappy and being unhappy because of something that I, and only I, have control over, is a complete waste of my life. I love to run, and having run in the past (I used to run about 3 miles a day, varied with jogging on a 2.1 mile woodsy trail that had lots of hills and turns for some variation) it was really hard to start back at zero. But, to my horror, I found that I weighed in at 383 pounds when I went to try out for The Biggest Loser season 8. When they didn't take me, I moped for a few days and then realized that the only thing that happens on that show is that each persons discovers that they had it within themselves all along. So, I decided to do that, too. I immediately went to the RDA website, looked at the food pyramid, and started making food charts. Within a couple weeks, my cousin sent me a link to coolrunnings.com and the C25K program.
It was just the combination of things, and timing, that I needed.
Today, nearly 5 months after having completed my C25K program and a handful of 5Ks and 4 mile runs, I run a lot. My long weekend runs are now up to 9 miles, 9.5 miles this coming weekend. I am working towards a half marathon on May 1st. I weigh over 100 pounds less than I did in August. Two days ago I received in the mail a shipment of clothing from a normal sized clothing store, Old Navy, where I never thought I'd be able to shop, a year ago.
So, when I posted on the thread I've been reading for the past few months that has kept me so motivated that I was up to running 7.5 miles so far, and nobody said a word to me about how well I had done, but were acknowledging all the other posts of people so proud of jogging for 90 seconds, I felt that I no longer belonged to the group, even though I feel it has been my home for the past couple months, and the stories there warmed my heart so much that I found myself wondering about some of them and hoping for their success while doing my normal daily routine, and even though I am still plus sized (regardless of having gone down about 10 sizes and lost so much weight and body fat, I am still obese, although I feel fantastic). I understand why nobody responded, it's not really a surprise once you start taking off and doing well, and the point is that I guess I don't really need the motivation that the newer people need. But, it did open my eyes. Not that I was outcast by my group of peers, but instead, that I am no longer a newbie to running anymore. Can I really call myself a runner? I don't know a lot of people - or anyone, anymore (though back in the days of being a cop, I knew plenty of really athletic people who did) - who run 9 miles at a time - not in person, anyway, I do realize that this is a runners forum and plenty of people on HERE do that. I still don't know if I feel like I have earned the title of "runner." I've only been running since August, this time around. Does my love for running earn my that title? As in, I have loved it for the last 10 years or so, since I used to do it previously? Even back then I was still what other people would call very heavy, at about 200 pounds, but I was still very muscular and with a low body fat percentage, so just being non-conforming with weight (and forget BMI for me, even at 5'9 I was obese at 200 pounds, regardless of my low body fat %) is not the issue. I don't know.
What I know is that I don't look like most runners. I'm still much heavier. And, I'm still pretty slow, with a pace between 11 and 12 minutes. But, I'm happy with all that. I don't care to work on my pace, I want the knowledge that I finally ran a half marathon (in the academy, the most we did was a 9 mile run). I don't feel like I can continue posting with the same thread I was in. I wish I could find another forum about running where people who are also overweight like me can post freely and talk about weight, how it affects us, how we struggle with it, and how we run with it.
What I also know is that I have lost enough weight to be satisfied with myself. I no longer bit my fingernails waiting to see what the scale says. I have discovered food again and learned that I can really eat anything I want as long as I excercise, but that I enjoy natural foods and flavors WAY more than processed junk; I look for nutrition in what I eat, and then flavor; and I don't deny myself some ice cream when I want it, but that I skip the cheese on foods when I can't taste it anyway - and my snacks aren't just chips and poptarts - in fact, I don't hardly ever touch chips anymore (they just don't sound appealing anymore), and poptarts? the thought disgusts me. Isntead, I usually reach for things that I'm craving - and even my cravings have changed! I have a bag of radishes in the fridge I snack on. I never thought I'd crave RADISHES. And sugar snap peas. My new guilty indulgence is a turkey chili with black beans, tomatoes, celery, even more RADISHES!, garlic, onions, jalapenos and cerrano and chipotle peppers, and some days I even put a little avocado and a spoon of nonfat plain greek yogurt on it. Or a piece of boneless skinless chicken breast pounded really thinly, grilled on my cuisinart griller for a few minutes, and put on a bed of lettuce and drizzled with some extra spicy cucumber yogurt sauce (just a cucumber, few cloves of garlic, some red onion, some lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper in the food processer). I guess I realized that I didn't have to call it a diet anymore - I knew I had succeeded when the healthy choices became the things I actually crave and want to eat. Because they taste so good, and they make me feel good. Which, in turn, makes me want to run more. I am a walking success story. The scale, ever week or three when I decide to step on it, just confirms that I'm making the right choices, and allows me to not spazz out if I gain a pounf or two of water weight if I do allow myself to indulge in something like margaritas with my friends. Most importantly, I feel happy. Saner. Smarter. I love myself. Why did I not do this a few years ago? The first couple months were hard, sure. I definitely had some moments where I cheated, and I will cheat (if you can call it that) again, by going to McDonalds or having pizza. The difference? I used to go to McDonald's and get TWO MEALS. Or a huge meal and then a couple extra burgers! NO JOKE! Why did I do that to myself? Today, I'd go and get one of the small meals - they have 2.99 meals now, with things like a double cheeseburger and a small fries (small fries are only 230 calories - I learned that with portion control, i can have fries if I'm really wanting them, and I can then run that off and go back to eating healthy and NOT feel guilty!) and iced tea. Their iced tea is actually pretty great. I will just make sure that I keep those types of visits few and far between. I'm planning on having something good on my birthday this year, which happens to be right after my half marathon. The funny part of that is that I usually end up skipping the splurge and having something healthy by that time. But, I know in my mind that I'll have the splurge if I really want it, so I know I'll be rewarded if I do wait. This is rambling, but I feel so excited to have this balance today.
So, I guess I will look for a new place to post and read, and a new family to belong to. Or, perhaps I'll just blog for awhile and talk to myself. IT makes me feel good to put these things down and publicize it all. I wish I could take my experiences and help someone else realize these same dreams and goals and get happy. That would be great!