I was a typical teenager growing up in the Midwest. The son of a factory worker and a nurse, there wasn’t a lot of time for an active lifestyle.
This, unfortunately, led to a very sedentary lifestyle. As that lifestyle continued, so did the weight gain. I was 5’11” and 235 lbs. in high school, the most awkward years of your life and unsure of who you truly are. I endured self-esteem shattering fat joke after fat joke. There was also the “You’d look great at (insert weight here)”.
People meant well but their words were razors that cut deep and left wounds that really never heal.
Finding Family Inspiration
My 20’s and 30’s were really not much different. Marriage, kids, work and excuses for why I couldn’t find time to take care of myself. My kids, though, they are my world. They amaze me. They are like two lions. They have a courage and self-confidence that I never had. One day in middle school, my son came home and said that he wanted to run track. This may not sound too farfetched, until I tell you that he has the flattest feet you have ever seen. A doctor told us, at a young age, that he would never be a runner. But, my lion would prove them wrong. Hurdles were his choice. His sophomore year, he decided to give cross country a try. He began conditioning in the summer of 2014.
I watched him run and he inspired me. It was time for a change. If this boy, that they said would never be a runner, can run, then I can change my lifestyle.
Epiphany!! He was my catalyst!
Getting Started with Runkeeper
At the age of 41, on July 14th, 2014 I downloaded my Runkeeper app. An amazing friend turned me onto it. She had been using it for years to lose 130 pounds and maintain it. (An incredible story in itself!)
My starting weight: 266. I changed everything, starting with my diet. I was extremely conscious of what I was putting in my body. The exercise became something that I “had” to do; it was not something that I would just do if I had time. The walks started with slow times. But that was ok. I know Rome wasn’t built in a day! Day after day….mile after mile, I put in the work. The results were starting to manifest. The weight was falling off and the fat was melting. My clothes were beginning to be too big, and, last but not least, the compliments. People were noticing the work that I had put in. What I was doing was paying off!
Six months of walking went by. The doctor removed me from my cholesterol and blood pressure medications and I added some weight training to my regimen as well. I even mixed some jogging in with the walking. Then, one Friday night I was on my treadmill and decided to try something different. What if I got on there and tried to see how far I could run?!
Self-doubt was staring me in the face. I had never been a runner. I never ran the “mile” in gym class when I was younger. I always wanted to but always ended up walking the majority of it. What could it hurt, right? So I did it. What the……what?? I ended up surprising myself!
A half mile down and I still felt great. One mile….one and a quarter. I stopped at one and a half miles! I stood there in amazement! There’s nothing better than when you prove yourself wrong! I can run! I worked at it. Gradually increasing speed and distance. I never dreamed that I would be a runner…but here I am!
Nearly 10 months have gone by since I downloaded Runkeeper. I’ve lost 90 pounds and walked/ran over 900 miles! If I had words of advice to pass along it would be these three simple things:
- Don’t let negative comments steal your confidence.
- Don’t ever count yourself out.
- Find something/someone that inspires you and hold onto it/them!