The photo on the left was taken the day that my husband and I got engaged--April 24, 2010 (one of my very favorite days). The photo on the right was taken on July 4, 2015. Over five years separate the two photos… and 40 pounds!
Five years ago, I was just about to graduate from college. I had never been an athlete (I really disliked gym class growing up) and while I was active enough and worked out... occasionally... it wasn’t enough to combat the weight gain brought on by 4 years of horrible eating, lots of drinking, stress, hormones, and not taking care of myself as well as I should have. I knew I was overweight, but unfortunately, I had different priorities. By the time I reached the end of my undergraduate career, I was around my heaviest weight.
What brought upon the change and re-dedication to my health? Well, a few months after graduation, I started working a very physically demanding job at a grocery store. I was a lot more active and had healthy food options within arms’ reach, right off the bat. At first I lost a little bit of weight without really trying. And then I realized that I was starting to feel better… less sluggish, less achy. The realization that I was living with the only body I was going to get took on serious significance and I became so much more aware of how I was treating myself. I’d always had trouble with my knees and ankles, but as I slowly started to lose the weight, that pain diminished.
I continued to work on eating better and going to the gym occasionally. My focus heightened in 2012 when I started Couch-to-5K and became a runner; I was hooked from the very beginning. I got so tired of telling myself I couldn’t do it, that I couldn’t run, that I at least had to try. And I’m so happy I did! While I have had some setbacks in my running career, I am also slowly but surely making progress. I attribute this, plus becoming much more aware of what I’m putting into my body, to helping me become healthier. Running has also gotten me interested in other types of cardio and exercise. I am pleasantly pleased every time I go running, or use the rowing machine, at how much I love being active.
Most recently, I started using MyFitnessPal again (and currently have a 35 day streak, which would be over 50 days at this point, had I not missed a day). I find it really helpful for me to keep track of what I'm eating; I don't beat myself up over it and I allow myself "cheat days" occasionally. I'm eating a lot of the same things, but I've found alternates for others and am even going out of my comfort zone to try new things. I have been trying to make an effort to go out running or work out more often--3 to 5 times a week is my goal. I’ve lost just about 7 pounds in the last 7-8 weeks and am feeling stronger every day. I have plans to hopefully run a 10K in August and the Chicago Half Marathon in September.
Not only do I feel better physically, but mentally as well. I am happier with myself and know that I am capable of awesome things. Putting these two photos side by side reminds me of that fact, and shows me that I have changed a lot, for the better, over the last 5 years. Looking forward to the opportunity to improve my health even more, to become a better runner, to get in the best shape I can. Anything is possible if you work hard, set your mind to it, and stay positive!