In 2008 (when I was 26 years old) I got the worst call of my life. My dad, who I loved more than anyone, had a stroke at work and had been taken to the ER. I flew home as fast as I could, but I never saw him awake again. A week later he passed away.
That day I thought my life fell apart. But, I was kidding myself- my life had started to fall apart way before that. When I got home from Chicago I was in a daze. About 3 weeks later, I started “living” again- going through the motions. You see, my dad was overweight, diabetic, and had really high blood pressure. As they were trying to stabilize him, it became apparent that he hadn’t been taking the meds he was prescribed, like he was supposed to. All of this culminated in an aneurysm in his brain that the neurosurgeon couldn’t correct. Over the next year, I began to evaluate my own life. My dad was a week in to 51 years old when he passed- way too young. He and I had a lot in common from our love of the outdoors to our love of food. Also, over the next year, my marriage fell apart. I was a mess.
At the end of 2009 I made a clear, conscious decision (a stake in the ground sort of moment) to stop “going through the motions” and OWN my life and my choices. January 2010 I was 267 pounds, an emotional time bomb, and just plain miserable. Nothing I was doing gave me joy anymore. And that wasn’t going to work for me.
I spent the next two and a half years watching what I put in my mouth, and moving my body more. Diet-wise, I watched calories, tracking everything, and then eventually switched to a mostly Paleo lifestyle in the spring of 2012. I don’t do it perfectly, but right now I am in the middle of a Whole30 (from www.whole9life.com), trying to figure my body out. I’m not going for a quick fix- I’ve been at this for a long time and plan to be healthy for the rest of my life. Exercise wise, I started with walking. I could hardly walk a block before getting winded and the little voice inside my head would tell me “you can’t do this; you may as well go home now.” Somehow, I learned to silence that voice. I started running with my friend La Nae, first with Couch to 5k, then with Lifetime’s Run Club and their trainer David Clark’s organization http://thesupermanproject.org/ . I have since run a ton of 5 and 10k’s as well as 2 half marathons.
In the process of finding a better (best) version of me I stumbled upon www.nerdfitness.com . This changed my life. I had all the individual components, but I couldn’t seem to juggle them all at once. Reading the articles and talking with others who have had success helped propel me into a position to really level up my life. I learned to do some strength training in conjunction with my cardio. I learned a lot about food and have made an informed decision to cut certain foods out of my life. I have made amazing friends, like Amanda(Wicked Pixie) who all support me and encourage me to keep going. The challenges help me take my long term goals and make them bite size and baby-stepped. I have learned to put into action all the small pieces of my life simultaneously. THAT’s where life change happens.
I have now been at this for two and a half years. I have lost 102 pounds (and am still losing) and in the process I have found a reason to keep going- I’m worth it. I’m worth the hard work, the sweat, the pain, and the tough choices. All of it. I am stronger, smarter, and more joyful. I haven’t arrived- I still have a lot of really hard work to do. The difference is that now I know I can.
Before and Now (ironically wearing the number 102 and the day I lost 102 pounds!)