January 21, 2008. That was the day I decided to change my life. I was fat and not happy about it, and I was tired of just accepting it. I had told myself in the past that I was just meant to be fat since I’d spent most of my life that way, but I knew that wasn’t true. The only way I would be destined to be fat forever is if I chose it. On January 21, 2008, I chose NOT to be fat forever. I made a list of reasons why I needed to change, and I made a plan of attack. Slowly but surely, changes started happening. I woke up early and went to the gym. I joined SparkPeople and began tracking my calories. It was tough, it was frustrating, it was challenging, but I kept doing it. I’m STILL doing it. Four years later, here’s where I am and where I hope to be (all of the links are to past blog posts):
1. I went from only being able to do about 10 minutes on the elliptical to being able to run a 5k. I’ve run in 3 5k races and one 4 miler. I even trained for (but didn’t complete) a half marathon, working my way up to 11 miles. I hope to achieve the goal of running a half marathon this year.
2. I went from 261 pounds to 180 pounds. I briefly dipped down to 167 right before I got pregnant with Charlotte, and I will get back there again. I hope to eventually weigh between 155 and 160 pounds.
3. I went from a size 24 to a size 16. I was a 14 before I got pregnant with Charlotte. I hope to end up a size 12.
(Pictures taken Thursday night in my size 24 jeans. My face is beet red because I had just finished a workout my 261 pound self would have never attempted: a 2 mile run followed by Level 1 of 30 Day Shred.)
4. I went from a 49-inch waist (!) to a 36.5-inch waist.
5. I went from an XXL t-shirt to a large. I bet I will be able to wear a medium soon.
6. I have made drinking at least 64 ounces of water a daily habit.
7. I have made exercising a weekly habit. Some weeks are better than others, but aside from right after I had Charlotte, there have been very few weeks when I haven’t exercised at all.
8. I have learned (and some days am still learning) to feel more comfortable in my own skin and appreciate even my least favorite features, like my flabby arms.
9. I have tried different types of exercise that I never would have tried before, including yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and Zumba.
11. I have learned that even skinny people have problems. Being skinny does not guarantee a problem-free existence.
12. I have learned that being healthy is about more than being skinny.
13. I have learned that the things worth working for are often the hardest.
14. I learned how to lift weights and even got used to being the only female in the weights section of the gym.
15. Most important of all, I have learned that all of this is worthless if I do not honor the Lord. I have made food an idol in my life, and at times I have even made weight loss an idol, and if I let those things become an obsession and do not chase after Jesus, then it’s all in vain. He must be everything.
Of course I wish I could write this post from the perspective of someone who’s been at goal weight for a year or two, but that’s someone else’s story, not mine. My story isn’t going to end up in a magazine. I’m not going to be on TV because of my amazing weight loss accomplishments. But that doesn’t change the fact that I have lost 81 pounds. That doesn’t change the fact that I am a far different person today than I was four years ago. And that’s worth more than a spot on a TV show or magazine.