I have always been overweight (well, actually, I was born premature weighing 5lbs – so I guess I can’t say always). I even got my uncoordinated self out on the basketball court during HS. However, the many hours spent being active were overcompensated by food. I thought I was destined to be overweight. I remember going to bed thinking how amazing it would be if I was just wearing a fat suit (like in the movies) and would be able to take it off in the morning.
Then came the day I decided to take control of my weight. I talked to my husband discussing that I was unhappy with myself. I told him that they would be starting Weight Watchers at work meetings and I could join through work, attending during my lunch hour. He was nothing short of supportive, and let me know that he loved me and he thought I was beautiful – no matter what. It was at that point I informed him that I will join and make goals to achieve – that is how determined I was.
I took that determination and stepped on the scale on April 26th in 2011 thinking, there must be some mistake – there is no way I weighed 350lbs! There was no easy way to tackle this; I had to start with monitoring my food and portions – this was no easy task and took some time. Who knew a bowl of cheerios could actually equal about 4 servings (seriously, they need to make cereal bowls smaller). Also, my everyday lunch of fast food or other restaurants consuming who knows what didn’t fit into this plan.
After I started to get my nutrition and portions under control, I started walking. I calculated that one lap around our subdivision was 0.7 of a mile. Every week I would walk just a little more, I remember the first time I made it one mile. My legs were sore, my lungs were burning, but I was smiling from ear to ear! At this point I decided I wanted to set a goal to walk a 5k – my mother is a breast cancer survivor so I made it a goal to raise money for breast cancer and to complete a 5k in her honor.
I completed this 5k on September 9th 2011, after losing 50lbs. I also spent time fundraising, collecting over $1,200 for Susan G. Komen in my mother’s honor. While walking this 5k, I couldn’t help but notice all the amazing runners competing in this 5k. During this walk I had a mini conversation with myself setting a new goal, to run this 5k the following year.
Keeping up with my nutrition and slowly transforming my walking into running pounds continued to come off. Quarter-mile by quarter-mile, I became a runner! I stuck to my goal and ran my first 5k the following year – the whole 5k!
I fell in love with running and soon, 5ks were my thing. I even managed to pick up some serious speed, winning medals for my age group and then actually WINNING a 5K (with a 7:12/mile pace).
My love for running has helped me tremendously on this journey. I have continued to push myself with my pace and the distance I run. In May 2013, I completed my first half-marathon, crushing my goal of completing it in less than 2 hours (I completed it in 1:53).
I will be participating in my 2nd half marathon in May and I have signed up for my first FULL (yep the full 26.2 miles) in September. I also continue to run 5K’s here and there.
My journey hasn’t been easy and it wouldn’t be possible without the love and support I have received from my family (especially my loving & supportive parents), my friends (some of which meet me at the gym every day), and my husband. My husband has been there at every single race, always holding a camera with a smile on his face. For my half marathon I told him, it would sure be great if someone was standing at the finish with a cupcake, I could seriously run for a cupcake. The night before my half marathon he not only made my favorite (funfetti cupcakes), but used PINK frosting and made sure he had one for me at the finish.
I will never forget how excited my husband was the day I won my first ever race. I was rounding the corner and could see him watching me; he was screaming “you’re number 1 run Jamie run!” – I wanted to stop and take it in, but knew I had to finish that race. I think we both had tears in our eyes at the finish line.
I have also found kind love and support through complete strangers. During my journey I started a blog and a Facebook page – and through social media I have met many others that share the same struggles. We reach out and try to encourage others; this has been helpful as it’s always great to know we are not alone.
I now am able to do things that I never thought were possible. Just this past summer I was able to waterski for the first time – I never, ever thought this would be possible!
Throughout my journey, food and exercise have been important. I have had to learn to fuel my body and remember I am eating to live; NOT living to eat. I have walked, ran, and even have started some weight lifting to get to where I am. It’s been an amazing journey, a journey I never saw coming!
I am proud to say that I have lost over 184 pounds and now weight 165 – with each and every day, I am one step closer to my goal, and I WILL get there! There is no stopping me, I have come too far!