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Fat Girl

I used to be fat. I’m not gonna lie. Tip toe or skirt around it. I’m tough enough to handle it now.
This is a fact that I’ve come to accept about myself. I know I resisted it for more years than I care to admit to. Pretending that I wasn’t THAT big. Or that my weight wasn’t THAT out of control. I had a husband who adored me regardless of my shape or size. I had a family who supported me in all my endeavors and never said anything negative about my size. I had friends who were in my same boat, struggling with an ever increasing pant size. I cringed when I saw myself in pictures, but I went about my daily business as though nothing I was doing was contributing to it. With each changing season, I was frustrated to find my clothes snug. I halfheartedly attempted to drop some weight now and then…starting and stopping when I tired of it all. Eventually, I settled in at a size 18, tipping the scales at over 225 lbs. At barely 5’3”…I was in that dreaded ‘morbidly obese’ category on the height/weight chart. But even that didn’t really mean what it should have to me. I was blind to some very basic facts. Namely…I did not HAVE to be fat. That I could, in fact, change.
A few years ago, after Matt came back from China and we were settled in our new house I finally felt ready to face facts. I began tracking my food online and I agreed to meet Gina and Jami a few days a week to ‘work out’. Of course, my early work outs consisted of walking on a treadmill. Jami still reminds me of my stubborn attitude in the beginning…claiming that I really didn’t sweat much. Insisting that I would only run when chased. Honestly I think I was afraid to push myself…to let myself down if I didn’t meet my expectations. In fact, I sold myself WAY short.
As the months went by, my workouts increased in intensity and low and behold, I realized I actually DO sweat! (In fact, quite a bit!) I also discovered I could actually run…a little. Amy and I started the Couch Potato to 5K running program and taught our bodies that we wouldn’t DIE if we ran. As I committed to eating healthier and continued my regular workouts…the pounds drifted off and my size shrank.
I amazed myself by putting on my high school prom dress. I surpassed all my expectations by completing 5K after 5K. I found myself ENJOYING the rush I felt crossing a finish line…the pride I felt surrounded by other would be runners out on a Saturday morning running around Des Moines. I laughed when I considered myself in this group. I didn’t recognize myself. I dropped over SEVENTY pounds and FIVE pants sizes. I am right now actually the same size, if not smaller than I was when Matt and I first met…19 years ago. I remember watching the Biggest Loser – one of the contestants, local from Des Moines. She finished her first ½ marathon crying and saying how she just became the girl she always wanted to be. I remember feeling that same way as I pushed myself across the finish lines of TWO half marathons.
It’s a silly shame that I wasted so much of my adult life selling myself short. I didn’t realize what I was capable of. This past summer I started training with a small group personal training class through work. I learned all sorts of new things. I gained a whole new comfort and confidence in the weight room…a place this fat girl avoided like the plague. But my trainer saw something in me I hadn’t yet seen…strength. She saw me as a natural…someone who picked up on all the moves easily. One day she told me I was…an…ATHLETE. I almost cried. I’m not sure she realized how that simple comment touched me so deep inside. It made me think about myself differently. I looked at all my excuses in the face. I saw all the ways I had sold myself short. And I decided. Decided I COULD be athletic. I could…and I would. Normally all this is stuff I share with only my closest of friends…but as we prepare for a new year, I know that there are bound to be lots of you out there considering weight loss and better health for 2012. And I want to do what I can, share what I can, to encourage everyone I know and love to CHOOSE, to DECIDE and make it happen. I am a work in progress, just like you. I know my body isn’t perfect. I know my weight will always be heavier than those silly height/weight charts say I should be. But no matter. I AM healthy. I AM an athlete. I am a girl who works out. I am a girl who runs (even if it’s SLOW). I am a girl who completed 20 races in 24 months! I am a girl changed. And I know, I KNOW it can be done. So if you are struggling. If you want 2012 to be the year you finally make those changes once and for all, I’m here to say you CAN! YOU CAN! And I hope that my sitting here and admitting this to the world helps in some small way. Life is simply too short and God intended us all to live it fully! I am blessed with legs that run, and lungs that breathe, and eyes that see all the beauty around me. And at the end of a grueling workout, I am blessed to hop in the shower and let the water and rush of accomplishment fall around me. I wish this feeling for everyone!!


Emily said…
It's amazing what you have accomplished! We can use our stubborn resolve to handicap ourselves or to transform our lives. Kudos for all you have accomplished!

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