Sunday, September 11, 2011

I found out I was fat...

Before I get to my post I just want to point out that today is the 10th anniversary of the Sept 11th attacks.  I can still vividly recall exactly where I was when I found out about the planes hitting the towers, how the day seemed to drag on in a cloud as we watched the news coverage on the computer and tv at work and that it seemed like we were watching a movie instead of the reality that it obviously was.  Five years ago I started working at my current job and the first Sept 11th I worked there it made it even more real to me how many lives this tragedy affected as I listened to a memorial for my parent company that was headquartered in the towers that tragic day.  As I heard the names of all of the people my company had lost that day - the moms, dads, sons, daughters, cousins, friends - they were all being missed and honored.  I do not know anyone personally that was lost that day but I still can't watch the media coverage even ten years later without crying.  The other day I was watching a story about the children of 9/11 - again, can barely keep it together.  I pray that our children will never have to know first hand a tragedy like this - that they will simply learn about it from us, their teachers and studies as the years go by.  I want to thank every man and woman that lost their life that day, every first responder and person that helped to rescue people from the rubble, and all of the families that continue to remember every day that their loved one is gone.  I pray that our troops can come home soon and thank them all for keeping our country safe yesterday, today and always!

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the day that I found out I was fat.  That may seem funny, and it kind of is, but I am being completely serious.  A few months ago a dear friend of mine from college asked me if there was a moment when I knew that things needed to change - an A-HA moment, if you will.  I immediately knew the answer but just haven't had the best way to describe it.  Until now.  Yesterday my family, friends and I participated in our fourth annual Breath of Hope Twin Cities Lung 5K Walk.  We started doing this walk in honor of my best friend Tracy's mom who had passed away the year before.  She was a great lady, she was like a second mom to me during junior high and high school.  Last year we did this walk only two weeks after Tracy had delivered her third child, due to him being delivered considerably early, Tracy and her family were not able to join us.  So, we walked in honor of Tracy's mom and all those that have lost their battle or are still struggling with lung cancer - and had Tracy and baby in our hearts as we walked. 

We took a group photo after the walk so Tracy could see the group that walked for her mom that day.  I distinctly recall loading the photos to my computer and putting them up on Facebook the next day.  I also recall the disbelief when looking at the pictures of myself standing there next to one of my best friends and our children.  I was thinking - who the heck is that girl?  When did she get so fat?  Why hadn't anyone told me how out of hand my weight had gotten?  Why hadn't I seen the blob that I had become until that moment? 

Here is the picture from that day - that's my best friend Melissa standing there next to me. 

Melissa and I - 9/2010
 So, here is where it gets interesting.  I went to work that following Monday and told Melissa that I needed to do something about the fatness.  I didn't know until that day that she was not exactly feeling awesome about her size either - she had just had a baby in February so I understood that feeling.  Ironically, the next day I received a flyer in the mail from Weight Watchers advertising a free month if you paid for one month.  I brought the flyer to work that Wed and we decided that we would get signed up the following week.  So, on Sept 23rd we walked in to the WW meeting location down the street from our office and signed up - together.  We made the pact that we would do this together, we would support each other and we would lose this weight side by side.  We would not quit - it was not an option.  So, when someone asks me about my aha moment or what made me decide that it was time - this picture above is what comes to mind.  I had become an image that I just didn't recognize anymore.  I remember being unhappy that I wore a size 16/18 pant and that a 2XL shirt was the only thing that was really comfortable on, but it was seeing that chubby face looking back at me that really did it.  And those girls sitting in the strollers - they deserved better, my husband deserved better, I DESERVED BETTER. 

There is no secret potion, there is no secret food, and no miracle drug that will aid in gaining a healthy life.  It is a conscious decision every single day to make better choices - about food, about exercise, about EVERYTHING.  When I wake up at 5:15AM to go run or go to the gym - I am making the best decision for me that day to live a healthier life.  When I select a salad instead of a cheeseburger and fries - I am making the best decision for me that day to live a healthier life.  I am not perfect, this past year has not been without it's difficulties and struggles but it has also been filled with success and new personal challenges.  As of today - almost two weeks away from the day I walked in to WW for the first/last time I have lost 72 pounds.  72 POUNDS.  I yell that because I still can't believe it.  I get comments from people that they can't believe I had 72 pounds to lose - trust me people - I did!  I have had people tell me I carried my weight well and that they didn't really consider me fat - yeah, me either - until that day that I realized I actually was! 

Yesterday I had Melissa take a picture of me with my race shirt on from last year and then one with the new shirt on for this year's race (excuse the hair - we had just ran 7 miles!) -

Me in my 2XL shirt from last year

Me in my MEDIUM shirt for this year

What a difference a year makes - huh!  It still blows my mind that I can walk up to the table at a race and confidently grab a medium t-shirt!  It's a feeling that I never thought I would get to experience.

More importantly than the letter on the inside collar of my shirt is how I feel about life in general.  I am so much more confident, so much happier and have such a different outlook on things while in this new healthy lifestyle and new healthy body.  I finally feel like I can be a good example to my little girls - that they will know what a strong, healthy woman is and they won't have to look at a People magazine for their example!  

Yesterday I woke up at 5:45 to go running with my two best friends at the lakes in Minneapolis, after that we walked another 3.1 with our families and this morning I woke up at 6:15 to go work at the water stop for the City of Lakes 25K with the folks from the Running Room.  One year ago I would have laughed in your face if you had told me that my weekend would have consisted of mostly running related activities!  But now, I can't imagine my lifestyle without running, eating healthy, and being active.  Being a part of the Twins Cities running community is pretty awesome and I can't wait to participate in more events.  Running a race is pretty great, but helping someone else succeed and finish out their race was a pretty amazing feeling as well! 

I am long winded today - I guess that's what happens when I don't post for almost two weeks.  I will leave you with two more pictures from our walk yesterday - two of my best friends by my side, just as they have been for the last year as I have made this lifestyle switch.  Melissa and Tracy have also been successful in their own right with weight loss and their running prowess.  I am so blessed to have so many wonderful and supportive people in my life.  A big thank you to all of you that have been here for me - always!  Fat or not fat - you all have loved me and that means the world to me! 

Melissa and I - 9/10/2011

Tracy, me and Melissa - 9/10/2011

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