-Here's the story- We met on Sparkpeople.com in October of 2008. We have become eachother's healthy living support through countless email's, text messages, and gchat. Come to find out, we have a lot more in common than just the desire to lose weight and have had the opportunity to become great 'virtual' friends! We are both working towards the main goal of weight loss and overall health and happiness. This is where we document our up's and down's along the way! *If you are stopping by for the first time, please feel free to say hello in the comments section and leave us a link to your blog if you would like! We always enjoy finding new blogs to follow!*

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Getting Fit: Motivation

I wanted to post this here as something that I could look back on when I am struggling with motivation and dedication. It's from a dailySpark blog at SparkPeople.com.

Lately anything that talks about races and running really gets my blood pumping! Every now and then I get back to this basic mode of thinking- Screw getting skinny! Forget wearing smaller clothes and turning heads... I just want to feel good. I want to be able to run. I want to bike. I want to go for long hikes and walk up hilly streets without getting winded, I want to feel how strong my muscles are getting because of all the hard work I've done... That's what this is all about. I'm doing this for me and not anybody else. Anyway I loved this blog. I also really liked the idea of the mini triathlon! I never knew they did them so small, but I see that being something really fun to work towards.

Again, the following is from a blog (not my blog) at Sparkpeople.com.

"I've found a quick fix for motivation/body image issues! Want to know what it is?

Sign up for a race.

Mine is a long story, but I promise, it’ll make perfect sense, so bear with me! I started my weight loss journey after my fiancĂ©, Kyle, proposed on December 27, 2007. I had always been thin and fairly active (hiking, yoga, rafting, skiing), and had never really watched what I ate.
As the years went on and my metabolism slowed, I gradually increased in my dress size, first from a size 4 to a size 6 in college, then from a size 6 to an 8/10 in graduate school. When Kyle proposed, I began to realize that my body wasn't what it used to be, and I wanted to look perfect for my wedding in August 2009. I knew what I had to do: eat right and exercise.

Diet pills really weren’t an option—I wanted to make a lifestyle change and didn’t want a quick fix (a pill) to fix the problem that could lead to more trouble down the road (a screwed-up metabolism). So I joined a gym with my good friend Alie, and signed up for the free session with a personal trainer at the gym. I showed up at the gym in my cute little yoga top and bottoms, fully expecting the trainer to tell me, “You don't need to lose weight! You look GREAT!" I got the shock of my life and started to cry when I stepped on the scale: 184. My driver's license (from high school, mind you), said I weighed 150 pounds. I was shocked and angry at myself that I had slowly piled on 34 pounds over the years. My BMI was at 25, directly on the border of healthy and overweight. How could I have let myself get out of control--I didn't even own a scale!

After a rigorous workout with the trainer, Erin, I hired her for 12 training sessions. You'd think that paying for a personal trainer and losing weight for your wedding would provide some motivation to get on the wagon, right? Wrong. Though Erin was amazing, 12 sessions divided over six weeks wasn't enough to get my body back on track. I was working out pretty hard and hungry ALL THE TIME, and was consistently erasing my hard work at the gym by overeating at home (and yup--you CAN overeat on the healthy stuff, too!). I did lose some weight and body fat, but the best thing I gained from Erin was learning how to run.

For my entire life, I HATED to run, but it wasn't until I hired Erin that I realized why: I was running wrong. I'd hit the ground with the ball of my foot first instead of the heel. Though I didn't LOVE it, I felt like after my training sessions, I could actually run with little pain, and was beginning to enjoy it. During our training sessions, Erin was training for Robie Creek, the toughest half marathon in the West. I'd always wanted to race; I had a friend who was a member of "The Breakfast Club," which was a group of friends that would get together every Sunday morning for breakfast and a marathon training run.

Each year, they picked a different marathon to do. The walls of her living room were covered with posters from those marathons (signed by all the members of the Breakfast Club, of course). I always thought that was so neat, and such an accomplishment, but when I was working out with my trainer, I felt like there was no way I could ever do one. I kept up with my workouts, but it wasn't until I joined Spark People last July that I really started to see results. I knew what to eat and how much for the first time. That alone was worthwhile. I learned about balance and moderation. I entered every bit of food I put into my mouth.

As the weight started to come off (I'm at 157, with a goal weight of 140 for my wedding), I started to think I might be able to do a race someday. Kyle was training for the Ironman 70.3, and I was always inspired by his dedication. This sounds TOTALLY cheesy, but when I was watching a recent season of The Biggest Loser, I was SUPER inspired by Helen. Here was this 48-year-old woman, who, three months before was obese, finishing a MARATHON. I said to myself that if she could do it, I could do it.

During the commercial break, I signed up for my first 5K. My new-year's resolution morphed from a rather ambiguous "lose weight and look perfect" to "run a 5K and a 10K in 2009; do a half marathon and a marathon in 2010." After trying to lose weight for 15 months, you can get pretty burned out from the diet restrictions and exercising all the time. I found that when I was training for that 5K, it was easier to focus. Working out had a purpose and the purpose was to prove to myself that I could do it. Fifteen months ago, I couldn't do 20 minutes on the treadmill without feeling like I was going to die. On May 16, I ran 3.1 miles in 33 minutes, and never felt prouder of anything in my life. I know that 3.1 miles isn't very far, but it was the first step to accomplishing my goals. After I crossed that finish line, I had my own Biggest Loser moment. This time last year, I had told Kyle I couldn't do what I just did. Now, eight weeks out from my wedding, I'm training for my first triathlon (just a mini-one: 1/4-mile swim, 5-mile bike, 2-mile run). It's no Ironman, but it’s a start.

Speaking of Ironman, Kyle finished the 70.3 miler (1.3-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and 13-mile run!) in 6:08. After the race, as I was collecting Kyle’s bags and his bicycle, I met a really friendly man in his mid-60s. He had placed first in his age division—the 55 and older group. He told me he just started running three years ago, and just started doing triathlons two years ago. Now here he was, mid-60s, placing first in his age group on a 70.3 mile race! Again I thought to myself, “If he can do it, I can do it!”

Since I’ve been training for my 5K and my mini-triathlon, I’ve eased up on myself a little and am beginning to appreciate my body for all it can do--how fast it can go, how hard it can work--flaws and all. I’m far from perfect, but training for races has given me an appreciation for my body the way it is, now, not in 15 pounds, not in a dress size. And all this training will undoubtedly help me reach my goal weight and look FANTASTIC for my wedding. It’s just amazing—and encouraging—to look at what I can do now and what I’m capable of now versus where I was a year ago. And that’s more than I could say 15 months ago. Training for a race isn’t about coming in first; it’s about dedicating yourself to finishing, and proving to yourself that you can do it.

Admittedly, I wanted to lose weight for my wedding and look “perfect” to impress other people (but don’t we all?). No wonder I’ve lost my motivation! But with racing, I feel like I’m doing it just for ME. I’m doing it to prove to the 184-pound version of me that there was a 140-pound person hiding under there and that that person is capable of anything. I’m doing it to prove to myself that I’ll NEVER be that heavy again. I’m doing it to prove I can put in the time, dedicate myself to finishing, and know I can do it. I’m doing it to prove I can, to prove I’m worth it—to myself. And that’s an empowering feeling, something no one can ever take away from me. And that’s more than I could say 15 months ago."

1 comment:

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Great post! How is your training going? I'm a volunteer moderator in active.com's triathlon community. If you have any questions I hope you'll stop by, or via my blog. Congrats to Kyle as well. Races/events motivate me too!
Have fun!!

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