Contrary to what some of my friends think, I haven’t always loved working out like I do now. In fact, most of my life I’ve been overweight with a questionable diet. I can’t help it that I lovvvve food (especially if it’s buttery, chocolate-y, or carb-o-loaded) and had a naturally sluggish metabolism. It’s taken years, a lot of research, and a few hiccups, but I’m closer to being able to enjoy some of the food I love without busting out the fat pants on a regular basis. Here is the (highly) abbreviated tale of my journey:
I was always a chubby girl. There was no denying it; I just had an overweight childhood. Being part of a close Polish family with a penchant for fresh-baked bread probably didn’t help much, but it sure made it delicious. Growing up, I was always very aware of my size compared to other girls my age, particularly next to my toothpick of a sister. It bothered me, but never to the point that I wanted to change anything about the way I lived. I was too busy with the other things that come with teenage life, so one day I made a deal with myself; it wouldn’t bother me that I was curvy, but if I ever weighed 170 lbs I would have to change something about it. “No problem!” I thought, “I will never let myself get to that point.” And so my weight issues were put aside for some time.
I moved to Chicago for college and have been here for the last 6 years. I got my very first gym membership courtesy of my college tuition, but I preferred to get smoothies instead of getting sweaty. One fateful day, junior year, I decided to venture further and work out at the gym. After sweating far too much I saw the scale in the locker room and thought “eh, why not?” That’s when I saw it.
I weighed 174 lbs and felt like crap. Not only had I broken my end of the weight deal, I had surpassed it. It was time for some major changes.
The next six months I spent 5 days a week at the gym and counted calories obsessively. It worked, and I was really happy coming down to 155 lbs. I started incorporating outdoor runs into my workouts as well, but I was not very successful. It was very difficult to run even a mile the way I was running.
After a particularly stressful day, I took a run and didn’t stop. I ended up running about 3 miles! That was when it clicked and I fell in love with how I felt after a run.
It was at that point that I began researching running and all the possibilities I had. I also signed up for my first race with my roommate and began a very slow training program. It was a huge success and I finished the race with a then-PR!
You can say the rest is history. I’m still working on maintaining a healthy weight and being able to make the best choices in eating but I’ve come a long way and running has become much easier with training. My need for running races has me training for longer distances each time. (Last year I completed my first half marathon, this year I’ve decided to train for a full!)
My ultimate goal, though, is to have fun running and find the happy medium between eating well and eating what I love. No more counting calories!