This post is a break from the norm for this blog, but after hearing today that Kansas City is now the sixth-fattest city in the nation combined with the ever-present health epidemic in the United States anyway, I figured if I could help someone by sharing a brief glimpse of my story, no matter how mortifying, it would be worth it. The focus of this blog isn’t changing, but I feel like I’ve got an opportunity here; so I’m taking it.
A little background: I was never a skinny kid, per se, but I started playing soccer at the age of 5 and was involved in competitive sports until I graduated high school. I was a bit overweight in elementary school, but then, adolescent metabolism took over, and while I was never anything close to skinny as a rail, I managed a fit, athletic build throughout high school. I never thought I was thin, but, looking back, I know I was as thin as I should have been.
That all changed when I hit college. I was no longer involved in sports; I was no longer exercising regularly; and I was certainly not eating anything even close to resembling a healthy diet. On top of that, and pardon my vagueness here, I was very, very unhappy and trying very hard to look quite the opposite. All of those things took a huge toll on my physique, and I gained around 100 pounds in about four years. In short, it sucked.
In 2006, I started making changes. I started working out and eating better. With the help of SparkPeople, a social weight loss community, I lost about 40 pounds. Life intervened, and my efforts took a backseat to other issues (once again, pardon my vagueness). I kept working out, but I did it less; and diet became about maintenance rather than weight loss. Twenty or thirty pounds crept back on, though they were thankfully significantly less noticeable thanks to my workout routine.
In 2009, I resolved a lot of those old issues that I’d thought were more important than my own health and well-being (mental, physical, spiritual, etc.). I started putting myself first in a lot of aspects of my life, and I knocked those pounds off again plus a few more. This year, as part of my Year of Awesome initiative, I’ve kicked back into health & fitness high gear. As of May 10, I’m down 34.8 pounds for the year. From my highest weight ever, I’m down 78.6 pounds — a number that is both impressive and embarrassing.
Today I got my new badge photo, and seeing how different I look from my old one warrants the same emotions for me: I’m impressed and embarrassed. Weight loss is a mixed emotional bag, folks. Posting this old photo is a pretty big deal for me, but, as I said, if it can inspire even one person out there to put themselves first and get moving, then it’s worth it. So, here we go.
As mortifying as that first picture is, I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’m happy and healthy now, and the best part is, thanks in large part to Jillian Michaels and Tony Horton, I’m kind of crazy strong — both mentally and physically.
And the truth is, ANYONE can do it, folks. We don’t know what we’re capable of until we try. And most of the time, we can do WAY more than we originally think is possible. Check out The Biggest Loser. Michael, one of this year’s contestants, was thrilled when he jogged one mile on the treadmill. Bob Harper, co-trainer along with Jillian, told him to keep going. He was skeptical, but he did. He got to 3.1 miles (a 5k!) and was ecstatic. Bob congratulated and told him to keep going again. He was still skeptical, but he kept moving, all the way to the 5 miles Bob demanded. Michael, by the way, weighed somewhere upwards of 350 pounds that episode.
So, if you’ve been wanting to eat better and move more, then get to it. Make that choice, and then make the first step. And then take the next one, and the next and the next and the next. Saying it’s a difficult journey is an understatement, and there are more layers of emotion than you’d probably expect, but I cannot put into words how worth it that journey is. As Tony Horton says in one of his P90X workouts, “We tumble, we fall, but we move!” That’s the key, folks — you keep moving. And that’s with any goal you set, whether it’s weight loss or writing or whatever.
So, that’s a tiny slice of my story. Health and fitness is something near and dear to my heart these days, and what I’ve learned on this journey has transferred into every other aspect of my life, as promised by Jillian at the end of one of her DVD workouts (which are all completely fabulous, as is her book, Master Your Metabolism). I’m happy to talk details of my journey via e-mail (izzi dot ditty at gmail dot com) or facebook if you’re curious or need a little motivation and inspiration to start your own adventure.