My hubbs and I had moved to a suburb outside of Sacramento, CA. in 2004. There, we were able to afford to purchase our first home. We are originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, home of the highest priced homes outside of Manhattan. We were making okay money, had a couple of jobs, and had been married just over a year. The move was hard on us both. The only people we knew there was my older brother and his wife and their son. They too, had a busy life, and we soon realized we were quite alone up there. The jobs we found were in our respective fields, but they were not full filling what we really needed. The people in this new area were, let's just say, not quite as liberal as we were used to in the Bay (think San Francisco liberal- that is what we were used to). The mindsets of people were different and we found it hard to make any real friends. On top of that, I had normal working hours for the most part, while my hubbs worked nights and weekends. We were often alone on our days off and that just added to our overall unhappiness.
Now don't start feeling too sorry for us. After all, we had made an investment in our future, and we knew that the move was temporary. We planned on making a little bit of equity, then moving back to the Bay to by a proper house near our friends and family. Soon though, we both realized we had put some weight on in the years before we had gotten married and then especially after we moved up to Sacramento. But neither of us really felt the need to do anything...at the end of the day, we both came home every night to one another and told each other how crazy in love we were. The weight crept up, but somehow we were still happy. Both of us had been fit, active teenagers and young adults. I had played soccer and golf through high school and my hubbs was a mountain biker. But you know how it is...when you start dating? You go out to eat all the time, you go to the movies, and all that extra "energy" that you spent on doing other activities is now spent doing other "activities" like cuddling. :)
Fast forward about a year or so, to September 2005. We were still in Sacramento and just plugging along knowing it was only a few months before we would high-tail it out of that town. *Editor's note, boys you may want to gloss over this part.* I had a doctor's appointment for a "girly" problem. I showed up at the appointment and did all the regular checking-in process that you go through when you go to the doctor's, i.e. blood pressure, weight. As a habit, I have always turned around when I got on the scale - not wanting to know my weight. (This is another story, but let's just say, in my younger years I had a bad relationship with the scale - I'll fill you all in someday.) When the doctor came in finally, she was none too pleased with me. Right off the bat she told me I was obese! For my frame and height I was dangerously overweight. I am almost 5'6", and that day my weight was at almost 210! I had no idea! I had no clue that it could be that high! Yes, my clothes size crept up, but really, I didn't think about it too much because of my fear of my past. I started to sob right there in her office. She was no help, no comfort. She was actually quite mean and cold about it (maybe that was just how I walked away feeling about her - but I also think sometimes I should send her a picture of the "new" me and let her know what she did for me). She told me I should see a nutritionist right away and get on the right track. But I couldn't hear it. I didn't want to. All I wanted was my "girly" medicine so I could run out of there and cry in my car!
When I got to my car I called my husband and told him to meet me at Sears right away! I was buying a treadmill! He didn't understand anything through my hysterical crying, all he knew was that he had better high-tail it to Sears. I bought a treadmill that day and vowed to change my life. I started right away with cutting all the bad stuff out. Fast food, booze, candy. I went right down the list and cut it all. And I started walking on that treadmill. A few years prior I had also been a smoker, but had quit. I didn't realize what the smoking had done to me until I hit start on that treadmill! I could barely walk a half mile! I had my husband set it up in our living room so I could distract myself with the TV (btw, I always watched food network in those first few months!).
I went drastic. I cut my calories down to about 1,000 a day, and kept my fat intake to around 20-25 grams a day. Yes, not the most healthy, but I was hurting! My husband joined me, too. We were both working at the same place. I was in the business office as an accountant and he was down stairs on the sales floor. He would come to my desk in the afternoon and we would commiserate on how hungry we both were. But soon, we saw progress. Actually, quite quickly. I hadn't realized how addicted I was to fast food. I didn't like cooking in the evenings because it was just me. So I would go for convenience foods like fast foods or frozen pizzas. Hey don't judge, frozen pizza can be tasty! Ever tried the California Pizza Kitchen ones?
The new diet was working and soon I was also able to walk through an entire half hour show on food network. I lost the first 70 pounds in about 5 months. (Yes a bit fast, but I had been back to the doctor and everything was checking out okay.) Gradually walking wasn't fun anymore and I added in some running periods. And yes, I was still on the treadmill. For some reason, running outside never crossed my mind! I was doing a run/walk thing for about a three or four months until I finally graduated to running the whole time on the treadmill. I would again, watch an entire episode of something on foodnetwork before I would let myself get off.
The rest is kind of history. Being in Sacramento we were quite close to Lake Tahoe. LT has always been close to my heart as my family has a summer cabin there and that is also the place my hubbs and I had honeymooned. That spring we were in LT for the last snowboarding session of the season (oh yeah, we took that up, too!). At the hotel, I saw a flier for the LT marathon that September. They also offered a ton of other races including a half marathon. Right then and there I said I was gonna train to run that half marathon. I had no idea how; in fact, the longest run up to that point might have been three miles and at sea level! Not in the sierra's!
Soon, my running was all I was thinking about along with moving back to the Bay. We were done with Sacramento. It had served it's purpose. We were homesick, even though we had both found a passion for exercise that had begun to distract us from our miserable surroundings. At this time the market had bottomed out and purchasing a home wasn't the smartest idea. But we had to get out of there. We came back to the Bay in June 2006. My running really took off. I remember the first time I ran four miles! I remember the first time I ran 5 miles - and yes, still on the treadmill! Ha! But I kept at it. I "trained" for that half marathon. I ran 6 days a week, that summer, gradually getting to a minimum of seven miles a day. Yes, I am type A personality. When we do something, there is no such thing as half-assed. Just like getting fat, I went all the way to obese. With getting thin, I went all the way to skinny. By that summer and less than a year prior to that fateful doctor's appointment, I had lost 95 pounds! Of course, people who hadn't seen me in a while didn't recognize me. I had lost an entire person! And I was feeling great.
I did two long runs prior to that half marathon, both at 13 miles each. I had no idea they were called long runs at the time, but I got them in and was ready to race. I raced my first race almost exactly one year after that doctor's appointment. I ran that half marathon in 2:09 and change! In elevation and massive hills/mountains no less! I finally had felt like a runner. At that first health and fitness expo, I grabbed all the running clothing I could! Out went the cheap New Balance shoes, the cotton shirts and socks! I stepped up and got me some real running clothing!
By then my family had realized I had transformed into a runner. My husband even lost over 50 pounds. My diet had finally become more like a runner and less like someone who was trying to loose weight. It was hard though. It was hard to let myself eat things that I had given up so long ago and realize that they weren't forbidden anymore. I could have a glass of wine or desert and not feel like I had let myself down. Actuall, I had to eat more if I wanted to be able to run, and that was hard, too. I had actually gotten a bit too thin there for a while. I had gotten down to about 105 - 110 for about six or seven months. Not exactly the healthiest weight for me either (I don't do things half-assed!). I have since learned that when you are a runner, you can have a healthy attitude towards food, but you can also indulge.
Today I have run countless races, coquered the marathon three times (on my way to #4) and have kept the weight off for over four years. I will never go back. But that is okay, running is awesome. I love that I can identify myself as a runner and be a part of such an awesome community.
My story is unique. I went drastic. I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone. If I had to do it over, I would have used that dietitian. I would have done it less drastically. But I am thankful to my husband and my family because they knew it was in me.
Wheew! That was long...but I am sure many runners also have a journey that is similar to mine or also just as complicated. I can only hope that my story, which I have shared a million times, will hopefully inspire someone, someday. You should never feel stuck with your place in life; you should never compromise yourself for fear of change or failure.
Me & the Hubbs - This was just a few months before I started
my weight loss. Look at those arms!! Yes, I am about four years younger,
but you get the idea!
My little sis E and I at the end of the Tahoe Half Marathon last year.
As you can see, a big difference!