Healthy Living: Kerri's Story

>> Friday, September 3, 2010

Kerri writes:

I wasn't always a "big" girl. In fact, my entire childhood, up until about age 17, I was skinny-mini. I was very active and had a fast metabolism. I could eat anything I wanted and never worry about gaining weight. It changed for me as a senior in high school, when I quit my sports and dance classes to focus on making money for college. Unfortunately, I was working at a fast food restaurant. The combination of zero activity, free fast food, and faulty hormones (which was later diagnosed as polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS) put me on the fast track to obesity.

I spent my twenties in an endless cycle of losing and regaining weight. Like many, I've tried all the diets -- Weight Watchers, South Beach, the "Mediterranean Diet," the Flat Belly diet, the Slim Fast and Special K diets. Been there, done that. Spoiler alert: They didn't work. Oh sure, they worked while I was on them, but, inevitably, I got bored, gave up, and stopped losing. In the meantime, my body image and self-esteem really plummeted. I felt doomed.

Fast-forward to this past spring. I don't recall what day it was exactly, but it just another day like most: I probably ate poorly, didn't exercise because I had no energy, and felt depressed at the end of the day because yup, I was still "fat." But at some point during that day, I thought about giving running a try. Maybe it was one the first warm and sunny days and I wanted to be outside . . . or maybe I was thinking about all of the races my sister (she blogs over at competes in. It took another week or so before the moment came when I stopped thinking about it and decided I was going to DO it.

A friend had recently started a program called Couch-to-5K. It seemed, well, do-able. Run three times a week -- increasing your running to walking ratio over the course of nine weeks -- until you can run 30 minutes straight. So, I did it. The first week was pure misery. Hell. "I can't do this," I thought. Except I DID, and I kept doing it every single week, save for two weeks when I was recovering from knee bursitis.

Somewhere along the way, I had an epiphany and realized that getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods made me a better runner. I've always had an interest in a wide range of foods and I enjoy cooking, so adapting to a healthier menu wasn't difficult. I am eating a very low meat diet these days. I've learned to think of food as fuel and when I think about what I want to eat, I think about whether or not it will make me a better and stronger athlete. Yeah, athlete. I'm 33 . . . and I want to be an athlete. It's never too late.

On August 12th, I ran in the most popular New Hampshire road race -- the annual CIGNA/Elliot Corporate 5K. It took me 38 minutes and 41 seconds to finish. Slow? Sure. BUT I FINISHED! And I ran the whole way. I signed up for another 5K in October. I can't wait. I'm also following a Hal Higdon training schedule to increase my distance from 3 miles to 5 miles. What's next? I don't know, but I don't think longer distances (10Ks and half-marathons) are out of the question.

I still have a long way to go on my journey to health. Frankly, I have about fifty pounds to lose. I know it won't be easy and it might take me a while, but I am doing it the right way this time. No more fad diets. No more poor body image. My last thought at night is no longer, "Yup, another day of being fat." Nope. It's more along the lines of, "You kicked butt today!"

Thanks so much. (Never Home)Maker is my absolute favorite healthy living blog (THANK YOU, KERRI!) and a huge source of inspiration and motivation for me.

Kerri (from EatDrinkMoveShrink)

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