Have you ever seen the movie “Brittany Runs a Marathon”? I just watched it for the first time a few weeks ago. I bawled like a baby. Why? Because I have gone through so much of what Brittany did in that story, and when she crosses that finish line, I was so proud of her! I wish I could be that proud of myself.
A couple of weeks after watching that movie, I had a follow up doctor’s appointment for my blood pressure (I had preeclampsia with this pregnancy). All my labs were good and my BP was fairly regulated, but then my doctor brought up my weight. She said I either needed to lose weight myself by our next appointment (in 5-6 weeks), or we need to talk meds or bariatric surgery. In the movie, this is Brittany’s eye-opening moment, too. Her doctor tells her she has to lose weight or she’s facing serious health issues (she has to lose about 50 lbs, I have to lose at least twice that).
I talked to my mom and my husband when I got home, told them what had gone down, and said that I refused to take medicine or get surgery for my weight. So I would need help and support to do this through nutrition and exercise. No more ordering pizza for every family gathering, more healthy options for quick and easy meals at home, etc. I am surprisingly active for a morbidly obese person, believe it or not. I have stayed consistent with doing an intense workout at least 4 times a week, maybe more, for a few months now. But my doctor said that it’s time to dial in the nutrition to see the scale go down. Track the calories. Ugh. Track the calories?! I didn’t want to do it. This triggers so many warnings for me in my head! Don’t do it! You’ll get obsessed! You won’t be healthy!
I’ve had eating disorders for as long as I can remember. Overeating to the point of feeling sick and still going, under-eating to the point of constant dizziness, throwing up what I ate so I didn’t absorb the calories, and I ate those little red pills you used to be able to get at gas stations like they were Tic Tacs. I’ve gone on crash diets, fasted, juiced, counted points, counted carbs, ate nothing but cabbage soup, ate only prepackaged meal replacements, protein shakes, skinny shakes… you name it. I’ve tried it. I can lose weight. I’ve done it countless times. I was even a health coach for a certain meal replacement company after losing over a hundred pounds. But doing it in a healthy way AND keeping it off? That’s where you lose me.
Becoming a Runner
In the movie, Brittany is a party girl, she is chubby, and she has crappy friends. Been there! Boy I have I ever. But now I don’t have that excuse. I am in a healthy marriage, I have fantastic friends, and a supportive and loving family. The only person not caring about me and my health is me. So, now what? Well, Brittany decides to try to run. She can barely get down the block that first day. But she ends up going running with her annoying neighbor (Moneybags Martha), meets another newbie runner, and creates her support system. She works out regularly, eats healthy, and ditches her crappy friend and nights at the club for more sleep and better habits. Then she signs up for a marathon! I’ve always wanted to be a runner. I envy those that just throw on their shoes, step outside, and take off on a run. No equipment required. No gym membership needed. No one to rely on but yourself. No schedule necessary. I want that for myself. I always have. I just haven’t stuck with it. I’ve always been a horrible runner, even in sports in high school I was the last one in on the one mile run.
I don’t have a running club in my area that I’m aware of, but I do have running shoes. And a running app. And two feet. And a push to get started. So, on Monday, I became a runner. I mean, it’s way more of an awkward shuffle at this point, but I did it. I’m shooting to jog a 5k on Thanksgiving, and my Couch to 5k running app will have me finishing my training at the perfect time for that. So, it was a no brainer. I’ve added that into my routine. I’ve done this multiple times before, but I’ve never finished it. This time I will. It’s now or never.
I used to hate myself. Mostly because of my body. I never believed anyone would ever want me or love me because I was big. In high school I never dated anyone. In fact the guys all thought it was hilarious to call me “Ish”, because apparently I looked like the big dude on Kingpin. Talk about squashing an already teetering self-esteem. My other name was Jolly Green Giant. High school sucked. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized people would either like me for who I was, or they wouldn’t. And it shouldn’t go beyond that. My personality, my quirks, my experiences, my doubts, my dreams, my education, my talents, AND my body make up who I am. I’m one package of all of these things, and if you don’t like the whole package, well, then you don’t get to be in my circle. I still struggled with that for many years. Finding myself in toxic relationships where I was never good enough, thin enough, successful enough, etc. But now, I am not thrilled that I’m as large as I am, but I don’t hate myself or my body. I don’t think I’m hideous to look at. I am strong, and I have birthed two beautiful babies. And my body is about so much more than my size.
Losing weight now isn’t about changing what I look like, or making myself more attractive for someone else. It’s about being healthy. For me. For my husband. And for my kids. I want to be active and fun, adventurous, and joyful, and live for a long time loving on my family. It’s now or never. And I am choosing now.