Occupation: Recent Grad Student Graduate (Masters in Elementary education, career changing from online advertising)
Marital Status: Married (6/20/09), more on that later
I, like many women out there have struggled in the past with self-image and understanding what “healthy living” really means. Honestly, I remember that as early as 3rd grade I was worried about my weight and thought that I was fat. I’m not sure how those thoughts get into a 3rd graders head, but I have a feeling that the stress on all women through media and dialogue about thin equating to beautiful and happy might have had something to do with it.
Over the years I have gone through many phases of loving and hating my body and various diets and other more extreme choices to control my weight. I’ve shed a lot of tears over clothes that don’t fit, or not looking like “everyone else”.
When I got to college, I was excited to be independent and to live life to the fullest. I had a blast meeting new friends, joining a sorority, partying and um, studying.
I had gained weight freshman year..a lot, and I was feeling insecure about it, but I honestly didn’t even know how to control it. In high school I had organized sports and many home cooked meals. There was always fresh fruit around and there was someone home who turned out the lights in the kitchen after dinner.
At college I was faced with a cafeteria full of temping selections. (So…you’re telling me that every meal is an all you can eat buffet? Is that really a soft serve ice cream machine? )
Also, I was staying out late, drinking a lot, and eating pizza and various other foods late in the evening. It just wasn’t working.
Fall semester of my sophomore year, a friend introduced me to the gym. I started going with her daily, and we did 20 minute cardio sessions followed by situps and stretching. Seemed easy enough, I can do this.
Then, after winter break, my roommate came back having lost 10 pounds. I felt as if I could do more. I needed to step it up. Unfortunately, things got a little out of control. I found myself working out for at least an hour, sometimes more, and slowly i started restricting my food intake. People complimented me and I felt good about the weight loss, but I knew I wasn’t being healthy about it.
As much as I loved my sorority, there was some competition when it came to losing weight. Maybe it was just me that felt it, but either way I remember that it was not the best environment when dealing with a borderline eating disorder.
I ended up losing a lot of weight, and over the summer before my junior year, things really escalated. I was totally obsessed with controlling my food intake, and I would cry if I couldn’t make it to the gym. I never got into a dangerous weight zone, but I wasn’t doing well mentally. I think that is actually something that I struggled with..having an ED in my head, but appearing to look fine on the outside.
NEWSFLASH: Not all girls that are struggling look like twigs. And not all girls that look like twigs are struggling.
With the deprivation entered some binging and emotional eating. It was a bad cycle of starve, give in, over do it, guilt, repeat.
In the Spring my junior year I went to Italy to study abroad. While I was there, I struggled with a new environment and less control over food. But it actually worked wonders for me. I learned how to cook, I started walking more for exercise, and I felt good being removed from the environment I was in before. I was scared that people would “judge me” for gaining weight, but I also felt freer then I had in a while.
In the fall of my senior year, I met Joe, the man who would become my husband! I was so happy and felt like I could settle in. After a few months of letting myself go, eating meals with a guy on a regular basis, and skipping the gym to hang out at his apartment, I gained some weight.
By the time I graduated, I was my highest weight ever.
Over the next few years I entered the “real world” had some good jobs, bad jobs, and eventually moved to Philadelphia to be with Joe. We ended up getting married in June of 2009.
Before my wedding I started focusing less on getting skinny, and more on gaining muscle and getting fit. I read Oxygen magazine a lot and it inspired me to achieve a healthy body type instead of an unrealistic one. I learned about clean eating, setting up “macros” and weight training. I used Cathy Savage’s SOS Lifestyle program as a guide. I ended up losing a little weight, but seeing real body changes. I felt beautiful on my wedding day.
Post wedding, I could not even look at a grilled chicken breast. Cottage cheese? Um, I’ll pass.
Things again were just a little too extreme to maintain. And I really was burnt out on lifting. REALLY burnt out.
For a while I just tried different things, but nothing really felt right, and I was okay with that. I know that finding a lifestyle I can live with isn’t going to happen overnight. Mainly, I just wanted to be able to eat the foods I love, get exercise, and not feel overwhelmed by restrictions that lead me to overeat. I also knew that I had to face some of the issues that lead me to eat emotionally. Daunting, no?
In May of 2010 my lovely sister introduced me to running. I had done it before (and hated it), but never like this. We. went.slow. And I could do slow..I guess I hated running because I had just been going to darn fast. And I would get winded and want to puke and that was that. Now, I felt what other people had always been talking about. I loved being outside, hearing my feet hit the pavement, and the joy that I felt when I completed a run.
Soon after I knew I needed a goal. I signed up for the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November 2010 and kept my eye on the prize!
In June of 2010 I finished my first 5K
In September of 2010 I finished my second 5K that benefited the Colon Cancer Alliance and was the #1 individual fundraiser in Philadelphia
In October 2010 I completed my first 10K
And in November 2010 I ran my first half marathon!
A truly amazing experience that I will never forget.
Then in March 2010 I ran my 2nd half marathon! It wasn’t as amazing as the first, but still an awesome accomplishment.
Running has truly changed my life. It has helped me to find a balance that I was seeking. It reminds me that my body is an engine, and it needs to be fueled properly and taken care of so that it can perform. I try hard to pay attention to my body and give it what it needs. I also make sure not to use running as an excuse to eat everything around me. (that took a little time to realize..)
Currently I’m healing from plantar fasciitis and also expecting my first child! So running has been on the back burner. My passion for running has not dwindled however, so I know that I will be back out there in a few months. (Hello, running stroller!) Hopefully my feel will also be healed by the time the baby comes.
I’m getting there, and I’m a work in progress. I’m not perfect, never will be, don’t wanna be! This is my blog. This is my life. This is FOOD IN REAL LIFE! Thanks for being a part of it