That’s me!  80 pounds ago.  After this, I hid from the camera.  It was if I didn’t exist.  My kids grew, and we have tons of pictures of my husband playing with them.  But none of me.  The only shot I let get by of me 120+ pounds ago, was this one.  Of me with my husband and our third child.

Man, did I feel awful.  All the time!  Whenever I saw myself, I was so unhappy.  All I ever wanted was to lose weight.  “What would you like for Christmas?”  “Your Birthday?”  To lose weight.  That was something I could only give to myself.

I am a long distance runner now.  What do they both have in common?

DISCIPLINE

I love the discipline that comes with running.  I love my new body.  Discipline helped get me there.

So, how did it all begin?  Yes, I was disgusted.  I knew only I could change things.  Once I gave birth to my son I cut all white sugar and white flour completely out.  I began Weight Watchers.  We had bought my beloved treadmill by then and I walked everyday during my sons nap time (I have 2 older kids – no nap for me!).  My walking turned into some jogging.  My jogging turned into some running.

But something else had to change.  I had to change what I ATE.  Permanently.

I enjoy watching documentaries.  I love Morgan Spurlock, his show on CNN “Inside Man.”  And I loved his documentary “Super Size Me.”  I was never really big on eating fast food.  Believe it or not, you can get big just by eating a whole bunch of protein bars, granola bars, snackwell cookies and weight watcher meals.  I did!  It wasn’t until I sat down and watched “Food Inc.” that everything changed for me.

Yes, I was following a weight watcher type diet.  I lost 30-40 pounds that way.  But once I watched “Food Inc.” I realized I was still putting a lot of preservatives and chemicals into my body.  Even if a Diet Coke was 0 points, it was still really bad for me and my body.  So, I continued to watch my weight watcher points, but from a Whole Foods perspective.

Here was my new food theory I abide by today:

1.  Generally, if the food comes in a bag or a box, don’t eat it.

2.  If there are a bunch of preservatives in it, don’t eat it

3.  Rule of thumb – I heard the saying “If your Great Grandmother wouldn’t know what it is, don’t eat it.”  So, I don’t eat it.

I watched “Forks over Knives,” “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” and more recently, “Hungry for Change.”  They are great!  I juice my lunch everyday.  In one documentary I watched, I learned that vegetarians perform better as athletes.  I can only attest that I did drop 6 minutes off my half time, 15 minutes off my marathon time when I switched to vegetarianism.  I had to drop soy from my diet, so I added in fish now – I am only focused on my health.  Overall, changing what I ate, focusing on my input has really maximized my output as a long distance runner.

I’m 40 and I am happy.  I like the way I look and I like the way I feel.  If I had known this was possible in those initial pictures, I would’ve said you were crazy.  Not for me.  I was always a size 12.  That number only got bigger for me.  Now I am a size 4.  What?  Never before for me.  And I have been a size 4 for over 4 years now.  It’s great.  I started my weight loss journey in July 2011.  I ran my first race having lost 100 pounds in November of 2012.  It was a trail 10K.

I loved it!  I loved being back out with my peers and running.  I run all the distances now.  My only focus?  To feel or do better than I did before.

This is me now.  Coming across the finish line of the marathon I ran in May.  What makes this shot so special is that my kids were able to cross the line with me.  Did they see me give up on myself?  Accept obesity and cheer them on from afar because I was ashamed of my appearance and unable to move?  No.  They saw me look in the mirror, decide to change, and run marathons in my spare time.

I love to run.  Running helped me feel like a stronger, healthier person.  I focus on health.  On my food input so I can maximize my athletic output.

What’s your story?  Does running make you feel stronger?  Healthier?  Let me know!

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