Today, I’m honored to share a guest post with you. The fabulous health coach, Crossfit addict, and all-around great guy, Craig Spinner, asked me to share my weight loss journey on his blog, cSpin Healthy. Shockingly enough, I was able to do it without any profanity. (Another Festivus miracle.) Thanks, Craig, for the opportunity. It was an honor.
Oh, and if you’d like for Craig to help you on your journey to a healthier you, contact him via his blog. You’ll be glad you did.
When my youngest was eight and I was still 70 pounds overweight, I decided it was time to stop blaming my posterior on “The Baby.” And the “I had four kids in five years” excuse was getting a little old, too.
The truth? I liked Oreos. A lot.
Oh, and not just Oreos. I was an addict – a carb addict. Perhaps “Man doth not live on bread alone,” but I was fairly certain I could live exclusively on Noble Romans breadsticks, given that glorious opportunity.
As a former athlete, I was accustomed to eating anything I wanted… and never gaining an ounce. But age and Oreos caught up with me as they are wont to do. It was time to do something different, to see things through a new lens, to make a lifestyle change.
I’d dabbled in many diets over the years – from Weight Watchers to grapefruit to liquid only. I’d tried just about everything. And sure, I lost weight on all of them. But I always gained it back. And then I’d gain a few extra pounds just for good measure.
Why? Because they were temporary. Because I wasn’t learning anything about food, exercise, my body, and how those three entities work together.
My trusted doctor (and uncle) suggested I try the South Beach diet. When I realized I had to give up sugar for TWO WHOLE WEEKS, I was convinced I would probably die. Or kill someone. And I’ll admit, when those two weeks began, I was grumpy, irritable, and less than pleased. I didn’t kill anyone. I’m fairly certain, however, that I yelled a lot. I probably even cried. But when those two weeks were over, I’d lost twelve pounds and no longer craved sugar and carbs.
It was truly a Festivus miracle.
I am blessed with an incredibly supportive husband who also happens to be a great cook. He made this journey with me, and together we lost over 100 pounds within the course of a year. And here’s the thing… South Beach isn’t really about dieting. It’s about making better, more informed choices. It’s about choosing a sweet potato instead of a white potato. It’s about savoring a bite of good, rich, dark chocolate instead of a processed candy bar. It’s about enjoying a steaming cup of hot Zen tea instead of a McDonald’s Diet Coke. It’s about embracing the veggies. And we all need to give the veggies a little love, don’t we?
Once the pounds began to fall away, everything about my life changed. I know, I know – it sounds like a bad commercial, but it’s true. My energy returned, my motivation increased, my mood improved.
Mama got her groove back.
I’d always wanted to run a marathon by the time I turned 40, had always wanted to check that particular item off my bucket list. At age 40 (+ a few months), I completed the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. My husband and kids supported me through alternately grueling and rewarding months of training, my friends met me on my long runs with water and Gu and cheerleading in the streets. Long-distance friends sent motivational tapes and letters of encouragement. Marathon-running veterans offered me valuable words of advice. Apparently, it takes a village to run a marathon.
And I have never been more grateful for my village.
Crossing that finish line with my friends and kids (who ran the last quarter mile with me) was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. It taught me – and my children – what dedication is all about. It was a priceless lesson in setting a goal and seeing it through.
And I must admit that some of those early morning training runs were downright spiritual.
Health and fitness isn’t a cross-the-finish-line kind of event, though. It’s an ongoing process. There’s always more to learn, always something new to try. And are there times I give into the lure of the Oreo? You bet. Life is about living, after all. But a healthy body makes life a thousand times more enjoyable.
And strutting my skinnier, happier, healthier self in some “7 for all mankind” jeans? Not a bad bonus, either.
“Before” Picture #1: Eww. (Gus obviously thinks so, too.)
“Before” Picture # 2: Double Eww. This was before Chris and I started South Beach.
“After” Picture #1: Mile 12 of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.
“After” Picture #2: Chris + Me – 100 Pounds. Yay!