The last of the January Joiners, and a question for all of you at the end of the post. Happy 2013 – may all your goals be accomplished and your wishes be fulfilled!
Kerry wrote, “During my college years, I had a horrible time. I met some lifelong friends there that I cherish, but I consider the overall experience and the aftermath one of the low points of my life. I was stressed financially, I didn’t enjoy my major, and I was going through a breakup. I ended up dropping out of Virginia Tech after that year and I moved back in with my mother. My mother and I had a tumultuous relationship, and I was depressed about quitting school. I was stuck working a crappy full time job with no one to hang out with. Depression ate me up, so I ate everything else up. I stopped working out and began to eat my feelings. And I gained weight, a lot of weight. I had always been confident with my body until then, and this self doubt and unhappiness with myself coupled with depression became completely overwhelming. I was embarrassed about my new appearance so I withdrew from those around me, which just made the problem worse.
After a few months of this I couldn’t handle it anymore and I knew something had to change. I changed my major and moved back to Virginia. I started approaching fitness again, and I ran my first 5K in April of 2009. I didn’t train very well and I finished in 45:58, but at least I was moving. That summer I went abroad with my closest friend (she’s my sister, really), and through her support I really started falling in love with working out and taking care of myself again. She really pushed me to love myself, love what I do, and embrace my interests and goals. Her support and belief in me, along with the help of a therapist, helped pull me out of the hole I had fallen into.
I decided to devote myself to running a half marathon, and I followed a training plan I found in Runner’s World, and I slowly started to fall in love with the sport as my training runs got easier. I looked forward to my lacing up my shoes and the time I had to think was therapeutic. I started training in August and felt confident when December approached. The race itself was more emotional than I thought it would be, I was honestly more excited about the race than I was about graduation. It had been a three year struggle to feel happy with myself, and I was so proud to finally call myself an athlete again and feel comfortable with my body. I wasn’t scared of the distance and I knew I could finish (not gonna lie though, I was kind of scared to see how I would feel afterwards). As the gun went off and we started the run I started to tear up. I was finally doing it. The course was nice and flat, and all of the other runners were very encouraging. I kept my pace slow and steady with the sole goal of finishing, and I never hit a wall. Every mile marker made me excited that I was getting closer and closer to achieving a dream of mine. Running across the finish line I couldn’t stop smiling, I’d say I smiled from mile twelve until the finish. My closest friends were waiting for me with flowers and food, and I cried some more (naturally). I have never felt more proud of myself. Until that point, I had never really felt like I had accomplished something. Running the half marathon was about so much more than the distance.
I’m happy that my New Year’s resolutions don’t have to include getting into shape. I AM in shape, and this has become a lifestyle for me. After 5 long years of college I love myself again, I’m confident, and I feel strong. I am proud of what my body can do, and instead of criticizing what I don’t like about it I make an effort to love what it can do. Running hasn’t gotten any easier, but I’ve gotten stronger. My next goal is to run the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2013. And guess what? I can finally call myself a runner."
Emma wrote, “I’m Emma, I live in Scotland and I just turned 23 in December. I’ve had an up and down relationship with my body for as long as I remember. I’ve been way too fat, way too thin and, for a while, just right and at my fighting weight (only, I didn’t realize this, I still saw myself as Gigantor and hated what I saw in the mirror). Now, I’m overweight. I don’t know by how much, as I’ve given up on weighing myself. After a lot of soul searching and facing up to things, I’ve decided not to bother weighing myself and just to judge by how I feel (do I feel healthy?), how I look (do I look strong?) and how much I’m getting out of life and my fitness/nutrition. Nowadays, I feel better inside and out than I ever have, and there aren’t many days I feel negative about what I see in the mirror. Sure, I want to slim down, but to be healthy now.
I love the gym, but struggle to find the time sometimes.
Anyway, the other day, I finally took a plunge and agreed to run a 5k in May of this year with an old high school friend. I start a Cto5k on Tuesday, and I’m really looking forward to ticking that 5k off my Life List! (then starting on the 10k, half marathon and marathon, hopefully!)…asides from these tangible, easily worded goals, I want to feel fitter and stronger.”
Jennifer wrote, “I have major goals for 2013, but my journey started a long time ago. I was overweight all through high school; I was hitting about 285 on the scale. Through the summer before college and my first year at USF, I lost about 90 pounds. Over the course of college, I yo-yoed from losing weight and gaining it back (my lowest being 185, highest being 220). After graduation, I moved back home which allowed more time for exercising, but a lot more "southern home-cooked meals" to tempt me. With my resolution of a much healthier diet, it’s almost like my family and I have two completely different sides of the fridge!
I am now sitting at 200, and with the new year I am planning to finally reach my goal weight of 165. I’ve joined a gym, and I have started the next major step of my fitness journey: training for my first marathon. I did the Wine & Dine Half Marathon at Disney in October 2010, and while I felt like my legs were going to fall off, I was ready to find the next one by the beginning of the following week. Finances put a pause on doing actual races, but it didn’t stop me from joining a running club and actually starting to include things like speedwork and hills into my weekly routine. I am planning on 2013 being my year, and looking forward to completing a marathon this year, hopefully the Ann Arbor Marathon in June.”
Sarah wrote, “I am 29 from Sydney, Australia and I married my wonderful husband in Sept 2011. I lost 17.5 pounds for our wedding by doing Weight Watchers and having a personal trainer but after the wedding, I stopped working out.
Things escalated and I gained 22 pounds back, which I have been holding onto for about a year now. I have just discovered bike riding and I am loving riding, especially to work! I’m hoping that combined with some strength training at the gym and following healthy diet, it will help me get down to my wedding weight and lower! I am so excited to be part of January Joiners.”
Jennifer wrote, “I spent my teens and twenties living on junk food and felt amazing – and was thin to boot! However, when I reached my early thirties I began to feel unwell and completely changed my lifestyle in respect to food, even training to become a raw food chef. However, I was no longer particularly active, physically-speaking, and while pregnant last year I found myself gaining nearly 37 pounds, pretty much all accumulating between my waist and my knees.
Since I gave birth on the 29th of October 2012, I have only been on a treadmill once, on New Year’s Eve, when I vowed to start doing something about my plump (for me!), weak, doughy postpartum frame, which needs to drop about 15 pounds and tone up big time. I’m even still wearing my maternity jeans, skirts and trousers, as my ‘normal’ bottoms won’t pull up past my upper thighs! Unfortunately, as we live in Thailand and our families are in the US and the UK, we don’t have help with our newborn baby Fergus, and it is often difficult to find five minutes to myself to exercise, particularly as my husband is out of town and even out of the country very frequently.
In addition, we share our sidewalks (when there is a sidewalk!) with street vendors and motorcycles (yes – motorcycles run up and cruise on the sidewalks!) and the heat is pretty much unbearable year-round, so even taking a stroll outside alone is a big challenge, much less with a baby in tow. After seeing Caitlin’s other JJs, I have decided that no matter what, I have to find a way to not only get my body back to the state it was in before I became pregnant, but even better! Although I participated in Scottish and Irish dancing in the past, it has been over a decade since I have engaged in any regular physical activity, so I am a bit intimidated at the thought of going to the gym, but our condo complex does have a wide array of workout equipment. Even if I have to strap my baby to me in his carrier or wrap, I’ve got to get
moving, starting now! There’s no way I am going to usher in forty (in two years) wearing these tattered maternity jeans, unless I really am pregnant again!”
I usually only follow up with the January Joiners at the end of the year, but a reader suggested that I do quarterly follow-ups to see how everyone is doing and help them stay committed. I thought this was a great idea, so we’ll be hearing from the JJs in April or so. Until then… A question for all of you! How do you keep yourself accountable? Do you tell friends and family about your goals? Have a blog? Write a note to yourself and tape it to your mirror? I think having a blog definitely holds me accountable!