Jennifer (160 Pounds Loss Maintained Since 2004)

I grew up with amazing parents that celebrated life to the fullest.  A big part of our celebrating involved food.  Weight was an issue for all of us but we were so happy together, I didn't really notice.  By second grade I was on my first diet.  I got to my goal weight (whatever that is when you're 7) but that didn't last long.  I was active as a cheerleader, played soccer and took dance but my weight slowly crept up. In junior high I went from 160 to 180 and by the end of high school I was over 200 pounds.  I was relatively happy and although I was the biggest of my friends, I was the captain of the cheering squad and had a kind boyfriend.  I used these things to justify that I was "ok". With graduation the activities ended and the weight piled on even faster.  I had tried every diet TWICE! By the age of 28 I was just over 300 pounds and miserable.  I had ended a bad relationship and started dating Ben and Jerry on a full time basis.  I held a corporate position and longed to wear all of the beautiful clothes that my counterparts in the field wore.  I was totally inactive.  I worked and watched TV.  I have always kept a journal and it was through this process and re-reading old entries, that I came to my breaking point. Or as I like to call it, my opportunity for inspiration.  I was 28 years old and MISERABLE!!!! I was not living.  I was slowly dying each day that passed me by.  These should have been some of my best years.  That night it was perfectly clear.  If I wanted something I had never had, then it would require doing what I had never done! I broke up with Ben and Jerry's, fast food and diet Pepsi.  I started eating lean chicken and vegetables.  I also learned that I loved salad! Who knew?!

I started walking around my neighborhood at night instead of watching TV.  I long had a desire to run.  As a little girl I had two teachers that ran marathons.  It was always the impossible dream in the back of my mind.  I used to also push myself to practice running a mile, so I wouldn't be last on the Presidential Fitness Test.  Running was always  just a dream.  One night on my walk I tried running.  I made it a block and tears streamed down my face.  In that moment I knew I would never go back.  One block became two.  I started run/walking and before long I could run a mile! An entire mile.  In four months I had lost 50 pounds.  In a year I was down 100 pounds.  I am now down 160 pounds and it has been 12 years since I started my journey. My running continued and after a very healthy pregnancy I ran my first 5K, five months after my daughter was born.  I can still remember the way I felt that day looking up to see my husband and girls cheering for me.  ME!!! I ran a 5K!!! My running has continued and I have completed several more 5k's, 10K's, 4 halfs, 2 marathons and the Dopey Challenge. I will NEVER forget the way I felt crossing the finish line of my first marathon.  It was so many emotions rolled into a single moment.  The day I finally got to set the old me free and all the tears of angst became tears of joy.  This journey has taught me that anything is possible!  I love helping other people in their journey to see that too.