Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How do you #LiveALittle? | Blog Series | Featured Member: Christy in Oklahoma

Christy from Yukon, OK

I grew up as a heavy person. I was shopping at Lane Bryant in junior high school - before they had fashionable clothes, by the way. Dressing like an old lady in high school was not very cool! My parents were amazing, supportive, generous people who never belittled me or made me feel bad for being overweight, so it just wasn't a priority to change. I was a brainy kid, so sports didn't interest me - and my sedentary lifestyle led to being well over 200 pounds before I ever graduated high school. A stressful job and 2 kids later - I hit my heaviest at 280.

About 2 years ago, I started trying to eat better because I realized how much my kids were eating like me. After about a year of just being a bit more careful, and a tiny bit more active, I had dropped about 30 pounds. No one noticed - which I found discouraging. I had no real plan, and exercise was still an afterthought.

Then I decided to start taking Tae Kwon Do classes with my daughter. What I expected was shame and a complete inability to do any of it. But I wanted to show my girl that doing hard things was good for you. And it was hard, really hard for me. I couldn't get my overweight body to do the things the instructor was teaching me to do. But there was no shame, only encouragement. So I decided to try running to see if I could get the weight off faster so I could keep up.

And that's when the magic happened. I signed up for a 5k in April of this year to motivate me. I knew if I had paid good money to do something I was going to do it! Even if I finished last! 

It took four months of prep for that first 5k before I started liking it. But all along the way, I posted my progress to my friends on Facebook. The little words of encouragement kept me going. The accountability of knowing that my friends might noticed if I stopped posting my workouts made me keep trying. 

Once I did one 5k, I got so much positive feedback I signed up for another one that day. I've run 8 of them since. I'm still not very fast, but I'm now hopelessly addicted to running, races, and t-shirts.

The weight started to come off more easily as my food habits fell in line with my new more active self.  I started to look at myself differently. I am now the kind of person who runs 15-20 miles a week. So dropping sweets was now a much smaller hurdle. Now, I'm celebrating having lost 100 pounds with a half marathon at the end of the month!

Just like everyone I know, I've tried losing weight a million times before. Motivation is probably the key factor that made this time work.

Being outside is a major motivator for me. The fresh air, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, new parks and places - these are things I look forward to all day and miss when I don't get my dose. When it's just too cold or hot, I'll hit the gym, but I'll be dreaming about the outdoors.

I'm an extrovert - I love people and get my energy from being around others. Even though most of my runs are solitary, I've found that being a runner gives me a whole new way to relate to people. I get to talk about the next race with my friends and coworkers, meet new people at races, and share with #livealittle members about common experiences. I'll talk about running with anyone who shows half an interest.

I've also learned to embrace confidence. Now I celebrate my achievements unabashedly. Am I bragging when I post a selfie of myself at yet another run? Heck yes! I'm proud of every step. When someone tells me I'm looking great, I've learned to say "Thanks, it's a lot of work, but it's worth it." 

I still have some weight to lose and goals (like a marathon, then maybe a tri!) to achieve. But being active is now who I am, not just something I do. It sinks in to every part of my life. I keep trying to surround myself with people who support this lifestyle, and those who want to join it. Having someone who wants to follow in your footsteps is a great way to keep going!

I have to give a big shoutout to Robert McCanliss - whom I knew from high school (ages ago!) Seeing his posts about his running and weight loss achievements really motivated me, and he was the one who invited me to the #LiveALittle group. I've found the group and his personal journey to be a daily help and motivator!

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