April 9, 2010
Since I was young, I have struggled with my weight. I was always overweight for my age/height, and I was never taught how to eat healthy. I lost 50 lbs back in 1998 on a 'high protein/low-carb' diet...but quickly gained that weight back after my first pregnancy. This 'fad diet' did not teach me anything about eating healthy as a lifestyle change because it was a quick-fix to lose weight and not a long-term lifestyle that I could maintain. I slowly continued to gain weight over the last 10 years after three pregnancies, dealing with personal stress, financial hardship, and the highs and lows of marriage and kids...and I hit my ultimate HIGH of 247 LBS! Do you know how difficult it is to admit that? Maybe you don't....but most likely you do understand, especially if you've ever struggled with your weight and self-image.

At the highest weight I've ever been (not pregnant)...was the lowest point I have ever been at in my life.  Food was my 'drug' of choice...I turned to food as my comfort in times of distress or heartache, but also in times of happiness and celebration! When I saw myself in this picture to the left (taken at my daughter's 2 year birthday party on April 9th, 2010), I hated the way I looked!  Pictures don't lie...and it was definitely a wake-up call for me! I could hardly believe that I had let myself get so lazy and overweight! I remember feeling is this how I want to live the rest of my life...tired, worn out and no energy to play with my kids? What kind of example am I leading for my beautiful daughter and 2 sons? What does my husband really think of me?

Mothers Day 2011
My journey officially began on April 19th, 2010....I consciously made the decision to change my eating habits and to begin exercising on a regular basis. I was determined to stick with my plan to lose weight, no matter how long it was going to take....and to NOT give up! I knew that it was time...I had to get healthy, not just for me, but for my family as well! Since it was late Spring and the weather was nice, I began walking 3 miles early in the morning before I had to go to work about 4x per week.  I would also go to the YMCA at least 2x-3x per week to do weights and cardio on the Treadmill (if I didn't walk in the morning).  I chose to follow the Weight Watchers "Points" system to help guide me in tracking my food. Their plan taught me how to read food labels, eat the correct serving size and watch my portion control. Over an 11 month period, I lost 58 lbs!!  

2012 St. Patrick's Day 5K
Over the next year and a half, I used various online websites and apps (i.e., LoseIt! & MFP) to track my food and calories in/out. I began interval walking/running in the summer of 2011.  As I began to run more, I would push myself to run longer intervals.  3 minutes turned into 5 minutes and so on...I clearly remember the day that I ran my first FULL mile and then a full TWO miles!! What a huge milestone that was! Never did I ever dream that I would enjoy running!  My friend, Stephanie Johnson, invited me to run the St. Patrick's Day 5K with her in March 2012.  After that race, I realized that I truly had a passion for running and had so much fun participating in the race that day!  After that race, I participated in a 5 mile race through Garden of the Gods, The Classic 10K and the BolderBoulder 10K -- that race was a lot of fun!!  I ran that one with Stephanie too!! 

2012 ADT Half Marathon
In July 2012, I was awarded the Runner's Roost Runner of the Month. What a special honor and award that was and completely surprised me!! I won a pair of Mizuno Running shoes and the gentleman who interviewed me also gave me a free registration to the ADT Half Marathon which was scheduled for Labor Day.  I was unsure about running a half marathon as I didn't train properly for that long of a distance, but I did it anyways!! I finished the race in 2:48:11...I was so excited that I actually ran a half marathon!! One mistake that I will never do again...I ran the race in my new running shoes that I had just won.  I had not broken in the shoes much before this race and didn't run more than 6 miles before this race. If you're an avid runner, you would say..."uh, oh...big mistake!"  And yes, it was a mistake!! I had the classic symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis and had to take a break from running.  That was hard to do!  A nurse/friend of mine told me how to relieve the pain by massaging the calves, so I did this vigorously for several months and did other forms of exercise with very little running. During my season of running races, my weight fluctuated between 183-187.  I felt "stuck" and knew that I needed to lose more weight.  I had slowly put on a few pounds by not watching what I ate because I used running as an excuse to eat more.  This is a common mistake anyone can make. I have definitely can't out exercise bad eating habits! 

At the beginning of 2013, I refocused and made a stronger commitment to do a variety of workouts throughout the week that include weight training, Spinning and HIIT (High Impact Interval Training) workouts from Fitness Blender.  Of course, I still love to run!!  I'm currently training to run my first FULL MARATHON on October 20th!!  I eat CLEAN by following the Grocery Shopping Guide published from Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet.  I don't have to track calories, fat or carbs....which I love!!  I still enjoy a splurge meal one or two times per week, but I try to enjoy that meal at breakfast or lunch if at all possible. I avoid eating heavy carbs in the evenings, too. The reason I do this is to allow my body more time to digest the carbs, and I'll eat a very light dinner with protein and veggies.  The changes that I have made in 2013 have all added up to HUGE SUCCESS for me! I have dropped an additional 14 lbs and currently weigh 172. I'm 7 lbs from my GOAL WEIGHT of 165!  I hope that my story and my journey to living a healthier life inspires many people!!

If I can do it, so can you!!