I was a skinny kid. People used to tell my mom she wasn't feeding me enough. (She was; I was just really active.) But I didn't want to be skinny. I wanted to look like my best friend. Who was somewhat of a big girl.
I got in the habit of eating a lot in my quest to look like her, then two things happened at once. First, we moved to the suburbs where I knew no one and it wasn't a neighborhood like we'd moved from so there was nowhere to run and play even if I did know anyone. Second, and probably most important, puberty struck.
In short order I grew breasts and hips, landing in a size 10 and a C cup by junior high. I wasn't overweight but I was very curvy. I made some friends, but being as we were girls we were more into not sweating in order to impress the boys than we were in getting any exercise. There was also an evil P.E. teacher in there who was so determined to find the next Prefontaine among us that we had to run every day, culminating in a 2.3 mile run every other week. Oh, and we had a rotating schedule so while one day P.E. was at the end of the day, the next day it could be first thing in the morning. And running shoes were still pretty much only for jocks; ever try running in Keds? Plus sports bras, who ever heard of a sports bra?
Senior year, 1987-88. Size 13.
I graduated high school with a fairly nice figure and then proceeded to lose the freshman 15 in college -- all while eating double cheeseburgers and banana splits every night. (The school was on a series of hills; Wazzu girls have the best legs in the Pac-10.) Walking all over campus kept me in good shape, but then two things happened. First, when I moved to my own apartment during college I had to cook for myself and I indulged. Why have two slices of bacon when you can have six? Second, I graduated college; no more hills.
My activity level nose-dived but I kept on indulging in the kitchen. And in the bar. I gained about 15 pounds pretty quickly after I graduated and then the pounds slowly crept on after that. Every few years I'd join a gym but after a few weeks I'd give up. By the time I was 30, I was well on my way to 200 lbs. I estimate my heaviest weight was 210 lbs; I was afraid to get on the scale at the time.
Law school grad, May 1996. The gown wasn't all that roomy for me.
I lost about 30 lbs in my early 30s by managing portion sizes and adding fruits and vegetables. The latter has always been hard for me; I have fruit issues (bugs mostly) and I do not like many vegetables. Those pounds slowly crept on again after I stopped planning daily menus until I got back up to about 210 lbs while in a serious relationship. When the relationship ended, I bought a treadmill and managed to walk consistently but without corresponding changes in my diet the weight loss stalled at just a few pounds. Eventually I had to go on blood pressure medication.
I currently work in a very, very small office, having come from a very small office. In an effort to enlarge my social circle I joined first a bowling league and then a winter kickball league. The kickball made it very clear very quickly that I was out. of. shape. I needed to make a change.
That was January 2009. One day later that month, I was driving around downtown Portland when I spotted signs up everywhere for a 5K run happening a week before Valentine's Day. Thanks to the evil P.E. teacher, I absolutely hated running. Yet for some reason I decided to sign up for this race. I still really don't know why.
Since that first race, as of July 2010 I've run about 30 races, ranging from a 5K to the Eugene Marathon. No real idea why I decided to run a marathon other than it's something I've always wanted to do. I'm a slow runner. I'm just not built for speed; I like distance races best of all. Many people feel that you should race races -- as in, why race at all if you're not fast? I don't believe it. I challenge them to stay on their feet for six and half hours, running most of it.
My fitness has greatly improved since I started running and I've lost a full clothing size, but I haven't really lost any weight. During marathon training I actually gained four pounds; all four in the last three days before the marathon. (I suspect the carb loading.) I've never come in last in a race but it's been close. I've beaten, and been beaten by, a 69 year old lady with a cane.
I plan to keep on running, to improve my fitness. I've grown to love running for some inexplicable reason. I'd like to do an ultra marathon; I think I would be well suited for that. I do my best to support new runners, and particularly slow runners. Eventually I want to get off the blood pressure medications. Hopefully I'll find a weight that is right for me.
Thanks for coming along for the ride.