I just finished the Color me Rad 5k, and my brain is still awash in the chemical soup that is a runner’s high; this always makes me introspective. Pardon if this goes off on a bit of a tangent.
Three years ago I began a lifestyle shift. I weighed 430 lbs., I had no energy, little self esteem, and couldn’t find a full time job in spite of being a college educated individual. In short, I was a sad sack of shit and I can’t begin to explain to you why Lauren hadn’t started looking for greener pastures than what I had to offer.
Scratch that. I know why she stayed. She stayed because she’s an incredible woman who loves me more than I deserve and believes in me even when I think I’m a fraud. I’m blessed to have found her in this insane rat race we call life and not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for her as my partner.
So there I was: morbidly obese, drained, and with no prospects. Something had to change. It started small, when I began tracking my calorie consumption via the website/app MyFitnessPal. It was an eye opening experience for me. I’ve always been a big guy; and growing up an Italian kid in Krebs, Oklahoma, it didn’t do me any favors that I treated pasta as a food group. Still in spite of my bad habits, it would be misleading if I didn’t point out that I had some good habits too. I have always loved fruits and vegetables. I am completely open to trying new things. Fried foods weren’t a cornerstone of my day to day diet. I don’t smoke. I drink in moderation. On paper, my bad habits were few. The problem was that I loved food and didn’t get enough physical activity to mitigate the bad habits that go along with that love.
So I began to walk. Just short walks at first for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then longer ones. Soon I realized that I was enjoying the activity. Even craving it. I sought out hiking to sort of up the ante, so to speak. Amidst this development, I also landed my fulltime job with the Library system I had been submitting my resume to the better part of two years. My self esteem went up, and so did the walking. When the walking bored me, I decided to try running. That’s when I went insane.
I’ve been running now for over 2 years. I’ve lost 100 lbs. At my peak I was averaging between 16-20 miles a week. I was working at 100 miles a month, when Lauren got pregnant. Then I began to slack as I started sleeping less because I was stressing about being a dad. It pretty much stopped all together when Ruu was born and concepts like “sleep” and “free time” became distant memories. Color Me Rad was the first 5k distance I’ve run in 5 months. It hurt and it was slower than I would have liked, but it felt really good. And when I saw Lauren and Ruu waiting for me at the finish line, it felt like coming home.
I started down this path for me. I want to continue down this path for Ruu. The journey hasn’t been a linear one. There have been peaks, plateaus, and valleys along the way. I’ve been derailed by injuries, hectic work schedules, and my new baby girl. I’ve traded in “Morbid Obesity” for “Severe Obesity.” I hope to one day reach just plain old “Obesity” or (dare I dream) “Mild Obesity.” It’s been a slow process, but that’s okay. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my limits, and my abilities. I’ve given up little along the way and built strong, healthy habits that carry me through the sedentary times.
Here’s to 2014.
Here’s to 100 miles per month.
Here’s to a long, healthy life where I get to watch my little girl grow into a strong, amazing woman.