So today morning on my run, I saw a lady who just made my day. She was running and was about the same size I had been when I started running. I was so happy to see her. So happy that she had decided to become healthier and what better way that to keep running. I said Hi because I remember how happy I had been when a fast runner would take the time to great me in the morning, or nod their head at me like we were in some kind of secret club. I hope I see her again. I hope sometime I can talk to her and let her know that I was once there and now I am here.
Obese, afraid of running and going to the gym!
That used to be me and I’m sure a lot of other overweight people felt the same at some point in time.
The highest weight I ever weighed myself was 247(that is the only written record I can find, however I have some pictures that to me, seem like I was really pushing into the 300’s).
When I got to college, I joined a really expensive gym and would exercise almost everyday. My roommate did it with me and so I always had someone to go with. Once we stopped being friends (long story) I had no one to go with and my money got thrown down the drain because I was too lazy to even cancel my membership. At this point I think I had gotten down to about 190lb. I remember that the gym was probably about 1KM away and I couldn’t even run to it. I would try running and get back to walking almost immediately.
Once I stopped going to the gym, slowly by slowly the weight came back on. I didn’t notice it. I had no scale and no one around me ever mentioned it. (I was away from home and had no family member around who could say anything to me. Friends don’t usually want to hurt your feelings.)
A few years later a friend of mine took a picture of me and once I saw it, I almost died. Was that me? I had no neck. I was HUGE!!!! HUGE (this is where I think I might have been close to the 300’s) My body carries weight well( HA! What a joke) and so I was well proportioned but I was devastated.
My apartment had a gym and all the people I saw go there were skinny and fit. I could not imagine myself going in when they were all there. I used to tell myself that I would starve myself, lose some weight and then I could go to the gym. For me it always seemed that no fat people were ever at the gym. It was always the skinny girls in their short shorts and the shirtless muscle men. So my plan was to find a time that no one went. I would wait until 10PM or wake up at 4am so that I would get the gym empty. This is when I weighed myself and was about 247lbs.
I would use the treadmill but I wanted to go run outside so bad. I lived at a beautiful canal that had a 3-mile loop and I would see people run there in the mornings and evenings and wish I was one of them. Even at that weight, I wanted to run. I decided that I could do it early in the morning when no one could see me and hide in the darkness.
It was hard. I think I was still in the 220’s-230’s when I started venturing outside. At first I thought it would be dreadful. That all those fit runners would look at me and laugh and wonder what the heck I was doing running outside. I felt like everyone was judging me. That was the furthest thing from the truth. I got a lot of encouragement. Everyone would wave at me and I couldn’t believe it. One old lady one day stopped my side struggling just to lift my legs and keep moving and told me I could do it. She said that she had been overweight and with running, she was fit and whizzing past younger people. I’m sure there were those who thought ‘what is this fat girl doing?’ There are always those people.
But now that I know the running world a bit better, I know that runners who see newbies running are always proud of them. They encourage them because they know that at some point, they were not the best or fastest runners out there. As I lost more weight and got more courage, I started running in the light. I think this when I was 214ish (I’m 5’3 and so that is still HUGE). I loved it. The runners I met were friendly; they always waved and said good morning. I started running further and the walks in between my runs became fewer. I became a runner Damnit.
Lost almost 80 pounds and still going. I wish I hadn’t wasted all those days and months afraid of the gym and running where people can see me. And I hope nobody else ever does that again. So if you are on a weight loss journey, ignore what others may think. Get out there. Walk, then run. I have read stories about mean people saying nasty things to big runners and it happened to me once. I just thought ‘hey at least I am doing something.’ Go out there and run. Join a gym and get your workout on. And to those who have travelled this journey and are on the other end, make sure to take a minute and encourage someone at the start. You might just be the encouragement they need.