We went to school with a group of guys that were notoriously known as the "Brew Crew." Little did they know that in our own little world, we had a crew of our own... the "Sue Crew." We spent many a night sleeping over at Susie Q's house having old fashioned pajama parties complete with s'mores and games of truth or dare. Eventhough we've lost touch over the years, to this day, she's one of those friends where ever so often we come back in touch and it's like we never skipped a beat- We just have one of those lifelong friendships.
Yes, I might sound crazy, but I agree with some of the research revolving around Facebook these days. Studies have shown how women over the age of 30 are flocking to the social network... and I admit, I caved and joined. It's true, I'm nosey, and sometimes it irks me reading other people's statuses... especially when I see them looking great, traveling for the umpteenth time, or just bragging about their wonderful life. I know that I should be happy, but depending on my mood, sometimes it can make me feel inadequate. And then, there are days it can make my heart fill with joy, make me proud of the people I'm surrounded by, and even inspire me. And Sue has done just that.
Once overweight and out of shape, this girl has done a 360 and looks better than ever. And whether she knows it or not, her Facebook statuses make me log off and head to the gym. I asked her to write a blurb about her transformation... and here it is. I left everything in Sue's words because just like Sue as a person- whether she's fat, skinny, young, or old, I'd never change a thing.
I have played sports my entire life. Weight was never a problem for me...up until eighth grade. Everyone has a story. Here is mine.
My family moved during the end of seventh grade, and I guess my way of coping with the stress of entering eighth grade in a new city where the kids already knew each other, was to eat. I remember snacking on loaves of bread or making my own cheese nachos as a "snack" mid day. I spent most of that year in a fog, trying to adjust to new friends and a new environment, not remembering a lot... but I do remember barely being able to run the mile in gym class. I dreaded that day and would do anything to have my Mom write me a note to skip school those two days out of the school year. That was a low point for me. I remember the summer going into my freshman year of high school thinking that if I didn't get my weight under control that I was not going to enjoy those four years. That's when my mom first introduced me to the wonderful program of Weight Watchers.
I remember dropping six pounds the first week just from giving up soda alone. I dropped most of my weight after my freshman year where I continued to spend my four years playing softball and volleyball and overall enjoying high school. I was never ideal in my mind though, and I was never that girl that had all the boyfriends. I had all the boy "friends", but that was it. I never took care of myself in high school, or college for that matter, the way I take care of myself today.
Four years of high school went fast, and college came quickly where I continued to eat (and drink) to deal with the stress of everyday life. I quit playing softball in college so I was nowhere near as active as I was in high school. I still was not in control of my life and not really sure of who I was yet. It was not until I graduated from college and dealt with the up "25 pounds, down 25 pounds" battle that I finally decided to get my life under control. I attribute my weight loss to many things- but number one would be Weight Watchers. I am now a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers and I have kept the 50 pounds that I lost off for nearly seven years now because I decided to do one simple thing: EXERCISE. Everyone can say what they want- Fad diets, diet pills, exercise equipment you see on infomercials at 2 a.m....They do not work. The only way you will ever get control of your weight and your life is by exercising and watching what you eat. Sounds simple right? Not always- but it can be if you choose for it to be.
I was never a runner. By 2003 I had my weight under control and for some reason I decided to run a 5k on Thanksgiving morning. Since then, I have never looked back. I have completed countless 5k (3.1 miles), 10k (6.2 miles) and 15k (9.3 miles) races as well as 1/2 marathons (13.1 miles) and this past year completed my first marathon; Yes, that's 26.2 miles! This past year I started taking Les Mills Body Pump classes at my local gym two to three times a week and I have never seen such a difference in the toning of my muscles than I do now. It was what I needed to give me that extra push to get over the plateau on the scale that I could not reach from simply running alone. Strength training is just as important as cardio training. This is the most energy I have felt in years and I only wish I had done this ten years ago. However, it is never too late. We can never look back, only forward.
I have set many goals for myself. First goal was to lose the weight- Check! My next goal was to get a job at the Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World- Check! When I turned 30, I wanted to run a Marathon- Check! My next goal is to run the New York City Marathon in 2011 and maybe, just maybe, one day, qualify for the Boston Marathon. I would also love to be able to somehow help and inspire everyone that wants to change their life just like I changed mine by possibly becoming a Weight Watchers leader or even teaching some group fitness classes at the gym. There have been many people that have helped me along the way. I had the support of family and friends that got me through the days I wanted to quit and go back to a former lifestyle or when I wanted to say the training was too hard and to stop running. Weight battles are a vicious cycle. I have gained and lost the weight countless times in my life but for the first time I feel like I truly will never go back to the way I was back in college or what I call my "fat pictures." I have always had my family and friends as my cheerleaders when I cross that finish line for every race I have run and if I didn't have them in my everyday life I would not be where I am today. My love for running has truly become a family affair. My father started running himself. He has been down to Florida to run a 10k with me and he even trained in 2009 to run the Walt Disney World 1/2 Marathon and he did! He completed his first 1/2 marathon ever this past January.
I am in a place I have never been in my life, and I know there is a lot more ahead of me. My weight is something I still battle everyday. When you go through a transformation physically like I did you sometimes feel yourself looking in the mirror and seeing that former self. You have to continue to talk to yourself positively and just know you will have those days where you "fall off the wagon." You only get one life and one body, so take care of it. Push yourself to limits you never thought you could imagine.
I find it ironic that my former photos of myself were taken on vacation in the summer of 2000 at Walt Disney World. I never would have imagined that ten years later I'd not only be working there, but that I would be running marathons on that very same concrete that I stood on while that photo was taken.