“There’s plenty of time to train, work, take care of family, and race. You can run a 5K in the morning and still get the kids off to their activities after the event.” Really? I thought to myself laughing, maybe in a perfect world. I couldn’t help but think the lady who was a contributor to the article I was reading was cracked.
A paragraph later the article continued, “Sign up for a race and tell everyone you know.” Really, I thought to myself again. Risk utter humiliation by telling everyone I know that I’ve just signed up for a 5k running race when I can barely get out and walk? The reasoning, according to the article, is that by stating your intentions you will be motivated to get moving and accomplish the goal you set for yourself, not to mention the accountability that comes with telling everyone that you know. A goal, motivation, and accountability, exactly what I need I thought to myself. Exactly what I need to deal with the one thing in my life that I keep choosing not to- my expanded waistline.
You see, like millions of Americans, I am a person that is clinically classified as obese. For me to say that about myself, let alone write it for thousands to read, is not something that is easy for me to do. Forcing myself to deal with something that I haven’t for years, in a very public way, is one of the scariest things I have done- ever. Total humiliation is the first thing that comes to mind if I fail in my attempt to reduce my plump frame. I am hoping that by writing about my struggles there will be some accountability to my fitness intentions. I am hoping that by sharing my struggles some of you may find comfort in the fact that you are not alone in the battle of the bulge.
For me, although not obese until adulthood, weight is something I have struggled with most of my life. As a preschooler I vividly remember a parent at dance class commenting about my chubby legs. As a teen and young adult I battled an eating disorder complete with a compulsion to exercise for hours at a time, even though I was never overweight to begin with.
In my mid 20’s, after landing a desk job, having kids, and settling into adult life, the weight began to creep on. By my late 20’s I had joined Weight Watchers where I successfully lost nearly 50 pounds. I even managed to keep if off for a couple of years. It was after I quit smoking in my early 30’s coupled with my lack of diligence when it came to diet and exercise that the weight piled back on and has since been here to stay.
I could give you reason after reason why I am overweight but will spare you the excuse list. There is no excuse good enough to account for my size other than the fact that I eat too much and don’t exercise enough. It’s as simple as that. I know it. I’ve known it for years.
Remarkably, a weight problem, although very visible, can be easy to ignore. Avoiding full-length mirrors and photographs and dressing appropriately can go a long way in covering up the excess pounds. I have discovered that if I face the camera, put my shoulders back, suck it in, and smile half way; I look pretty good. It’s those unplanned side shots and glimpses in the mirror where I gasp at the sight of myself. I wonder who that pretty fat girl is. I wonder how it can be me.
In mid-August, when getting ready to move our youngest to college, I vowed to myself to tackle my weight once and for all. That very same week I was asked to walk in a 3-day, 60-mile walk next summer and I ran into Annette from Mainstreet Fitness who informed me that they were converting to a 24/7 facility. I literally laughed out loud at the obvious signs I had been given from above.
Admittedly, even though I have the support necessary to accomplish my goals, it has been slow going since August. The extra nudge I needed came this morning when I logged on to Facebook. A link to a website called active.com (thanks Bonnie H.) led me to the article I quoted earlier. The article that inspired me to sign up for a 5k. That’s right, a 5k.
I signed up for the Turkey Leg 5k to be ran in Willmar on Thanksgiving morning. I immediately stated my intentions publicly by posting to my Facebook world that I had signed up for a race. Now I am stating it you. Considering I can jog about two blocks at the moment, I have my work cut out for me.
Will my weight problem be magically solved because I have vowed to run race? I know better than to think that. Will it put me on track to tackle the bulge once and for all? You bet.
I have a goal and motivation. Now I have to be accountable. Am I scared to death of failing and being totally humiliated? Of course! I will definitely be seeking comfort in the fact that I am not going at this alone. With just over a month until race day; please, wish me luck. In the meantime, I will keep you posted on my progress which I am guessing will be quite entertaining to say the least.
“There’s plenty of time to train, work, take care of family, and race…” Right? I’ll soon find out.