Former Fat Girl of the Week is a place for us to come to celebrate and learn from the success and achievements of one another. Former Fat Girls of the Week are regular women like you and me, living normal lives, but are extraordinarily inspirational. This is their time to shine, and I hope you are as inspired by them as I am.
Name: Anne Age: 29. No, really! Occupation: Product Development Manager Blog:FitMilwaukee
What's your weight/fitness story?
I've done the yo-yo like most everyone. I was a fat kid and a 'chubby' teen so I desperately wanted to know what it was like to be "normal". At age 23 or so I began to diet and exercise. I lost weight a few times but never kept it off, and fluctuated wildly between 140 and 240 pounds on my 5'5" frame for many years. I tried Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, and every crazy thing in between.
I stopped weighing myself many years ago because I became obsessed with the number and was weighing myself multiple times a day! I won't let a number dictate my happiness anymore. My doctor knows what I weigh and she told me I've lost about 30 lbs, and that it's "a good number". However, I've been keeping track with the tape measure and I've gone from a 42-36-43 to a 36-28-37. Clearly, I'm still obsessed with numbers because I just referenced a spreadsheet complete with a colorful chart to obtain those measurements!
What was your turning point and/or "Ah-ha!" moment?
I realized that the problem was that I was TRYING to lose weight. I inevitably overdo it, and put myself on the 'white knuckle diet'. I know from experience that all that restriction is like holding my breath: it can't last. When I finally come up for air at the end (ha! the 'end'!) of a diet, I binge and binge til I gain it all back. So I approached it differently last year, when I asked a personal trainer to help me. I told him I didn't want to lose weight, I just wanted to be able to run again. If I happen to lose weight in the process, that's fine. And I did!
Anne, then and now
How has losing weight/being healthy & fit changed your life?
I changed my attitude! Getting in shape has changed my whole outlook on life. I'm not just dieting in misery, saving calories for an elusive cookie at the end of a long week. I made exercise something I enjoy by choosing to to make running my hobby! Imagine -- something I like to do, that I'm good at! I've never had that. Training for and running my first marathon made me realize I'm capable of so many things that I never thought possible. It has brought me out of my shell because I realize I inspire others with my story. That's a wonderful feeling.
Anne, now. Yes, that's snow on the ground
(I had to point that out because I've been using the snow
as an excuse not to run outside!)
How often do you exercise?
I work out 5-6 days a week. It's usually 4 days of running, and two days of cross training or strength training. I do a long run with a group of friends every Saturday, usually between 9 and 13 miles.
What is your favorite workout?
I truly love running, especially those runs where you feel like you could run forever! But I have a blast when I meet up with my trainer every other Monday and he makes me do all these crazy, super-difficult exercises. It's really a test of my fitness and I enjoy the challenge. He also believes in me and helps me set goals that are just beyond what I would set for myself. He's so awesome.
What 5 food items are "must haves" in your kitchen?
These are all there so that I can make a good choice when I want a snack. My new 'trick' is to have a small sweet potato and glass of milk before dinner so that I'm not tempted to have have a huge helping and seconds.
What is your favorite motivational/inspirational quote?
"Try not. Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda.
This quote resonates with me because when I tell people I ran a marathon (or any distance) they always say "I could never do that." But I like to tell them, "Yes you could!" The only difference between me and you is that I DID it. If that makes any sense.
How do you find balance in your life?
The thing that's been difficult is the time it takes to train all the time. I have to turn down a lot of invitations because it would cut into training. I hate to miss a workout! In fact missing a workout is not even an option for me, unless I'm ill or injured. I have alleviated the problem a bit by making some new friends that love to run as much as I do, so we can talk and run at the same time. Running with a group of great people has made getting up at 6:30 am on a Saturday something that's actually enjoyable to me.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Running a marathon is so far my greatest accomplishment. I received such an outpouring of support from my boyfriend, friends, family, and even Twitter -- they were all at the finish line holding signs and cheering. I couldn't have done it without them!
Anne, running her first marathon!
What do you love most about your body?
I love my strong, defined arms and shoulders. I can finally do a pullup! It's these little milestones that keep me going. I complain about my big legs but I love that they can get me through running so many miles each week!
What are the last 5 songs played on your iPod?
The Killing Lights - AFI
Gold Guns Girls - Metric
Old Yellow Bricks - Arctic Monkeys
Earthquake - The Von Bondies
A Kiss to Send Us Off - Incubus
What weight loss/fitness tools do you use that you rely on in your weight loss/fit life journey?
I've been using Dailymile.com to log all my workouts since March 2009. It's like a training journal with a social element thrown in. Anytime I need a boost I can check out what my running friends have been up to. If I have questions the answers are in the forums. When I finish a tough workout I log it and check back to see lots of positive encouragement. It's also a really well maintained, beautiful site that you can log not only running miles but also walking, biking, elliptical, spinning -- anything! I highly recommend it.
I also recently started logging calories with Calorie-Count.com. It has the same elements that I love about Dailymile: bright, pretty, and easy to use. And last but not least: Twitter! The people on Twitter are the best motivators! (PS: Follow me - @bananza)
Are you working towards a particular goal we can support you in (upcoming races, events, etc)?
I'm running a few shorter races this winter, but I'm really looking forward to running the Rockford Marathon in May. A bunch of my friends are doing it too, and I think it's going to be a really special event. I'm also doing the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon again in 2010. For my first marathon I crossed the finish line in 4:26, and next October I hope to finish in under 4 hours.
A shining example of how to live
a balanced, healthy, fit & FUN life!
Anything else you'd like to add?
We've recently kicked off a new blog in our fair city. It's called FitMilwaukee (http://www.fitmilwaukee.com/) and we offer relevant articles, encouragement and tips for not just Milwaukee but anyone looking to get into shape. Check it out, I promise you'll enjoy the content!
I'd also like to offer this: We all start somewhere. We are on a journey to find what works for us, and that may be ever-changing. Don't give up. Set goals for yourself, work toward them, and you will be pleasantly surprised!
I have to give a quick shout of thanks to my friend Megan for introducing me to Anne on Twitter. I live for Anne's tweets every day, because I can count on them to make me smile, laugh out loud, or give me inspiration to keep moving on my journey. Thank you Anne, for allowing me to interview you, I loved learning even more about you, and will definitely meet up with you for a Saturday run. One day. Soon. I promise! Please be sure to follow Anne on Twitter, and check out her new blog, Fit Milwaukee!
"It may be that those who do most, dream most." Stephen Leacock