Fast forward to April 2009, I reached my first plateau of many and I decided to get a trainer. It was expensive, but there is NO better investment than oneself. The greatest gift wasn’t that of working out, but all that I learned about nutrition and a balanced diet. Protein. Supplements. Balance. By the end of June, I had lost 50lbs and there was no stopping me. I knew if I could do this in a matter of months, I could do whatever I set my mind to. I set a goal to reach 225lbs by Christmas, which would put me at losing almost 100lbs in a year.
As summer progressed, I was met with another plateau; it was time to make more changes. It was then, that I found my passion for the summer and embraced running. It wasn’t easy and I hated it, but I kept to it. With the help and training from my new running coach, Michelle, I set another small goal: in three months time, I would run my first 5K in under 30 minutes. I ran daily, starting out just 9 miles a week, then 12, then 20. By time the race was here, I was running 30-35 miles a week at a 10 minute mile. I did it. I finished in the summer, the fall, the race, with a time of 27:09. It was then, I knew was hooked. I am a runner!
As the winter approached, so did another plateau. I couldn’t figure out how to shake these last 3 lbs. I wouldn’t meet my goal, my outside running was down to one day a week, and two words would change my life, Celiac Disease. I was devastated. This was the hurdle that would break me.
I forget her name, but she forever changed my life. Not just a sandwich artist, but an inspiration. After the gym one day I stopped at Subway, as I approached the counter she engaged me in conversation. She graciously shared her struggles and her accomplishments along her journey, and I learned that wintertime is not about jumping those hurdles, but about endurance. I merely went in for a sandwich, but left with more; she gave me hope and strength to persevere!
Winter is about maintaining, summer is about excelling! March was unseasonably warm in Michigan in 2010, so I took it as an opportunity to start early and surpass all my previous running records! In April, I ran another 5k with a time 25:52, but I still couldn’t shake that 3lbs!
In May, I took this disease seriously, I changed my diet, it changed my life. I began running with a local group, which I like to call The Gazelles, even though I trailed behind. While my weight and time began to drop, my new goal was to be a new person by August, 3rd, my family reunion. Little did I know, I was already a different person. I embraced health, and it would truly change me. By the end of the August, I was leading with the some of the other Gazelles, running 5 miles in just over 40 minutes, a feat I never thought I would accomplish. I had now lost over 125lbs in less than two years. This accomplishment set my fascination with nutrition and food science in motion.
Autumn blew in with a chill in the air and I was preparing for my first half-marathon! I ran my first 10K in September, with a time of 46:41, running each mile in about 7:30. As my one year anniversary of my first race neared, I became nervous and I almost dropped out of the half marathon race, but I stuck to it even if it was just for the sake of finishing it. I set my goal to just finish in 2:30:00. However, when the race began, I couldn’t help myself but to make it count. I was ecstatic; I finished with a time of 1:44:06.
At the end of October, I injured my knee. So began another winter of enduring and maintaining. What has changed from one year to the next, nutrition! I am finally fully embracing the lifestyle of living with Celiac Disease. I truly see food as fuel, but I still want it to taste good. My recent goal is to make breads, cookies, and other dishes, high in protein and low in fat–yet still delicious!
All hurdles and all struggles are nothing more than to be overcome and demonstrate a lesson to be learned. It is now February 2011, I am maintaining my weight, I am eating healthier than ever, and I am slowly regaining my stamina with my running. My journey, like yours, is ever evolving.
Find a way, make it yours! Do not compare yourself to others, because no two paths are ever the same. Remember, life is a marathon, not a sprint!
How do you stay Motivated?- The best way to stay motivated is to look for inspiration in the world. I get my strength to run from those who cannot.
How often do you work out? And what do you do?- I would like to say I work out everyday, but life gets in the way. So I try to work out a minimum of four times a week.
Favorite exercise/workout?- I am a runner!
Favorite healthy foods?- Oatmeal. Rice Cakes with Sunbutter. Green Beans and Grilled Chicken, topped with Prego: Veggie Smart.
Best “quick food” that fits into the plan but is easy to get on the table?- It is my green beans and grilled chicken with Prego: Veggie Smart. It is only 240 calories per dish.
What do you consider a splurge- and how do you keep it under control?- Pizza. Cookies. Cakes. Candy. All my demons, I have not cut them all out, in one way or another, but have made changes to make healthier and practice moderation.
How has changing to a more healthy lifestyle impacted your life?- I now read labels, I know what I put in my body, and the balance in the kitchen has lead to balance in my life.
What is your biggest challenge to staying on “the plan”? And how do you overcome it?- My biggest challenge is the late night snacking. I used to eat a lot of ice cream and cookies at night, but I find if I drink lots of water, and eat fruits in moderation, the sweet tooth subsides.
What kind of foods do you eat now vs before? My most favorite meal used to be anything pasta related. Now I use green beans or zucchini in place of the pasta, and nutritional yeast instead of cheese.
Top Three Best Tips? The three tips I gave the angel at Subway
Anything else you can think of that you would like to tell us that will help us understand your journey and how we can stay on the path too? Ultimately, listen to your body, and find the balance!THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR STORY WITH US JEFFREY!! We SO appreciate it! You are a real inspiration!