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Sara’s Story – A New Start

I’m very excited about today’s topic and it’s the first ever guest post on Peanut Butter Runner. I received some great responses to last week’s “Why Wait?” and as soon as I read Sara’s comment about her weight loss journey, I knew I had to ask her to guest post. Lucky for me (and all of you!), Sara agreed to share her story and I find it to be incredibly inspiring and heartfelt.

This is the perfect example that it’s always the right time to make a positive change in your life – you don’t have to wait for a new year or a special milestone. Over the past year, Sara has committed herself to finding her healthy balance, lost 20 pounds and finished a half marathon! I love Sara’s story and I hope you do too!

Sara’s Story – A New Start

We all know that every New Year’s a lot of people resolve to finally get healthy. Well, I used to have multiple “new years,” the beginning of a new semester, a new year, a birthday resolution. For about two weeks after each of those new beginnings I ate well and hit the gym hard, but then I returned to my old habits. A few months later I’d try again, resolving to stick to it that time, but I never did. For weeks leading up to each new beginning, I would eat whatever I wanted because I was finally going to get healthy. If nothing else, I certainly was consistent, my jump start always faded out in a week or two. I’d go back to my old habits and any weight I’d lost I immediately gained back, and then some.

This past January I was watching The Biggest Loser with my boyfriend.  There was a married couple (Lance and Melissa, for any Biggest Loser fans) and something about them inspired me.  I didn’t want that to become my boyfriend and me.  I said we should start a Biggest Loser competition of our own.  I wanted us both to adapt a healthy lifestyle so that we wouldn’t one day become that couple.  We started that following day, Wednesday, January 20.  It wasn’t my birthday, or the start of a new semester, or anything else, we just figured, why wait?

When I stepped on the scale the next morning to record my starting weight I was shocked.  I had no idea I’d put on so much weight.  I jumped head first into this new challenge. I started counting calories. I started working out for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week. I’d been trying to get into running since that prior September, I’d even run my first 5k in November (very, very slowly) but still hadn’t really found that workout inspiration. I belonged to a gym that I never went to, so that first day I finally started using that membership.

That first week I lost 4.4 pounds. That success started me off right. I knew that if I could lose 4 pounds in one week, I could do this. It was hard at first, really, really hard. My job at the time was very sedentary so I had to make myself take the stairs, or use a bathroom that was on the other side of the building, anything to get me moving throughout the day. Learning to budget my calories properly throughout the day was a struggle. I was living on a very, very small budget and affording healthy food was difficult. The only gym I could afford was 20 minutes from work and then 30 minutes home. But still, I did it.

Fast forward 5 months, to mid-May, and I flew down to Florida for my boyfriend’s graduation and to help him move back to New York. I had lost 25 pounds and felt amazing. The compliments from my boyfriend and his parents reinforced that all my hard work had paid off. I felt like a completely new person. I realized on that trip that I didn’t just feel like a new person, I was a new person. In the 10 days I was away, I worked out 8 of those days. The old me never, ever exercised on vacation.

When we got back to New York it was time to start maintaining my weight loss, I’d hit my goal and wanted to stay there. Losing weight turned out to be the easy part. I counted calories, worked out, and the weight came off, slowly, but surely. But what about keeping it off? To tell the truth, it wasn’t until the maintenance phase that I really learned how to treat my body right. When I first began maintenance mode I stopped counting calories completely, and took about a month off of working out. Before I knew it, I’d put 10 of the 25 pounds I’d lost back on.

While this was disappointing, it wasn’t that surprising. I always saw dieting and exercise as all or nothing.  I quickly realized that the way to maintain my weight loss was healthy living through good, healthy food and exercise. Once I realized this, and that I wouldn’t have to diet forever, I started to really feel my body change. I lost 5 of those 10 pounds I’d put back on. At first I wanted to lose more, but my body feels good at this weight. I eat healthy and don’t beat myself up when I have a bad day, instead I wake up the next day and start fresh. I exercise a lot, but I absolutely love it.

Not to leave my boyfriend out of all of this, when we started our challenge he lost about 15 pounds but once finals time rolled around, he put a lot of it back on. When he graduated he took on a new healthy focus and now he’s lost 25 pounds. He hopes to lose 10 more. It’s been great sharing this healthier lifestyle with him!

If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be 20 pounds lighter and look forward to my sweat sessions at the gym, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you’d told me I would complete a half marathon, I would have called you crazy.  But, here I am, less than one year later, 20 pounds lighter, a half marathon medal (which I hope to be my first of many) hanging from my wall, and I’m happy. The biggest lesson I learned?  A new start doesn’t have to happen only on New Year’s, or your birthday, when you’re really ready for that fresh start, you’ll start it then. After all, for me it all changed on a random Wednesday last January.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Alaina December 6, 2010, 11:55 pm

    What an awesome, inspiring story!! I was the exact same way. I would tell myself that I would be healthier and in shape at the beginning of every new year at school. Graduation rolls around and I was overweight. It was a random day in October that I turned my life around.

    You look amazing and your story is so inspiring. Congratulations!!! 🙂

  • Lauren @ Lauren Runs December 7, 2010, 1:50 am

    Thank you for sharing your story Sara! It’s incredibly inspiring, and I admire your honesty on what’s been most challenging, and that you’ve found your happy medium! Your sentence: ” I eat healthy and don’t beat myself up when I have a bad day, instead I wake up the next day and start fresh. I exercise a lot, but I absolutely love it.” truly resonates with me. I feel taht I should post that up as an affirmation to repeat & follow.

  • Whitney December 7, 2010, 8:03 am

    Congratulations! What a great story! I say it all the time but I look at exercising and living healthy as a routine thing just like brushing your teeth. If you look at it like that instead of “dieting” you will be amazed. Hope you have a continued success! 🙂

  • Jen December 7, 2010, 10:03 am

    Congrats Sara! Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story. I completely agree with you… we can make a change whenever we want. There’s no reason to wait for a special occasion! Keep up the great work 🙂

  • Sara December 7, 2010, 11:08 am

    Thanks so much for letting me share my story Jen! I feel honored to be your first guest post. I’d never really looked at these 2 race pictures next to each other before I wrote this post, it was a great feeling to see that I look like a completely different runner post weight loss!

  • Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) December 7, 2010, 12:37 pm

    Sara, your story is amazing! You are right, you do look totally different in your two race pictures! Not just your body, but also your expression! You look so strong and confident in the second one, unlike in the first. Brilliant! Keep it up! 😀

  • jen December 7, 2010, 2:37 pm

    Sara, thanks for sharing your story!!

    I hit my rock bottom last week and when i posted about it on my blog i got a lot of responses to just wait until january, but i knew if that happened, i would weigh even more than i do now and would be even unhappier! Instead, I joined weight watchers and i’m down 4lbs and couldn’t be happier or more excited!!


  • ashley December 7, 2010, 3:01 pm

    What an amazing and inspiring story! Sara – I love what you said about not beating yourself up. I tend to hide under the covers instead of facing things head-on. This was a really good kick-in-the-pants for me! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Danielle December 7, 2010, 3:13 pm

    Great story! Thank you for sharing!

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