One of my previous Shed & Sharer’s (Sarah) emailed me and said that I needed to get in contact with her cousin, Michelle. After a few emails, I understood exactly why she suggested it. I am so happy to share with you her story. So touching. (And so amazing!)
Age : 31
Profession: Nurse/stay at home mom and wife
How long have you been on this weight loss journey?
My weight has gone up and down for the past 8 years but I have been successfully losing (and keeping off) the weight for a little over a year now
Weight Loss/Inches Lost:
I have lost 117 pounds since February of 2011. Along with that, I have gone down 4 shirt sizes, 8 pants sizes, and one and a half sizes off my wedding bands
Went from two (almost three) blood pressure medications down to one
What was your “low point”?
I have tried (and failed) more times that I can count to lose weight. I was never one of the skinny girls in school but I was active. I played volleyball in middle school and tennis in high school. I was on the track team in high school, too but I did not really run…I was a thrower. Sure, we had our warm up mile that we had to do with the rest of the team but we were not runners. I roller bladed and rode my bike everywhere I could but that was difficult to do once I started college and ventured out into “the real world”. I have always been overweight for as long as I can remember, but I could maintain my weight with little effort at all; I just couldn’t lose it. My husband and I got married in 2003 and in 2004 our daughter was born. I only gained 7 pounds during my pregnancy and was able to stay relatively active, too. I was teaching preschool so that meant a lot of moving around during the day at work. She was 7 lbs 15 oz so immediately after she was born, I lost all my “baby weight” and then some. The first “low” came with her birth – I needed a c-section so I was not allowed to do much for 6 weeks at least. I healed extremely slowly so those 6 weeks turned into many, many months. She was a year old when I got pregnant with our second baby. I was still teaching preschool. Logically, I figured I was going to gain about the same with the second as I did with the first…I was still active all day and now I had a 1 year old that I was chasing around the house, too. Almost 6 weeks into my pregnancy, I started bleeding. From that point on, what started off as a typical pregnancy was anything but typical. Within a matter of a few hours, I became a high risk pregnancy with a high chance of a spontaneous miscarriage. I was on bed rest frequently and the weight started to pile on. Our son was born in 2006 and from then on, nothing has been “normal” in our lives. To make a very long story short, he has a feeding tube, a tracheotomy, and is ventilator dependent. He has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk, crawl, or sit up. There are days when he struggles just to roll over. He is our world and I cannot imagine a day going by without him here. I guess the real start though was in February of 2011.
How did you get started?
In February of 2011, I had an appointment at my doctors office to check my blood pressure and have some general blood work done. My weight (along with my blood pressure) had been steadily going up but I was trying to tell myself that it was not as bad as it was. The nurse weighed me, and weighed me again, and then had the nurse practitioner that I was seeing that day weight me, too. She never talked down to me or belittled me, but she did ask how many calories a day I was eating and what I was doing in the form of exercise. I knew that I was not trying hard enough, I just did not want to admit it. Each of my kids have a song that is their song. My sons song is “When I See You Smile” by Bad English. That song came on the radio on my way home and it was at that point that I knew I had to change. He was fighting everyday just to breathe. I had legs and a body that worked and I needed to stop abusing them. I loved walking so I figured that was a good place to start. My mom, aunt,and I were going to participate in a walk for March of Dimes in May so I was gearing up for that. I happened to see a flyer for a 5K that caught my eye. My cousin and her husband were active and had participated in some races so I though I’d give it a chance. I asked my mom and aunt if they would join me in the race and they agreed to. We signed up to walk the race and we had a great time. Everyone I have ever talked to says that racing is addictive but I never really gave it much of a second though. Immediately after I got home from the race, I started to find more of them to do. As it turns out, races are very addictive!! Including that first 5K that I did in June, I participated in five more races through out the rest of the year. My last race in November I ran the whole way. It was a slow run, but none the less it was a run. Ask anybody that knows me, I am stubborn. I was not satisfied with just being able to do a 5K, I wanted more. I registered to be part of the Ohio Challenge Series of races for 2012. In February of this year, I ran my first 10K but still, I was not satisfied because I knew I could do more. I knew that there was a half marathon coming up in April and I had friends that were running it. I decided on March 9th that I was going to do the half with them and on April 15th I did my first half marathon.
Michelle, before and after!
What is your workout routine and eating plan?
Most days I get up sometime between 6 and 6:45 in the morning so I have time to run before I start my day. If I do not get a morning run in, I try to get one in later in the day but that does not always happen. On days that a run is just not in the books, I resort to DVDs. My favorite is kick boxing. I try to end my night with yoga before I finally crawl into bed but, just like running, it does not always happen. I would not really say that I am following a diet per say, I just try to watch what I eat carefully. I try to eat every three hours or so, that way I never get to the point that I am starving. Fresh fruits and veggies are staples in almost every meal. I drink a lot of water thought out the day as well. Sometimes if I feel myself wanting to snack on something, I drink a glass of water first. Thirst masks itself as hunger for whatever reason so if I am no longer wanting that snack, I know I was just thirsty.
What are your top 3 favorite resources that helped you along the way?
I found an incredible fitness website that I use called MyFitnessPal. The people that I have met on there are incredible and the support is amazing.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is sitting on the sidelines and waiting?
Why put off until tomorrow what you can start today. We never know from day to day how much time we may have left. Lose weight for your husband, wife, kids, parents, or whoever else gets you motivated if that is the way you need to do it.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is in the process but is feeling discouraged?
There are two saying that I have seen posted at several of the races that I have done; “No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch” and “The miracle is not that I finished, it’s that I had the courage to ever start”. If losing weight was easy, everyone would do it. Everybody reaches a point when they just feel like giving up. Find a cute outfit that you want to fit into and use that as motivation to keep going.
If you are a parent, how have you balanced everything?
My husband is great. He is supportive of what I am doing and he encourages me every step of the way. He watches the kids so I have a chance to run when I am able to. My daughter likes doing some of the DVDs with me so that is special time that just she and I have together.
Anything else you would like to share?
Don’t be afraid to start. I was 270 lbs when I started walking/jogging (wogging as I like to call it). I was embarrassed to “wog” when anybody else was around because I didn’t feel like I had any place trying to run. After all, running was something that only people who are in great shape do, right? Wrong. Put on a pair of headphones, find a silly song, and get out there. One of my training runs for my half marathon, I sang “There’s A Hole in My Bucket” for 11 miles to myself because it was silly and kept me going.
Did you tear up on this one? I did!! Thank you for sharing your story, Michelle and for encouraging us to be thankful for our working bodies!! If you would like to hear more awesome stories like this, be sure to skim the other Shed & Share stories!
Do you have a Shed story that you would like to share? Please contact me at email@example.com so we can get you on here!