My story

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I had been an overweight girl most of my life. I would probably say that I really started to be fat when I was about thirteen years old. My father's side of the family is one that loves it's food. I recall visiting my grandparents many times as a kid and there never being a lack of snacks around. There would always be Doritos, Cheetos, cookies, nuts, you name it, it was out in a bowl or some other container ready for anyone to consume. Of course, there was a good amount of junk food at home as well. My parents tried to get my brother and I to eat as healthy as they knew how, but whenever family or friends came over, we had pizza, chips, ice cream and such all of the time. When you are an active young kid playing Little League baseball or softball and constantly running around outside everyday, that isn't a really horrible thing in the weight department.
By the time I made it to high school, my outdoor activity began to decline, as I no longer rode my bike to school and was not as interested in playing outside with neighbor kids after school. I was now taking the bus to school or one of my parents drove me to and from there. While it was great that I began active in newspaper, yearbook and other creative outlets in high school, the regular exercise and activity I had been having as a younger kid slowly but surely faded away. The weekends when friends came over for sleepovers or we had pizza nights still continued, yet I had no way of really working off the excess I was taking in food-wise. Also, there was lunch time at school. For the first time in my life, I was able to choose a bag of chips over an actual plate of food for my lunch. I was not good at making the best food or nutrition choices for myself. Thus began my more sedentary lifestyle.
I'm not sure exactly when I thought I was overweight and unhealthy, but I think that deep down inside myself I knew it by the time that I was eighteen or thereabouts. I would try quick diets, Weight Watchers and all sorts of things. I was never committed enough to really drop the weight or change the way that I ate or lived in that way. There was one point in my early twenties when I did drop some weight however. My family doctor had put me on a weight loss drug which aided me in losing about 40 or so pounds at the time. Alas, it was very short term, and I gained the weight back and more soon after. Nothing really stuck with me because I was not ready. That really is the bottom line with weight loss, you have to be ready to change your life and get healthy.
The second season into a television reality show called, The Biggest Loser, I began to feel a twinge of motivation. I watched as the show's contestants battled it out each week to eat healthy and worked their butts off in the gym. About a year or so later, I heard about the show doing a tour throughout the country. The tour would include former contestants from show itself. One of my favorites from that second season was going to be in attendance. I was thrilled at the chance to go to this event and meet them. At the mall tour, I met Suzy Preston. At the time, I was sure I wanted to get myself healthy once and for all and drop the weight. I told her that she had been an inspiration to me, and I was going to really do it this time. Alas, I again started something I wasn't ready to follow through on.
Then in September of 2008, my defining moment came. At the time, I was living in Western North Carolina and had gone home to Central Florida to visit my parents for a few days. During my visit down to Florida, my father and I went to EPCOT one day. There, the two of us took pictures and enjoyed a day at the theme park together. Returning back home to North Carolina, I had two picture cds in hand, one was from the camera I was using to shoot that day at EPCOT, the other was from my father's camera. He said that I might want to see some of the shots he took. As soon as I popped his disc into my computer, I realized that my dad had taken some candid’s pictures of me. I was out there shooting photos or not paying attention and he took a few photos during those moments. Looking at the photos of myself I could not believe how fat I looked. I was mortified by what I was seeing. Something inside of me just knew then that I had to do something to drop the weight and get healthy. No more false starts, this time I was going to begin and follow through to the finish on my weight loss journey.
After a lot of good days and bad days, I succeeded in my weight loss journey by the summer of 2009. I had lost over 75lbs and had never felt more energized or healthier in my life. I worked hard to achieve my goals and knew that I was no longer that same person that had been in those pictures over nine months prior. It felt good seeing the results of my hard work and knowing that I had finally done it. Once I conquered my weight loss goals, I knew that I could not stop there. I never wanted to return to my old lifestyle. I began the Couch 2 5k Running plan. Never believing that I could be a runner, I slowly but surely began to prove myself wrong. It really is amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it and push through.
Then on March 30, 2010, I encountered a set back. After a 25 minute run, my longest run to date at the time, I experienced severe back pain later that day at work. At first, I shrugged it off, thinking it was just soreness and not being used to running that much or that far. But, by the end of the work day, I knew that I had to do something as I even had difficulty carrying my bag. The next morning, I went in to see my doctor thinking that she would say it was something that could be easily treated and not to worry. Fast forward to two weeks later, after having an MRI done of my back, I was informed that I had herniated my lumbar disc in my lower back. I was crushed by the news. What was even more crushing was that my doctor told me that I would more than likely never be able to run again due to the injury.
Once I got over the denial and the not wanting to give up running thoughts in my brain, I finally accepted that I may never again be a runner. Those 25 minutes I ran on March 30th may forever be the longest I will ever run. Now, I power walk regularly and do a lot of 5k races locally. I am also reigniting my love for biking again. Even though I can't run, I don't plan on giving up my fitness or my love for doing races. Currently, I'm training to walk my first 10k in 2011 via Hal Higdon's 10k Training for Walkers. Also, I have aspirations to walk a 1/2 marathon in 2011. I have a lot of strength and stubbornness left in me, so limitations aren't going to hold me down, they may keep me at the back of the pack, but I'm okay with that.


Kitzzy said...

Great story Shannon! So sorry about your setback putting a damper on your running, but it's so great that you are not letting that stop you. Maybe someday they can fix it and you can run again. You are still young so there is plenty of time. But I continue to be impressed at your walking speed. That is insane! Do you enter races as a race walker? Maybe you should look into that.

Nicole said...

Thanks so much for sharing! It's really an inspiration to me to want to be healthy, too. Once my baby is born, I'll be back on the C25K wagon!

Shannon said...

Thanks Kitzzy & Nicole! That's what I'm hoping for Kitzzy, that they will come up with a surgery that really does permanently repair a herniated disc (current surgeries don't guarantee anything). I can dream, anyway!
As far as the race walking goes, I'm considering trying that in's a funny way of walking and has rules, so I'll see. :)

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...