Remember how I clapped like a proud big sister when BISJ reader Meghan Clifford was featured in February's Self magazine about how 5 Self readers came to find body bliss through attitude adjustment and self-appreciation? Only a small snippet of Meghan's story was shown in Self, but today, you'll get to see the original story Meghan submitted. It's very inspiring, and again high-five to Meghan!
If you see a woman running through the streets of with a huge smile on her face, it may just be me. I'm not smiling because of something amusing on my ipod but rather out of pure joy. The simple act of lacing up my sneakers and running fills me with such gratitude at what the human body can do. About what MY body can do.
Over the past 3 years I have lost over 80 pounds and it wasn't until only recently that I have really been able to process what it was like to grow up overweight. The idea that I could fit into a size 12 let alone run a 10K still amazes me.
I'll never forget lining up for my first race, nervous but excited, loving the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself. When the horn went off to start the race I had tears in my eyes. I was no longer the heavy girl in grade school praying I wouldn't be picked last for kickball. I was an athlete. It was then that the magnitude of it all really hit me.
There were some lonely moments on that first run, stretches of the route I had to walk, and times when I wasn't sure if what I was feeling was runner's high or an impending heart attack. But what kept me going was the voice in my head that kept saying, 'You are in a 10K! YOU!' It didn't matter to me if I finished last; I was just so grateful and happy to be in it at all.
I lost the weight the old fashioned way, by eating healthy food and exercising regularly. I took my time because I knew a quick fix wasn't going to work for me.
Watching my body and most importantly, my relationship with my body change over the past 3 years has been an amazing journey. I can't say I ever actively hated my body when I was heavy, I just chose to ignore it. It was as if I didn't acknowledge I was fat, then maybe no one else would notice.
Now I can honestly say that I am happy I had to go through the first 30 years of my life heavy, because I will never take what I have now for granted. We are blessed with these amazing bodies, and I plan on celebrating that with every run I go on.