Tag Archives: Motivation

Motivation Monday: Lauren’s Story!

Hello friends.  Well what a week it has been.  Since last Monday I have been super sick with a whole host of symptoms.  From 103.5 fever to massive cough that has kept me from sleeping to pink eye.  I have just been a big mess!  And this past weekend the Hubs and I also traveled to PA to see family and friends.  It was not the best time to travel due to me being sick, but we managed!  More on that a bit later.

Anyways, I missed LAST Motivation Monday because I was too sick to do anything except lay on the couch.  But I was so inspired by my dear friend Lauren’s story, that I can’t wait another week to share.  She actually shared her story on her own FANTASTIC blog a few weeks ago and SO much of her story resonated with me!
I met Lauren first through the Elf for Health challenge in 2013.  I was lucky enough to be paired with her and a friendship was born!  Last April we finally got to hang out IRL at the Cherry Blossom race!  It was pretty fantastic, and SHE is even more fantastic in real life too!
Laurenfotor0408110037Laurenphoto-5 .

Lauren is such a special person to me.  She is beautiful inside and out, and always makes me smile.  She has inspired me in so many ways, and here is just another way in which she has inspired me to not give up on myself.
Here is her story:

I’ve been holding off on writing about my new fueling strategy for a few reasons:

  1. I hate talking about food.
  2. I hate talking about weight.
  3. I hate talking about food and weight.
  4. I hate talking about how much I’ve hated talking about food and weight for the last 20 years.

And my hatred runs deep friends, real deep.  On #4, I just didn’t feel like internet rehashing my whole, torrid experience with weight, body image and running.  But, as I started on my own fuel better, feel better 2015 extravaganza, I found that other people, sharing their experiences really helped me.  So, in an effort to help someone else, maybe, I’ll tell you all about my experience.

And for that you’ll have grab a {healthy if you feel like it} snack and settle in.  This is a long one.

{link to that here!}

When I started college I was overweight.  I think I was overweight in high school but I honestly had no idea.  I was so happy and such a positive self-image.  I had awesome friends, I was gearing up to go to a college I was so excited about and my family was {and is} supportive. How I looked and especially how much I weighed literally never crossed my mind.

10987453_10205004844595229_2771521942824708805_o

I loved those pajama pants.  I think I also won something.

Then, I got to college.  I lived in a single dorm {no roomate, holllerr!} and my floor was filled with really awesome girls, some of whom I really connected with.  One of their favorite things to do was talk about how much they ate or didn’t eat.  Or how much they exercised {a lot}.  Suddenly,  I was looking at myself differently.  Sure I was still happy and independent and all of the other stuff but now I realized that I was overweight.

I think it’s worth noting here that I do NOT fault my new freshman friends or college or living in a dorm with what happens next.  I think that you are a product of your environment but most of all you’re in control of your own actions and behaviors.  And that was the light bulb for me — I wanted to be in control of my body.

11038895_10205004844635230_6158661998412852623_o

hi Eric!

The summer after my freshman year, I stayed in the single dorms and worked two jobs and took classes.  I also took the opportunity to start counting calories and working out.  I started by walking on the treadmill 30 minutes every day and lifting some of the weights in the gym I saw the other girls lifting.  On calories I would just write down what I ate and, with out doing any research or talking to a doctor, decided to try to eat less than 2,000 calories per day.

And the weight started to fall off.  And the compliments started to roll in.

I kept restricting my calories more and more and continued to exercise.  By the end of the summer I was able to run 3 miles {!!} without stopping and I was eating 600 calories a day.  This summer started my love of running and my love of controlling how many caorlies I ate.  Usualy the fewer the better.

In the fall, I joined my sorority and was convinced that it was because I was finally thin and therefor pretty, not because I am nice or fun to talk to and tell ridiculous stories.  I continued to restrict my calories and run.  I was wearing clothes I never dreamed I could wear, meeting people I loved and getting attention for all the wrong reasons.  People would constantly tell me how great my body looked.  I was lean {gaunt} and strong {starving} and people LOVED to tell me how impressed they were {with my calorie restriction and abuse of running {which I loved so much}.

11050652_10205004845435250_5155935014547453220_o

ugh, I don’t even look healthy.  I do however, miss that belt

That spring, when I was home for the weekend, I went for my run.  I tried to keep the pace I normally kept {this was before I knew anything about cadence, paces or running really, I just knew it made me skinny} and I couldn’t. I got home and complained to my mom that I wasn’t able to run as fast or as far as I normally could.  She looked at my with that worried mom face and said, honey, I don’t think you are fueling it properly.

Wait what?

But I’m skinny!  People like me!  What about this fuel.  You want me to eat more food?!  Food is the enemy!

For the rest of my university experience, I struggled, but I was able to eat and exercise in moderation.  However, every pound I put on caused extreme anxiety.  By the time I gradated and started graduate school I was an anxious ball of worry.

1796888_10205004844715232_9006046888747904781_o

I really liked that choir dress

That first year of graduate school threw me into a tail spin.  And instead of restricting my intake, I would binge.  By the end of the year, I gained about 45 pounds.

10995766_10205004844555228_4571723600933547506_o

MB loved that shirt.

I moved to DC and during that time, I completely gave up running {sad}.  I was using food as a way to deal with all my issues:  I missed MB, my life was listless and I was just sad.  When MB came around {hooray!} and moved in with me, he was like look you, I love you no matter how you look {not super great, let’s be honest} but I can’t marry someone who doesn’t eat fruits and vegetables {at the time, my diet consisted of anything fried and liquid cheese.  And diet coke — old habits die hard} and I knew I had to get it together.

10857353_10205004844755233_7058196487264936012_o

engaged and pumped about it.

So, I started Weight Watchers.  And I lost 50 pounds.  I found running again and I ran my first half marathon.  I was the lowest weight I had every healthfully achieved.  Then I thought I could keep it together on my own, no more Weight Watchers.  I resented the way that I had to count my points.  No one else has to do this, I would think to myself.  I know how to eat.  And I run!!

1935408_1159048670807_2596366_n

totally normal

But I didn’t.

By February of 2013, I was well into my 30 races.  I told myself since I was running so much, I didn’t need to watch what I eat.  Anymore, ever.  As the 30 races ended and I set my sites on my two marathons, I was turning to food to deal with depression and anxiety.  I kept telling myself I could eat whatever I wanted, I was running 125 miles per month.  And the queso, and chips and cookies weren’t telling me I was bad at my job.  After Big Sur, I was realized that there was a problem, I was a running a lot but I was not fueling properly.  And I was legit depressed.

big sur

happy!

It all came together when visiting my new doctor, she said that she was worried about my weight increasing {about 4 pounds within a month}.  We talked about my history and what was going on with me.  She gave me two options — outpatient therapy or Weight Watchers.  {she also put me on an anti depressant, which helped a lot}.  I looked into the outpatient therapy but it was very expensive.  I heaved a huge sigh and looked into Weight Watchers. Again.

I went back to my doctor, and told her that I didn’t think it was for me, tracking points.  Other people don’t have to track their food.  She very patiently responded:  do you manage your finances?  Yes, MB does.  Do you manage your task list at work?  Um, yes, I definitely love making lists and crossing them off.  So why don’t you manage what you eat?  Um.  I don’t know, because I don’t want to?  Why not, she wondered aloud.  It might help make you feel better.  Maybe just by changing that mindset of feeling sorry for yourself.

FINE.

So I went to my {second} first Weight Watchers meeting at the beginning of October.  Since then, I’ve lost 22 pounds and I finally feel in control of my fueling.  Rather than thinking about Weight Watchers as a diet, I’m completely, 100% committed to it as a lifestyle.  Like forever.  Tracking points, going to meetings {for support.  which is wonderful.  I love the meetings} will be how I manage my fuel from now on.  My running has also improved.  Turns out when you’re not hauling around extra weight, you run better.

used to restrict calories and over exercise.  After I got help, I started getting depressed, swung the other way, was binge eating and gained 50 lbs and stopped running.  Then I lost it again.  Then I started binge eating again ever though I was running.  Now I’m back on Weight Watchers, lost 22.2 pounds and I feel super.

FullSizeRender (4)

I don’t take enough bathroom mirror selfies

There’s really no way to end this without being weird or trite.  So that’s the end.  I hope,if you stayed this long, and you needed a boost, that this helped.  The one thing I’ve really taken away from this is that I am worth taking care of, that I have to manage my food intake to run healthy.

Thank you Lauren for sharing your story! And for inspiring me once again!

If you have a motivational story to share, please let me know.  You can email me at chocolaterunnergirl (at) gmail (dot) com.

IMG_6537

Motivation Monday: Lizzie’s Story

Hello friends!  How was your weekend?  It was on the chilly side (for TX) here, and rainy too!  I ran in a marathon relay (more about that soon), had some meetings for a new adventure I will be on soon, did a little babysitting and hung out with a friend who just adopted a lil baby! Needless to say I am pretty tired!

Anyways, it is Monday and time for another Motivation Monday story!! Today Lizzie is sharing from her heart!  Anyways, today is Monday, so I have a great motivational story to share with you! Lizzie and I met this past winter through the Elf 4 Health challenge!  She is a great encourager and has fantastic incites.

Here is her story:

Do It For You. Keep it simple. Baby steps are good.

There – the above are the three rules, or guidelines, or things to ponder. Any changes you’re wanting to make should be for you, and you should keep it very simple in terms of keeping it manageable, while making small changes over time. For you.

I’m thrilled to be writing a Motivational Monday post, but the reason the lovely Chocolate Runner Girl has had to wait so very long for my submission is that I’ve personally been trying to wrap my head around what to write and how to get it done. If I look at the numbers, yes, I’ve had a highest recorded weight of 245 lbs on my 5’8” frame (and if I’m honest, probably more than that, but that’s the biggest number the scale registered when I stepped onto it). I’ve had a lowest of around 145 when I graduated high school. That’s a fair bit of a difference.

Let’s have a chat about numbers. Usually, I’m wandering around somewhere in the 160’s. A couple of years ago, I got down to 152 lbs. I’m currently somewhere in the 170’s, having gained weight in the year after celiac disease diagnosis where it’s pretty common to be a bit bigger as your body can absorb nutrition in food again. Yes, I’m working at getting rid of a muffin top I’ve lovingly grown as my body healed from 37 years of an undiagnosed auto-immune disorder. But here’s the big thing to take away from this blog post: your life rocks no matter what size you are.

Your size is just one part of you. Mass, as a physical force, is just one part of the equation. Yes, you may weigh a certain number when or if you step on a scale, but mass is just one response to the physical laws of the universe. Mass doesn’t tell anyone how kind you are to children, what a wonderful and supportive partner you are. It has nothing to offer regarding your contributions to your workplace, to your community, nor your efforts to leave this world a little more awesome than it was when you got here.

To be sure, the less you weigh, the more health benefits you can reap. Your body, particularly your joints, will have an easier time supporting you. There are numerous studies that show that our health overall increases when there’s a little less of us. So that leads me to how I really got around to losing weight – it was about health, not the number on the scale defining who I am. At 245 lbs, I could go for long walks or hikes and get around quite happily, could keep up with a classroom full of teenagers, and go home and look after my teenage stepson, preschool son, and husband while still feeling good.

However, as awesome as my life and health were, I had a moment that changed my outlook. I attended a conference with around 600 other teachers. I was amazed at how many of my colleagues were overweight. In short, it was a wake up call. I could see where I was going to be if I didn’t do something about it, and fast. I had to do something!

I actually only made small changes to how I ate and how much I move. I switched up home-made baked treats to fruit or yogurt. I cut portions of carbohydrates at meals, and didn’t notice much of a difference. I made sure I tried new vegetables, and stuck with the ones I liked. I was an on-call (substitute) teacher, and if I didn’t get a call to work that day, I’d make sure I got to the gym or go for a long walk pushing a stroller around. The weight slowly but surely came off. I had to be consistent, I’ll admit that. But the point I want to make is that I’m not that person in a weight-loss story of a magazine talking about how I completely overhauled my life to beat the scale. The cumulative effects of making more good choices over time than poor choices will get you where you want to be.

I now teach health to high schoolers, and the biggest tool I can give them is to realize that there is not one food, system, or supplement that will give them the body of their dreams with no work attached. There is huge pressure from the diet industry for women to be skinny (except that it’s being repackaged as ‘strong’ or ‘fit’ or ‘healthy’ instead) and for men to muscular. Instead, I encourage them to eat foods that are minimally processed where possible, figure out which exercises they enjoy (for me, Zumba, spinning, and crossfit make me anxious, but I can go to as many yoga classes and pool running sessions as I can fit into my week!), and make the best choices they can. I encourage you to do the same.
Finally, having been bigger and then progressively smaller, I have a couple of important things I want you to be aware of. All the things that are awesome in your life now will continue to be awesome. I am not a better teacher now because there’s less of me. I’m more effective in the classroom because I have more experience and education guiding my career. I’m not a better wife; I’m just as impatient now about the garbage not being taken as I was seventeen years ago. The stressors in your life (like how the garbage won’t ever take itself out, or the bigger things such as health of a loved one or raising a child with special needs or financial crunches that never seem to go away no matter how hard you try in each pay period to get ahead) will all still be there. Weight loss is great for your health, but life continues to unfold the way it’s going to.

I wish you health and happiness.
LizzieIMG_1022

Thank you so much Lizzie for sharing your story and life experiences with us!  You shared much wisdom!!!

If you have a motivational story to share, please let me know.  You can email me at chocolaterunnergirl (at) gmail (dot) com.

IMG_6537

Motivation Monday! Jessica’s story!

Hello friends!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!
It was pretty low key for the most part.  Both the Hubs and I worked a bit on Saturday, so we did not even see each other till late Saturday night.  Needless to say we celebrated with a little lunch out on Sunday.  We went to a new (to us) Mexican place.  Opened some gifts and then at home we both took a nap!  Then I did a boatload of laundry and made grilled eggplant for dinner!  So romantic 😉

Anyways, today is Monday, so I have a great motivational story to share with you!
Jessica and I met this past winter through the Elf 4 Health challenge!  She has become a lovely friend, and her story inspires me!!

I struggled with my weight most of my life. I broke my hip at the age of 17 and developed bursitis in my hip and the more weight I gained, the more it hurt. It was a catch 22 because it wouldn’t hurt if I could lose weight, but I couldn’t lose weight because when I exercised, it would hurt. I’d overheard of a coworker doing a triathlon. My dad had done tris when I was a kid and so I decided I should follow in his footsteps. I’d tried to do some training, but got discouraged and quit. Then my gym membership expired.

After some time went on, I decided it was time to get serious about this goal, so I walked into 24 Hour Fitness to become a member. As they were taking me on the tour and telling me about their personal training promotion, I thought “oh why not?” and signed up. On my 3rd session I felt like crying, but I bought 10 more sessions… and worked with her for 8 months. (I only quit there because she moved). I lost about 40 pounds, actually learned to LIKE the gym, and eventually did do that tri.

Things are a little different now that I’m going through depression. But that’s a different story I suppose.
Here is a video I did for 24 Hour Fitness a few years back: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Srf1okNwgrA

Jessicabefore
Before

JessicaAfter
After

Thank you Jessica for sharing your story!  You are a true inspiration!!!

If you have a motivational story to share, please let me know.  You can email me at chocolaterunnergirl (at) gmail (dot) com.

IMG_6537

Motivation Monday: Kaseedee’s story!

Hello friends!  Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a great weekend!  The weather here in TX was absolutely gorgeous!  And I spent my weekend with a dear friend and her precious son! (More about the weekend soon).

It is time for another Motivational Monday story!  This time Kaseedee is sharing her story!

How I Gained It: Growing up I felt I was an “average” size. I was active, played sports, never worried about what I ate. Then I got pregnant, and it all went downhill quickly! I was eating for two and didn’t really watch what I ate. I felt because I was pregnant I could eat whatever I wanted. I later learned what a huge mistake that was, when I weighed 273 pounds after I had my son!
Breaking Point: I realized about a month after my son was born that something had to change. I had no energy, and I was depressed and irritable beyond what I felt was normal. I wanted to be able to carry my son, take him for walks, play with him. I wanted to be there and be healthy for him.
How I Lost It: My journey has had it ups and downs. With encouragement from my husband, I joined the local gym. I had no idea what to do, and my first day there I broke down in tears on the gym floor! I found the gym scary and intimidating, but I found a trainer who helped me get started and has motivated me ever since. I have also enlisted help with my eating habits and found that I needed workout buddies to keep me going. Motivation is tough if you are on your own! I have been working for 10 years to lose the weight and keep it off. I have had setbacks, I have worked through injuries, but all in all I just keep pushing forward!
I have learned that I would rather be a strong woman than fit any “mold” out there. I have learned that skinny is not necessarily healthy, and you have to strive to be your healthiest, not a number on the scale. I am always looking for a challenge, and mix up my workouts day to day.
Now, I am doing things I never dreamed possible! I run endurance races with my son, I’m running marathons, I lift weights. I never in a million years thought I would complete obstacle races, but I have. I am just loving life more! I have energy, I am genuinely happy! We focus on clean farm-to-table eating with my son. Setting an example for him is my main goal. I don’t want him to go through the experiences I went through. I have also devoted my career to motivating others reach their goals: I now work full time in health and fitness! I feel I have found my purpose.
Kaseedee

Thank you so much Kaseedee for sharing your story!  Congrats on working hard to achieve your dreams!

You can find Kaseedee here:

Twitter: @kaseedeej
Instagram: https://instagram.com/kaseedeej
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Kaseedee-J/142141549148604
Email: coachkaseedeej@gmail.com

If you have a motivational story to share, please let me know.  You can email me at chocolaterunnergirl (at) gmail (dot) com.

IMG_6537

Motivation Monday: Tom’s story

It is Monday, so you know what that means, it is time for another motivational story!  Today we have Tom from Runs and Places sharing his story!  Tom and I connected on Instagram, and he is always on the run!  Find out why below!

Tom’s Story:
Having to hold your breath so you can bend over and tie your shoes is not fun.  Neither is breaking out in a sweat and feeling like your heart is going to pound out of your chest after you walk up a single flight of stairs.  But these are some of the things that I started noticing were happening to me when I was only 25 years old.

This isn’t something that happened overnight.  When I was a teenager, I played a few sports in high school and was in really good shape.  Then I graduated, started going to college, and quickly learned how much I enjoyed staying out all night drinking and eating junk food.  So as the years went by, my weight started to increase and any athletic prowess that I had built up when I was younger started to gradually vanish.  By 2001, I was in terrible shape…. but luckily for me I had started a new job working for a boss who happened to be a runner.  When he invited me to go out running with him at lunch time, I jumped at the chance and even though I couldn’t run more than half a mile without stopping to catch my breath at the time, I kept at it.  After a few weeks, I felt myself starting to improve.  It was a slow process at first, but every time I went for a run, even if I was only able to make it a few steps further or a few minutes longer than the day before, I considered it to be major progress and it kept motivating me to push myself even harder.  Before I knew it, I was going for 3 and 4 mile runs at lunchtime and still finishing up with enough time to take a shower, eat, and be back at my desk within an hour.  No more holding my breath to tie my shoes… no more losing my breath when I walked up the stairs.  I felt like a completely different person.
 
Not long after that, I noticed that there was a 5K in my neighborhood so I decided to sign up for it. Even though it was a local race, I instantly hooked on the feelings I got when I lined up at the start line with all of the other runners and then pushing myself even harder than I did in my normal workouts and then having a medal placed around my neck when I crossed the finish line…. as soon as I finished, all I could think about was when I would get to do another race.
 
It wasn’t long before 5Ks turned into 10Ks, which turned into half marathons and then full marathons…. and then I started setting some longer term goals: mainly to run at least a half marathon in every US state and a full marathon on every continent but I have a couple others as well (complete all of the world marathon majors, all of the Canadian provinces, and there are also a few specific races that I also want to do).  So far I’m up to 38 half marathons and 6 marathons in 29 different states, 3 different countries, and 2 continents.  During my time as a runner, I’ve had the opportunity to run through some of the most amazing cities in the world and I’ve also seen some stunning scenery on a variety of different terrains and environments.  I’ve run across the Golden Gate Bridge, done a lap around the Indy 500 track and the infield at Churchill Downs, run near the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and past the vortexes in Sedona, Arizona… I’ve run down both US coasts, through all of the Disney parks and down the Las Vegas Strip and the Atlantic City Boardwalk…. and those are just a few highlights.
 
With all of the different changes that have gone on in my life over the past several years (moving, changing jobs, the birth of my daughter, my mom and some other friends and family members passing away, etc…), running is about the only thing I can say that’s really been consistent.  It’s what I do when I need to motivate myself or when I just need to get away from things and clear my head for a little while.  It’s what I do when I need to cope with something that I’m struggling with or when I want to celebrate an accomplishment.  Most of the solutions to problems that I’ve needed to solve at work life or in my personal life have come to me while I was out running and whenever I meet another runner, I find myself sharing stories about past runs, favorite types of gear, and future races and becoming friends with them within minutes. Ten years ago, I never would have thought that running would play such a big part of my life, but today I have no plans to ever stop.
Tom38092-167-016f
Go Tom!!!
Tom20130902_111001

Look at all that amazing bling!!!

You can find Tom here!
Blog: http://www.runsandplaces.com
Twitter: tomruns_262
Instagram: tomruns_262

Thank you for sharing your story Tom!  It is making me want to go run right now!

IMG_6537

Sometimes our motivation can come from an unexpected place!

Hello there friends! It is Wednesday! Yay! I am officially signed up for my first 10k of the year.  I am participating with a friend from the gym, and she is more of a walker.  That being said, I am not doing this for anything but a fun workout 🙂
Even though I am not running on Saturday, I really wanted to get in a run today.  I have only ran twice since my duathlon last weekend.  The weather was pretty cold (for April in Texas), and rainy on and off so I did not make it out this morning with the kiddos I nanny for.  After we all had a nice nap I did manage to get in 2 miles.  So it was better than nothing.
The little twins are a great motivation for me.  Many days I am really sore or tired from previous workouts and I don’t always want to go for a walk/run with them, but they are very persistent in wanting to go see the “DA” (ducks), and so 4-5 days of the week we get in at least one walk to see the ducks.  That is all it really takes for me.  Once we are outside I usually muster up the strength and go for a few miles.  It as been nice to finally get back into a little more consistent ‘running’ considering the last 2 years with injuries and random health issues.  My basic point is that even the youngest people in my life help keep me motivated to run!!!

Here is another motivating story from a fellow runner Birgit, and how her precious son help get her motivated to run!

“4 years ago, my youngest was born with bilateral clubfeet, severe case. I wasn’t much interested in getting fit, running, etc..I felt content where I was. When your child is born with a special need though..you re-evaluate EVERY aspect of life as you know it..

William has had either casting or some sort of night time bracing , physical therapy and day time bracing since he was 4 days old. He can walk with the assistance of his AFO’s and at some point, should be walking without orthotics. We stretch several times a day, and cry together each time he gets so tired off “putting on the boots to sleep in”..even though that happens rarely. He is simply one of the most patient and brave little souls out there..and I wish I could stay as positive as he does so easily!

Four years later, one of the thoughts I come back to as an answer to why I started running is ” because I CAN “..William is far from being ” normal”.. But he can walk and run as well – In fact, talk about timing..we will be “running” our first 1 mile Fun Run this coming Saturday.

Running has become as much part of my life as bracing has become part of Williams..It helps me keep life in perspective. This past January, I finished my first Half Marathon in Baton Rouge, LA. I run together with a great group of ladies, and they are as much part of my life, dear friends.

Why wouldn’t we run, given the ability!”

William2

This smile would get me going everyday!William1 Birgit

Thank you for sharing your story Birgit and precious pictures of William!!
Best wishes in your upcoming race with William 🙂

Who keeps YOU motivated to workout?

~Chocolate Runner~