Friday, January 27, 2012

Choose Your Hard

I have seen this quote a few times; I can't seem to find where it came from, if you know, then let me know and I'll cite it...

Losing weight is HARD.
Maintaining weight is HARD.
Being fat is HARD.


This healthy lifestyle thing is by no means the easiest thing I've ever done.  But weighing 285 pounds wasn't exactly a picnic either.

Let's compare.

Hard was: not being able to bathe my 5 year old daughter.
Hard was: not being able to buckle my seatbelt on the airplane.
Hard was: trying to find something in a size 22-24 that didn't make me look fat.
Hard was: seeing myself in pictures and believing that was actually me.
Hard was: smiling on the outside when I felt terrible, physically and emotionally, on the inside.

This picture still takes my breath away.  I didn't recognize myself in the white shirt when I saw it.  That was hard.

The results of the above hardships were leading me to being on cholesterol medication, alienating myself from my baby girl, continued and building self-loathing and eventually some very serious health complications.  That would have been really hard. 

Now my hard looks alot different.

Hard is: making healthy choices when people around me eat the foods of my past.
Hard is: being sore.  Just about every day, some muscle is aching.
Hard is: missing family time to get another workout in.
Hard is: getting up at 5am and going outside in 20 degree weather to get a run in before work.
Hard is: being between underwear sizes.

 My before picture July 2009...and September 2011 after a hard race.

I have chosen my hard.  Every day for the last two and a half years.  And while it is hard, no lie, sometimes there are days that it is easier than others.  I have learned to enjoy how hard it can be; challenging my body to do more, work harder, sweat more.  Knowing that sweat is my fat crying fuels me on to push myself to a new limit with every workout.

Why would anyone choose this hard?

Hard was running my fastest 5k (3.1 miles) in 32:16 (first race finished in 44:27).

Hard was running my first 10k race (6.2 miles), without stopping.


 All that hard work led to me buckling the airplane seatbelt...and having plenty of room to spare.

 All that hard work has led me to trade in my size 24 jeans for size 10 (and shrinking).

That's why I will continue to choose THIS hard.  The healthy eating, challenging workout schedule, pushing myself to achieve things I never imagined I could kind of hard.

I wouldn't have it any other way.  The sweat, tears, sprains, strains and imperfect journey that I've had.  It has all been worth it.  And so I'll press on.

Which hard are you choosing?



Clare said...

Love it! Love that quote and you nailed it on the head.

I always say that people think I'm a buzzkill when I'm telling them the nutritional facts of junk foods or telling them to get their workouts in when they don't, but in my opinion, the biggest buzzkill is not fitting into your pants and having zero energy and being totally disappointed in yourself. So I say--choose which buzzkill you'd have!! Kind of like, choose your hard! LOL!

Go Clara!

Carli said...

Clara, what an amazing post!!!! So inspiring. Your thoughts reinforce my feeling that I'm moving in the right direction. Yes, it's hard, and I'm finally accepting that.

Nikki said...

I am new to your blog, and WOW, what great inspiration! I certainly need to choose a different hard.

ClaraB said...

Clare, that is TOO funny! Haters gonna hate... :) Thanks Carli, I'm so excited for you and plan on watching you succeed with this hard girl! Welcome Nikki! It's not easy but it is SO worth it. I promise you!

dana said...

Coming over from After C25K. This was a WONDERFUL post!!! Thank you for sharing with us.....and inspiring us to hang in there with our own personal HARDS! I may have to "borrow" this idea for my own blog post one day.

Happy running!


Robin said...

Wow what an inspiration! A did you start with the exercise? I am where you started at (285) and I would love to run a 5k and fit that much exercise in. Where did you start, and how did you progress?

ClaraB said...

Hey Robin!
Check out earlier blogs for more detail, but basically I started by just walking for 6 months. I think that helped me prevent injury. I was about 245 when I started running (was waylaid by a non-athletic injury - falling down stairs during my first week of C25k so I had to start over). Anyway, the Couch to 5k running plan is what got me started (link at the bottom of my blog page) in running. It has never been easy and I wear shoes out quicker as I'm still a "heavier" runner but it is possible. AND you automatically get faster as you get lighter. :) My original earlier blogs talk alot about how I started, check them out for more detail! Best of luck to you - if I can do this SO CAN YOU!!! Clara

Anonymous said...

Robin, that is what I came here to ask. I am a walker (try to get 10,000+ steps in a day) but am 230 lbs and feel so foolish trying to run. I don't want anyone to see me or to know I am trying to do this. I have started and stopped the weight loss train (lost 30lbs last year ~ but did not gain it back) that I feel embarrassed to tell people I am trying again. I feel as if I can not mention it until people begin to notice, to justify that I have really been working on it. I have recently been feeling the urge to seriously train for something like those crazy fun hard challenges such as Spartan or Warrior dash but, again ~ I feel foolish and embarrassed. I have never been a runner. I was always just thin. I am 42 and have been overweight for about 12 years. I FEEL like a skinny person, since I was thin most of my life ~ I just can't find her anymore. thanks for listening. H

ClaraB said...

Hi Anonymous,

I started running at 245 pounds. It can be done. I didn't care what anyone else thought about how silly I looked or how slow I was. I relished in passing thin people in races. Speed and a slender frame are coming with time; but everyone has to start somewhere! Also, I highly recommend workout videos if you are too self conscious to work out in a group setting - it took me over a year to agree to go to Zumba for the first time and now I LOVE it! The Biggest Loser DVDs are great - Cardio Max is my favorite, and you're working out with other thick chicks (and guys) so its not so impossible looking.

You can totally do this! Hang in there and take it one day at a time.


Nicole said...

Wow, this gave me chills. I loved reading it and you really nailed it. Thanks for sharing!

Growing Together said...

Amen, I'm with you!! That was encouraging!

Anne said...

I totally sympathize with the between underwear pains. I'm dealing with no pants that fit right now. I started running when I was ~215 pounds. I don't know about anyone else, but I can't concentrate on anything else (like if people who are staring) while I'm running. It's everything I can do to just finish out the run many times. I too did C25K and it's a fantastic program! I recommend it to anyone and everyone I know! :) I always think to myself, "I'm still lapping the people who are at home on the couch." And, those people looking at you (if they are), you may actually be inspiring to get out there themselves. I've seen people jogging before and I think, "Well, if they can do it, I can do it." Definitely, don't try to compare yourself to anyone; it can be such a deterrent. This really has to be a personal journey.
Has anyone seen "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead"? If not, it's motivating too. Very recommended.

ClaraB said...

I just recently saw "fat, sick and nearly dead." It was incredible. I'll never go that extreme but I did order a juicer to try to get more veggies in. :) I really try not to worry about how I look when I'm running, but I do try especially hard not to stop when I know people can see me! haha!