Happy Friday Fitness Friends! I hope that you are having an awesome week and you have been making your health and fitness a priority in your life! Today's Feature Friday is from Dani who blogs at Weight Off My Shoulders, and she is sharing her personal and inspiring story with us today. She has been able to overcome many obstacles and find her happy healthy self with the help of running and Weight Watchers. She also just completed the Boston Marathon, way to go girl! After you read her story be sure to check out her blog and follow her on her social media sites.
When picturing myself as a child, I think of a little dirty blonde haired girl with a little belly. I can flash forward to seventh grade and being "MOO-ed" at while waiting for the bus near my house. Speaking of the bus, I can channel the sadness when the seniors would snicker at my weight.
All of the negative moments planted little moments in my head, which spawned a lifetime of self-doubt, poor self-image and depression. It festered and resulted in eating disorders (both bulimia and anorexia), cutting, previously mentioned depression and ballooning to a weight of 235 (maybe even higher - I stopped getting on the scale).
In 2009, I decided it was enough and time for a change. I wanted to lose weight, but in a healthy and controlled manner. I knew there had to be a way for me to do that. Enter Weight Watchers. I went to my first WW meeting on November 2, 2009 and weighed in at 217.4. Well at least I wasn't at my highest anymore. But on that day, I swore to myself I would never see the 200s again.
Weight Watchers taught me how to change my life both physically and mentally. I learned that there is more to weight loss than what you put in your mouth. With the help of Weight Watchers, I shed 64 pounds and hit my goal weight in January 2012.
Along the way I shed pounds, but gained confidence, happiness, an active life and a new passion for running.
I had started running in 2005 as a way to lose weight and from January 2005 to September 2006 I ran 5ks, 10ks, a half marathon and a full marathon, but breaking up with running for over four years.
But after suffering a herniated disc and undergoing back surgery (a microdiscectomy) in January 2011, I fell back in love with the sport when I was cleared to regain activity in June 2011. Since then I have run countless 5ks, 15 half marathons and 4 marathons (including 2 Boston Marathons).
In addition, I took on the biggest fitness goal of my life in January 2014 - completing the Dopey Challenge in Disney World. The Dopey Challenge was 4 races in 4 days for 48.6 miles - 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.
Without Weight Watchers and my healthy living journey, I wouldn't have had the confidence to even attempt something like the Dopey Challenge.
There are times when I struggle, but I think back to why I started and look at my foot where I have my mantra tattooed: "Finish What You Started!"
For others who have hit goals and are trying to maintain, here are my top 5 tips:
1) Find challenges that motivate you - either online through social media or at your local gym
2) Keep a healthy-balanced diet in mind
3) Drink plenty of water
4) Use a race or another fitness goal to keep you active
5) Find a support system that will be there through the ups and downs of maintenance
Connect with Dani:
Thanks so much to Dani who shared her amazing story with us today! I love that she has her mantra tattooed on her foot, how cool is that! She proves that you can overcome the past you and the self doubt and become the person you want to be and create the life you want to live. If you have a story you would like to share for feature Fridays, please send me an e-mail. Put your heart and soul into living your best life!