Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012: The Year in Review

Well, I can't believe it but I started this blog over a year ago now. I have been reading through my blog posts over the last few days and it's kind of amazing how much has changed. I guess you don't really notice it when the changes are small or happen over an extended period of time, but 2012 was a very good year for me. I created my twitter account around the same time as this blog and am beyond amazed at the people I have come to know and the sense of family and community I feel.

I originally created both the twitter account and this blog to hold myself accountable for my actions and to seek out inspiration. Although I started my weight loss journey back in 2009, I initially lost a lot of weight and then maintained it for several years. This blog was my attempt to jump-start that weight loss again, to put myself in motion. If that had been my only goal for 2012 I could have already called the year a success. I lost an additional 25 pounds this year (although admittedly 5 of those pounds did creep back on in the last few months), and am wearing a smaller size than when the year began.

I also literally put myself in motion by completing my first full year as a runner. This in itself is a huge accomplishment for a non-committal, easily-bored person like myself. I began the year as a timid treadmill-user, afraid of the road and counting the painful minutes until my run was over. Then one day in March, I ventured outside and truly fell in love with running. I wrote about it in one of my favorite blog posts, here. Shortly after that magical run, I joined my local Galloway run/walk group. I forced myself to be a person who stays in and goes to bed early on Friday nights and wakes up at 5:30am to meet my running group on Saturday mornings. I met some of the most motivating people in that group and am so blessed that I can now call some of them friends outside of running.

Over the course of the year, I ran my first 5k race, my first 8k, my first mud/obstacle run, and nearly 8 months to the day after that first outdoor run, I completed my first half-marathon. I ran 9 races total between April and December. I have run over 600 miles in this, my first year. I learned how to make and keep commitments to myself and to other people. I spent a lot of money on races and gear, although my initial choice to run was because it was "free" (oh silly, naive Bang).

Most importantly I found an outlet for all of the stress and pressures put on me by my job, my family and myself. It used to be that if I had a bad day I would drive from one fast-food restaurant to another and eat until I literally felt sick. I would take whatever void there was in my heart and fill it with food. Now, I run. It is my time to be alone with myself, my thoughts. When I run, no one can touch me; I'm invincible and free. My moods and temper are more even and I'm generally a nicer, more optimistic person than before (ok, this is debatable).

In addition to running I found a love of dance through my local Zumba classes. After putting it off for months, I timidly (and most-definitely awkwardly) attended my first class. I didn't know the moves but I didn't let it bother me. I was trying and that was enough. The more I went, the less self-conscious I became. I went from one of the women hiding in the back row to what my instructor calls a "front row diva". I became more confident in my body and myself.

In August I was honored to be featured as a Friday FITspiration story on rUnladylike.com. That was really the first time I opened up and was honest about my journey outside of my own blog (which I liked to pretend no one was actually reading). I met some amazing and inspiring people through that opportunity and I'm thankful to Jesica for thinking my story was one worth sharing. It still surprises me when people tell me I inspire them but it means the world to know that I do.

You have all inspired me so much throughout this year that I can't even begin to tell you. Without the amazing community of runners and fitness folks on Twitter, I don't know that I would have accomplished all that I have in 2012. You have been my support system, my cheerleaders and my friends. You guys inspire me every day and I love you for it. Thank you for being a part of my journey, I can't wait to see where 2013 takes us.

Love,
Bang

Monday, December 17, 2012

Healthy Adult Female: Who, me?!

I have a confession to make: prior to today it had been about three years since my last annual physical (so much for annual). I did have to go through a pretty extensive doctor's visit prior to being hired by my current employer but I will pretend that doesn't count. See, I have been considered either overweight or obese nearly my entire life. When you weigh 250lbs, the doctor generally does not have many favorable things to tell you. It got to the point where I had serious anxiety about going to see a doctor and so I just sort of stopped going. You can't give me bad news if I don't come in for a visit, right? Ha.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my health lately and decided that with all of the long-distance running I intend to do next year and with the history of heart disease on both sides of my family tree, I ought to get myself checked out. I called some practices in the area who declared they were not accepting new patients. On my third call, I finally heard some good news. Not only was my doctor of choice accepting new patients but she had a cancellation for Monday morning. I like to think that these things are meant to be and so I happily accepted the appointment.

As I sat in one of the patient rooms, I could hear faint voices through the wall. I could tell that the patient had a lot of questions and the doctor was taking the time to answer each one. It made me smile. I would happily wait as long as necessary to be seen if I was going to receive the same level of attention and care. Shortly thereafter, my doctor came in an introduced herself. Her questions about my personal and family medical history were like a dialogue between friends, completely unlike the methodical checklist I'm accustomed to.

She took time to answer the questions I had and she congratulated me heartily when I told her the amount of weight I've lost in the past four years, and about running my first half-marathon. I mean if you can't brag to your doctor about something like that, then who? She asked me if my weight was still a concern of mine and I told her yes and that ideally I'd like to lose about 40 pounds more.

At the end of my visit she handed me a printed clinical summary, which impressed me so much. The best part was in the notes she typed at the bottom: "Healthy adult female. Currently, she eats a healthy diet and has an adequate exercise regimen." I don't think any doctor has said that about me, ever. As I read the words a second time, I beamed with pride. Healthy! Hopefully my lab work will yield pleasant results and then maybe for once I can say I look forward to next year's exam. Today really brought home what a tremendous difference I have made in my life and I couldn't be more proud.