Weight has always been a big issue for me. I had a somewhat active childhood, in between pretending I was on Guts and Legends of the Hidden Temple and playing soccer, but I never had the super skinny frame that so many girls long to have. In high school, I wasn’t “big,” but I sure as heck wasn’t small either. I was average. Also, I had a poor sense of style, my hair was huge, and I didn’t get braces until my sophomore year, which meant most of my high school career I had metal prongs in my mouth. While I worked out some over the years, it was usually only for a month or so at a time, and depression turned the Freshman 15 into something more like the Freshman 30.
I didn’t like to talk about it. My weight makes me insecure, and while I’m much skinnier now, I still don’t like to talk about it. (This can be hard with a health-obsessed boyfriend who had his own dietary struggles but sincerely wants to help everyone he can.)
Most of the weight I gained I lost senior year of college, when I got more confident and started to watch what I ate. The rest (and then some) I lost when I went Mostly Vegan. It’s also when I started working out again.
It started like most women: on the treadmill (I HATE the elliptical. I don’t get it. It’s like fake running). I downloaded a 5k running app that told me when to walk and when to run, and worked me up to running 30 minutes straight within 6 weeks or so. Then I downloaded Zombies, Run!, a paid app (totally worth it) that immerses you into a zombie story, where you are Runner 5, sent on missions during the zombie apocalypse. It intersperses story clips within your playlist, so the run doesn’t get boring, and the 30 or 60 minute time frame (you decide) helps prevent you from hitting “Stop” on the treadmill and giving up. It’s also a game, so the supplies you pick up on your run help you build up your base, making you want to run more to get more supplies.
Thanks to Zombies, I got pretty decent with my runs, about 4 miles in 45 minutes, but when I joined a Runner’s Club and barely made it the 2.5 miles outside (though, to be fair, I was battling a cold as well…), I realized a few things: running on treadmills is easy compared to outside; my lungs won’t let me run outside; I’m not in as much shape as I’d like to be. The trainer who set up the Running Club decided to help me and set me on a strength training regimen (something my boyfriend had been trying to do for ages but I wouldn’t listen). Soon that’s all I did (despite being told to continue cardio) and I gained muscle for sure, but because I gained muscle, I also gained weight – and not all of it muscle.
I’m still not happy with my body (are we ever?) and so decided to pick up running again, interspersing it around my strength training days. Since this resolution, I’ve run 4 times (woohoo) and was pleased to find that despite spending months away from the treadmill, I didn’t lose too much of my stamina or speed (ha! speed… I average a 10:30 – 11 minute mile, a far cry from my glory days of an 8:30 mile in high school. Oh, getting older… Also, I realize this is because I’m going for distance rather than speed. If I were only running one, I could probably go a bit faster… or so I tell myself).
- Monday: rest
- Tuesday: run (or other cardio)
- Wednesday: back and biceps
- Thursday: rest
- Friday: run (or other cardio)
- Saturday: shoulders, chest, and triceps
- Sunday: legs/run (alternate weeks)
So I’m still working. I’m not perfect, and I don’t claim to be. Weight struggles run in my family, as does the love of food, and despite wanting to do well, I still find myself succumbing to treats far too often. The hard part is saying no and teaching your mind that you don’t want that half-baked cookie or chocolate glazed donut… mmm…