Alissa – Running for My Life
Running for My Life
Ever since I was young, I was over weight. My family wasn’t into a healthy lifestyle and I didn’t know any better.
I wasn’t into sports, or any extracurricular activities. I am 5’5” tall, and weighed 200 pounds at the time. I was so insecure and depressed. I usually just looked down at the floor when I walked through the halls at school. My knees and feet almost always hurt and I had a hard time getting in and out of the car. Most of the time I had to pull myself out. I hated flying more than anything. The airplane seats were so small and anyone sitting next to me or my family didn’t have much room after my fat took up part of their space too.
As time went on, the deeper I fell into depression and I looked to food for comfort worsening the problem. I topped out at 280 pounds. The goal of being skinny felt so far away and completely unobtainable. When I was in high school, people would make fun of me, call me fat, talk behind my back and make jokes. They would call me wide load or blubber nuggets. I did have friends that kept me going. True friends that I appreciate to this day, people I don’t think I could have lived without, literally. High school was some of the most painful years of my life thus far. People can be so mean. I felt a lot of shame, embarrassment, frustration, and anger toward myself and others.
Once I hit college, my health was in a poor state. I had osteoarthritis due to the extra weight my joints had to bare, high blood pressure and cholesterol and I was on the brink of diabetes. I feared the worst for my health and what a college social life had to bring. The latter may sound silly but being accepted was a huge concern. I was more afraid that I wouldn’t make friends and it would be a replay of high school. I was actually wrong. I was surprised to find people to be more friendly and open minded. My dorm room mate was really sweet and was into running. Her name was Denise. We became good friends but it wasn’t until 7 months later that I had told her about my health issues, depression and self loathing. I told Denise that I wanted to get healthier and I didn’t know how. She told me would help me and be there for me every step of the way. Denise got up with me every morning and we would walk. The walks were very short to begin with but she didn’t push me and was encouraging. I started to make healthier food choices and was feeling more motivated. It was a daily battle, day in and day out. I had to take it one step at a time, otherwise, it was just too overwhelming. When summer hit and it was time to move home for 3 solid months, I was so worried I would revert backward and gain the 20 pounds I had lost. Denise told me to tell my family what I have been doing and what I needed to keep going. And I did. As a family, we started walking! It felt so amazing!!!!!
My sophomore year of college, Denise was right there with me again, every morning, walking with me. We even hit the weights 3x per week. I hated being in the gym with other thin girls looking at me but everyone has to start somewhere.
-Me in the pink and Denise on the very right-
It wasn’t until 12 months later and 60 pounds shed that I started to run with Denise. The first time I went out running, I made it like 20 feet, walked, then did it again about 5 times and walked the rest of the way. My lunges hurt but it felt good, I felt something. The next day, I got up before class and did it again, and again, and again and again. After about a year, I was running 5-10 miles per day. I was addicted. I had lost another 50 pounds! I felt so good! My blood pressure and cholesterol were in the normal range and my joints didn’t ache all day, everyday. I weighed 150 pounds and currently maintain 150-160. As for my Mom and Dad, they are getting there and making better choices.
I regularly run 5k and 10K’s and lift 2-3 times per week. I am married with 3 children. I work as a successful real estate agent and do some plus size modeling on the side. And, I have managed to keep that weight off. Somehow, by the grace of God, he has granted me an amazing gift of tenacity, determination, and above all, the love of the most amazing friends, husband and beautiful children.
It took me about 2 ½ years to lose 130 pounds. I never ever thought it was possible. Now I know skinny wasn’t what I was looking for, it was health, strength, happiness and a strong sense of self.
I am only posting more recent pictures because this is me today, and I will never go back, never.