How do you measure a year?

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Today marks an important day for me. One year ago today I decided to stop being afraid. I decided to put on my big girl panties (uhh, literally) and face what I had been avoiding in mirrors and pictures. I decided that I wanted better for myself… that I deserved better for myself.

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I will never forget the night A Healthy Balance and I finally met face to face. (If you came here from my rockstar blog you’ll remember that this was my second attempt after blowing off my first appointment). But this night- there were no more excuses: it was now or never. Even though it has now been a year, I still remember everything about that day. I remember constantly checking the clock, the nervous knot growing in my stomach. Telling myself “It’s just a consultation- it’s not like I signed up for anything yet.” Sitting in the waiting area while some poor soul finished up her training session, folding and unfolding my intake form which suddenly had a weird stain on it (Ugh why didn’t I take the time and just reprint it? ) “Come dressed for exercise” the email had said – terrifying. I absolutely hate wondering what people think of me and I knew that the next hour of my life was going to be my judgement day.

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But much to my relief- I wasn’t judged. (At least that I know of). Instead I was welcomed in and listened to. I wasn’t scolded for my past choices but directed towards some healthier ones. I was given a brochure of overwhelming options and in my head I thought “Can I take them all?” Sure enough, I did. Here I am today- 12 months, 365 days later and still alive to tell my story. I made it! I did what I said I was going to do… and so much more.

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There is so much that I would want to go back and tell that chubby girl sitting anxiously in the waiting room. I would tell her that there are going to be some scary moments ahead, but that they’re only scary because they are the unknown. I would tell her that the feeling of pride in doing something you never thought you could do is going to be SO worth the 5 minutes/days/weeks of nervous butterflies. I would tell her that there are going to be tears, the inability to get out of bed the next day, and a WHOLE lot of sweat. Oh and there will be burpees, lots of burpees. But there will also be smiles- for both tiny victories and amazing accomplishments.

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I would tell her to appreciate every new face that she comes in contact with. While untrustworthy strangers at the moment, these people will become her support system, her library of knowledge, and her cheering squad. They will be there not only to celebrate her successes- but more importantly to guide her back to the path when she gets lost. They will without a doubt, change her life forever. I wish I could tell her just how much these people will mean to her in a year’s time.

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I would tell her that while right now she feels incredibly insecure and embarrassed she will eventually get over it. That she will gain the courage to share her story with A Healthy Balance, and eventually- continue telling it on her own. That she’ll be recognized on a popular weight loss blog, and be featured on Boston.com – heck, she’ll even become a Pin. I’d tell her that her story will reunite her with old friends, and help her make new ones. All of this coming from the girl who just didn’t know how or where to begin.

I would try to put into words the indescribable feeling of crossing your first finish line, of seeing yourself go from the “overweight” scale to the “athlete” scale. How it feels to have your fiancee being able to pick you up and spin you around the room, to finish a 5K without stopping, or having to exchange a dress because you actually need it in a size small. I’d describe trying on the wedding dress of your dreams, and staring in disbelief at the girl looking back at you.

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I would tell her that food doesn’t have to be an enemy- that there doesn’t need to be a constant battle between overindulgence and restriction. That eventually it will stop being a diet and just become a way of life. That she will learn how to eat to fuel her body so that it can do amazing things such as running and biking, swimming and snowboarding. I would let her know that she’ll acquire 6 race bibs in the next year and discover a true love for running. And there’s no way she’d believe me- but I’d tell her that she’s going to train for a triathlon, and that at some point the idea of running a half marathon WON’T even seem that outrageous to her. She wouldn’t believe any of this, in fact she would just just roll her eyes and say “Yeahh, okay.” (Trust me- I know this girl pretty well.)

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I wouldn’t want to go back and be that girl starting at the beginning again. But I don’t regret being her- and I’m not embarrassed to say that I was her. In fact, I’m proud to be her. The experiences I’ve had this past year have been both challenging and inspiring. I’ve learned that thinking you can is half the battle, and that having people behind you who believe in you can lift you to a place you can’t even imagine. More important than the pounds and inches I’ve lost this year is the self respect and love for my body that I have found. I think that in some ways I needed to have this journey in order to discover just who I was meant to be.

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It is truly amazing what you can accomplish in a year. But after a year of hard work this is where my journey REALLY begins: keeping this a part of my life forever, and pushing myself towards new and exciting goals. Bring on Year Two and all that is has to challenge me with… I’m more than ready 😀

photo (2)A Year In Numbers

61  pounds lost.

5Ks run.

130 bootcamps I’ve sweated through.

40.35 inches that have disappeared from my body (still unclear as to where they go?)

12.5% is the difference in my body fat percentage from when I started until now.

2 pairs of Brooks Running sneakers in my closet.

16  “real” pushups I can do in a row.

??  money spent spent in race registrations (shhh we won’t go there!)

??  money spent replacing my wardrobe (we won’t go there either)

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About Kathleen

When your legs get tired run with your heart.

Posted on April 4, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Great post. I hope your next year goes even better!

  2. Your post gave me chills! You should be so proud of all you’ve accomplished. We’re in awe of you! Way to go – and so inspiring to the rest of us! Thank you, Kathleen!

  3. Love love love!
    Don’t keep track of your race registration fees – I do and it’s horrible. It will make you think you should run fewer races, which you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT DO.
    Keep running, keep boot camping, keep being awesome!

  4. Such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing! I needed to read this today

  5. worth the 24 hour wait! you rock, sista! (or cousin 🙂

  6. What a lovely, honest and positive piece of writing. I am just 2 months behind you on your journey, and it is quite amazing when you see what you have accomplished in a relatively short time. Good luck with the rest of your journey x

  7. Kathleen, What can I say? You are an amazing lady – beyond your boot camp success, you work to help others, always! Love you and am very proud of you! xo

  8. Michele errico

    You’re awesome for posting this! Congratulations.

    As you know, I am that chubby girl in the waiting room just starting out where you were a year ago. I’m on week 5 and I know I can do it too. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. I second the chills comment! Kathleen, I am so inspired by you. Can’t wait to see you finish the triathlon! And can I bookmark this post? So well said! You’re awesome!

  10. What an incredible year! Congrats to you, Girl!

  11. Just clicked over from another blog and found this incredible post. You are so inspiring! I want to be a runner and I want that pride of finishing my first 5k. But I’ve never really put my full effort into making it happen. Thanks for giving me that extra little nudge!

    Oh. And congrats on everything you’ve accomplished in the past year! I can understand why that girl a year ago wouldn’t believe you–what you’ve done is quite remarkable!! Best of luck.

    • Awww thank you! Having that feeling of “wanting to be a runner” is the first step- if you have that drive, you’ll totally do it. And once you finish that first 5K- you’ll be hooked 🙂

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