Success Story: “With Runtastic & MyFitnessPal I Was Able To Reach A Goal Nobody Thought I Could Reach”
My personal success story starts in November 2009, the month in which I was supposed to marry Ben, the love of my life. While on the hunt for a wedding dress with my mom, I realized that most people would describe it as the happiest time of their lives – for me it was plain frustrating. Everyone told me I would have to get my dress tailored as they didn’t sell my (huge) size anywhere. However, when I looked into the mirror, I didn’t see what the others were seeing. I was denying it, lying to myself. I never saw myself in pictures, either, since I was the one who always wanted to take them. Pretty obvious, huh? Plus, I never stepped on the scale because I was afraid to actually “know” my weight (even though deep inside I knew it had to be shockingly high).
This is how I spent 10 years of my life. I refused to have my wedding dress tailored and ended up with a $3.99 dress on clearance at Ross. Not a white dress, but hey, I got married at the courthouse. I was just so embarrassed about my weight. You know what the worst part was? The moment I received the wedding pictures, I cried for a very long time. I just couldn’t believe that was ME in the photos.
Eventually I realized I had to accept my obesity for what it was. I decided I had to change my life. A visit to the doctor revealed that I was pre-diabetic, with high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, as well as suffering from anxiety. If I continued with my life as it was, I might only make it to 40. The thought of premature death shocked me – I couldn’t let that happen! I was needed, as a mom, wife, daughter, sister and a friend. So many people were relying on me and those are some really, really good reasons to stay alive. The best reasons, actually. I knew I had to weigh myself to get started. I needed a number, a starting point.
When I brought out my scale for the first time in many years, I felt like I couldn’t breathe any more. I was filled with terror. Rightfully so – I weighed in at 324 lbs. OMG. The fact that I had been doing this to my young, 28-year-old body made me sad. However, now that I had faced reality, I didn’t want to let it drag me down. Instead, I drew motivation from it. The number on the scale (and my mirror image) were my inspiration to change and never become that woman again. The path towards my ideal weight was long. Very long. In accordance with my height, which is 5’6’’, my weight goal was 150 lbs. Far from an easy task when you start at over 320 lbs. That’s when I decided to go for smaller, intermediate goals. Take it step by step. You know what? That was the best decision ever. I started off with 10 pound goals – and it worked!
Thanks to a low calorie diet and exercises (mainly tennis and aerobics) I had lost 100 lbs by March 2011. I had been writing down my calories since the beginning, but that changed when I finally got a smartphone. My brother, Carl, introduced the MyFitnessPal app to me – yay! With this app, tracking my calories got a whole lot easier. I just loved it! In March of that year, I got pregnant again, with our second baby. So I kind of turned my weight loss goal into a weight management goal: for the time being, I wanted to maintain my weight. I increased my daily calorie intake from 1200 to 1500 for the next nine months. I was worried I’d gain weight after what had happened during my first pregnancy in 2002, which played a big role in my original weight gain. Back then I had put on almost 100 lbs. But now, things were different. I had been following a balanced, healthy diet for a year and, on the one hand, really believed that I could pull this pregnancy off without gaining weight. Yet that nagging feeling, those “But what if…?” questions were hard to push out of my head. Anyways, I did it! When my son was born in December 2011, I weighed in at exactly the same weight as right before my pregnancy. Goal accomplished!
The next step was to wait for the medical “Go” from my physician, which I got in February 2012. I was still able to shed a few more pounds before then by simply going back to my 1200 cal diet, always accompanied by the MFP app. However, there were still 70 more pounds to until I reached my weight loss goal. My brother didn’t only log his meals with MyFitnessPal, he also worked out a lot. One day we were talking about how I could speed up my weight loss process and he told me to start running. What?! Me? Running??? I had never been out for a run, ever. I wouldn’t do that even if they paid me! But Carl insisted and promised he’d teach me how to run. Was there a way to actually “learn” how to run? I wasn’t sure, but I was curious. A long story short, my brother dragged me out for a run every single day for three months in a row until I was finally able to actually run. To do so, he told me to download Runtastic, another app he had been using on a regular basis – and now we used it every day. The Runtastic app tracked all my runs and kept me on track. I loved it! With its help I lost another 80 lbs over the next six months. So far, my farthest distance has been a 10-mile run. And in October 2012, I finally reached my weight goal: 140 lbs!
Best side effect of all this: I’m now in the best shape of my life! I’ve never been fitter. I feel like a new woman and my take on life has turned 180°. I LOVE life. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I know that now.
Now, we’re a couple months into 2015 and I have been able to keep my weight stable for almost two and a half years. I go for a run five days per week, and I do one strength training session a week (with kettlebells) to stay toned. I don’t have to worry about dying an early death or about health problems any more – and the woman I see in my mirror now really IS the way I see her. I love my new self!
And, I want to thank everyone who accompanied me on my journey: my husband, my children, my parents and, of course, my brother Carl! He taught me that even I was able to run. I can’t imagine a life without running and I am so grateful for that. Both Runtastic and MyFitnessPal became a vital part of my life, I keep using them on a daily basis and I still believe they’re amazing allies. They brought out the best in me – part of me that I didn’t even know existed. With the help of those apps and my loved ones I was able to reach a goal nobody thought I could ever reach.
You have just one life – so don’t take chances, live it right from the start. Make healthy decisions, be happy.
In October 2014 I started working with the Jenny Craig team in my hometown (San Luis Obispo, CA) to help other folks reach their ideal weight and feel confident and happy. I myself didn’t do it with the Jenny Craig plan, yet it is based on the same principles that steered my journey. That’s why I decided to get on board.