Friday, September 19, 2014

The Unabridged Version

One of my super awesome Ragnar teammates, Don, is in the process of building our team website. It will have an about page, detailing our team story/background, as well as our individual stories. I was slacking (no surprise there) on submitting my story and thankfully Don gave me some inspirational words that helped open the proverbial floodgates. Below is the unabridged version of what will be displayed on the website. The below version has been edited down (probably as to not bore readers to death) but Don thought I should still share the full version and asked me to do so here. So, if you are interested in reading my weight loss-running story combo here it is….

If someone would have told me 4 years ago that one I day I would be training for half marathons, triathlons and Ragnar Relays I would have laughed, thinking they were out of their mind.

You see, four years ago I weighed close to 300 pounds. An annual trip to my primary care physician lead to a hard conversation in which I was told I needed to lose at least 100 pounds. My doctor didn’t sugar coat that harsh reality. In fact she was mean about. She made me cry. She had a personal vendetta against fat people and all she wanted to do was to make me feel bad. She was just so cruel.

Well, at least in my head she was like that- when I replayed that visit over and over again. Her words did not serve as motivation to lose weight but instead fueled some kind of hatred towards anyone that didn’t accept me as is.  I didn’t want anything to do with people that judged me because of my size. I was perfect. I was healthy. I was absolutely fine. That doctor was wrong.

Except for the fact that she wasn’t.

Not that I don’t agree with the ideals behind health at every size and body acceptance- because I do. Those were at the base of the false identity I had created for myself- the belief that I was a healthy obese person (because those people really do exist) and that I accepted myself as is. I lived in a quasi-happy delusion that I was ok.

I was in denial.

I was not healthy and I truly did not accept myself. There was no self-love. If anything there was pain and disgust and shame for the person I had let myself become.  And as far as my health goes, I was just biding my time before the medical diagnosis for some weight related illnesses came pouring in. The path I was on- it was inevitable.

It took some time, about four months or so, before I finally had my ‘Ah-ha’ moment though. It took me hitting rock bottom and finally waking up to the realization that I had not taken any accountability for my weight or my health. I had turned into this person leading a restricted, sad life all because I expected others to change things for me. Or worse, blamed them for leading me to that point. I had no ownership of my life. Nothing was my fault. Until that moment when I realized I did, and it was.

That is when everything changed.

Was it easy? No and yes. Definitely not at first.  As is a pretty typical reaction to one deciding they want to lose weight I turned to extreme behaviors- too few calories, too much of too intense activity- actions that were not sustainable for a girl weighing 286 pounds that hadn’t left her couch in years other to go to work.

It didn’t take long to realize I needed a new plan. A Dacia-specific plan. And so I experimented and tried new things. I was really unfit so I chose to do the only thing I could do- walk. I walked and walked and walked. And it hurt. Walking at 286 pounds was painful.

I changed up my diet, just ever so slightly at first, and put the focus on portion sizes and moderation. I did what I could within the limits of my body and my knowledge of food and nutrition.

I lost 5 pounds, then ten pounds, and then pretty soon I had lost nearly thirty pounds and started to gain some confidence. I continued walking but then began to branch out to riding a recumbent bike, using the weight machines at the gym, taking yoga classes, and then I pushed myself way outside of my comfort zone and started boxing. It was so tough. But I loved every minute of it.

As the pounds came off and I started to become more active, I started to more closely examine my diet (as in the food I was eating) to try and understand what foods were good for my body. I started food journaling. I really tried to focus on the affects food had on my body energy level wise, sleep, digestive, etc. I really tried to switch my focus from living to eat to eating to live. Or, more accurately, eating to live an active lifestyle.

Running didn’t happen for me until I had lost about 110 pounds. I did not use running to lose weight and, honestly, I never really thought I would become a runner. In January 2012, about a year into my WLJ, I decided to see if I could run a mile. I was getting close to a healthy weight and I was very active so why not try it and see. Well, I ran that mile and it sucked. But that feeling of accomplishment- it was amazing. It propelled me to decide to train for a 5K. Which I did. I ran the whole thing, too. And guess what? It sucked. I felt accomplished because I set out to achieve a goal and I did but it sucked. Running just plain ole sucked. So I decided then I was done with running. No mas. I was going to go back to Nia and Yoga and Pilates and boxing and all the other fun things I did.

Except for the fact that I (foolishly, but also fortuitously) had signed up for another 5K before I had even completed the first. And not wanting to waste money I decided to give the 5K another shot. And this time around…it didn’t suck.

So I kept going. Running more frequently and further distances. Racing, training, racing, training. All of the sudden, I loved it. And of course, I still did/do other things. I love cycling and yoga. I absolutely love group fitness classes. But running, well, there is nothing quite like it. And this year, after taking almost 6 months off from training due to surgery (a story for another time), I have returned to running inspired by this team. This amazing team of people who are the epitome of hard work and perseverance, strength and beauty, kindness and compassion. This amazing team that I am so lucky to be a part of. This amazing team that I will get to live out my dream of running a Ragnar with. Is anything better?

So, in short (I kid), my name is Dacia. I used to be really fat. I lost a lot of weight by taking care of myself the way I should have all along. Because of this everything in my life has changed for the better.

And next May, I will get the opportunity to run down my dream
Some of the pics to be displayed on the team website
April 2011

December 2012
July 2008

May 2014
Love and hugs,