Tuesday, November 13, 2012


It seems like I use numbers for post titles a lot, so why break a trend?  If it ain't broke....or something.

I took a moment this morning to reflect on the last 365 days of my life.  Even though my birthday was Friday, today is a day I want to celebrate more.  And by celebrate I don't mean eating cake until I want to vomit celebrate, just a reflective celebration.  Today is my new birthday.

One year ago today I embarked on an incredible journey that likely saved my life.  It wasn't an easy trip let me tell you, but as I've learned in my meager 40 years, the greatest rewards are found at the end of a difficult journey.  Kind of like childbirth.  Jussayin'.

365 days ago I was a 39 year old woman who was horribly out of shape and not even remotely pleasantly plump.  I was fat.  A fatty fat fat girl.  Up until childbirth and the subsequent years of being a human garbage can for all my kids' uneaten food I was a thin girl.  A skinny girl.  But time can do a number on any of us, priorities shift, we take less care of ourselves and worry more about our kids, jobs, husbands, houses, and making sure we've TiVo'd our favorite show: Justified.

Not that prioritizing your children & family is misplaced, quite the opposite, but it's easy to forget to take care of ourselves too.  I lost my Dad when he was 70 years old because he never got the memo to be healthier, eat well and exercise regularly.

Shortly before my 39th birthday, despite myself, I had turned into the one thing I feared the most:  my father.  And when I say I feared it, I mean I feared turning into someone who didn't care about their health, someone who was content to be as they were, and someone who, if they didn't take better care would probably not see the age of 70.

I mean I did fear my dad as a kid, the tinkling of a belt buckle still gives me chills, but please note I deserved every smack on the ass I ever got (and probably more that he never even knew about!).  But that's another blog, and likely a lengthy and expensive stint in therapy.  We won't go there.

My neighbor, Cyndie, and BRF was on a program called Take Shape for Life and was shrinking before my very eyes.  I asked her about it, and got in touch with a healthy coach, and took a giant leap of faith to get started.

And it was a BIG leap of faith....I had grown accustomed to cooking, from scratch, almost every meal.  I avoided processed foods like I avoided the junior high nerd at the after school dance. (sadly, he was the only person who was ever willing to ask me to dance, but I digress, not much you can do when  you're six feet tall in the 8th grade)

But this food, while "processed" was basically medical grade food.  I had grown tired of making excuses like "I'll just be fat I guess but at least I eat healthy" when in all reality I wanted desperately to feel normal again.  I never, ever thought I would be thin.  EV.  ER.  So, I added water to my first soup and gave it a taste test.  It was passable, I thought.

Over the months I actually found many things I enjoyed eating, I was hungry less, had more energy and was able to do something I missed almost as much as I miss my Dad:  RUN.

Years of being overweight gave me constant injuries (and fabulous excuses) as to why I couldn't run.  But once I got started it was like my long lost friend came back.  And on every run I took, I thought about my Dad, and felt his presence, running alongside me, cheering me along, making up for all the mistakes he made that prevented him from being alive.

I need running like I need air to breathe and chocolate to eat.  It is a connection I have with my Dad that can never be broken, and it is how I remind myself of the sacrifice I made all those months to stay healthy and why I'll never go back.

I can't believe what a difference a year makes.  I had no idea a year ago what was in store for me this year.  As I reflect on the last 365 days I can't quite believe that I found myself again through running, lost 50 lbs, ran in a relay race, survived cancer (would NEVER have found the lump so quickly with those extra 50 lbs), started a nonprofit foundation and launched a race series that will go nationwide someday.

Getting healthy gave me my life back and sent me on a journey even more wild than I ever could have imagined.  And I can't wait to see what's next.


Marti said...

Great post, Amy! (I knew when I met you) You are a great woman!

Doaa said...

Happy Birthday Amay!

Getting there... said...

Fantastic! I'm so glad for you. Thank you for sharing.

I just stumbled upon the blog and started reading because we seem to share a mistrust of birthdays. I recently let mine pass without a word.

I'm going to ponder for a bit and consider what I might want to do in the next 365 days. Thank you for challenging me to think. :)