As I started to write out all the changes I’ve made, I realized just how many changes have happened. I didn’t do them all at once like I have in the past, I did them little by little. The changes have become part of my life, a habit if you will, that I no longer think about, I just do or don’t do. Just like the changes, I’ll post what I did little by little.

Here’s the thing about weight gain – it sucks when it’s fat gain.

NO I was not obese, I know I will never let myself get to that point. Just because you aren’t grossly overweight doesn’t mean those extra pounds don’t affect how you feel. Let me restate this, I didn’t like the way I looked, but more so I didn’t like the way I felt.  The extra weight was not only slowing me down in running, but in life overall.

I didn’t want to hang out with friends because I no longer fit in my jeans {not one single pair}. I was tired of wearing black leggings every.single.day or just staying in workout clothes. I felt like I had gotten back to the point where I could no longer come up with an outfit in my head, go into my closet, put it on and be happy. It became an endless cycle of try this on – nope – look bad – try this on – nope – can’t get those over my knees. 15 pounds is a lot when you are only 5 foot 5. It’s even more if you are shorter than that – there is no way around that fact.

I wanted to get back to a point where I was comfortable enough with the way I looked that I actually wanted to go out with friends and if I am being really honest I wanted to get back to a point where I wasn’t terrified of looking at what horrible pictures the race photographer caught of me on course. I went from racing frequently to not really racing at all because I didn’t want people to see what I looked like in a picture that I wasn’t able to throw a filter on or crop. The races I did run, the joy would be stolen from me when I would look at pictures of myself. I didn’t want to believe that’s how I looked.

After finishing Boston this year, my mom snapped this photo. It was such an amazing moment and I let the picture bring me down. {Again I realize to some of you, you will see nothing wrong with this photo – remember we all have different weights at which we feel comfortable or uncomfortable and in this photo and during that race, I was uncomfortable}

Boston Uncropped

I posted this cropped version to instagram. When I look at the cropped version, I do feel a sense of joy and happiness that comes from working hard to qualify and then run Boston. When I look at the uncropped version it makes me cringe – I remember how icky I felt in my own skin that day. My arm looked like that? Really? Ugh.

Boston Cropped

In order to lose weight this time around I had to do something different and forget about running. Not in the I-am-not-going-to-run type of way – I had to stop thinking I could run off anything I ate. I had to stop thinking that running was going to be this be all end all thing that was going to get me the body I wanted.

So the first thing I started doing was not worrying about how a strength workout or cross training was going to affect my run the next day. The run at this point in my life is something I do because I enjoy it, which is part of what caused my weight gain. If I saw something I wanted to eat, that was say 1,000 calories, I ate it even if it was 1,000 more calories than I needed that day because 1,000 calories is roughly 10 – 12 miles worth of running. I can do that on a mid-week run and really enjoy it. It literally felt like a win/win situation – enjoy a wonderfully decadent dessert and then run a long run. Only after 11 years of training for marathons my body doesn’t respond to running like it use to.

Running more to negate the calories would only make me hungrier. There is a point in mileage that also no longer energizes me, it saps my energy, leading me to reach for food when I am not hungry, just tired. Now I think of 1,000 calories or whatever the number may be in terms of a Jillian DVD. No way on earth I want to do an hour and thirty minutes of her DVD’s – I die just doing 30 minutes. When I looked at a food I didn’t need to be eating, that was giving me nothing nutritionally, it didn’t seem as appealing.

My advice to you would be to find a workout that you really don’t enjoy doing, or that is really hard for you and ask yourself the same thing – do I really want to eat this ——- fill in the blank food and then have to work it off by doing —— fill in the blank workout.

I eat healthier now than I have in my entire life, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t still splurging on desserts or drinking too much on the weekend, and as we all know it adds up and fast.

I wasn’t an athlete growing up. The only thing I’m half way decent at in terms of athletics is running, so trying something new takes me out of my comfort zone to a place where I am a beginner. As Jillian Michaels preaches this is where change happens and it’s the truth.

I want to look like I workout and there is nothing wrong with saying that or feeling that way. Running wasn’t giving me the body I wanted, so I had to look elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love running, and I do believe that it can help you get rid of unwanted fat fast, but it depends on how long you have been doing it for, how many miles, etc. There isn’t a one size fits all answer when it comes to running and weight loss.

Here’s how I started to switch it up workout wise:

I have 7 different Jillian DVD’s that I rotate through at home. On days I do a DVD I set my alarm so I’m up before the kids and am finishing just as they are waking up for school. I bought a Barre for beginners DVD and started adding those on to other workouts. The segments are 10 minutes so you can do a bunch or just one after a run.

I changed gyms from La Fitness to a local rec center, so I have a workout buddy. She is helping me by keeping me accountable to early morning workouts. Neither of us will skip a workout if we know we are meeting each other. Yesterday I tried a Total Body Conditioning class and seriously couldn’t sit the rest of the day because my buns were so sore. This morning I tried Body Pump with her and my entire body feels like Jello. Last week I met her at 5 am for a boot camp class.

 

 

I want to look back next fall and think how happy I am that I not only got my weight under control in 2014, but that I reshaped my body into one that is strong all over, not just cardiovascularly. So while gaining 15 pounds sucked, in a way I’m happy it happened. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, making lasting changes to my life and really practicing what I preach.

Next year when I get a finish line picture at the Boston Marathon I don’t want to crop it or feel like it has to have a filter on it. I want it to just be me, a me I am happy with.

Thank you for all your comments recently. I may not respond to each comment individually but just like every email I get, I read them all…..more tomorrow…. xoxo Dorothy

Comments

  1. Lisamarie says:

    Hi Dorothy,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now. I’m an older runner (54) slowly working into a half. I relate well to what you have been writing about weight wise, because I’m finding that the older I get, the more it takes to keep my body where I want it. I’m an avid cross trainer – boot camp – spartan style – crossfit and running. And pretty much anything anyone else asks me to do. I’ll try anything once :) Some days I feel like my classes take away from my running, and I beat myself up that this is why I haven’t done a half yet. But on other days I thank my lucky stars I’m my age, and as fit and active as I am. I’d encourage you to continue cross training because it’s as good for the soul as it is for the body. And, as one of those who looks at your photos and thinks you look beautiful, go easy on yourself girlfriend! You want to age gracefully and beautifully, and all that angst will put lines on your face :) Best of luck with all of this. I find you a truly inspirational woman!

  2. Lisamarie says:

    Oh, and by the way, some of my instructors inject Jillian on a pretty regular basis and you are right – she is a killer!

  3. Just finished NYC and looking at my pics has me feeling the exact same way you do….thank you for sharing this and letting me realize I am not alone in my crazy thinking. I need to drop 10 and needed a new outlook on my running vs. eating!!! You nailed it! Here’s to next years pics

  4. so important. when i’ve felt best about my body, it hasn’t been during marathon season. it’s been when i’ve consistently pieced together workouts i enjoy — kettlebell class on monday nights, yoga once a week, spin on thursday, some running on a couple of days. thanks for sharing your journey.

  5. Oh my friend. You know that I understand this all too well. I have NO doubt that you will absolutely feel strong and confident again! xo

  6. Sharing your experience is incredibly vulnerable and greatly appreciated as there are many of us that fall into the same camp and have a hard time finding others that relate, so it can be a bit isolating as we find our way through to our level of comfort and peace with where we are happiest at! I have to admit, I’m envious that you are 5’5″ – lol, I’m only 5’1″, so my 15 pound gain after an injury on top of an already 10-15 comfort margin, left me feeling depressed and anxious because there was no easy or quick fix and there was so much more to addressing and overcoming the obstacle than eat this, don’t eat that, and run x . . . . . .Congrats on finding the right balance and most importantly on reclaiming your own comfort and happiness in a way that exemplifies health and wellness beyond an image in the mirror, but that also lends peace and comfort with that image :)

  7. I know you feel uncomfortable, and it is really about you feeling good, however, just know that you look great. I have definitely been in your shoes – I’m really tall, but toward the end of college, I was toting around 35ish extra pounds I didn’t want. Finally, I’ve lost it, and I think the confidence more than anything is what comes through in my face!

  8. I admire you for laying it all out there Dorothy! It takes a strong sense of confidence to share your story. I felt the same way in regards to running so much, but not looking like I worked out. I did Insanity over the summer and changed my body’s shape. I fell in love with the program so much that I became certified to teach it. I then did PiYo and am now doing T25 (it’s only 25 mins, so I can get my workouts done before my 3 kids wake up too!) Sounds like you’ve got a great workout schedule going, but if you’re looking for a new program, I’d love to have you in my group! Good luck with all of your new endeavors!

  9. I’m love love loving this series. We are our own worst critics. But I too am what I call a skinny fat person. We’re thin. We’re within a healthy range of weight for our height. But we “feel” fat. I totally get it. I too am on my own personal journey to lose the 20 lbs I put on. Losing weight is hard for healthy range people too. And I really dislike that other people feel it’s okay to judge your need to lose weight. You do what’s good for you! *hugs*

  10. I think it’s important to remember that everyone has their own standards for their bodies. I put on 15 pounds in college and I felt awful. Lots of people told me that they didn’t think I was fat, but I just felt awful. Learning to eat right is a huge part of the struggle, and having habits like running and swimming definitely help. :) Thanks for sharing!

  11. I tweeted to you yesterday that I’m loving these blogs – and I have to say it again! I’m currently about 20 pounds from my goal weight after losing 80 pounds. People constantly say “but you look great now, why do you want to lose more?” — because I’m still not at my ideal weight. I’m still overweight. Yes, I feel better and I look better and I can do more — and I’m so grateful. But, like you said, it’s still not where I am 100% comfortable. I love the honesty and the wisdom you share in these posts! THANK YOU!

  12. I am in the same boat with running. I’m thankful you are sharing your experience. I love running and I use it as a way to center myself, but physically it is only one very small component of fitness. I am not a natural runner and at 42 I don’t have any hidden speed talents that need to be nurtured. I’m just accepting that bringing my mileage down so I could fit some more well rounded fitness activities in is what works best for me and this post let’s me know, there’s others in the running tribe in a similar situation

  13. Hi! I’ve been following you for about a year now and find you one of the biggest running inspirations I know! I’m currently on the recovery side of mono, after being diagnosed a month into my collegiate cross-country season. I’ve competed in college all three seasons, but finally found my true passion for running this past summer and after a 5k PR in late September, I was crushed to know I had mono. Your passion for running is truly motivational and inspiring to me. Thanks for your honesty at all points of your life, and not just the happy ones. And thanks for showing me there is a light at the end of the tunnel when training and life get hard. Can’t wait to see what life brings you next!
    -Catie

  14. i am really liking these posts. I’m in the beginning of my wake up. Last week I woke up and realized that although I’d been running a lot it had made me complacent with my eating and had stopped really working for weight loss as I’ve been doing it for almost 15 years. Monday I actually started rotating Jillian Michael DVDs and am hoping those last 5-6 lbs will come off with some hard work. The eating healthy aNd mindfully is the hardest thing for me. Especially because until recently I haven’t had to watch what I eat. 2 kids and being a little older have made things very different than they used to be. I look forward to future posts and future ideas to add into my new routine.

  15. Dorothy, I knew you struggled with your weight and body image when you were younger. However, I had no idea you still had “issues.” Every time i see you on my news feed I see a beautiful, fast, young mother runner. All the things I wish to be. Thank you for writing this article, it really reminds me that everyone stuggles with body image! Last year I lost 25 lbs. While I wear a size 0 now, I am not 100% happy with my body. I focus too much on my running and forgo cross training, too. Anyways, thanks for keeping it real!

  16. Nathalie Herron says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences with the public. I’m 5’3 and after my second pregnancy (twins this time around) I had 8lbs left. It took me a while to loose it in a healthy way, not just running all the time. I had made a decision that I wasn’t going to worry about how my body felt the day after strength training because I wanted to get that ‘long run’ in. Building strength has actually helped me improved my times and I don’t feel as sore after my long runs. The two classes I started taking was Body Pump and TRX…those two classes are amazing and has helped me form and build muscles which I love rather than looking thin but really no muscle definition. I’ve taken BP for a year and it has totally changed my appearance…no more skinny legs/arms but ones that have definition. I just started doing TRX and that’s some crazy stuff but I can feel the difference…especially in the way I’ve been feeling about myself.

    As they say, ‘strong is the new sexy’.

  17. The message in this post is one that so many women can relate to. On one hand, I know that having a goal to lose some weight and become more confident is so good but on the other hand, it is so discouraging what we are doing to ourselves. I tell my kids all the time that just because one thing is needing some help doesn’t mean there are problems with everything. Weight seems to affect every part of us. In the past, i have had no troubles shedding a few pounds but in the past 2 years, I have been fighting health issues that just keep coming with no reprieve. The few extra pounds and the feeling of “is this EVER going to get better” have most certainly been a struggle to keep my spirits up and to remain optimistic. I remind myself that I am more than ….. (weight, energy). Your year I think has been crazy Dorothy, with health issues as well. I wish there was a solution. I wish we could separate how we feel, our worth, our sexiness and not tie it with our weight. In some ways i think this is the battle of my life. To feel good about myself when maybe things aren’t exactly the way I want them to be. Anyone can be happy and confident when things are going their way. I am trying to be strong when things aren’t perfect. Our bodies do SO much for us. Maybe we need to remember to be kind to it.

  18. My weight crept up on me this past year and out of nowhere I gained 10 lbs. it was highly noticeable to others, but it was certainly noticeable to me, especially in how certain pants fit. I’ve been all about the skirts and dresses the past year because they’ve been more forgiving.

    I hopped on the scale today and I was very happy to see that I’m down 6lbs (a week after Halloween – I’ll take it!). I know the numbers on the scale don’t define me, but it’s nice to see the last few months of hard work are making changes.

    Keep your head up and you’ll get there. Also, wrap dresses are awesome.

  19. Samantha L says:

    I lost my Dad a year ago and 15 pounds have crept up, while my willpower has crept down. I know how hard it is! And I too, wear black leggings everyday :( Its emotionally exhausting to not love what you see in the mirror. In my opinion, it is time for a spiritual makeover. We will never be happy with who we are on the outside if we are not happy with who we are on the inside :)

  20. This is such an inspiring post. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing this. You are completely right that it doesn’t matter if you’re 15 pounds or 50 pounds, everyone feels differently about themselves and ultimately you need to do what it takes to make yourself happy. I just wanted to say that you finally made a lightbulb go off in my head. Your post made me realize that I justify my food choices because I’m going for a run later or going to a Crossfit class. I can’t keep doing that and expect to make any progress. So thank you! I quoted you in my lightbulb post.

    http://www.agirlwithcrohns.com/why-i-need-to-stop-running/

  22. I’ve been injured on and off for the past year, the most recent being a stress fracture that has me out of running completely for the rest of the year, at least. Reading this I kept saying “yes! that’s me!” to myself.

    I’ve been on both sides. I was obese when I started running, and became underweight, then realized I needed to stop ‘dieting’ and just eat since I was running so much. But then, getting injured, I kept eating like I was training for a marathon and eventually it started to pack on. It’s rough, mentally, to have to keep changing your mindset to maintain your weight and health. I’m 5’3, was 98lbs at my lowest, 260+ at my heaviest, and now sit around 136. I know I’m not fat, but the way the extra fluff feels is just terrible. I’m sick of living in tights and feeling uncomfortable, too. I totally get you, and it’s nice to know someone out there gets me right now, when everyone around me is telling me I’m fine when I know, for me, I’m not.
    Thank you for sharing this!! :)

  23. I just found your blog today! It was recommended by a friend. Thanks for sharing this. Whenever I talk about not being happy with my body, it’s easy for people to cast it off, or even be angry, because I look pretty good for the average person. so, it was nice to read something from someone with a similar mindset. I look forward to looking around and getting to know you better! Love the shirts. Working on some shirts for my site too. Inspirational tops can go a long way!

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