I’m excited for you all to read about Rob and Sheila. Their story is amazing! Rob, a longtime reader and commenter on my blog, insisted to me several times through our emails that he didn’t feel like their story was necessarily inspiring but I’m begging to differ in a big way. Inspiring doesn’t really sum it up adequately! Take it away, Rob.
We love reading your blog posts and when I noticed your request for running stories, I thought I’d share my story. Actually, ‘running’ is just part of a bigger story – the story of our weight loss journey 🙂
I’ve been overweight my entire life. Growing up, I endured all the bullying, taunting and name-calling that goes along with being the ‘fat kid’. Unfortunately, being heavy from such an early age, I was never keen on organized sports. Being fat wasn’t conducive to being active. Sure, I rode my bike when I was a little guy, but that was about it. Being raised in a household that wasn’t interested in sports, certainly didn’t help either. NHL? NFL? NBA? I had no clue what those letters stood for, let alone how to play these games. Vicious circle, you could say. Too fat to play sports, but not playing sports just made me fatter. I don’t think I mentioned my love of food yet. Ya, there was that too. Another strike against me. It’s been said that some people “eat to live”. Not me. I’m with the other camp. You know – the people that “live to eat”.
By the time I turned 21 (in 1986), I weighed 240 pounds and my eating habits were out of control. I knew that I would be in serious trouble if I continued down this road of self destruction, but it never truly sunk in until later.
Fast forward to 1989, I was 24 years old and tipped the scales at 250 pounds. At long last, I came to the realization that I needed to lose weight. A lot of weight. I was at least 50 pounds overweight and had tried just about every weight loss remedy known to man – the Grapefruit Diet, the Soup Diet, etc. Sadly, none went very well. Lost a few pounds, but they didn’t stay gone for long.
Skipping ahead to 2007, I’m now happily married to a lovely lady, but sadly she was fighting the same demons as I – overweight and unable to drop the extra pounds.
Flashback to when Sheila and I were overweight (Summer, 2003)
Proudly, I can say that Sheila is a fighter! She had previously battled, and won, a struggle against a bigger foe – breast cancer. Sheila is not only the love of my life – she’s my best friend…my biggest supporter…my greatest inspiration! With that said, the day she learned of a free ‘Survivor’ Learn to Run clinic at the local ‘Running Room’ store, I knew she would take on this new challenge and succeed!
Week after week, run after run, she got stronger and fitter. And the best part – she would come home and share her training sessions with me! Not only did Sheila become a runner…so did I 🙂
As the weeks went by, we were running farther and farther. At first, our typical session was simply a walk with short spurts of running. Eventually however, it became a run, with short spurts of walking!
After several months, we made the bold step to attempt to run 5km, non-stop…and we did it! We felt so proud of ourselves! The best part was the more we ran, the more weight we lost! And more amazing, we were able to keep it off!
As running became a bigger and bigger part of our lives, we totally revamped our eating habits to fuel our running habit. No more sugary foods. No more fried food. Very little chocolate. Very little junk. I started eating more of the complex carbohydrates and less of the simple carbohydrates. Among other healthy food choices, I developed a love of oatmeal! Yes, oatmeal. To provide lasting energy for my long runs, I began eating large quantities of oatmeal everyday, even at the office! So much so, my daily big bowl of oatmeal at work would provoke endless discussions and good-hearted ribbing 🙂
From those humble beginnings, we’ve both gone on to run full marathons. For me, it was Ottawa, 2010. For Sheila it was New York City, 2013! And since that fateful day in 2007 when we took up running, we’ve lost…a lot of weight…and to this day and have never regained it 🙂 I am now 90 pounds lighter than those early days, and Sheila is 150 pounds lighter! Yes, 150 pounds!
A photo of us after a local 5km race (May, 2014)
These days we still maintain a very active lifestyle. On any given day, you’ll likely see us running, but also swimming and cycling. As a matter of fact, we’ve moved on to another chapter in our lives – competing in triathlons! Life is good, and just keeps getting better!
Thanks for reading 🙂
Rob (and Sheila)