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.

Rob and Sheila's Story

Hi Mel,

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.

Rob and Sheila's Story
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!

Rob and Sheila's Story
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)

18 Responses to Rob and Sheila’s Story

  1. Rob says:

    Thanks for kind words everyone! We are pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished!

  2. Heather bell says:

    What a great job!!

  3. What a beautiful story!!! The Hubs and I run together too and love it. You guys look GREAT!

  4. Stacey says:

    Loved your story! Wow. Very inspiring and I love that you’ve done it together.

  5. Tanya M. says:

    Wow!! Very inspiring story! Thanks for sharing and proving that you can do/be whatever you put your mind up to!!! Continued success to you both! 🙂

  6. Holly says:

    Thanks for the motivation! It’s fantastic to see what you two have accomplished together. Thanks for sharing your story!

  7. Tiffany says:

    Your story is inspiring, incredible really!! Thanks for sharing, it makes me want to go run:)

  8. s says:

    This is quite an inspiration. I used to run…a lot….before I had kids. Since then I have not made time for exercise and am in terrible shape. Your story has inspired me to make the time to walk and hopefully eventually build up to running, although that seems out of reach at the moment. Sheila’s strength and determination is amazing. I wish you both continued healtH!

  9. Jackie says:

    I loved this story! Good for you Rob and Sheila! So inspiring!

  10. Rob says:

    Thanks for sharing our story with your readers Mel!

    Both Sheila and I are of the same mindset – we have always thought of our journey from being overweight couch potatoes to runners as being…well…to be honest, kind of boring! With that said, we’d be so proud if, after sharing our story, we could motivate even just one other person to take that first step as a ‘runner’!

    Regarding your training, you’ll do GREAT! Don’t be discouraged or stressed if your training doesn’t go as planned. Life has a way of interfering as you know, and not every run will go as you’ve envisioned. Don’t worry…be happy! Be patient, enjoy your outings and everything will work out 🙂

    I’m sure you’ve been getting lots and lots of tips, but at the risk of repeating what others have said, I’m going to emphasize the following:
    – Speed is NOT important at this stage. Just run 🙂
    – Stay hydrated. Even on those non-running days.
    – Stretch. Very important after your runs. It’ll encourage flexibility and reduce soreness.
    – Fuel your body. Even if it’s just a two or three mile run early in the morning. You’ve mentioned before about having a banana afterwards. Bananas are actually the best fuel for short distance runs. I always have a banana just before my morning workouts. I swear by them! Even better when combined with a healthy fat, like peanut butter. Just smear a spoonful of PB on the banana…yummy 🙂
    – If you have access to a pool, swimming is a fantastic, low-impact, cross training activity.
    – Listen to your body. *Very important*. Just being tired is normal, you’ll learn to push through it. But as you’ve already discovered, you will experience days when you feel entirely and utterly fatigued. Don’t fight it. Even if your schedule doesn’t show a rest day, rest anyway!

    Wow, that become a lot more wordy than I anticipated…lol

    Essentially what I’m trying to say is enjoy the experience. Follow your training as best you can. If you miss a day, so be it. It happens to all of us. Believe it or not, come race day you will do it. I know it, and I can’t wait to hear all about it 🙂

  11. Danielle says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I have been piling on the weight as a way of dealing with PPD. It’s so inspiring to read that y’all have been able to adopt healthy habits and keep the weight off.

  12. Michelle says:

    Great story! What an amazing couple.
    I absolutely love reading these stories.
    This is the first time I am going to run a 25k. The race is in May and I am up to 12 miles this week. I can hardly believe it! In all, since I started training, I have lost 12 pounds! I know, nothing in comparison to these two awesome people, but still exciting for me.

    • Rob says:

      Thanks Michelle 🙂
      We have faith in you, and you’ll have no trouble with your 25k! At 12 miles you’re well on your way to reaching your goal distance! Good luck and let us know how your race goes!

    • Mel says:

      That’s awesome, Michelle! Good luck on your race!

  13. Liz says:

    This story is VERY inspiring! Congratulations to Rob and Sheila for good health and happiness and thank you for sharing your story!

    • Rob says:

      Thanks for the kind words Liz! Being nosy, I visited your blog…and to my surprise you have an RV and work in IT! Just like us! We both work in the IT sector and we are also RVers 🙂 We have a 5th wheel trailer as opposed to a motorhome, and we thoroughly traveling the continent when we have vacation. Maybe our paths will cross someday!

      • Rob says:

        That should have said ‘thoroughly enjoy traveling the continent’ 🙂

        • Liz says:

          WOW-WOW-WOW! I hope our paths cross and the sooner, the better.

          If you are ever in Northwest Montana, please email or call (I’m sure you can get to both my email and phone :)! ) – I have 30 and 50 amp service and plenty of room for a 5r and would love to visit with you and share my corner of MT. I am 40 miles from Glacier National Park.

          Otherwise – see you on the road. I blog my trips and my blog started to document my trips.

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