Bonnie is very energetic, has a fantastic sense of humor, and a very laid back attitude--all are awesome qualities for a Ragnar runner. The more I get to know Bonnie, the more I like her. I'm excited to meet her in person tomorrow morning!
I'm not sure how much time I'm going to be able to/want to spend blogging while I'm in San Diego, but I'm sure I'll be posting to Instagram, Twitter, and a little bit on Facebook. I'd like to try and keep up on blogging while I'm out there, so I'll do my best! I'll be home on Tuesday :)
Anyway... I will hand it off to Bonnie to share her story:
I grew up a skinny and active kid, and was considered a tomboy. I didn’t play sports, but I was always moving, riding my bike, roller skating, playing hide and seek etc... I was never diagnosed with ADHD but it wasn’t really a hot topic when I was a kid. All I knew was I came home from school most days with notes pinned to my shirt telling my Mom I would not sit still and I talked too much. Really, nothing has changed. ;)
I didn’t really struggle with my weight until high school. I dealt with insecurities like most teenagers, but the majority of my friends were petite, so I felt enormous at 5’9” and a size 10-12. Beginning my sophomore year, I suffered from various forms of eating disorders in order to feel “normal”. My diet mostly consisted of diet soda and cigarettes.
Fast forward several years, and I gave birth to my beautiful daughter one month before I turned 22. The day I found out I was pregnant, I put down the cigarettes and picked up a fork. I was 160 pounds when I got pregnant, and roughly 270 when I gave birth. I spent the next 17 years devoting my life to my family and forgot all about Bonnie.
I tried every diet known to man and gained and lost weight so many times. It was discouraging, and every failure caused such self-loathing. My weight cost me so many opportunities and I was furious with myself for all that I missed out on.
My teenage daughter and I were going on a two-week tour of France the summer of 2011. We have a modest income and this was a huge sacrifice to save and pay for this trip. I wanted to enjoy it to the fullest and not be the “typical fat, lazy American” (my thoughts). I kept picturing myself sitting in those little bistro chairs and collapsing onto the sidewalk.
In January 2010 I learned about SparkPeople through a wellness program at my office. (This site is how I met both Katie and John). I used the site to log my food and workouts and went from 302 pounds to 160 pounds in 18 months. The trip to France was cancelled by the trip organizer and we were devastated, but I achieved my healthy weight goal.
This June will be three years at maintenance. Maintenance is challenging, and I have to be diligent. My weight does fluctuate and I just have to remember to be kind to myself and get back on track. When I slack on the exercise or eat processed foods, I feel like crap. That’s usually all the reminder I need.
Throughout my journey, I went from someone who ate 100% processed foods to someone who eats a plant-based diet. This former couch potato is now a runner. To date, I have participated in over 19 races (including 2 half-marathons) with 7 more on the schedule. This formerly-shy lady is flying to California to spend a weekend running 200 miles with 11 strangers (soon to be my BFF’s). Getting healthy has changed my life and provided opportunities that I never thought possible.
Everyone’s journey will be different and you have to find what works for you. I have the support of my family, although they don’t eat like me, nor do they run. I’m not a fast runner, and I don’t have exceptional willpower. What I do have is love for myself that I had lost a long time ago. Now I understand I am worth it and by taking care of ME I am better able to take care of others.