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Hi there! I'm Katie. Welcome to my blog, Runs for Cookies. I'm a 35-year old wife and a stay-at-home mom to two boys. My kids are both in school now, but I because I earn a modest income from my blog, I feel very fortunate that I can stay and work from home. (Occasionally, I get asked why I don't get a "real" job, and there are several reasons for it. Other than being at home for my kids, my husband works a crazy irregular schedule. If I worked outside the home, I would rarely see him!)

We live in Southeast Michigan, about half way between Detroit and Toledo. As I write this, my blog is over six years old, so there is a LOT of information on it. To make it less overwhelming, I created this page to give you a little overview and catch you up to speed without having to sort back through six years of my ramblings. (Here are the highlights of the last six years, in a nutshell)


You can find me on social media as well:
Facebook
Instagram (@runsforcookies)
Twitter (@runsforcookies)
Pinterest

(I only add my "real life" friends on Garmin Connect, Fitbit, my personal Facebook page, and My Fitness Pal--sorry! It's not personal, it's just that I need to have some sort of privacy there.)

MY STORY IN A NUTSHELL

I was overweight my entire life. When I was in the fourth grade, a boy named Richard gave me the nickname "Shamu", and teased me mercilessly about my weight. That was when I realized that I was bigger than the other girls my age, and I started to feel ashamed about eating. I started to sneak food, and binge eat when the opportunities arose. My weight continued to climb all through school.

After high school, I went to college. Living on campus, I continued to put on weight. In 2003, I married my high school sweetheart, Jerry. We gained even more weight together. I had my son Noah in 2004, and my son Eli in 2006. While pregnant, I reached 271 pounds! A year after having Eli, I was at an all-time, non-pregnant high weight of 253 pounds. I was always trying to diet, and my weight bounced up and down between about 200 and 253 for the next three years.

One day in August 2009, Noah wanted me to take the training wheels off his bike (he was five years old at the time), and he asked me to run alongside his bike so he didn't fall. I tried to do that, but I didn't even make it the length of my street! I was gasping for breath, sweating, and I just physically could not do it. Instead, I had to sit on a lawn chair and watch as my sister helped Noah learn to ride a bike. At that moment, I felt like the worst mother in the world. I had let my weight control what I could or could not do, and that made me angry. I vowed that when Eli was old enough to ride a bike, I would be the one to teach him.



THE WEIGHT LOSS BEGINS

That's the beginning of my weight loss story. I didn't want to make drastic changes as I had done so many times in the past only to fail a week or two later; so, I decided that I was only going to make changes I could live with forever. I hated exercise, so I decided that I wasn't going to do it; I would just lose the weight through diet alone. And I didn't want to give up my favorite foods, so I decided to just cut back on portion sizes instead.

Over the next 16 months, I weighed and measured all my food, and tracked it on a food log. I was following the old Weight Watchers program, which was very similar to calorie counting back then. After I'd lost about 60 pounds from dieting alone, I decided that I wanted to start exercising. I wanted to train to walk a half-marathon. I followed a walking program by Hal Higdon to prepare, and in May 2010, I walked the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon. (Update 2017: I have since created a plan to take a beginner from couch potato to walking a half-marathon, which can be found here-- Walk Your First Half-Marathon.)

Before I had started the weight loss, I made a list of 30 goals that I hoped to accomplish by the time I turned 30 years old. Feeling super ambitious (I was probably drinking wine at the time, ha!) I decided to include "Enter a 5K race and run it" as one of the goals. In the back of my mind, I knew I'd never actually do that, but I put it on there anyway.

I showed the list to my friend Renee, who is a runner. She saw that item, and said she'd love to help me by running my first 5K with me. I would have felt ashamed to say no, so I decided to go for it. After I'd walked the half-marathon, I continued to exercise three times week. I did about 30 minutes each time, and I started to add a touch of running. (Here are the details about how I transitioned into running, along with a beginner's 5K plan that I wrote. And a TON of other helpful posts, if you are interested in the transition as well.)

After I ran my first 5K, I became hooked! I didn't love running, but I did love the way it made me feel when I was done. I continued to train, increasing my distance and improving my speed.


Meanwhile, I continued to lose weight. I reached 100 pounds lost in the summer of 2010, and I just couldn't believe that I'd hit such a milestone! I wrote a list of 100 Ways My Life Changed When I Lost 100 Pounds, and I like to read it over from time to time. It reminds me why I never want to be fat again.

I had a hard time finding a good maintenance plan, and my weight went up and down by about 10 pounds. In November 2011, I decided to have a lower body lift to remove the excess skin around my midsection. The skin was very saggy and uncomfortable, and caused rashes. You can see the details surrounding my surgery here.

From 2011-2014, my weight stayed within a reasonable range. In 2014, however, I had a serious bout of depression and anxiety. I had dealt with depression and anxiety for years (I started medication for it when I was 20, but I know that I had it even in childhood). The depression and anxiety caused me to eat emotionally, and I put on 27 pounds between 2014 and 2015. (I later learned that I actually have bipolar disorder, which gave me a lot of answers as to why my weight fluctuated so much).

I decided to try calorie counting, because Weight Watchers just wasn't working for me anymore. In August 2015, I started to calorie count, and over the course of 15 weeks I dropped the 27 pounds and was back at my goal weight of 133! Best of all, I was VERY happy with my new relationship with food. When I was on Weight Watchers, I felt obsessed with food all the time--constantly thinking about my next meal. And I would still binge eat occasionally. Counting calories gave me so much freedom. I wrote quite a bit about all this on a series of posts about binge eating and how I stopped.

After reaching my goal, I continued eating the way I felt most comfortable, and the pounds continued to come off. I wasn't actively trying to lose weight, but I dropped another 10 pounds, putting me at 123. I felt really great physically and mentally at that point!

253 pounds versus 122.5 pounds

 I ran a 10K in April 2016 after training SO HARD for it, and felt better than I had in my life. On top of the world. Then, I was hit with a very deep depression that would go on for the next 10 months. Eventually, I was able to get in to see a psychiatrist, who diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. It explained so much of my weight issues. I started the correct medication (antidepressants were doing nothing for me), and I finally felt stable. It's been amazing.

So, that's my story in a (rather large) nutshell. There are SO many pieces in between. I've tried to organize my blog so that it's fairly easy to find what you're looking for.

MY BLOG



The title Runs for Cookies says quite a bit, actually! I like to try and live with balance--nothing too extreme one way or the other. I am a runner, and I love sweets--running allows me to be able to eat my favorite treats and not gain back the weight I lost. (Update 2017: I am taking an indefinite hiatus from running, mainly for the pursuit of happiness. I have written more about taking a running break here.)

Running is my exercise of choice; although, last year, I started enjoying riding my bicycle as well. I'm all about moderation and balance--I eat junk food, but I also eat healthy food; I run, but not every day; I only make lifestyle changes that I am willing to live with FOREVER (no fad diets, pills, wraps, etc.).

On this blog, I write about my running, diet, family, pets, day-to-day activities, tips that have helped me, completely random topics sometimes, and responses to readers' questions. I typically blog anywhere from 2-7 times per week; it just depends on how much I have to say--I don't want to force myself to write if I just don't have anything to write about!

I recently started blogging by themes:

Monday- Mental Health
Tuesday- Recipes
Wednesday- Weight loss and Wednesday Weigh-in (to hold myself accountable)
Thursday- Thrifty stuff (we are working on paying off debt, so I am writing about that)
Friday- Family/personal stuff going on
Saturday & Sunday- Grab bag, or just take a break from posting

When I run a race, I post a "race report", which is a detailed account of the event itself and how I felt through the whole thing. You can find a list of links to my race reports here.



RUNNING

I am also (as you can see from the title of my blog) a runner. I wasn't always runner--in fact, I didn't run my first mile until I was in my late 20's! I've run three full marathons, over a dozen half-marathons, and numerous shorter distances. My favorite distance is the 10K, though. When I was obese, I never imagined that I would be a runner one day. Here is a link to read about my running story, my race reports, and helpful posts about running or getting started yourself. (As of early 2017, I have been taking an indefinite break from running--I realized I was just tired of it! And I didn't enjoy it anymore. I'm not sure if I will run again, but I right now, I am happy doing things I enjoy.)


NOTABLES OVER THE LAST 6 YEARS

To read in a nutshell (and for links to specifics) about the main things that have happened over the last six years of blogging, you can click here to be taken to my Highlights page.


WHO'S WHO:

Here is a list of the people I may mention on my blog, so you know who's who:


COMMENTING

You are welcome to comment on my blog posts! I wish Blogger made the commenting more user-friendly, but once you do it one time, it makes it easier afterward. Underneath the "You might also like..." section, it will say, "Posted by Katie..." and 0 Comments (or however many there are)--if you click on that, a box will appear for your comment. Select from the drop down list from whether you want to comment from your Google account or some other options. I no longer accept anonymous comments, so the easiest way is if you're signed into your Google account.

I don't delete any comments (even the mean ones). But I do ask that if you disagree with something I write, please say it in a respectful manner. I try to keep my blog honest and positive, and I never try to offend anybody. I know that not everybody is going to like me, and that is totally okay--I don't like everybody I meet either! ;) But I would never be mean to people intentionally. If I don't like what a particular blogger has to write, I just don't read his or her blog. Very simple!

I do try to reply to questions in the comments, but sometimes I'll read it and then I forget to go back and reply later on... so if I forget, feel free to send me an email! I really do appreciate all feedback through the comments--the good and the (constructively) critical. I have met some wonderful people through the comment section on my blog! And I feel like I'm friends with the people who comment regularly, because I get used to seeing their names :)



After reading all of this, if you still have questions, I would check out my Directory page. You can also use the search bar on the right side bar of my blog--type in a couple of key words, and you will probably find what you're looking for (this is what I do when someone emails me with a question that I know I've answered before).

Please understand that I get a LOT of email, and it's hard to respond to everybody. My blog has more details than I can even link to on this page, so hopefully you can find answers within my directory. However, you are welcome to email me if you can't find what you're looking for. If you wish to send a private email for a private response, you can find my contact info on my Contact page. I get a lot of email, so please be patient if I don't respond right away.



Well, that's all for now. I may add to this page from time to time to keep it up to date. Hopefully it will be helpful in navigating through my blog! Thanks so much for stopping by :) --Katie