You can find me on social media as well:
(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! 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.
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, 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.
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. Feel 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 and run 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.)
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. In November 2010, I was down to 136 pounds. One day, I was putting my son to bed, and I was overcome with dizziness, nausea, and tunnel vision. The next thing I knew, I was waking up facedown on the floor, with a pool of blood under my face. I had fainted, and fell flat on my face. (I later learned this was due to low blood pressure--I have orthostatic hypotension, where my blood pressure drops when I stand up.)
The whole long story can be found here on my blog, but it turned out that I had broken my jaw completely through in five places. I spent six days in the hospital, enduring two reconstructive surgeries, and I had to have my jaw wired shut. I lived on smoothies for several weeks, and my weight dropped to a low of 127.5. When the wires came off, I gained 10 pounds back right away.
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 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, the first of which can be found here.
After reaching 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 feel really great physically and mentally at this point!
So, that's my story in a nutshell. There are SO many pieces in between. Following, I detailed it out a little better...
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.
|253 pounds versus 122.5 pounds|
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, and responses to readers' questions. I typically blog 5-7 times per week, but lately, I've been cutting back some. 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!
On Tuesdays, I sometimes post about "Taste Test Tuesday", which is where I write about a recipe that I had tried over the previous week. I usually pick a recipe from Pinterest or other source, and cook it, then review it on my blog.
On Wednesdays, I post a "Wednesday Weigh-in", where I post a picture of the scale that morning to keep myself accountable. I also do a "Weekly Wrap Up" on my Wednesday posts, detailing how the week went as far as weight loss or maintenance and whether I hit my goals for the week.
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.
Here is a list of the people I may mention on my blog, so you know who's who:
Jerry- My husband. We started dating in 1999, and got married in 2003. Jerry is very fun and goofy, which is what I love best about him. He treats me like a princess, and is a fantastic dad to our kids. He works a swing shift, which is a little crazy at times, but it works well for us. Jerry has written a couple of guest posts for my blog, which you can find here and here. And he is known for his "Jerry face" in photos, which you will see often. That's just the way he rolls. And I love him for not caring what anyone else thinks about his quirkiness!
|Jerry face at my brother's wedding|
Noah- My 11-year old son. As he is entering his tween years, I prefer to respect his privacy, so I won't be writing many personal things about him. But Noah is smart, funny, and asks some bizarre questions. He also runs cross country, which I am thrilled about! Noah is definitely a daddy's boy.
Eli- My 10-year old son. Again I am going to be minimizing what I write on the blog about him, but Eli is one of the sweetest kids you'll ever meet. He adores animals, he's artistic and creative, and he's most certainly a mama's boy. He still gives me hugs and kisses in front of his friends, which makes my heart happy.
|Eli and Joey|
Joey- Our black lab/chow chow mix that we adopted from the animal shelter in February 2015. You can read about the day of his adoption here. He has changed our lives in so many ways! I used to be very scared of dogs (I've been bitten three times while out running), but having Joey has helped me get rid of that fear. I've learned to read dogs' body language, which has been very helpful. Joey is very much a "people dog", meaning that he'd rather hang out with his people (us) than do anything else.
|Joey (who loves the water!)|
Chandler- Our eldest cat. Jerry and I adopted him from the animal shelter in 2003, when we got married. He's very overweight, and probably the most laid back of all our pets. He loves to be groomed, because he's too fat to really groom himself well ;)
Phoebe- Our orange tabby cat. She was a stray that needed a home. She is extremely unique in that she has some sort of sixth sense--she always knows when someone is upset, and she will cuddle with that person. Any time one of us cries, Phoebe will be there within two minutes for cuddles. I believe she was abused by her previous owner, because she has a bb underneath her skin (she was shot by a bb gun), and half of her tail is missing. She was extremely skittish for the first couple of years we had her, but now that she trusts us, she really adores attention.
Estelle- Our tortoiseshell cat. She was also a stray looking for a home. She has the funniest personality--or "tortitude", as a lot of tortie owners refer to that attitude ;) She's very vocal and loves to "chat" with us. She's extremely curious! Any new item brought into the house must be thoroughly inspected by Estelle.
Sue & Les (a.k.a. Mom and Dad)- My parents. They've been married since 1971, and they live less than a mile away. They adore being grandparents, and my kids think it's awesome that they can go visit pretty much any time they want to. They're both technically retired, but they have seasonal/part time jobs that they enjoy doing, so they can stay busy.
|Dad & Mom|
Jeanie- My sister, who is eight years older than me. She is an occupational therapist who lives in Illinois with her husband Shawn. They don't have kids, but they have basset hounds who are treated like children ;) They both started running when I hosted a virtual 5K race, and they've stuck to it! Here is a guest post from Jeanie.
|Shawn & Jeanie|
Brian- My older brother, who is six years older than me. He is a Delta pilot, and lived in St. Paul for the last 20 years or so. He just moved back to Michigan, which is fun because I get to see him much more often! He is married to Becky, but they don't have children (at least not yet). They love to travel, and they go to exotic places pretty much every weekend.
|Becky & Brian|
Nathan- My younger brother, who is two years younger than me. He was in the Army after high school, and spent four years in Iraq. Now he lives in Michigan with his girlfriend Kendall, and works at a nuclear power plant. Nathan started running in 2014, and he's turned into an amazing runner! He's gotten fast, and he even ran a 50K race in 2015. Things are pretty serious with Nathan and Kendall, so hopefully we'll get some fun news from them soon ;) Here is a guest post from Nathan.
|Nathan and Kendall|
Mark- A family friend who was intellectually disabled. He was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in late 2013, and died in March 2014. He was one of the kindest, happiest people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I did everything I could to make him happy before he passed, which I documented on my blog. Here is his story.
|With Mark just after he was diagnosed|
Some other friends I may mention here and there:
Thomas- My best friend who lives in Portland, Oregon. I actually met him through my blog! Our friendship is very light-hearted and fun, and he is my most "honest" friend--the one who tells me the truth, even if it's harsh. I even went out to Portland to visit a couple of times. (And despite some speculation in comments on my blog, it IS possible for a guy and girl to be just friends; Jerry loves Thomas as well.) Thomas blogs here about his running.
|With Thomas, dressed for a Timbers game|
Renee- Renee is a runner, and is the one who got me started running--if not for her, I would probably still be obese and inactive. She also coached cross country with me in the fall of 2015. We also started a wine club in 2009, where we had monthly "meetings" with our girlfriends--tasting and talking about wine!
|With Renee after winning age group awards|
Jessica- Jessica also started running because of Renee. Jessica has lost a lot of weight and kept it off for nearly a decade. We ran our first marathon together, and we love to chat about food!
|With Jessica at Wine Club|
Andrea- Andrea is more of a private person, so I don't write much about her on the blog, but she is probably my best girlfriend. I can tell her anything at all, knowing that she doesn't gossip. We are actually very much alike in a lot of ways. We get together about once a week at Panera for lunch.
|With Andrea at El Camino Real|
Stephanie- Another running friend. Steph has lost a lot of weight herself (she says she was inspired by my weight loss when she saw me on The Dr. Oz Show). She's also an amateur photographer, and she's amazing at it! A lot of the professional-looking photos you see on my blog were taken by her, as she has done a few photoshoots for me. She blogs at That Loud Redhead.
|With Steph after a run together|
There are lots of others that I may mention here and there, but these are the people I write about most frequently.
As you can see from the front page of my blog, I've lost a lot of weight--over 130 pounds, actually! Here are some posts in regards to that...
A little of my weight history through the years leading up to this blog
How I initially lost 125 pounds in 2009-2010
Habits that helped me lose the weight in 2009-2010
What I am doing currently to lose/maintain weight
A series on binge eating, which describes my diet and lifestyle in full detail
People always ask about what I eat while losing/maintaining weight. I don't have "typical" meals, but here is a current post with lots of my meals.
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 my running story. And here are some posts that may be relevant as well:
How to get started as a runner
On starting to run, and running faster (includes my "beginner" plan for people who hate to run)
Tips for your first 5K, first 10K, first half-marathon, and first marathon
A guide to running "lingo"--all the terms you may see me write about on this blog when I write about running
50 Running Tips
When running feels impossible, I promise you--It Gets Easier
NOTABLES OVER THE LAST 6 YEARS
In November 2010, I fainted from low blood pressure and broke my jaw
In May 2011, I ran my first half-marathon
In November 2011, I was a guest on The Dr. Oz Show
In November 2011, I had surgery to remove the excess skin from my abdomen
In December 2012, I hit my ultimate goal weight for the first time in my life
In January 2013, I ran the Ragnar Relay Florida Keys, which will be an upcoming documentary
In January 2013, I was on the Today Show due to said documentary
In January 2013, I hosted the first annual Runs for Cookies Virtual 5K
In March 2013, I became a certified running coach
In March 2013, I shocked myself by running a sub-50 10K
In April 2013, I hit a long term goal of running a sub-2:00 half-marathon
In May 2013, I surprised my sister by showing up in Illinois to run her first half-marathon with her
In October 2013, I ran the Chicago Marathon, getting a PR
In November 2013, I received devastating news that Mark was dying
In April 2014, I was in Runner's World Magazine--a dream come true!
In April 2014, I met up with several of my blog readers, "my Sole Mates", to run Ragnar SoCal!
In May 2014, I started running occasionally with my younger brother, which meant so much to me! He had PTSD for years, and the running has helped him tremendously.
In June 2014, I met the "mayor of running" Bart Yasso!
In July 2014, my kids completed their first 5K!
In August 2014, I went on vacation with the family to Punta Cana, and wore a bikini for the first time in my life.
In February 2015, we adopted Joey!
In March 2015, I traveled to Portland to visit Thomas and run the Shamrock 15K (I had to skip the race, due to injury), but I LOVED Portland.
In May 2015, Nathan and I had teamed up to fundraise money for Wins for Warriors. I volunteered at the 9K race as well.
In August 2015, I started calorie counting to get rid of the 27 pounds I'd gained in 2014/2015.
In September 2015, I (along with Renee) became a cross country coach to 2nd-4th graders. It was an amazing experience!
In October 2015, I had a boudoir photo shoot--something I'd always wanted to do!
In November 2015, I got back to my goal weight via calorie counting! Here is a post how I did it.
After reading all of this, if you still have questions, I would check out my FAQ page; and then my Directory page. You can also use the search bar on the top left corner of my blog--type in a few 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 there. However, you are welcome to email me if you can't find what you're looking for. You can send a question to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I may post a response on a future blog post. If you wish to send a private email for a private response, you can do so at Katie@runsforcookies.com. I get a lot of email, so please be patient if I don't respond right away.
Here are some of the most popular posts that I refer people to when they have questions:
A Series on Binge Eating (this is the most up-to-date info on my current eating plan)
How I stayed motivated to continue when it got difficult
Questions about having loose skin after weight loss
Questions about how to get started
How much I exercised when I started losing weight
Whether I do strength training or just running
Questions about Weight Watchers- I no longer do Weight Watchers, so I can't answer any questions about their new program. But here are my initial thoughts on their new SmartPoints plan. Here is a post about SmartPoints versus calories.
You are welcome to comment on my blog posts! It's pretty simple to do. There is a little gray box at the bottom of each blog post, and it will say "0 comments" (or however many comments there are already). Just click that, and scroll down to where you see a comment box. You can type your comment in there, and 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. Mean comments really do hurt my feelings, because I don't feel that I've done or said anything that is mean or hurtful to my readers. 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 it. 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!
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 :)