About Blue Runners
Many years ago, I started writing in an online journal letters to myself, encouraging me to take control of my health and weight. It didn’t work very well. I returned a few times over the years to re-read what I’d written, but I never really did what I set out to do. I suppose at the time I just wasn’t ready.
Blue Runners is a public space for my thoughts and experiences, designed to encourage me, share my feelings, document my progress, and, perhaps in some small way, do the same for others.
The name comes from my favorite pair of baby blue running shoes. If I didn’t have those, I wouldn’t be half as motivated as I am today.
I’m a 20-something woman – just call me Blu – happily married to the love my life, my Boo, since 2009.
I was not always overweight. When I was younger I was fairly active, enjoying sport in school and running wild and free as kids do. It was only when I hit puberty that things went haywire. My body started to develop in all sorts of wild and wacky ways, I started feeling incredibly self-conscious and sought to hide myself with large, baggy clothes. Sports I enjoyed before became an embarrassment and I hid myself away.
While a teenager, food became an issue. I was eating too much of the wrong food – processed and fast food – unaware (or just in denial) of what it was doing to my body. I didn’t have the willpower or the drive to accept what this was doing to my health, nor to put a stop to it by taking control of my life and my habits.
At 19, I reached my peak weight. By my 20s, I had become more conscious of eating healthy. I’ve never been a smoker or a drinker, and never had a sweet tooth. Those vices were not an issue for me. Yet, I was aware that I was still indulging in unhealthy snack foods and disproportionately large meals. I realise now that even though at the time I stopped eating so much junk food, I was still bearing the weight of years of bad eating habits and lack of exercise.
So Why This, Why Now?
Reality finally slapped me full in the face at a family dinner one night in 2008. I sat at the table with four other women of my family. All were overweight; 3 were obese, and at least 1 would be classed as morbidly so. One was a full-fledged diabetic, and yet another was borderline and not really making an effort to change the direction her health was going in.
Obesity, diabetes, strokes, heart attacks all run in my family. As I sat and watched them eat, my eyes skipped from one face to another. There were two generations of women who were going down the same path as women before us had gone; women who hadn’t lived as long as they could – and should – have.
It was then I made some choices. Change my lifestyle completely and pay proper attention to my health. I started off by going for a walk down the road, then to the park, and finally around the wider area. Then I started riding an exercise bike for 30 minutes. I was horribly unfit. I hadn’t had any form of physical exercise for years. My muscles were atrophied, my body wasted away, and I was weak and gasping after half an hour. Still, I had a newfound vigor and I was going to ride it.
In 2007, I met a wonderful man. His acceptance of me for who I am gave me the confidence to look at myself and to work on what I really wanted in life. No longer was I sitting there and just wishing, but I felt I had the drive to get up and work for my goals. Top of my list: my health. I was sick of being 25 years old and unable to walk up some stairs without losing my breath.
So that night, as I watched my obese aunt leave the table, hoisting her weight and breathlessly moving to the next room to rest and catch her breath, I finally opened my eyes. I didn’t want to be like her, unable to move from room to room because I was too large to carry my own weight a few steps. I want to live long, be able to chase my kids and keep up with them, and then keep up with my grandchildren after them. I wanted to know that I wasn’t going to come down with diabetes, or face a high risk of heart disease.
I finally took it all seriously. My wake-up call was here. I was 25, and I wasn’t getting younger. I got out and began to walk. I began to ride. I began to work hard, my heart racing, sweat running down my face. I stopped caring what other people thought when they saw me. I began to feel my confidence grow. I was taking back my life, undoing years of neglect and disuse.
This blog is about my journey to become healthier. I don’t want to be a size 4. I never will. I want to be healthy, I want to be able to hold my head high, be able to climb a flight of stairs, or dance through the night, or be able to walk the dog without collapsing. I’m getting there.
(The above was written in 2008.)
Returning in 2012
Now here I am, and it’s just now hit 2012. In 2009 I married the man of my dreams and, as the old saying goes, I put on some happy pounds over the follow years. By the end of 2011, I reached the same weight I was when I first met Boo. It was a consequence of not only having a happy marriage but in moving across the world, a subsequent complete change in diet and eating habits, as well as just falling into lazy slothfulness. In truth, it’s rough to accept I’ve slid back, but it’s not weight that I haven’t lost before and I’m not that upset about it. I know I can do something about it, and I will. I already am.
Reading back over what I wrote 4 years ago, my words were somewhat sadly prophetic; the obese aunt I watched labor with her weight in 2008 passed away two years later of a massive heart attack. She was still as obese and sickly as when I last saw her. I just need to think of her, passing away in her mid-50s and leaving her young sons and grandchildren behind as her legacy, to remind myself of why I am doing this. If it’s not for me, it’s for my husband and my family.
I’m back, starting fresh in 2012, and working to regain my health again.