marathons

Body Image and Weight Loss

Body Image and Weight Loss

by Amber

Hi everyone, I’m Amber from Girl with the Red Hair. Lisa asked me to do a guest post for her and I’m here to talk about body image.

Growing up, I kind of hated my body and dreamed of being skinnier, taller, and tanner. Ring a bell? I dreamed of looking like girls in magazines. This of course resulted in me going on “diets” (starting when I was approximately 8 years old). As I got older my body confidence improved and I credit a lot of that to the sports I played. The one thing I always have been is active. I grew up playing volleyball and baseball and I played hockey competitively from the time I was 13 until 18.

I gained about 20 pounds my first year of college and any confidence I had before went down the drain and I found myself constantly comparing my body to other peoples.

 

 

In January of 2008 I made a New Years resolution to lose weight once and for all. I started tracking my calories and food intake and the weight kind of fell off. You can read about my whole healthy living journey here. Despite losing all that weight, I still didn’t have a lot of body confidence. Friends and family were telling me how great I looked and I would just kind of smile and nod because I didn’t feel great.

In January 2009 I started running. Even though I didn’t lose a bunch more weight from the running something inside of me clicked. I felt strong and confident for the first time in a long, long time.

 

 

Since then I have ran three half-marathons and one marathon. I no longer ALLOW myself to think bad things about my body because whenever I do, I remind myself of all the things it has done for me. I remind myself that I have big thighs because I can run for hours and that even though my stomach might be a little flabby, my legs are solid muscle. I remind myself that life is too short to worry about the last few pounds I have to lose.

 

 

 

In the end, it wasn’t losing weight that gave me body confidence. It was running, and yoga, and weight lifting and starting to move my body in all these fun, exciting ways.  I’ve finally learned that confidence really is the best accessory, no matter what size you are.

Do you have good body image? What part of your life do you credit with giving you the most body confidence?

 

Lisa’s Note: Thank you so much Amber for sharing your story! I can relate to Amber’s experience of finding self-esteem and positive body image because of running. Being able to use your body to do something amazing like that is a huge confidence booster!

Super Athlete Interview #1 – Kristin

A new feature on the blog will be interviewing people that have competed in athletic competitions: Marathon Runners, Cyclists, Swimmers, Triathletes…anyone! Please contact me if you would like to participate.

First Interview: Kristin, Marathon Runner

1. Why do you run?

I run because it keeps me both mentally and physically healthy.  I’ve also found that I’m more personally competitive than I ever knew.  I find it very rewarding and very encouraging to work hard and see results.  “Runners High” is real!
2. How long had you been running?

I started running in college, but didn’t run my first real race (a 10K) until I was 21(I’m now almost 29).  Then I spent 2 years out of the U.S. and tried to get back into it when I got back as I was seriously unhealthy and out of shape.  But it wasn’t until 2008 that I actually got serious.  I ran my first full marathon in Newport, OR and I have since run 3 more, along with many other races in between and I’ve never felt better.
3. What tips do you have for new runners?

Take your time and build slowly!  Especially if you have big goals.  It can be very discouraging to be working towards something big and get an injury because you are putting in too many miles.  Running with groups or just a friend who pushes you has always worked great for me.  It’s nice to have someone or many people that inspire you.  When I first started out, my brother was already very into running marathons and his encouragement and work ethic really motivated me.
4. You recently ran in the Eugene Marathon, how did you train for it? What was your time?

I ran the Portland Marathon (10/09) and then kind of slacked off for a few weeks, but basically kept my level of fitness up.  Then I ran a half marathon in January and from there I was more officially “in training” for Eugene.  I was able to break 4 hours (3:58:15) at the Portland marathon and my brother started planting ideas in my head about Boston qualification, so I added track workouts to my normal routine (although I wasn’t super consistent).  I was also really good about doing push-ups regularly.  Other than that I ran up to about 23 miles (added 3 miles on to a long 30K trail run) on my last long run.  It took me about 4 hours and I think it helped me more than I knew.  So I finished Eugene in 3:37:45. A PR by about 21 minutes and a Boston qualification! I was out to prove something that day and I did.  I had a lot of help from good friends and family along the way.  It was hard, but it felt amazing!
5. What tips do you have for runners who want to be faster?

Track workouts make you faster and they are fun!  The Red Lizards have a free workout every Tuesday.  It’s for all levels and a great workout.  I also really believe in working on upper body strength and core strength.  I try to do planks whenever I do push-ups and it has helped me feel stronger and push harder.

6. You’ve run in many half marathons and marathons. Which is your favorite one? How did you train for the half vs. the full marathon?

My favorite race was the Portland Marathon.  I loved running in my town and having my friends out there to cheer me on.  It was also so well supported.  I felt like I was being cheered on the whole way.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  The only difference in training for me is mileage and time on my feet.
7. What is your favorite pre-run fuel/meal?

I usually eat one banana and a plain bagel with a little cream cheese.  That’s my go to meal.

8. You qualified for Boston. What’s your plan for that?

My plan for Boston is to take it all in and enjoy it.  I say that now, but I’m sure my competitive edge will kick in when the time comes and I’ll try to get a good time.  I would like to at least break 4 hours.  I’m running my first ultra-marathon in September, Portland in October, and then I’ll probably start all over again with the Vancouver Lake ½ marathon in January and cruise on into Boston

9. Have you ever had an injury?

I’ve never had an injury that has kept me down for more than a week.  Anything I’ve experienced has just been extra pain or soreness that needed extra rest.  And I feel lucky about that!  I’m knocking on wood as we speak.

Thanks, Kristin for having such well thought-out answers!