Thursday, May 17, 2012

Reasons to Run: No Shortcuts

This is all over every news outlet this morning, so I'm sure you all have probably heard that Skechers is paying a $40 million settlement over claims made about its Shape-Up, Tone-Up and Resistance Runner shoes. Everyone who bought a pair will be able to get their money back if they want to.

My first reaction to this news is a big "DUH." Come on now, if you were silly enough to believe that a goofy looking shoe could really tone and strengthen your muscles and lead to weight loss and better cardiovascular health, I don't think you deserve to get your money back. You ever heard the old adage, "If it's too good to be true then it probably is"? Take it to heart, folks.

Also, the fact that Kim Kardashian was shilling the things should've made you think twice.

This girl will do anything for a buck - including
selling you shoes that are bogus!

Unfortunately, a lot of people (including people I know) bought them anyway, looking for an easy out. This got me to thinking about how our instant-gratification society has really creeped into everything in our lives including, of course, the healthy living/fitness/weight loss arenas.

I myself am terribly impatient. While I stand upstairs waiting for my lunch to heat up, 2 minutes and 30 seconds feels like an eternity. If someone doesn't email me back within a half hour, I get annoyed. Heck, my mantra for running is "the faster you run the faster you're done." You get the point.

But the thing about it is, when it comes to health, weight loss and fitness, I have learned that there are no shortcuts. Although I was never obese, I did flirt with the 145 pound mark, giving me a 26.6 BMI (overweight for my height of 5'2"), for a few years. I remember sitting in the car crying after a shopping trip with my mom in the 10th grade when I had to buy a pair of size 10 jeans in the Junior's department at JC Penney.



11th grade (yep, that's BFF)

Senior prom

For most of my adult life, I have hovered right at 135 pounds. I never thought I was "fat" but I did want to lose about 10 pounds and made half hearted efforts at working out. And by half hearted I mean I would go do an elliptical trainer for 30 minutes two times a week and call it exercise. My diet didn't help much either - when I was in college and graduate school my staple meal was Velvetta Shells and Cheese and chicken tenders. When I met Jason in 2006 I was the smallest I had been in a while - 132 pounds or thereabout. 


2006

After we got engaged, like any new bride-to-be, I immediately put myself on a "Bridal Workout Plan." I joined the Y in Richmond and went 3 or 4 days a week. I did 45 minutes of elliptical. I did yoga. I stopped drinking soda. But I kept eating Velveeta, McDonald's, and cake.

I did not lose a pound...


I still looked good on our wedding day (2008)

...until I started running (unfortunately for me, AFTER our wedding). And even when I did start, the pounds did not melt off. Over the past 2 years I have lost 12 pounds... and run hundreds of miles. I also have changed my diet substantially, cutting out snacks, the majority of fast food, soda, and eating more vegetables.


April 2012

This photo would have NEVER happened before.
April 2012


Am I some paragon of health and nutrition? Hell no. You all know of my obsession with cake. And french fries. And wine. As I alluded to in one of my very first entries, I run because I like to eat, and I like to be thin. I like the size that I am now and the way that I feel. I don't want to feel guilty about eating cupcakes, so I run. It works for me.

I'm just trying to share what I've experienced and what I've learned for myself. And in my experience, if you want to lose weight and get fit, a pair of magic shoes isn't going to do it. Neither is a pill, or a 500 calorie-every-other-day-diet, or drinking shakes for breakfast, or even gastric bypass (yep, that wears off after a while too).

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to change your lifestyle.

FOREVER.

I have watched countless people that I know lose weight through some fad diet or exercise plan only to regain the weight when they got tired of whatever method they were using. No matter what you say, chances are you will get tired of drinking a shake for breakfast and lunch every day of your life. Or not eating carbs... ever. It just doesn't work.

But when you slowly but surely incorporate healthier foods and exercise into your everyday life, before you know it, you will be there. And you won't really have to think about it anymore. In fact, if you try to eat stuffed crust Pizza Hut pizza, your body will rebel and you will never do it again (trust me on this one... it's not pretty). You will wonder how you ever drank an entire can of Coke on your own (I had a can-a-day habit throughout high school, college, and grad school. Now I can barely finish one!). If you don't go exercise, you will feel like crap.

Does it suck at first? Hell yes. To get off my can-a-day Coke habit, I gave it up for Lent one year. By Easter, I would've given my left arm for a can of Coke. When I first started to run, I could barely run one mile on the treadmill with the speed set to 5.5 MPH without feeling like I was going to fall over from exhaustion. But you will get through it and then it won't be a diet. It will just be life.

There is no instant gratification. But it is worth it. 

And now I'm going to eat a cupcake.

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