Thursday, December 6, 2012

What the Camera Cannot Capture

I was recently asked to be a guest blogger on My Endurance Dream and thought I would share that post here as well. Please, take a moment to stop by Robin's blog and say hello. 

What the Camera Cannot Capture...

If you look at me today, you will see a woman who is fit, healthy and smiling. 




If you look at a picture of me from just a few years ago, you will see a much different image. What you will see is someone who was carrying around a lot of extra weight as well as a lot of sadness.

What started out as a quest to change my physical health and appearance ended up being a journey of emotional growth, self-love and finding true joy in life. There is no camera that can capture the biggest changes that have occurred in my life over the last four years.  



I was not always fat. I was “normal” (whatever that is...) most of my life. It was not until some drastic life changes brought me to a place where, in hindsight, I see that I had lost respect for myself and my health. Years of overconsumption took its toll on my body and before I knew it, I was in this body that was completely foreign to me. Not only did my body change, my personality changed drastically as well. A once social butterfly was content to sit home, watch TV and do absolutely nothing-isolating herself from the world. I neglected myself, friends and family. It was a dark time and a lifestyle that was in a downward spiral.

One day, I just had enough. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was so over feeling depressed, I was done with the sadness and I was ready for change. I wanted to be a Mom and I knew that there was no way I could be a Mother to anything the way I was...and just like that, one day I quit. 

I quit making excuses.

I quit smoking, drinking and eating garbage.

I quit quitting on myself.

The first fear I overcame was actually walking through the doors of the gym that first day. I was petrified. I thought everyone would be judging me (what’s that FAT GIRL doing in a GYM?). I think I lasted an entire 15 minutes walking that first day and I vowed to return the next day and walk just one minute more. The days turned into weeks and the weeks into months. Before I knew it, I was running. Running a mile without stopping was a tremendous victory for me. I was making small goals along the way and every time I would reach a goal, it gave me a boost. I was ACCOMPLISHING something. Little bits of self-esteem started to grow and each small step in the right direction was a learning experience for me.

I then discovered I pregnant and the journey to health became so much more important-it was no longer about ME, but this precious life that God had given me. I was going to be a Mother and I was determined to be the role model that this child could look up to and be proud of!

After the birth of my daughter it took me about 14 months to lose 100lbs. I would workout at home, in my living room, while she napped. We would take walks together and when Spring time came, I started jogging with her. I was in love! In love with being a Mom, in love with the new healthy life I was living and I was starting to love myself.

I kept a journal from day one of my journey where I would write down all these goals and dreams. Big or small, crazy or completely doable. If it was something that I wanted to do, I would write it in my journal. While losing the fat was important, the most important part of losing the weight was actually in achieving those goals I had set along the way. I started running for the sheer joy of running. I started racing and loved the challenge of racing against myself. I wasn’t out there to beat anyone else except myself.

It taught me to fight for what I want because it’s not always easy.
It showed me that I was stronger than I ever gave myself credit for being.
I learned that it is ok to make mistakes, there is only failure in quitting.

Running helped me discover an inner drive, determination and strength I had never known; it also gave me a self-confidence and sense of accomplishment that had been missing my entire life.




The process of change continues to evolve - I learn more and more every day.

I am no longer fearful of change, I embrace it. 

I live a life that is happy and joyful. My daughter has never known me fat and unhappy, that is the biggest victory of all. 



So while I am a very different person on the outside, it is the inside, the real me where the biggest make-over happened.  That change was the most important one and no camera can capture the real changes that occurred.


19 comments:

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

Being fat, I definitely wasn't the best mom I could have been. That makes me sad and mad. I can't change that, but I am changing my future.

ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

You have had quite a trip
Congratulations and keep it up...
Pulling out old photos can be a constant reminder to not rest on your laurels.

I think the biggest change is the loss of the growth on your right shoulder that looks like a big hand. :)

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

I always love hearing your story. And the reminder that the outside isn't the biggest change that needs to happen on our road to good health.

Jennifer Harrison said...

VERY inspiring, Jen! Major kudos to you!

CautiouslyAudacious said...

You rock!

Jen Small said...

ONEHourIronman (Bob) I am in the process of amputating said hand ;)

One Crazy Penguin said...

What an inspiration! I'm just starting my weight loss journey so I love reading inspiring stories like this! You rock, girl :)

lisa price said...

Well said:) true inspiration!

Katie said...

<3 you friend.

ajh said...

Great story! You must be very proud.

Jen said...

You are amazing, Jen -- I feel so much like you do in my own journey. xo love you, girl.

Andy Rosebrook said...

Jen you are awesome! Ten years ago I looked myself in the mirror and decided something had to change. I changed my habits, I started running and eventually got into triathlons and lost 75 pounds. I have done many things I once thought were impossible, but very few people can relate to how hard that first step was. I am so proud to be your teammate!

Missy said...

Your story never gets old. You are an amazing inspiration to all. Keep up the great work!

willtriforbeer said...

Great job! Glad to hear that it was an inside transformation as well as on the outside. You are truly an inspiration!

Molly said...

I never get tired of reading your story! you've got some serious guns girlfriend!

Alisa said...

I really like the fact that you said something about your daughter never knowing you as inactive and unhappy---that says a LOT right there!

I actually didn't know your story, glad you shared. What an awesome and inspiring journey.

Kabekona Tri Girl said...

You are so inspiring Jen, keep it up!!!!

Marc Nelson said...

Very impressive and motivational! I am amazed at the drastic change. Change is indeed important and it is better to embrace it to lead a life that is happy and joyful.

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Keri said...

Amazing progress! Congrats! Here's to 2013! Happy NYE!