When you are overweight for a couple of decades, you tend to fantasize about what life would be like if you were thin. For me, this included looking good in clothes, shopping in stores that carried regular sizes, blending in as a normal-sized person in a group, and, oh yeah, being healthier overall. And while I thought those things would change my life, it wasn't like they were monumental transformations, you know? I wasn't particularly unhappy, so I didn't expect, nor did I look for, anything to be all that different.
Being as exercise-resistant as I was in the beginning of my weight-loss journey, I surprised myself by eventually taking a liking to it, and actually becoming open to trying crazy new things - I flipped a giant tire, I beat the box jump, I did countless burpees (still hate 'em) along with all kinds of challenging workouts, and of course, I became a runner. All of this was a path that I never envisioned I'd be on once I lost weight...I became one of those active people you see out there - instead of driving by and looking at that runner on the sidewalk, I WAS that runner on the sidewalk.
Almost as soon as I realized that I enjoyed exercising, I figured out that I enjoyed exercising with others even more. You bond over sweating together, over pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion, over being crazy enough to show up at 6:00 in the morning to run a ridiculous amount of miles, over successes of a great run and failures of barely finishing. And that bond extended to the things shared during the actual run itself - we have a "runner's cone of silence" that means whatever is talked about during a run is kept private; it's very cathartic to push yourself so much physically AND be able to release the mental stuff at the same time.
Friendships formed. People who I never would have met in any other circumstances are now good friends, both in running and in life. I've become so much more social - while I'm still a happy loner, I look forward to the time I get to spend with my running friends. We do more than run (and eat breakfast at Blue Baker) together at this point; there's a sweet support that extends beyond Saturday mornings that only comes with a real friendship. I didn't know I needed any more friends, and I didn't go looking for them, but losing weight ended up with a healthy gain - of friends.