Monday, November 3, 2014

Getting More From Losing Weight Than Expected

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. 

21 comments:

  1. You give me something to think about the social aspect of running or walking with a group of people. I'm glad you are enjoying it and the benefits spill over into other times than just Saturdays. I could use more in person social activities I suppose but I find it hard to motivate myself to seek out other people.

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    1. I will say, I found my running club out of desperation - I was starting to train on my own for my first half marathon, and didn't want to do all those long runs by myself. The rest, as they say, was history... :)

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  2. yes yes yes
    for me it is all always about the friendship network we knit in ALL situations.

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  3. What a great post! Running has definitely changed my life for the better.

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  4. Your running group is really the best I ever heard off! If I would move to where you live, I would definitely join. I love how you run together and am so happy for you you found new friends.

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    1. You would love our low-key running club - no pressure, just encouragement and fun. :)

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  5. This is such a nicely written commentary on the evolution of your exercise career! Its really interesting how important the social aspect of exercise is to you, when, like you said, you are a loner. Also, a big reason your group is such a great supportive fun group is because their leader works so hard at making it a fun supportive group!

    Oh, and I have to add--because of our weight loss blogging, I have gained a good friend. One who is willing to receive decorating advice texts at almost any time! Thanks again!

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    1. Thanks - but I wasn't always the leader, and I enjoyed it even more (less work!).

      And heck yes to blogging creating friendships! :) :) :) (how's the mirror turning out?)

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  6. This a great post and similar to me in many ways. I am a happy loner quite often, but now am less afraid to actually meet people LOL!

    One unexpected bonus for me was the freedom to go out anonymously in a crowd and know that I wasn't being stared at for my size. I think of that at public privacy, if that makes any sense.

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    1. Love that term - "public privacy" - I bet people who've always been normal-sized wouldn't quite understand it, but we definitely do.

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  7. I find that social aspect of exercise really interesting considering you are a bit of a loner. But perhaps it is exercise that has reduced some of your aloneness. Over the years of reading your blog I've seen go from someone nearly fearful of trying new things to being the person who is leading the running group. That's some transition - and a great one for you!

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    1. I've definitely evolved over the years into a more social person - shoot, back in the early days I didn't want to even go for a walk in public because people might judge me!

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  8. Great post - I wish some of you would rub off on me! It's amazing how the tentacles of weight loss can extend to so many seemingly unrelated areas of our lives.

    I'm hoping that my aversion to exercise will change. It's a commitment I can't stick with at this point.

    Happy Loner - perfect description. I'm the same way - I don't mind being by myself at all.

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  9. That's just the icing on the cake, isn't it Shelley?! Love it!

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  10. What an excellent post Shelley! Like you, I'm a "happy loner" & am quite comfortable entertaining myself. Over the years I have found that the power of one single facial gesture, THE SMILE, does so much to bring people into my life, if even for a few minutes. Smiling to folks who I meet when I'm out on my walks is usually returned with a smile or a "enjoy your day". Smiling at the barista at my local Starbucks usually is returned with "enjoy your coffee" & smiling to folks I encounter on the elevator in my condo is usually returned with "have a pleasant day". Smiling is such a powerful tool to get even the most crabbiest person to lighten up! Thanks for always bringing a smile to my face when I read your posts!!

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  11. This is a great point! I took up yoga at the age of 45 and was really terrible at it. But the people in the class, who became my friends, were so kind, I stuck with it. Now, I'm still bad, but I feel great in class and after.

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    1. "Now, I'm still bad, but I feel great in class and after." - I love that...makes perfect sense to me! :)

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  12. A skinny friend once told me that the key to maintaining weight loss is to fall in love with exercise. I think you've found the secret.

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  13. Yours sound like such a great, low pressure running group! I confess, I'm far too intimidated by all of the faster runners in our local running clubs to get out with them even though I'm intrigued by the idea of trying more social running at least once. :) If I ever find myself back in College Station, I'm definitely looking you guys up!

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    1. Please do - our running group is big on personal accomplishment, not personal records.

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