I’ve always been on the bigger side of normal- even as a kid. This past year, however, my weight escalated out of control. A combination of a new extra-sedentary job, new medication, and increased outside pressures made that scale tip up, up, and away. Seeing 200 pounds on the scale was the first alarm that went off in my head. Even then, I started hitting the gym once or twice a week, but it was like my body wasn’t going to slow down now. A few months later I peaked at 236 lbs.
I began doing the Couch to 5K program. I stuck to it the first 5 weeks. I then was volunteering at a bike camp, where I was walking/jogging/running for 90 minutes a day, so I abandoned C25K. Immediately after my week-long bicycle camp, I left for a camping trip in the Smoky Mountains. Included in the trip was plenty of hiking, biking, and generally breathing oxygen-thin mountain air. It was my first trip with my boyrfriend, S, who is not too familiar with outdoor activities. I was so excited to teach him all about campfires and hiking and how satisfying it is to lay down exhausted in your tent at the end of the day.
Our first night in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park involved roughly a 3 mile hike up a mountain. I had to stop multiple times to breathe and lay down. S did not. The next morning, we were setting off on a 11 mile bike ride. I had to walk my bike up nearly every hill. S, who had a fixed gear bike (aka harder to pedal uphill), did not. He had to stop and wait for me to catch up many times. Later that day, we had a half mile hike up the peak of one of the tallest mountains. It’s a big tourist attraction, so there were tons of kids and parents all over the path. Granted, the air is much thinner at 5,000 feet, but I was still having to stop every few minutes. This was a HALF MILE. By that point, I was so frustrated at my lack of physical fitness. That my boyfriend, who just quit smoking and lives off a diet of primarily cheeseburgers, was having such an easier time with everything than I was. There was something out of whack here.
This was the biggest thing that pushed me towards my weight loss journey. Not the number on the scale, not the XL tee shirts, not the extra belly jelly rolls, but that my weight was keeping me from doing the things I love. I dream of climbing all over the Rockies, but I could barely do a half mile paved walkway at the most popular site in the Smokies.