Dear Tara…

20 02 2011

Dear 270 Tara;

We don’t know each other very well. In fact, we’ve never met. I mean, I know who you are. You’re famous round these parts. Everyone knows you. Everyone knows you were struggling to enjoy life. You didn’t think very much of yourself and had gotten yourself in a dark space and had little hope that it was going to get any better. Everyone remembers the day you decided that the life you were living was no where near your potential and you were going to make a difference, even if it was the smallest of changes.

I heard the stories.

The 260’s didn’t take any pictures because they remember you were too embarrassed to even make a public statement about how much you weighed. But with small changes and moving even just a little bit you lost enough weight to think that this journey might be a possibility. They remember how you used to walk up a flight of stairs and had to take a break in between each floor because it hurt to breath. But they remember how you kept at it until you could walk up three flights of stairs without stopping. They remember how you cried when you wanted a diet coke but instead drank a glass of crystal light or how you used to say “my stomach doesn’t care what I put in it, it’s my brain that needs to be retrained” during your lunch break in order to get through those 30 minutes without shoving chocolate or a random doughnut in your mouth.

The 250’s tells me that this is when you started running. They remember that crazy day when you were walking the dogs (and I think by this time you were up to walking 2 miles a day with them – congratulations!) and for some reason you decided to move a little faster. It was early enough in the morning and not a soul was around. You ran for half a block and by the end of it you were so out of breath you actually got sick. We get a good laugh out of that around the water cooler.  They were pretty sure you wouldn’t last long in the running department but you showed them. You found this thing called couch to 5k and began running before the sun came up because you were sure everyone was staring at you. It was slow going but damn if you didn’t keep at it.

The 240’s have a lot of stories to share. They say this picture was taken when you got yourself down to about 245 pounds and this was the first time you actually ran for 5 minutes straight. There was talk that this journey might be serious but there was still some trepidation. They fondly remember the day you decided to go public with your weight loss and 263andcounting.com was born. P.S. Happy belated blogiversary.

 

 

The 230’s say this is really when you planted your feet firmly in the ground and proclaimed this LCJ was for real and not going any where any time soon. You did something you never thought you do: You signed up for your first 5k! Then you went and did something even more crazy: You joined a gym. Yhea we didn’t see that coming

 

 

 

The 220’s celebrated a milestone: 50 pounds lost. Hard to believe that 5 months previous to this picture being taken you weighed 270 pounds. You didn’t see much of a change in your body but you started to notice that your neck was smaller and I think I remember them saying this is where you discovered your collar bone again. They say this was also about the time you realized that this journey wasn’t just about losing the physical weight but that you had to really look to your past to get to your future

 

The 2teens remember the day you signed up for this 5k. It wasn’t the original one you signed up for (that was coming in June) but you couldn’t pass up the opportunity when it was offered by your friend Elizabeth. It was super scary. But you crossed that finish line and that was the day you called yourself a runner. But that wasn’t all you did in your 2teens. You walked your first half Marathon and then you went and did something down right crazy: You signed up for your first triathlon! They fondly remember you thinking that you might actually like being an athlete and couldn’t wait to see what you came up with next! But it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. This was by far the most stressful time during your journey. The 2teens remember the day you got the call that your brother was in the hospital due to his alcoholism. This would mark the first time there was a gain in your journey. You started to realize that stress was a big factor. You pushed too hard physically, you were too hard on yourself emotionally and you got hurt.

 

 

 

The 210’s remember you coming to many crossroads during their time with you. You took your first trip away from home. It was good but it came with a few emotional bumps and bruises. You were fired from your job (and saw the second gain on this journey) and learned that staying in the moment was harder than you ever imagined. But the 210’s also remember when you ran your first solo 5k, learned the importance of NSV and met The Godfather for the first time.

 

 

The 190’s are really proud of the stories they have to share. They like to reminisce they day you almost DIDN’T run your first 10k because you were scared. They like to tell the rest of us about the day you decided that building an army behind you was just as important as building a strong body. The best story they like share is when you decided to join Team in Training and begin training for a HALF MARATHON. Yhea, they didn’t see that one coming either. Way to pull the carpet out from under them (by the way they are very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this journey during the summer months!)

The 180’s think this is your shining time. You spent a lot of time looking in the mirror. You were really getting used to the body you were living in. It was 90 pounds smaller. NINETY POUNDS!! It wasn’t always easy to look at the the person looking back at you. You were still fighting your demons (and still do today) but even your 270 pound mentality couldn’t deny that you were happier and healthier than you’ve ever been not only in your adult life but in your ENTIRE LIFE. This is the time you began to call yourself an athlete and knew it to be a true label.

The 170’s has a lot of bragging rights. They should. This is where you spent the most time. You spent a couple of months here. But you didn’t just sit around and wait for 170 to come knocking on your door. You went after it like a wild fire. You have the Triathlon medal to prove it. You also realized to reach that goal you not only had to drop the physical weight, you had to drop the emotional weight. You realized there was fear in making goal weight and when you began to listen to your heart, you realized that it was time to take that physically fit body back to church. For a little over two months you pushed forward. Slowly watching the numbers on the scale move downward. The day you started this journey you were medically labeled Morbidly Obese. Finally in the middle of November you stepped on the scale and became medically labeled as Normal.

Yep, that’s you. Yep, that’s a half marathon. Yep, you did it 103 pounds lighter. You’ve continued to work harder than you ever give yourself credit for. Over the last year, you’ve ended some relationships, started some awe inspiring relationships. You made a birthday wish come true and set up some serious goals for the next coming year. The one important thing you learned while living through these stories is that life isn’t going to change unless you change. You didn’t want to be depressed or reliant on medication to get you through the day. You didn’t want to sit around wondering what it would be like to be an athlete, you went out and made yourself more of an athlete than you ever dreamed. Even on days you feel like giving in and giving up you realize there is perfection in your imperfections.

You’re probably wondering who I am.

I mean I’ve written you this long letter and I didn’t even introduce myself. I’m the one you NEVER thought you’d see. I’m the one that’s writing the new stories from here on out. The stories that are not only going to continue to change your life but the lives of those that you touch. I’m the one that has been waiting patiently. I’m the one that has been cheering for you for the last 14 months waiting so that I can wrap my arms around you and tell you that you are loved. You are strong. You are beautiful.

I’m the one here to tell you…

YOU ARE NEVER GOING BACK!

My name?

My name is 160.

It’s nice to meet you.