Name: Gina Davie
Occupation: Running Coach and Personal Trainer
Hometown: Concord, California
ALL-NATURAL Way to REVERSE the Damaging Effects of a Fatty Liver
Spade Nutrition - Elite Weight Loss Supplements
Start Weight: 300 pounds
End Weight: 175 pounds
Time Running: 9 years
I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. When I was in first grade, I weighed 105 pounds. Kids were making fun of me, and my mom didn’t know what to do, so she took me to a nutritionist, who put me on my first diet at 7 years old.
While I did lose weight for a short time, it was confusing to be told to not eat certain things. I was celebrated when I successfully lost weight, and there was silence when I failed to lose weight. It definitely created a complicated and confusing relationship with food and dieting that followed me into adulthood.
By the time I was 28 in 2006, I tipped the scales at 300 pounds. My twenties were supposed to be the best decade. Instead, it had been one where I spent most of the time feeling worthless and ashamed about who I was. I had missed out on so much because I felt so bad about myself; I didn’t want people to make fun of me, and honestly I was tired of it.
My husband and I had been trying to have kids for three years. Around that time, I was told we couldn’t have children and part of the issue was my weight. I didn’t want to waste another decade and watch life continue to pass me by, so I decided to go to Weight Watchers in September 2006 and make a change.
This was everything I needed. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand what to eat, but I needed someone to teach boundaries with food. The points system did just that. You can eat whatever you want, but write it down, track the points, and when you have used them all, you’re done eating.
By creating those boundaries, I learned to be present and mindful about what I was eating, how I was eating, when I was eating, and why I was eating. The way I ate before this was horrendous. I ate so much cheap fast food; a typical dinner order from McDonald’s was two hamburgers, french fries, and a large Coke.
Weight Watchers helped me feel hunger for the first time in my life, and learned to reconnect with my body. For me at 300 pounds, there was no connection to my body. If there had been, it would have been too painful, so I shut it off.
My diet now is vastly different. I am a vegetarian who loves salads, roasted vegetables, rice, beans, tofu, and coffee. I don’t deprive myself, but I also don’t want things I used to eat. I love that I can see immediately how food that nourishes my body gives me energy and improves my mood, and how food that isn’t so nourishing has the opposite effect.
Doing this helped me lost 65 pounds. I was also able to get pregnant. I struggled to stick with Weight Watchers as I was trying to eat enough for my baby. After giving birth, I struggled, but I was motivated by wanting to be a good example for my kids. This was the same as I had my second child.
After having two children, I was ready to try and hit my goal weight, but I was also plateauing in my weight loss.
Diet was essential, but I realized I had stalled because I wasn’t exercising. Running seemed like something healthy and fit people did, so I gave it a try in 2011—and it was a game-changer for my weight and for my life.
On my first runs, my goal was to simply run to some sort of landmark, walk for a few moments, and then run again. They were so hard, and I was so out of breath. I remember one run early on where something in my leg just felt like it snapped—I had to walk back home, and I cried the whole time because I thought that was the end of my running. After talking to a neighbor, he let me know the issue was likely my IT band and gave me some resources. A week of rest later and some new shoes, I began hitting my stride.
The big moment for me, the one that made me believe I was a runner, was my first 5K race. Before that race, I had never run three miles or completed a run without walking.
With my husband pushing our kids in a stroller and motivating me the entire way, I ended up running the whole 5K, even when my husband slowed to a walk. I crossed the finish line and wept. I wish there were words that could fully express what it felt like for me who had only ever seen herself as a fat girl who wasn’t really worth much to finish that race.
That moment flipped a switch for me and helped me to begin to see that the possibilities of my life were so much more than I had ever imagined.
[Discover how to run 10, 50, or even 100 pounds off with Run to Lose.]
In total, I’ve lost 125 pounds. I reached that milestone in 2011. Since I started, I’ve done marathons, becoming a RRCA Certified Running Coach, and started my own coaching business.
For me, I am so grateful for every single run because I know I may not always be able to do it, and I want to savor it for as long as I can. Running is just a joy for me.
To anyone who wants to make a similar change in their life, my advice is to take the chance on a life that you can’t even imagine. Running taught me to believe in myself, that I could change, that I could do hard things, and that I could run towards my fears instead of letting them rule my life and conquer them. It profoundly changed how I saw myself and how I see others. It doesn’t matter what you look like or the pace you run, what matters is that you got up and walked out the door and decided to make yourself and your health a priority.
We want to hear how running changed you! Send your story and submit your photos to us via this web form. We’ll pick one each week to highlight on the site.
This content was originally published here.