Peace. Love. Running. Squats.

For all y’all Texans on this lovely rainy weekend…HELLO!  Let’s enjoy an end to our summer drought. I am so excited this weekend my best friend from Wisconsin is in town and she’s like my muse.  Seriously.  Amazing woman.  She’s inspired me in so many ways.  When I lose focus on my goals, she’s always there to pep talk me to and tell me that health and fitness is not an overnight journey.  As y’all know from my previous article, I am not into running, but Lynda started her wellness journey by running and it has moved on to much more than just running. Anyways, we’re about to embark on a fun ladies’ weekend and I am so excited to share her story with y’all.  Please enjoy!

Hey you guys!
(Sorry, I’m sure you’re all used to Kara’s adorable Texas twanged “ya’ll” but I’m from Wisconsin. We say “you guys”.)

Lynda--That's me!
Lynda–That’s me!

My name is Lynda. I’m a baker, writer, medical biller, fitness freak with a flair for fashion. Kara and I have been friends for over half of how long we’ve been alive. I’ll leave your imaginations to determine how long it’s been. Be kind, imaginations, be kind.

Circa 2005 (maybe? could be older)
Circa 2005 (maybe? could be older)

Since I’m sure you’re dying to know, I’ll give you some history. My history. Not G. Washington or anything cool like that. I’m no Presidential candidate, cherry tree chopper extraordinaire. I’m simply a former fat girl who took charge of her life with a good attitude, forced energy, determination, and a fine bit of balance. I love trying new things and I don’t like it when someone tells me I can’t do something. Let’s say I’m charmingly stubborn. In reality, it’s not charming. I’m darnright obstinate when I get annoyed.

My whole life has been a rollercoaster of emotional eating, exercise—then lack of, lack of capability to find a good physical outlet, and most of all poor self-image and self-esteem. The struggle with my inability to see myself as a beautiful human being has caused so many of my former weight problems. Truthfully, it’s still an issue. I’m an undiagnosed body dismorphic syndrome. When I look in any mirror, I first see myself 60 pounds ago. I stare my reflection down with that stubbornness I told you I possess and gradually let each layer fall off until I can mostly see myself for what I am: A Work In Progress.

The lowest point in my life was approximately three years ago. One failed relationship, poor eating choices, lack of exercise, and general unhappiness with everything around me led me to 200 pounds. On a 5’7” girl. I distinctly remember one day telling a friend that I wanted to train to run a 5k. The response I received broke my heart. “You’ll never do it.”

Me and my boo... 2006-style
Me and my boo… 2006-style

Here’s where my obstinate nature comes in. I’m a nice girl. Really, I am. And I’m generally easygoing until you push a button that doesn’t want to be pushed. At that moment, I made a decision. I’m going to prove him wrong. So wrong. I’m going to get my butt in gear and be the BEST POSSIBLE VERSION OF MYSELF. I think that was the key to it all. Not having a set goal to reach besides the TBD 5k, a pound goal to reach, a waist size or dress size. A constant battle of wills with myself to become MY best self.

I don't know what's up with my face...
I don’t know what’s up with my face…

The very next day, I joined a gym. Started out small. (Do you like that plug, Kara? 😉 ) I was chunky and unused to exercise. I began watching what I ate more and more. Downloaded MyFitnessPal on my brand new iPhone and logged religiously. I ellipticalled the $hit out of myself. I dropped a quick 20 pounds. I felt pretty good about myself. Once I dropped those first 20 pounds, I was motivated and ready to do more. I downloaded Couch to 5k. I realized after Day 1 that it was too easy! Go figure, right? I began running on the treadmill every single day after work and every weekend day at least one mile, then I’d walk some and run some. Eventually I got up to a slowish 32 minute 5k on the mill, running consistently. With a couple of girls from work, I signed up for my first 5k. It was 27 degrees outside on that March morning and I was more worried about leaping over the frozen mud puddles on the Milwaukee lakeside trail than I was worried about my time, but I finished it in 33 minutes. Wearing bunny ears. Hell, if I could finish a 5k in THAT weather, in THAT getup, in THAT time… Just IMAGINE what I could accomplish if I kept it up?!

First 5k... Yes, that's snow. Welcome to Wisconsin.
First 5k… Yes, that’s snow. Welcome to Wisconsin.


I kept running. I kept trying new workouts. Pilates. Piloxing. Punch. Yoga. I love it all. Then at another 5k a bit down the road, I quite literally ran into someone that would change my life yet again. My ex.

Not the run we re-met at, but one we did together. Love + Running! :)
Not the run we re-met at, but one we did together. Love + Running! 🙂

He had also lost a gazillion pounds and was virtually unrecognizable from the man I knew. Conversation began, we fell back in love if ever we were really out of it. (Hint: I wasn’t.) Then we began working out together. For FUN! I was able to convince him to run more and I got to show off those fancy new gams I had achieved by my miles upon miles of daily jogs and he was able to get me out of a weight rut with incorporating heavy weightlifting into my workout regimen. I HAD NO IDEA WEIGHTLIFTING WAS SO FUN! And so body changing.

First ever deadlift. Boyfriend had to document it. He was so proud.
First ever deadlift. Boyfriend had to document it. He was so proud.

The girl I was… The fat, quiet, meek soul with no self-esteem became a WOMAN. A woman with muscles. With determination. With CONFIDENCE.

Glow Sticks + Running + Confidence = NEW ME!
Glow Sticks + Running + Confidence = NEW ME!

Like I said, I still struggle with body image issues. And I fall off the wagon. But I know how hard it is to get where you want so I never fall for long. I stopped weighing myself because I made myself miserable with hormone fluctuation weight gains, one meal weight gains and losses, etc. If anything, I hop on my trusty old scale every couple of months to check that I’m still at a healthy weight and that I haven’t put on more or lost more than I should have. I still run almost daily. That 5k I so wanted to prove I could do, I now do every morning before work out by Lake Michigan (weather permitting, obviously) or I do an Insanity workout, or I hit the gym for a combo weights/cardio routine. I’m beginning to love myself.

I’m a Work In Progress. And that’s okay. Self love is important. If we can’t love who we are, who CAN love us as we are? On this continual journey I find myself on, that’s the one thing I tend to keep coming back to. There are days when I fall down so hard and have to tell myself in my mean Lynda voice (which sounds like it comes from the depths of Mordor, btw) that I am awesome. I’ve come so far and I won’t let myself down. “Old Lynda couldn’t complete a half marathon. New Lynda CAN AND DID. ROARRRRR!”


I’m sharing this with you not to toot my own horn or to make myself feel like I’m some fitness guru. I’m not. I’m an amateur former chunker with a booty who likes to work out, drink beer on occasion, bake some cupcakes, and eat tons of salad. I’m telling you this because if my silly story can help one person make a decision to make some small changes to achieve some BIG ASS results, I’ll count myself successful. Sometimes all it takes it one weird thing to get you up and moving and meal prepping like a beast.

Here’s to all of the Works In Progress!

Happy 29th birthday to me--CONFIDENCE!
Happy 29th birthday to me–CONFIDENCE!

Peace, love, running, and squats.

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