Story & Photos by Michelle Rojano
Life can be stressful for a lot of people, myself included. Staying healthy can be tough. The responsibilities that come with being an adult can leave our health in the back burner. Learning to prioritize your health, whether you want to lose weight or simply feel better, is important. I am not a dietitian or personal trainer. I am simply an average person sharing their story to help others learn from my mistakes and hopefully inspire others to find their best health. Follow @chelly788 on Instagram to track my 5K and health progress in between publications.
Gaining weight is not the end of the world. In my case, I think I needed a few extra pounds; however, 25 is pushing it. I always had a thinner build and played tennis most of my teenage years. These two factors were key to staying thin throughout my teenage years.
My Body Dysmorphia
I never realized I had spent my entire high school career looking in the mirror and seeing myself as “fat.” My perspective, after gaining a considerable amount of weight, has changed. Knowing how skewed my perspective was makes me wonder if I can trust myself now.
Analyzing my Habits
I began working full-time and attending college full-time. This had a bigger impact on my weight than I expected. I went from eating home-cooked meals at least twice a week to eating junk food for every single meal of the day. Not to mention, I work retail, which I dislike. Food became my reward for showing up to work. Taking a lunch was the most exciting part of my work day, so I indulged. Showing up to work earned me a Starbucks drink, maybe a breakfast sandwich.
Health and Weight
Birth control is a great option for many but with it comes many side effects. Everyone has different experiences, but I truly believe this has contributed to my weight gain.
How I Decided to Lose Weight
I realized, given my routines, eating home-cooked meals was unrealistic. Instead, I decided to make conscious healthy choices about my meals and portions. For example, if I wanted to grab Starbucks before work, I ordered a low calorie coffee or tea in a smaller size. I also picked up the habit of grabbing kids meals whenever possible. I realized ordering larger meals either caused me to eat more or waste food.
One huge move to a healthier lifestyle I have made is cancelling my gym membership and instead signing up for a 5K race. I realized I avoided the gym because I hated it. I felt like people stared at me and judged me. I paid a monthly membership and only visited once a month. On the other hand, paying to participate for a race motivated me to run regularly.
My Journey to 5K
I began running in the beginning of August. My first run was devastating and eye opening. I ran a little more than 3 miles. Really I ran less than a mile and walked for most of it trying to catch my breath and not throw up. It was upsetting to realize I would not be able to run for about half a mile before having to stop for a breath. What if I ever found myself in a life or death situation? I ran a mile in about 15 minutes.
In hindsight, running a 5K from the start was probably too much to begin with. Despite that, knowing I was able to complete it, even at my worst, was a relief. The next day, I was so sore I could not walk properly. After recovering, running the same distance two days later, I was able to shave off a minute. Currently, I run a mile in less than 12 minutes. Running is not only getting easier, but I see myself running more than before. Fewer walking breaks and faster miles.
How I Track Progress
I used my Fitbit Versa at first to track my run. Recently, I switched to the Galaxy watch. The Fitbit and Samsung Health apps also have other useful tools, like tracking water and food intake and weight. I don’t weigh myself regularly or keep track of progress through weight loss. Focusing on losing weight instead of feeling healthy about my choices put me in a bad place. Running helps lose weight, but I am also building muscles I didn’t have before so my weight won’t change for awhile. In the future, I plan to buy a smart scale to pair with my app, but currently it is not the best option for me.
What I Have Learned So Far
I think a benefit of gaining weight and the journey to lose it is that I learned a lot about my body and weight gain. People don’t gain weight overnight. The process is gradual and it takes several months for the person to notice. It’s easy to ignore the signs and fall into a cycle of bad habits. My biggest hope in this is that I learn and practice good habits. I hope I can make running a normal part of my routine one day, and I hope smaller portions become normal portions of food.