Girl Hero Shelley
Girl Hero Shelley has been on a journey to fit since May 2008. Since then, she has lost over 110 pounds, ran races, and has experienced things she never thought she would experience! She enjoys running, reading, writing, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and shopping! On her blog, My Journey To Fit, Shelley shares the ups and downs of her journey. It’s an honor to share a glimpse of her story with you!
Tell us a little bit about your family?
Iâ€™ve been married to Jeff for 26 years and have two grown sons (I feel way too young to be able to write that!), Sam and Max, who are away attending college. We are originally from California but have lived in Texas for the past 18 years. Our family also consists of our crazy pets, including Paco the Wonder Dog, who constantly shows up in pictures on my blog.
How does your lifestyle now compare to your lifestyle then?
I had a lot of overweight years where I sat on the sidelines and watched â€“ I didnâ€™t join in. If my kids went swimming, I sat in the shade. Too fat to put on a swimsuit, much less get in the pool. Go for a walk? Iâ€™ll be waiting for you when you come back. Basically I didnâ€™t do much if involved any kind of physical activity. Now, Iâ€™m the one out there doing things! I run races. I ride my bike. I donâ€™t think anything of going for a long walk. Heck, I even went ziplining a few months ago on a family vacation in Maui! Iâ€™ve done things I never, ever thought Iâ€™d do â€“ itâ€™s amazing how much bigger my world became once my body got smaller.
How did you get started? Did you follow a specific program?
I started with a mostly liquid, high-protein diet that was prescribed by my doctor â€“ I had hoped to lose a large chunk of weight fairly quickly, in order to give me momentum to keep going. I ended up staying with that for about three months before I transitioned myself to counting calories â€“ and as I lost weight and became more aware of â€œclean eatingâ€ my food choices changed from eating prepackaged frozen diet meals to lean meats, fresh fruit and veggies, whole grains and Greek yogurt.
What have been your biggest roadblocks and more importantly how do you get past them?
Most of my roadblocks have been mental, like when I was on a plateau that lasted six weeks â€“ knowing that I was doing what I was supposed to, and not getting any results on the scale made it hard to keep going. Honestly, what helped with that was going clothes shopping â€“ just trying on things in smaller sizes helped me to see that yes, I was getting results, even if the blasted scale wasnâ€™t showing it. Exercise was a big deal for me â€“ I worked out with a small group of women and a couple of trainers three times a week, and I was afraid to miss any days because I worried that I would get into the habit of skipping workouts. Then I had gallbladder issues, and had to have surgery to have it removed and could not exercise at all for a few weeks. That was tough, feeling like I was losing the progress Iâ€™d made with the workouts. I worried Iâ€™d slip back to my old ways of laziness, but I made myself return as soon as I got the OK from my doctor.
You mention how helpful â€œthe supportâ€ you received from the weight loss blogging community was for you on your weight loss journey. Can you elaborate on that? How did blogging help you reach your goals?
I have a terrible memory, and knew that I would eventually forget both the struggles and accomplishments along the way, so blogging became my way of keeping track of my journey. I had no idea that I would not only find a wealth of other weight-loss bloggers out there who not only inspired me, but showed me that it was possible to lose 100 pounds or more â€“ and keep it offâ€¦which was something I really hadnâ€™t thought about. Getting comments on my posts made me feel like I had people in my corner â€“ people who really understood all the crazy things that we go through as we make such a huge life change. And over time friendships with other bloggers went from leaving comments to more personal emails, complete with advice and even more support.
Any advice for new bloggers who are just starting out on their weight loss journey?
Find the bloggers who you can relate to and read them for inspiration and motivation. Go back in their archives and read from the beginning â€“ I remember finding a couple of bloggers who had lost over 100 pounds, and knowing that I needed to do that myself, went back and read how they got started and their struggles and triumphs. Sometimes when you only see someone who has achieved their goal, you donâ€™t realize that it took them a lot of time to get there. Donâ€™t put a time limit on yourself to hit your goal weight; instead, make this a lifestyle change so you wonâ€™t have to lose this weight ever again.
You ran your first mile at age 46 and have since run many races! Did you discover anything about yourself after that first 1 mile run?
Hmmm, that it was both easier and harder than I realized. Easier because I actually did it â€“ me, who never even ran when it was popular in the 70s, and harder because it turns out that for me, running is almost as much a mental challenge to keep going as it is a physical challenge to actually do it. But the most amazing thing I discovered is that I was a runner. Never expected that phrase to be attached to my name!
What is that you like about running? Do you do any sort of other exercise other than running?
Because I have been concentrating on training for half marathons (my first was in November), Iâ€™ve just been running for the last five months. I wish I had kept up with my upper body workouts â€“ I got pretty lazy about them, and only just recently have picked up the weights again. I forgot how much I like the feeling of making my arm muscles burn a little, and I love seeing my muscles becoming more defined again.
You recently discovered you had an injury with the Austin marathon less than a month a away. How are you coping with the news?
One day I will be wildly optimistic and the next day
very pessimistic a little more grounded in reality. But overall, I canâ€™t let go of the thought that I will be able to run Austin. Which may not be the smartest thing to do, considering I have another half marathon just two weeks later that is in my hometown â€“ I know that if Iâ€™m not at 100%, I run the risk of hurting my ankle so much that I wonâ€™t be able to run any races. This truly has been as much of a mental challenge as a physical one for me.
What motivates you? Do you need to set goals? If so what goals are you working towards?
Iâ€™d like to say that my health motivates me, but really? Itâ€™s new clothes. I still get such a thrill whenever I go shopping and these small sizes â€“ single digit, mind you â€“ fit ME!!! That alone is enough to keep me eating right â€“ I want to keep wearing (and buying) my smaller clothes. OK, I will say that being healthy is a secondary motivator (shallow, I know â€“ but hey, this is me being honest) â€“ since Iâ€™ve lost over 100 pounds, I donâ€™t have high blood pressure or acid reflux anymore, and hopefully Iâ€™ve avoided anything worse that stems from obesity.
As for goals, I never used to set goals. I donâ€™t push myself in the traditional way that a lot of people do â€“ I donâ€™t run every race trying to beat my previous time; I donâ€™t have a specific number on the scale that I need to seeâ€¦I guess no one could every accuse me of being an overachiever, haha! But I do like the way I look in (most) clothes now, so being able to keep fitting into my new, smaller clothes definitely motivates me.
And for fun, whatâ€™s the story behind your pink bike???
My bike is an Electra Hawaiian Cruiser â€“ and it is the first new bike Iâ€™ve had since my 6th birthday! It might be a little crazy for a grown woman to choose such a pink, flowery bike, but it makes me happy every time I see it. The bike represents my commitment to exercise. When I first started my diet, it was all I could do to ride my bike a couple of laps around my circleâ€¦half a mile, while not seeming like much now, was a lot for me. I gradually increased the distance and amount of time I spent riding, and I consider the bike my gateway to fitness.
Thank you Shelley for sharing a piece of your journey with us! You are no doubt an inspiration and Girl Hero!
Hugs and High Fives,
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