Girl Hero Adrian
I’ll admit when I first came across Adrian’s blog, Chase Fear, it was her before and after pictures that caught my eye. It didn’t take much reading to see that her blog was about so much more than weight loss. It’s about perseverance and overcoming fears. Adrian knows what it’s like to over eat and under eat. After a long journey she has come to a place of peace with her food and has run two marathons in the process. Find out how Adrian found peace with food, overcomes depression, and why she loves to run!
How is your lifestyle now different to your lifestyle before?
Before: For me, food wasn’t a means of survival. My life became evolved around food. When I think back to my relationship with food, it’s actually quite alarming how common it is amongst today’s society. It’s no surprise to me that I often ate because I had “nothing better to do,” but I believe the root of the issue was much deeper than keeping myself busy for several moments. Recently, I came across a quote by Ann Wigmore; “The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” I read this quote dozens of times because it’s as if Ann knew me herself. You often hear about individuals who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, etc., but you rarely hear about food addictions. Food is cheap, easily accessible, and will always be legal, no matter the age of a person. Why? Well, we need food to survive. What we don’t need is excess. Too much of a good thing can be bad. Unfortunately, these thoughts never crossed my mind every time another morsel of food made its way to my mouth. Food was my drug of choice, and it gave me intense feelings…almost like a high. It helped to fill an empty void. What I didn’t know is that I was slowly killing myself.
After: This question is going to take me into the 2nd leg of my journey…my 26.2 mile long journey. Upon losing 110 pounds, I was suddenly faced with a huge wall of fear, which was constructed with bricks depicting failure, depression, bullying, and a strong sense of worthlessness. My caloric intake started reaching dangerously low levels in the summer of 2010, and I was confronted by concerned family and friends on more than one occasion. I was in denial, my life near the point of jeopardy…until I met a runner in October of 2010, which I will explain in more detail below. Running has saved my life and allowed me to view food as fuel for my performance. I depend on proper nourishment in order to feed my passion. Since becoming a runner, I’ve stopped daily weigh-ins, I’ve gained 14 pounds of muscle, I consume twice as many calories, and I’ve learned to love healthy, natural foods. Food gives me the energy that I need during my training cycles, and it’s a constant learning process. And, when I do treat myself, it actually feels like a treat. Cake tastes so much better when you don’t eat it often!
You seem to have a lot of discipline! How did you develop your discipline?
When it comes to my running discipline, it’s simple. Running is an amazing sport for many reasons. You just never ever know what’s going to happen, and something about that notion drives me. You have good days, and you have bad days. The bad days allow you to appreciate the good days. I also love being able to catch a glimpse of the world by foot. It’s miraculous how much I’m able to see/take in during a run, many things that I couldn’t possibly experience otherwise.
I also love what running has done for me. I run to challenge myself. I run to be fearless. I run to clear my my wildly rampant thoughts. I’m a runner, and I love every painstakingly triumphant moment. I sometimes think, “Why do I do this to myself?” But when I reach a new personal best or cross another finish line, that’s when I get my answer. I love the feeling of the ground pounding beneath my feet. I love the wind blowing through my hair and the sweat pouring down my face. An overwhelming sense of pride rushes through me every single time I lace up my shoes. Running doesn’t define me. I define running. I gained so much insight from running. I’ve developed new outlooks, built numerous friendships, and created lasting memories because of running. Running is an adventure, and I’m always up for the challenge. I’m chasing every fear that I’ve ever possessed, and I’m using these fears to drive me forward on a daily basis.
When it comes to leading a healthy life, I like to compare my body to a car, my internal structure the engine, and my stomach the gas tank. You wouldn’t put regular fuel into a diesel engine, would you? That’s how I feel about poisoning my body with unhealthy foods.
You say depression runs in your family and I gather from your blog you have dealt with some depression yourself. (Me too.) What have you found helps keep those dark days at bay?
An overwhelming feeling of hopelessness still strikes me at random moments. Often times, I can’t even explain why I feel sad. However, I can say without any regards, that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my whole entire life. When depression lands on my plate, I’m MUCH more open about my feelings and the things that are bothering me. In the past, my book was closed and left on a shelf to collect dust. Now, I often open up to my mom, my loving boyfriend Sean, or my close family-like friends. For the most part, they are able to lift my spirit enough to get me through my brief bouts of sadness. When that doesn’t work, I turn to running. A lot of people say that ‘running is cheaper than therapy.’ That’s because it’s true. When I run, it’s my own personal time to reflect upon my life. Sometimes, I even zone out and completely forget about whatever is stressing me out at the moment.
How did you start running? What kept you running?
Running. Just the idea of running made me cringe. In the past, I never viewed running as a sport. I viewed it as a form of torture or punishment. All I had were painful memories from gym class where I could barely run for short bursts without being struck with fatigue and shortness of breath. Running always made me feel completely weak and defeated. I’ve even heard chuckles and rude comments from fellow students. I dreaded every single second of gym class, never hoping to run again. It wasn’t until I met a runner myself that I changed my outlook. He already had ultra-marathons and the Pittsburgh Marathon under his belt and I often thought, why? Why does he run so much? “It’s not fun,” I thought. The more I heard him talk about it and reveal his passion for running, the more intrigued I became. I started reading about running on the internet and came across the term most runners are familiar with, “runner’s high.” I didn’t get it, and for some time, I don’t think I wanted to understand it. Although, reading stories about this notion left me with a sort of empty feeling. I ultimately ended up wanting to experience this feeling for myself, so I could understand why people run, and more importantly, why my friend runs. I did a lot of research on my own through magazines, websites, and asking my friend for a few pointers here and there. I began testing my limits on the treadmill in January of 2011 and once I discovered how quickly I was progressing, I didn’t want to give up. I became my own motivator. Once I showed a genuine interest in running, my friend convinced me to sign up for the Mt. Summit Challenge. The rest is history. I still don’t see running as a sport. I see it as a lifestyle. It’s what I do. This friend I’m referring to is no longer a part of my life, but I’ve learned that people come into your life for a reason. Perhaps I was born a runner, but I just needed that extra push. He was there to open the door and for that, I will always be grateful.
How do you stay motivated?
I love every “I want to quit” moment because it drives me to push harder and break through my barriers. Even I have days when I don’t want to do anything but sit on my couch and watch television. It’s especially true now that I work 40+ hours per week. When I find myself in a running funk, I just imagine the 230 lb shy, awkward girl. I think about how far I’ve come, and that’s what motivates me to lace up my sneakers and get my butt out the door. That’s definitely the hardest part of any run. I’ve certainly been at this for way too long to give up now. I constantly want to prove to myself that the little voice inside my head is a liar for ever telling me that this is impossible. It’s not. And once I found that motivation to become the best version of myself, I refused to let go of it. It’s astonishing of how much your body and mind tie into one another.
Did your weight loss journey change you on the inside?
Yes. I feel like I was in a coma for the last 20+ years, and I’m finally waking up. I think the best reward of this entire journey is being able to say “I’m happy” and truly mean it 100%. After losing the weight, my silence was still something that needed to be worked on. I had no other choice but to find the volume button and start living. Now that I’ve discovered my identity and found happiness, I can finally speak now and not forever hold my peace. I think losing the weight was my first speak now moment. I trusted my journey. I conquered what seemed like an endless battle, and I’ve gained so much insight as a result. Life is a crazy, beautiful ride, and I want to experience everything that I possibly can since I missed out on so much in the past. I feel like I’ve been given a new lease on life, and I’m not about to waste another given moment.
Any advice for people beginning their own weight loss journey?
We were all given 24 hours in a day. The gap between success and failure in life is dependent upon how a person chooses to use their time.
Get your mind ready for the battle. Your greatest opponent is yourself. When your mind tells you that losing weight is “impossible,” use that as a dare. Dare yourself to become a better you. Say to yourself, “I’m not going to disappoint anyone except for that little voice inside of my head telling me I can’t.” Next, slow and steady wins the race. Just like a marathon, it’s important not to start out too fast because it will lead to burn out early in the race. They key is to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Document everything in a food journal, and hold yourself accountable (find a support group). You run your body, nobody else, so take good care of it.
Also, weight loss involves behavior modification. Poor habits didn’t develop overnight, so in contrast, they won’t disappear overnight. Trust me when I say this: changing habits isn’t easy, but if you’re aiming for positive changes, I can guarantee the worth. With a triple D effort, dedication, discipline, and determination, you’ll soon find yourself heading in the right direction. The key to permanent success (keeping the weight off FOREVER) is finding the best way for you to stay on the path. Key word: YOU. What works for someone else may not work for you, vise versa. Sure, there will be wrong turns, dead ends, and unknown paths, but as long as you’re willing to find your way back, you’ll keep traveling along the road of success. You have to trust your journey.
Can you share one of your favorite quotes with us?
“Greatness. It’s just something we made up. Somehow we come to believe that greatness is a gift reserved for a chosen few for prodigies, for superstars, and the rest of us can only stand by watching. You can forget that. Greatness is not some rare DNA strand. It’s not some precious thing. Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing. We are all capable of it, all of us.” -NIKE
Adrian, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! I know you given me a lot to think about! You didn’t send me this picture but I found it on your blog and I think it encapsulates the reason why you are a Girl Hero!
Hugs and High Fives,
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Journey with our family on the road at New School Nomads as we travel fulltime in RV through the United States!