Training For Life
It’s hard to look at my before picture but weight has been something that I’ve always battled with. Ever since I could remember, I was teased for being the “big girl” for as far back as I could remember. Even though I’ve battled with my weight consistently, I’ve always been active. In fact, if I’m not working out it has always affected my mood and happiness.
In 2009, I hit rock bottom as it pertained to my health. I had filed for divorce and picked up smoking as a way to deal with the anxiety. As well as drinking heavily so that I could escape from my reality that I’d grown to despise. Then I was laid off. The final event was winding up pregnant. I was an absolute mess and my body showed it. I weighed my heaviest ever at 255!
Throughout my 1st trimester I struggled with depression and how to handle it. I couldn’t drown myself in smoke or alcohol and I was forced to face a lot of my issues head on. My mom would drag me out the bed and make me walk on the beach with her. We watched many sunrises and every day we walked, I felt better.
Then I felt my baby move…
I was determined to give her the best life possible and that meant healthy. But in order for me to do that, I had to start with myself. While I was pregnant, I decided that I wanted to become a runner after she was born. Every woman wants to get rid of their pregnancy weight but I wanted to be the one thing that I never could be growing up–a runner. My mom always said that she’d gotten rid of her weight by running so I figured that would just be a by-product of my new habit. I started off walking every day. I would wrap my daughter in a baby carrier and we would just walk for 30 minutes…I loved it. I felt empowered every day that I got up to do it.
I moved back to Atlanta and moved in with a girlfriend where I had more support. We were both single mothers that wanted our girls to have healthy lifestyles. I got a jogging stroller from Goodwill and we would walk to the park in the evenings after work. The girls would play and we would walk back, about 3 miles.
In May of 2012, I registered for my first 5k. By this point I’d lost about 40lbs by eliminating carbs, dairy, and sugar from my diet and doing cardio 5 times a week. Once I registered for my first race, there was no turning back. It was hard at first. I would walk then run. Then that turned into a run with some walking. I ran my first race and did one of my miles in 9min. I was so proud of myself!
As my personal life was being sorted out, I was hitting the pavement. I was lonely, frustrated, and angry and I would take it all out on the pavement at 5am or 9pm. That was my “me time”. I registered for my first half marathon in November 2012. At first I honestly thought I was insane. But then training started and I loved that I could run further and further…AND I looked great!
I had dropped a total of 60lbs and was finally under 200lbs!
I now had an outlet for the things that frustrated me so that I didn’t take it out on my daughter and I benefited from it. My brother did the half marathon with me and my mom and daughter came to support me. It was amazing and awesome and tiring and crazy and I was so insanely proud of myself because I could finally call myself a runner.
As a single, working mother I’ve often been asked how I do/did it and what my motivation was. I have two simple answers: I did it because I wanted it bad enough to live it. I was and am consistently motivated by my daughter and wanting a better life for her. She’s 3 now and has already started participating in races with mommy.
So what’s next? Well… I’m now training for a triathlon for my 30th birthday this summer!
This is my story so far… There’s certainly more to come because once you jump one hurdle, there are more to follow.
Thank you for reading!
Hi All! My name is Aaronica Bell and I go by littlemissfitness. When I discovered that I was pregnant I wanted to make a change to live a healthy lifestyle. I love running and swimming. I’ve been running for a year now and have multiple 5k’s, a 10k and a half marathon under my belt. Up next is becoming a tri-athlete!