Today’s guest posting comes from none other than my bestest friend in the entire world, Miss Sophia Marshall. She has been my partner in crime for over 20 years now – from the time we hit 4th grade, onward. But let me tell you something about her that if you don’t already know, you will after reading her story: she is truly a warrior, and an amazing person. I wanted her to share her inspiring transformation with you all, as my first guest post for my Transformation series!
“The road followed on my fitness journey wasn’t always easy. I spend a good 25+ years of my life, looking in the mirror and hating what I saw staring back at me. I lacked motivation and drive, I struggled to find the emotional support I needed, and it really took a long time before I believed in myself (even AFTER successfully losing the weight). Now three kids later, I am at the healthiest I’ve ever been – and finally in the happiest state I’ve ever allowed myself to be in.
“What really shocked me, and made me refocus on my health, was seeing my immediate family members struggle with high blood pressure, diabetes, lymphedema, and hypothyroidism. The worst part is that some suffer from more than one ailment! I knew that I had to change something in my life so that I could continue to be the best parent possible (as cliché as that might sound, it’s true). I wanted to make sure that I would be able to live as long as possible to see all their accomplishments and achievements.
“I won’t lie though, there was also some portion of me that wanted to do it just to prove everyone wrong, including myself. I wanted to succeed despite all the odds being against me. The kicker was that I never realized what it would take to get there.
“I started simply. I signed up for a 5k with my BFF and started running. I was slower than ever, but I didn’t let it stop me. From my heaviest weight at 260 lbs, I ran. I trained hard and I started watching what I ate, tracking my food diligently, and on December 1, 2012 I crossed my first finish line as a runner. By then I had lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 lbs.
“And then the craziest thing happened….
“My BFF – let me repeat – my best friend in the entire world, suggested we run a marathon. We had ONE 5k under our belt and she suggested we run a marathon…… and I agreed. So after three short months of running and dieting, we began what culminated in a year of training for the Rock N’ Roll Marathon in November of 2013.”
“…my best friend in the entire world, suggested we run a marathon. We had ONE 5k under our belt and she suggested we run a marathon…”
“It was hard. One of the hardest experiences I had ever put myself through. We signed up in early March with a ‘discount’ and didn’t opt for the refund so we would have no choice but to earn the money we had just spent.
“We ran 4 days a week, cross trained one day, and then had two rest days. I lived for the rest days. But I stuck to my guns. Throughout this looong process, I also found the spare time to get a divorce. Certainly not where I saw myself when I started on my journey, but I think the culmination of bettering myself, and searching to find the real me underneath the insecurities, led to an understanding that ultimately, divorce could potentially be a good thing. While they’re never easy for anyone, and it was hard letting that part of myself go, it did take some time before coming to this realization on my own.
“By the time December rolled around, I had lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 lbs. You know what else weighs 100 lbs? An underweight model! I LOST A PERSON YOU GUYS!!
“I crossed my second finish line, 26.2 miles later, at 5 hrs and 10 minutes.
“With my marathon completed, I had to set a new goal for myself. I decided to use my new-found exhilaration for fitness, to become a certified cycling instructor (for 2 years I instructed). I continued to eat well and track my intake. When it was all said and done, at my lowest weight, I hit the scales at 132 lbs (for a total of 130 lbs lost). The worst part was though, I still saw the 260 lb me every time I looked in the mirror.
“Body dysmorphia is a REAL THING you guys. And it was something I still continue to struggle with at times, even now, 5 years later. To combat it, I decided to stop tracking my calories so diligently and settled instead for mostly whole foods and I stick to a somewhat low carb diet (I do like sweets so I splurge occasionally). I found someone in my now-husband, that constantly tells me how beautiful and wonderful I am – and NO it’s not vain to like hearing that (so if you have a man that does this, SOAK UP EVERY SECOND because you deserve it!). I even had a baby just over a year ago, and I still managed to keep the weight off.
“It’s a hard thing worrying that every meal I eat will immediately make me go back to the old me…. I know it won’t but that doesn’t stop the anxiety. I still need to reach out and call someone when I need help seeing how far I’ve come, or a reminder that I’m not that same girl. I work hard at seeing the real me every day. And I think I like the person I’m finally starting to see staring back at me.”
A HUGE thank you to Sophia for sharing what amounts to such a personal struggle, with us! Encouragement welcome in the comments below!
While she doesn’t have a blog of her own, you CAN follow Sophia on Instagram @sophiam30 .