How Running Changed My Life

This is a guest post from Joe. You can read more on his awesome running blog, or follow him on Twitter.

We all know people who are predisposed to being thin, we also know natural athletes who can pick up a new sport and are good at it in a few days; I am neither of those. I am blessed to have a wonderful family full of some of the kindest southern folks you have ever met; unfortunately it’s also a family that struggles with obesity.

Growing up I was always a little chubby. I wasn’t exactly the sort of kid you would hide food from, but I had issues with weight most of my young life. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I had my pivotal moment. I did have some success with various diet and exercise programs before this point, only I always gained every pound back, and every pound that came back to me brought friends.

Even after hearing, and knowing, that losing weight takes an entire shift in lifestyle I was still unable to make that commitment with myself. I remember the exact moment that changed. You might say I did it a little backwards because on that day, at about 240 lbs and unable to finish a two mile run, I signed up for a marathon.

Signing up for a marathon doesn’t exactly make my list of weight loss tips, but uncovering the cause of a weight problem and becoming passionate about fixing it does. The problem was I had always stabbed at weight loss for the wrong reasons; I needed a commitment to lifelong change and a passion strong enough to make it stick. I made the commitment and running provided the passion.

Since that day I have made an interesting discovery. What were once reasons not to exercise and eat right have now become my biggest motivators. Running has become much more to me than a means to stay in shape. It’s now how I deal with stress, cope with grief, and most importantly it’s something my kids will see me doing every day. Instead of running to stay fit, I now stay fit so I can run.

So with a nearly endless amount of information on how to lose weight and entire industries revolving around making it easier; for me it simply came down to passion and commitment. I know running has change my life and I like to think it will be the variable that puts an end to several generations of fitness struggles.

A Healthy Dad is always happy to take guest posts from like-minded bloggers. If you’d like to submit a guest post, just drop me a line!

9 thoughts on “How Running Changed My Life

  1. I LOVE this post. Especially this part: “Instead of running to stay fit, I now stay fit so I can run.”

    I started running as a tool to burn calories. I knew my life had changed when I crossed the finish line of my first 5K and burst into tears, so proud and in love with this new thing I was doing.

    Ditto to running changing lives. So fun to hear from Joe here!

  2. I feel like crying EVERY time I cross the finish line…from a 5K to a 50K. The feeling never goes away for someone who never thought they could do it. It’s awesome!

  3. You’re both absolutely right, it’s truly an awesome feeling of accomplishment. I didn’t *actually* cry after finishing my first 1/2 marathon, but I was definitely emotional and pretty close to it!

  4. Thanks Val.

  5. Oh Joe, awesome post my friend. You are always so easy to relate to and gosh darn it, I just love this post. It’s so cool you guest posted because I also always enjoy Brandon’s blog. 🙂 Both of your blogs is a continual source of encouragement to me.

    Running changed my life too and I remember the exact moment (time, place, etc) when something in me change and I started to move. It was about 5 months later when I actually tried to run and damn, was it hard but I did it. I learned that if I could do it, anything in the world was possible. It changed my entire person, not just physical. I was able to stop all of my medications about 6 months ago, including anti-depressants that I had been on for 10 years. Running somehow gets into every fiber of my being and makes me better. It helps me deal with stress, boosts my confidence and even helped me to resolve some personal issues that plagued me my whole life. Running has, in a way become my greatest companion.

  6. Lynne – That’s awesome. Thanks for the kind words, I love following your progress.

  7. That’s just awesome Lynne. So happy to hear that running has been able to do so much for you!

  8. I’ve followed some of these weightloss blogs for a while looking for inspiration and motivational tips. And they always seem to devolve into a love fest for running.
    My story is kinda the opposite of Joe’s: As a kid I was a top athlete, competing in softball, volleyball, and even rowing on my high school’s crew team. At the peak of my physical condition I would run a mile and a half every day, and three miles on Saturdays. The thing is, I’ve always HATED running. The boredom, the trudging, never knowing if I was going too fast or too slow, the constant foot pain which has since led to a double bunionectomy before the age of 30.
    I don’t want to bash running, because it obviously works for you and that’s awesome. But what advice do you have for someone who just never gets bitten by the run bug?

  9. There’s nothing wrong at all with not liking running – to each their own.

    What I would advise is just finding something active that you do enjoy. There’s a myriad of choices out there – biking, hiking, softball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and so many more. The bottom line is that it should be something that you enjoy doing, not something you feel like you should be doing.

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