One Scary Thought That Changed My Life

You only start feeling the loss when something you’ve been taking for granted has been taken away from you.

Less than two months ago, I was in a hospital bed in the intensive care unit, recovering from a surgery. I wasn’t able to sit up; I had to call the nurse if I wanted to pee (in a pot). Hospital was not a bad experience for me, but I never want to see an ICU again.

When I returned from the hospital, my doctor told me I should rest and avoid all demanding sports activities for at least three months.

Three long months without swimming!

Two days before the surgery, I broke my personal distance record in swimming (2500 meters freestyle). Two days after the surgery, sneezing and coughing hurt like hell.

For a week or two, I did not miss swimming or running. I wasn’t even an active runner months before the surgery. I was recovering, and my body was only willing to accept Netflix and light walks inbetween two TV shows.

But then I started yearning for my old active lifestyle.

Yes, yearning is the right word.

In the early mornings, although it was nice to sleep in while my boyfriend was getting dressed for the pool, I did wonder: was I still fit enough to complete even an 800m swim? Have I already lost all my fitness I invested so much in? I wanted to dive into the blueness and test my new, reduced limitations.

In the evenings, I was thinking about how nice it would be now to just get out of the apartment for a run. Just for a short one.

But I couldn’t go.

I couldn’t go and do something that most people hate, something I used to hate too.

I began wearing my running shoes for things other than running (something I never do). It felt good to wear them in anticipation of the day I would feel recovered enough to start running again.

I went today.

Today is day 51 after the surgery.

My short run felt like freedom.

Some of my fitness is still there; but I didn’t want to rush it. I stopped after 16 minutes of running, because I can go for another run tomorrow.

I can run! Whenever I want! For as long as my body feels like!

I never thought I’d ever write about running. I’ve always hated running. Our education system thought it was a good idea to make physically unprepared kids sprint for 1600 meters without any preparation. The high school gym class taught me too well how to hate running.

But in September 2014, everything changed when I saw this picture on Google+:

10 Reasons to run now

What caught my attention was this line (here’s the source of this image):

You have been running your whole life from one thing to another, this time you can do it on your own terms.

This flipped a switch in my head. My next thought scared the living shit out of me:

Maybe you should try running.

You probably know the feeling when you think of doing something scary, something you never ever want to do, but your mind tricks you into believing you should consider it.

I did consider it. Two weeks after that first thought, I bought my first running shoes (Mizuno Wave Rider 17).

12 months after that, I was 20 kilos (44 pounds) ligther.

6 months after that, I lost another 5 kilos (11 pounds), and then another 2 kilos (4.4 pounds).

Getting that surgery actually helped with my weight loss because they took out an annoying fibroid the size of a grapefruit that has been growing inside of me for more than a decade.

I’m still losing weight, without trying too much. Weight loss simply happens when you know the math and stick to it.

(I’ll write more about the math that worked wonders for me, but you already know about it: it’s CICO, Calories In, Calories Out balance. And no, running is not the complete story. Behaving intelligently around food is the other half of it.)

Running has completely changed my life. I owe everything to that one scary thought that I had the guts to listen to. It was the missing piece of the puzzle. That thought changed my lifestyle forever, for the better. I’m no longer a couch potato. I’m no longer obese. My BMI (Body Mass Index, here’s a good BMI calculator) dropped 9.6 points, and I’m now in the normal weight range.

When I think of how much I hated running since elementary school! If only they taught me well, maybe I would have skipped being obese most of my life.

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