A few years ago, I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize who I was anymore.
I remember feeling trapped in my own body. At my heaviest weight I tipped the scale at 304 pounds. I was on a host of medications because I suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I was also pre diabetic.
My back, neck, and knees hurt, and my thighs rubbed together raw more times than I care to remember.
I was out of control with my eating habits. I remember standing up in my kitchen and eating a sandwich and a bag of chips while cooking dinner that I would soon eat in less than an hour. I was eating while preparing to eat.
After a wake up call visit at my doctor’s office, I finally faced the unhealthy relationship I had developed with food. I came to the realization that I wasn’t only eating when I was hungry, but rather, when I was hurting.
After some much needed soul searching, I got moving. I was able to go from 304 pounds down to 143 pounds in less than 15 months. To get started I created a weight loss vision board (which I encourage everyone to do when they first start out), and I used the power of visualization to write down my diet/exercise philosophy. I hadn’t run since high school. But I knew my goal was to get running again. So, I pictured myself already at the finish line, even before I got started. And I successfully conquered the mountain I once thought couldn’t be climbed.
To lose the weight I changed my eating habits, worked myself up to jogging/running 5 days a week for 45-60 minutes, and incorporated weight training. I currently run between 15-20 miles a week to maintain my weight loss and to stay in shape for upcoming races.
When I first started out at 304 pounds I was too embarrassed to go to the gym or to walk in my neighborhood. So instead, I danced in my living room like no one was watching to my favorite music for 30 minutes. And I lost 32 pounds in the first two months. Slowly, I worked up the courage to start walking and then jogging. And in a matter of a few months I signed up for my first 5k race.
I remember the first time I crossed the finish line and received my medal. I was still well over 240 pounds and I felt unstoppable. I had caught the runners bug after that and there was no turning back. As I continued losing weight, I signed up for more races. I wasn’t fast by any means. But, eventually I worked myself up to my first half and full marathons.
Each medal that I received was proof to me: running had saved my life. And even with all my shin splints, ankle sprains, early morning runs, and tears shed, it showed I stood in the ring and decided to fight for my health. One pound and one mile at a time.
I’ll be honest, I had several hard days. Lost my motivation, was tempted by family and friends to quit, fell off the horse a few times, signed up for races I didn’t train or show up for. And I would beat myself up. But then I realized it was okay to start again. And get back to what I had grown to love: running.
As a wife and a mother who has struggled with my weight since I was nineteen years old, I know first hand when a person finally decides to gain control of their health, that utilizing running can be empowering. And the comradeship formed when participating in races can fuel you to conquer the weight loss lion, once thought undefeatable.
I’m such a different person now. Never in a million years did I think I would be sharing my weight loss journey with the world. But since the beginning of 2020, I have set out to motivate and inspire other women through my YouTube channel and my blog. I also just started writing a weight loss book. You can find me here.
My goal will always be to continue inspiring women who are struggling with their weight and fitness goals. By sharing our story, we give others hope that they too can cross the finish line, feel powerful, and gain control of their health.
TTC: What is one tip you wish you could tell every beginner runner?
Mylitta: That runners come in all shapes and sizes. And it’s more than okay to crawl before you walk, walk before you jog, and jog before you run. And remember: slow and steady always wins the race!
TTC: What kept you going when you really wanted to stop?
Mylitta: I’m grateful to be able to run. My husband is retired military and when I’m out running and I want to stop, I often think of the soldiers who served with him. Primarily, the ones, like him, who were injured and wish they could run, and the paralyzed ones who can no longer physically run. I keep running for them because the thought of them not being able to run pushes me harder.
TTC: Tell us about one of your best runs ever?
Mylitta: That would be the year I ran in my first Disney full Marathon. I was about 100 yards from the finish line and cramped up to the point that I almost stopped. However, nothing could of stopped my determination from crossing over that line and showing myself I could do it!
Want more? Read Jane’s running transformation story and subscribe below.