My Fitness Story: Dana Hodge
I have always been the tallest girl out of all of my girlfriends. Don’ let that fool you, I never played sports or was athletic. I was always a long string bean until I hit 20. Nothing too out of control, just extra pounds that I didn’t need.
My first year of marriage I experienced 2 personal heart breaks and found myself with 20 extra pounds on top of the extra pounds I already had. Food had become my pain medicine, my stress reliever, my go to when I was lonely. Little did I know at the time, it would cause this massive spiral downward effect for me emotionally and physically.
I became pregnant with our first child and became a stay at home mom. I actually lost some weight after having my son. Not intentionally, but from experiencing some postpartum with him being such a fussy, colicy baby. The pounds I had lost crept back on. At this time, I was starting to realize I was not liking the person I had become. Because of my insecurities and disgust with how I felt like I looked and the pain it was causing, I was turning into this person that was not very nice.
I hated the summer time! I would layer my clothes with hoodies to try and hide my body even though I was burning up because it was 90 degress outside. I was misrable in so many different ways. It felt like it had been years since someone had told me I looked pretty or that I felt pretty myself.
I live in Colorado Springs which is a very athletic town. Lot’s of runners, bikers, hikers, etc. I wanted to be able to do all these things these “mountain women” were doing. I felt like I was stuck, that I would always be over weight and continue to grow this hard shell because of my low self worth.
I had started working out regularlly, taking fitness classes at the YMCA for a couple of years. I never really lost the pounds because I didn’t want to change my eating. It was my comfort, my medicine. I loved working out but still hated how I looked.
I had our daughter when my son was 4. I tried going back to the gym. She never would take a bottle and always cried, so the childcare teacher would always have to come and get me. At the time I thought, I will be nursing my daughter until she leaves for college and always be 45 pounds overweight! I would walk around the indoor track with her in a Baby Bjorn until she was 15 months. I would walk by the fitness room with the loud music blaring and see these “fit women” busting there butts in there boot camp classes while I still had these extra pounds weighing my body and heart down.
January 1, 2012. This was the day I had decided that 8 years of being over weight was long enough and I was going to make a change on the outside as well as the inside! First, I started with my foods. I was hard core, absolutely no sweets and no fast food! It was veggies, protein, fruits and nuts. It was not easy! At times I was a raging machine! My body was craving those sweets and bad foods.
April 2012 I was done nursing my daughter so I wanted to start taking fitness classes again at my gym. At this time I had lost pounds from my healthy eating but still found myself a little intimidated to “go in”. I stood my ground and refused to let fear and intimidation grip me! After all, I wanted to change! I took hard classes and worked out next to women that were in great shape purposefully because I wanted to be like that; strong, healthy and athletic. I went at it like gangbusters! I was making a lifetime change!
June 2012 Six months into my weight loss journey, I found myself with a painful broken heart. I so easily could have gone back in my old ways of self-medicating my broken heart with poor food choices. No! Not this time! This is when I became a runner! Something I had never done before. At 33, I started running for the first time ever. Instead of feeding my tears with food, I ran to help release my pain. With Gods help and healthy exercise, I was able to heal.
January 2013 One year into my journey I found myself healthy, 45 pounds lighter, a better wife, mother, daughter and friend. Through all of this hard work, I not only changed my outside, but my insides changed as well. It was painful recognizing things about myself, but I was determined to not give up.
June 2013 I have kept my extra weight off and ran my very first half marathon last April. I would not have been able to be successful in my journey without the help of a couple of fitness instructors and some elite runners I became friends with along the way. They believed in me when I had no belief in myself. They trained me, set up running training schedules and pushed me because they saw my potential that I didn’t see. I will forever be grateful for the things they have taught me and the friendship we have developed.
Women should celebrate each other. I used to be judgmental towards woman that would spend a lot of time working out. That was steaming from my own jealousy of wishing I was in better shape and had their drive. It takes dedication, drive, and self control to be healthy and active. Be happy for those that are making healthy changes. Cheer them on, they need it! It’s not easy! Become friends with people that are good at the things you are not. Don’t ever think, “It’s too late,” because it’s not! Set goals and achieve them! Surround yourself with people that will help challenge and push you. If you fail in the process, don’t use it as an excuse to give up. Keep going!
You too can do this!