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One picture says it all

A few months back, when I ran the OSU 4-Miler with my husband, I decided to celebrate my weight loss with a T-shirt. At first, I thought it was a great idea, then I felt self-conscious about putting myself out there for judgement (which was all in my head). Thankfully, Kyle convinced me to go through with it anyway.

When the photos went online after the race, I quickly glanced through but I had zero intention of buying any. But weeks went by and Kyle was constantly telling our friends and family how much fun he had and how he'll never forget finishing on the 50-yard line of the Horseshoe.

So for Christmas, I bought this photo of us at the finish line and gave to it Kyle so he could always remember that day. He loved it.

Now, after seeing the framed copy in my dining room for several weeks, I realize how much that picture means to me as well. The pure joy on my face in that moment — combined with my T-shirt — shows the positive impact that weight loss and running have made in my life.

Today, this photo will be printed in the newspaper, along with a story about my journey. I hope people see it and realize they can experience the same joy, too.

A year ago, I was struggling. I had lost about 50 pounds but hit a plateau after the holidays. While everyone else was starting their New Year's resolutions, I felt like I was starting all over again. I had a hard time getting active — and staying active. And I felt like maybe I should be happy with what I had done and give up on losing any more.

On March 1, I decided to give Couch to 5K another try. I could barely run for 30 seconds at a time, but I didn't quit. Something inside me changed — something pushed me to keep going. Eventually, I fell in love with running and the rest was history. I found my passion, my happy place, and I want to inspire others to find their own — whether it's with running, kickboxing, hiking, biking, walking or otherwise.

When I watch "The Biggest Loser" every week, I cry almost every time a contestant pours their heart out about how much they have changed, inside and out. I cry because I know exactly what they are talking about. I know it's not a TV act — it's real and authentic. Despite the crazy workouts and challenges and prizes, to me the show does a great job depicting how weight loss is a life changing event. Sure, it grabs attention and ratings, but it also inspires hope for others.

I look at that photo above, and I see a new woman, someone I don't always recognize in the mirror. But she is strong, brave and everything I never thought I could be. I may have been at a finish line, but I think in that moment the photographer caught me at the starting line of a new life.


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