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Reader Success Story: Amy Nowacoski

We get so many inspiring emails from readers, and this week we’re finally sharing them with you! Read on for Amy Nowacoski’s inspiring success story. And feel free to share yours!

NowacoskiBeforeAfter

Before/After

Amy’s Story

OK, let’s face it. I’ve had a weight problem all my life. I led myself to believe that it really didn’t matter, that I was basically happy and healthy and the extra weight never stopped me from doing what I wanted. That might be true on one level, but one day, around my 30th birthday, I stepped on the scale and it said “274.”I was heavier than the boxing heavyweight champ at the time. Not good, especially since I lacked the ability to KO my opponent with one glorious sucker punch.

I decided that had to change. I reorganized my life so that it was all about the gym, work and sleep. That’s all I really did. About a year later, the scale read 204. Yay me!

Of course, that’s not the end of the story.

I then found myself in this crazy relationship. One of those relationships that you don’t realize how crazy it was until it’s all over and you’re picking up the wreckage of your life, regardless of the fact that the signs were all there and the biting “I told you so’s” haunted your every action. I picked up and moved to the country to be with this guy. His diet consisted of fried food, frozen dinners and so much meat cows stampede at the thought of him. He had this weird thing about my weight that I still don’t understand, and I don’t even try to. He’d rag on me for not going to the gym, and then hours later, take me out for ice cream, ordering me a large sundae. What is up with that? I left him a year later, and spent the next year unable to face my life without grilled cheese sandwiches and jalapeno potato chips.

Nowacoski 3- 10K success

Amy rocked out a 10K. That’s success!

I finally admitted failure and defeat and knew I had to change my location to change my life. My mom asked me to come home. Yeah great, living at home with mom and dad in your mid-30s? They write sad comedies about that, and we all point and laugh about how lame that is. But I did it, sucking up my pride, for my mental stability and happiness were much more important. What I didn’t know was that my mom and dad were in Weight Watchers mode. My mom bought me a membership and made me go with her. I weighed 250 pounds. I never really liked the group meeting aspect of WW, the group therapylamenting with someone always whining about how hard weight-loss was. But I went, with quite a chip on my shoulder. I was never really “on program.” I didn’t count points rigorously. But I lost 20 or so pounds just because there were no crap foods in the house, and if I wanted junk food, I had to get off my ass and walk to 7-Eleven and get it myself. And while I adore Cheez Doodles, that’s a lot of effort for theneon-orange treats.

Then I sort of had a revelation, more like a revolution, in my own head. I always had these romantic ideas about running. “Oh, I’m just popping out for a quick run” with a thin, svelte image of myself in smart running clothes and fancy sneakers. The revelation was that the only thing stopping me from being that image was myself. I found the Couch to 5K program. I’ve had it on my iPod for a really long time actually but could never get past the first week. But I was determined to finish it now. I wanted to run. I wanted to get past the crazy thoughts in my head that said fat girls can’t run, that I couldn’t do this, that everyone would look at me and laugh. But I kept at it. I pushed through the mental noise and I actually ran 3 whole miles.

Then I had to open up my big mouth and say I’d run a 10K. Six whole freaking miles. And I did it. I ran the Nike Human Race.

Then I had to open up my big mouth and say I’d run a half marathon. And I’m training for that right now.

I love to run.

I love the training. I love stretching after a run. I love planning out my program. I love reading about nutrition tips to run better. I love feeling that I just can’t do it and then doing it. I love seeing my reflection in the TV monitor on the treadmill and realizing I have collar bones. I love to run. I don’t always love it when I’m in the middle of it, struggling and sweating like a heavyweight champ. But I love the person I’m becoming through running. I love knowing that if I can start running at 250 pounds, nothing is impossible. And I love knowing that I’m 196 pounds, the thinnest I’ve been in my adult memory, and I don’t have far to go. And I love knowing that, finally, I do really love myself. I’m awesome, and unstoppable. Running has given me the greatest gift—myself. —Amy Nowacoski

What an inspiring message, Amy. It’s rare that I read something that makes me want to strap on the running shoes and hit the pavement, and that totally did it! You’re a true Fit Bottomed Girl. —Erin

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10 Comments
  1. Jan says:

    “I love feeling that I just can’t do it and then doing it.” Doesn’t that pretty much sum up the joy of running? Congratulations Amy!

  2. Amy says:

    Thanks Erin! It’s amazing how I learned to fall in love with myself through running!

  3. Lindsay says:

    I am SO with you on loving running as a fat girl. I started running last November and I accidentally did a 10k last June (hadn’t trained for it but was running increasingly longer distances every few weeks). I felt SO badass for running slowly, passing up people who stopped to walk and ran the whole race without stopping.

    I’m a size 14/16 and according to BMI, technically overweight/obese. Obese people aren’t supposed to run, much less run 6 miles nonstop. I’m training for the same race again this year and I’m totally going to PR and smoke my time from last year. Then this fall – half marathon!

  4. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story Amy. I’m on Week 5 of Couch to 5k. I always wanted to be a runner and now I am doing it. To the previous posters, good luck with your races and running! Judiejuice.wordpress.com

  5. Amy says:

    @Jan – Thanks!!
    @Lindsay – YOU GO!!!! Keep us posted on your progress!
    @Judie – Thanks! Couch to 5K is a great motivator!

  6. Patty says:

    Yaay Amy I just started the couch to 5k program and honestly there were points I said to myself this is crazy fat girls cant run but I kept on doing it. Thanks so much for your inspiration.

  7. dot says:

    Good job – you’re a strong person. It would be hard for a lot of people to leave a relationship like that, let alone swallow their pride about moving home.
    I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your reading your story – your writing style is upbeat and savvy without being too chirpy-la-la-la… Let us know if you ever decide to start a blog!
    On another note, I’m in Week 3 of Couch to 5K and am enjoying ‘easing’ into running. It’s been very inspirational to hear your and the other commenter’s Cto25K stories! Keep well!

  8. Amy says:

    @Patty! You go!!! C25K can be a lot of fun. AND hard work! It took me like three months to get past Week 1 Day !

    @Dot I do have a new spiffy blog!!! Click my name and you’ll find me or go to FatGrilsCanRun and I’m on Twitter too!!!

  9. carrie says:

    Wow, this is truly inspiring. I am motivated to follow my dreams knowing you started and followed through on yours. Well Done! Root for me, I think 2011 is going to be my year! Keep up your efforts, you’ve already proved to yourself, what is possible! Go Amy!

  10. Lindsay says:

    What an amazingly inspiring story! Thank you so much for sharing.