About a year ago, I posted a recap of an event – the Wonder Woman 5K in Los Angeles at LA Live. It was the first 5K I had ever run in my life and it was a crowning moment of my life and it sort of set the tone for the way my life would change and the way it would shape my every day routine. It would create new goals for me, new ambitions and new obsession. Because its become such an important part of my life, I want to talk about it. I thought about talking about it on this blog but it just never felt right – it felt too personal and while I’m personal on this blog, I’m not THAT personal. So I’m introducing my new endeavor.
I talked about this briefly in the recap but I’m sharing my journey from a pivotal trip to the ER to where I am right now. I know some of you might be saying – well what does this have to do with being nerdy? I totally hear that. But if you’ve been following me for the past seven and a half years, you’ve known that the one thing I always strive for with this blog is to keep What A Nerd Girl Says personal and honest and open and I will continue to do so as long as I have this blog.
In May of 2018, I went to the emergency room with side pains. This is, sadly, pretty normal for me. I have a medical history chock full of ovarian cysts and kidney stones and it felt like that to me. It was a fairly normal trip to the ER – they determined it was a kidney stone, gave me pain medicine, nothing crazy. There was a moment where one of my nurses came up to me and asked me if I was diabetic. I told her,”not that I’m aware of…” She told me she thought I was and that I should see a doctor. My blood sugar levels were over 300.
At the time, I didn’t know what that meant at all. Now that I know better, I am blown away with how high it had gotten. I had been so off in my body and health but I didn’t even realize.
I ended up going to the doctor and I was a little disappointed in the way he handled it – he was very judgmental about me and my health. He told me I was “obviously obese” and how could I NOT know that I had diabetes?! Do you know what the symptoms of type 2 diabetes is?
You have to keep in mind – I had just turned 30. I thought it was all just a product of getting older. Sure, I was constantly thirsty so I was constantly drinking water and so I was constantly peeing. I was tired all the time – but again, I was 30 now. I didn’t have a period because my birth control kept me from having one at all. I definitely did not have dark areas of my skin and I did NOT have weight loss. I have bladder infections often. But nothing told me – something is wrong with you, Sara.
That being said, this doctor put the fear in me for sure. I’m afraid of death, I’m afraid of dying young and the way I was taking care of myself was definitely not a guarantee of long life.
I have always fluctuated in my weight all of my life. I’ve been really skinny – at my lowest weight, I was roughly 95 pounds and I was 19 years old. When I found out I had diabetes, I was my highest at 185, nearly 100 pounds more. Its crazy though – I’d really learned to love myself and I’d really embraced the body positivity movement. I was more confident in myself at 30 than I had ever been at 19, when I was actually skinny. I felt like I had come to terms with my body and I felt comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t mind changing in front of people, I hardly ever questioned my body when I was being intimate with my boyfriend – I felt great about myself.
Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes – which often is caused by unhealthy eating, weight gain, and lack of exercise – really was a wake up call to me. I was using body positivity as an excuse for not taking care of my body. There were definitely factors like my family history in place but it boiled down to one thing – I was not taking care of myself. I ate whatever I wanted, I never exercised at all. I had let myself get to a level of unhealthy and overweight (I wouldn’t say obese, my god) that I had put myself in this predicament. Those with type 2 diabetes are susceptible to so many things, including – heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye problems, foot problems and so many more.
I was angry. I was upset. I cried a lot. I didn’t cry just because I had diabetes. I cried because I had let myself get to this point in the name of body positivity. Don’t get me wrong – I still absolutely believe that every body type is beautiful. I’ve never stopped to think, I’m not beautiful. But it was a slap in the face to think I was doing everything right, because I loved my body, but I wasn’t showing my body the love it deserved.
I immediately went into panic mode and, for once, it helped me. I changed everything right away. I emptied my pantry and fridge at home and researched all the low carb and low sugar foods I could do for my new diet. Daniel had just joined the gym right next to our house and I’d been a few times as his guest so I ended up joining as well, so I could go whenever I wanted. I needed to lose weight – I was 185 pounds, very overweight for my age and the doctor wanted me to lose 55 pounds and get down to 130. He ended up changing his mind a few weeks later but we’ll get to that.
I lost weight fast. I lost about 10 pounds in a month – my body adjusted to the new diet and the sudden exercise really well. I was taking my Metformin three times a day and I was monitoring my sugar levels and they were at normal levels. I went to my follow up with my doctor and I was excited and I was praised for, in so many words, getting my shit together. There was a problem with that – I’d proven that I was taking this seriously and that I wanted to be better so when I made a joke about getting to 130, he said, no, 120. It felt like an impossible goal. That was a 65 pound loss.
I was still determined though and so I kept pushing myself. I stuck with my diet and I started on a workout routine and this is how I discovered a love for something I never ever expected – running.
When I first started going to the gym, I basically stuck to the treadmill because they were along the side wall and you could see the rest of the gym and no one was behind. I was self conscious. I would spend 45 minutes walking on the treadmill and then would book it out there. I definitely never went to the gym by myself – I ALWAYS went with my boyfriend. It was an intimidating place.
It got to the point where I was walking as fast as I could on the treadmill and I didn’t quite feel like I was getting what I wanted out of it anymore so I sped it up and started running. I think I ran 1/4 of a mile before I basically collapsed on the treadmill but I thought…okay, I can do this. I can totally do this. It was slow. I’d run a minute, walk a minute, run a minute, walk a minute. I’d had a goal my entire life to run a 5K but it felt like such an unattainable thing. I have NEVER been athletic at all. But then I ran an entire mile without stopping and I nearly collapsed in tears. I felt like I could accomplish anything.
I signed up for my first 5K, with the help of some friends – the Wonder Woman 5K. I ADORE Wonder Woman so I thought it was fitting that this would be my first one. I was nervous and my initial goal was just to finish it – 3.1 miles sounded like the longest thing in the world. I also have both a brother and sister who were runners for a long time, especially my brother. He ran for high school, college and then coached high school, taking his team to state, for quite a few years. I knew what GOOD 5K times were and I knew I was never going to be close. My goal was to finish it and to maybe, just maybe, run the entire thing.
It was the most magical experience that I’ve ever had. I can’t explain how invincible I felt after doing this race. I really honestly felt like I was capable of so much. I immediately wanted to do it again. It completely wiped me out but I ran the entire thing and I was on a high for the entire weekend becuase of this accomplishment.
I’ve done five 5Ks since then and just recently signed up for my first 8K in February (which is about 4.9 miles). I’ve loved running. I own a pair of expensive running shoes. I bought compression socks and a foam roller. I own an apple watch and track my running time. I love to run. I’m slow as all hell, but I truly enjoy it.
So that is what brings me here to A Nerd Girl Gets Fit. I’ve been sharing my journey on instagram for awhile now so its about time that I launched the blog version. I hope that you’ll join me there and stick with me as I share a very personal part of my life. Its become SO important to me and Im happy to share it with you all!
Without further ado, here is –