© Jen Duecker After her doctor told her she was obese, Jen Duecker needed to make some changes. She started running and lost 90 pounds. As a result of running and eating healthy, she was able to pare down her medicine cabinet, too.
Name: Jen Duecker
Hometown: New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Start Weight: 210 pounds
End Weight: 120 pounds
Time Running: 2 years
Before I found my love for running, I was never active-like ever. I never participated in sports, never exercised, and definitely never ran. I was overweight my entire life, and after I had kids, I put on even more weight until I reached 210 pounds. I never felt right in my own skin. I just thought in my mind this was it for me; I’m never going to feel good about myself because I was too far gone.
Walking too much wore me out. I couldn’t chase my kids around or play with them at the park without getting out of breath, and I was always tired. I hated the way I felt, hated the way I looked, and I didn’t enjoy life. Because of my low self-esteem and constant insecurities, I suffered from depression. I didn’t take very good care of my body, which just made it worse.
I met with my doctor in October of 2016. When he said the word “obese,” I was shocked. I knew I was overweight, but to be labeled as obese brought me to tears. I had neglected my body and treated it like a dumpster. I ate very poorly and never worked out for years. That lifestyle finally caught up to me.
My doctor advised me to start walking every day for at least 30 minutes. So I started walking after dinner. We also discussed that if I didn’t take his advise seriously, I would end up in the hospital or worse. My weight was affecting my heart, lungs, joints, and I was at risk of becoming diabetic.
At the time, I was on more steroids than anyone should ever take, had several inhalers and medicine for my asthma, all sorts of different antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and the highest dose of Gabapentin medication you could take for my nerve pain, which at times was so painful it would be debilitating.
I started walking after dinner every night. After a few weeks of consistent walking, I felt well enough to start jogging. So I started out with one mile laps around my neighborhood a few times a week. Then, as the miles added up, my good friend asked if I wanted to run a 5K with her, and I was excited to join.
I had never ran a race before, but I wanted to see what this running thing was all about. My first race was in January of 2017, just a few months after I started my journey. I finished right under an hour, and cried crossing the finish line. It was so difficult for me and I struggled, but I kept going with the help and encouragement of other runners and my friend. It was amazing to see and to have so much support from complete strangers.
After that, I was hooked. I entered into races every few months, slowly increasing my mileage as I went from a 5K, 10K, 15K, and finally my first half marathon in December of 2017. Now, I’m training for my first marathon at the 2019 Disney Marathon in January.
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Throughout all of this, I had also cleaned up my diet because my doctor recommended I make better meal choices to help bring my body mass index (BMI) down. My diet before I started my journey consisted of mostly fast food lunches and easy pasta meals with fried foods for dinner.
Now, I eat a high protein, low-carb diet and I feel so great! I no longer feel bogged down, miserable and bloated like I used to when I ate like crap. Now I feel strong and full of energy.
After one year of consistent running a few times a week and a clean diet, I no longer needed 90 percent of my medications. The only ones I have left are inhalers for exercise-induced asthma. I am now 120 pounds strong, confident, happy, and healthy, enjoying every second of my life with my kids. I am a changed person and I have running to thank for that.
It is truly amazing what simple changes in your life can do for your over all health. I wake up every day feeling so grateful that I decided to make that change and maintain this lifestyle.
To those out there wanting to take that courageous leap for change to better your life, don’t ever lose sight and do whatever it takes to stay with your journey. It’s okay if it takes a year, or two, or three because you will get there. It will take time, it will take dedication and consistency, and it will take a lot of hard work, but you will get there.
When you do, when you finally finish your journey, every drop of sweat, every tear, and every hard day that challenged you along the way will make it all worth it. You just have to have enough motivation, faith, and will power to see it through all the way.
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