From couch to 5K: A weight-loss and run-love success story

Today I’d like to share the inspiring story of one of my clients, Ximena, who I’ve been providing online coaching services to since January of this year. She’s gone from nights at home on the couch seven days a week to strength training, yoga and running most days of the week, plus preparing healthy meals for her and her family. And this past weekend, she ran her first ever race – the Terry Fox 5 km in Vancouver. Her enthusiasm, determination and positive attitude is so inspiring, so I asked her to share her story on my blog. Here’s Ximena’s story, in her own words:  

terry fox run

Ximena at the Terry Fox 5K run in Vancouver this past weekend

I’m a 36-year-old mother of two girls. In late 2014, I was introduced to a wonderful lady who shared with me that she used to be as “big” as me (not in those exact words, but close) and that she had slowly started running to the point where she now runs marathons. I thought to myself, “If she can do it, maybe I can, too!” Looking at her current Barbie-doll waist was for sure a motivator. I had reached a stage in my life where I was thinking to myself, “Why bother trying to lose weight and get fit? Once your figure is gone it’s impossible to get it back…” Well, I can tell you now that is NOT TRUE!

This wonderful lady introduced me to Bri and the unbelievable journey began early this year. Slow and easy (but not painlessly… 10 squats can really burn if you are in the shape I was in). The initial goal was never to run a race, but rather to enjoy being off of the coach and as healthy as possible (the weight loss was just the icing on the cake!).

I started by walking for 20 minutes three times a week, and doing yoga and strength training at home two to three times a week. A funny thing happens when you start strength training: with each passing week you notice that your body feels better and stronger, you start to notice and feel muscles that weren’t “there” before, and people start complimenting you on how good you look.

Secretly, I had always wished that one day I would run a marathon, but felt that since I could not even run for five minutes on a treadmill whenever I went to the gym in my younger years meant that I wasn’t born to accomplish such things. Wrong! I was doing it all wrong! Baby steps is the only way! One shouldn’t expect to run five kilometres overnight. It took me seven weeks of gradual increases: walk one minute, run one minute three times a week… then walk one minute, run two minutes three to four times per week… and so on. It’s amazing how your body just knows.

With Bri’s knowledgeable support, kind coaching and her delicious meal plans, I was able to join Terry Fox’s 5km run on September 20th. I was sick a couple of times over the summer and I just could not wait to feel 100 per cent again so I could go for a run; that feeling is amazing and confirms that I have met my initial goal of enjoying being active. This is no longer a “get on the wagon/fall off the wagon” situation… it’s a lifestyle. Ten kilometre race, here I come!

If you are reading this thinking, I could never pick up running… — think again. And if you are already a runner… I now know why you do it! And to that wonderful lady who inspired me and introduced me to Bri (you know who you are and I know you read this blog!), thank you!

How did you get into running or fitness? Have you ever done a couch to 5K program? What did you find was the biggest challenge to getting started? If you’re just starting your journey, what is the hardest habit you’re finding to change?