Q: “Who Is The Person You Want To Be?” ~
Jill Conley began life as a twin, but born weighing twice as much as her sister, she was always “the heavy one.”
Even as an adult, she was still hoping to grow out of her weight.
Kids would tell her she was fat. Sweat would pour off of her body just from standing. The scale at the doctor’s office didn’t go high enough to record her actual weight.
It all hit hard when Jill gave birth to her daughter weighing 352 pounds. As she told Runner’s World in a recent story, she admits she hated herself for the rut she had gotten into, letting her weight and her diabetes get out of control.
“In October of 2013, I changed jobs. A friend of mine worked nearby, so we could walk at lunch. We walked ¼ of a mile one day, and I was a mess.”
She had a positive stress test and was referred to a cardiologist. When he told her she should get gastric bypass, Jill started crying.
“He said ‘Don’t cry—do something about it.’ I asked for one more try. I bought a treadmill and started seeing a diabetic educator at the hospital where I worked.”
The diabetic counselor was immensely helpful and supportive: Jill started eating properly all day long and walking on a treadmill 6 days a week. She was losing weight steadily and lost her first 50 pounds.
It clicked for her that she wasn’t on a diet, she had a new lifestyle. When people asked her when she was going to stop, she would say “NEVER!”
It was, for sure, the new Jill.
“I continued rocking the treadmill walks. The pounds kept coming off at an average of two per week. My clothes were coming off, well, falling off, too. Excitement now took the shape of another 50-pound notch on the scale, another mph faster or another 10 minutes longer.”
Eventually, Jill signed up for a 5K with her older sister. As she got ready for the race, she needed a jacket and found one, size XL, that fit her. She was elated.
It was in that moment that she gave herself the title “5X to 5K!”
She finished that first 5K in 43:24, with a happy lump in her throat. And she hasn’t looked back since.
“Now? I have the running fever, and 5Ks are so addicting! You are not competing with other runners; you are competing with yourself while receiving encouragement from other runners and spectators.”
Jill has lost over 111 pounds and her favorite sayings these days are: “Start thinking of yourself as the person you want to be” and “The tortoise and the hare both finished the race.”
Even though her diabetes is in check and she likes herself these days, she still has her moments.
“My body still has days where it says, “Who are you? Would you just sit down?” To which I respond, “Shut up and run!”
Many thanks to Women’s Running for the original publication and photo.