5K races are milestones in weight-loss marathon
October 20, 2009
By Chantelle Lusebrink
Amy Herrmann climbed the ridge above Newcastle and stared down at the finish line Aug. 29 at the Newcastle 5-K race.
“I saw the finish and I just stood there and started freaking out,” she said. “I started feeling like what if people didn’t think I finished fast enough.”
Mustering all her courage and holding back tears, she followed her trainer Brian Wehner, from Fitness Together.
When she crossed the finish line, she sat down on the cement taking it all in.
“I felt so good at that moment,” she said. “It was the best thing I have ever done.
“It may have only been 3.2 miles, but it felt like a marathon.”She wasn’t the first, but she wasn’t the last either — finally proving to herself that chubby girls can run.
“I pride myself in that, but I realize there is a limit to what I can do now,” she said. “But I’m doing it. I can race.”
Herrmann, a hair stylist at the 44th Street Salon in Renton, started her journey at 286 pounds. Today, four months into her transformation, she weighs 20 pounds less and is losing an average of one and a half pounds per week.
Weight loss has been a long time coming, she said.
Herrmann said she was an active student, participating in soccer while attending Tyee High School in SeaTac. Her single mother had little time to cook while trying to maintain a house, job and children, so McDonald’s was often on the menu.
“I was average, like a size 8 or 10 in high school,” she said. “We were always running around and there was a lot to keep us busy, even though we didn’t eat healthy.”
After her 1994 graduation, unhealthy eating habits, parties with friends and inactivity caught up with her, she said.
“I realized it at 23 when I had to go into my first big girl store,” she said. “That was a wakeup call.”
Herrmann said she has tried nearly every diet there is since, including Weight Watchers, a lifetime Bally’s membership and fen-phen.
At the heart of the problem, though, was her inability to put herself first, she said.
“In the past, I’ve always done things for everyone else, trying to be a good friend, a good family member, but I never put myself first,” she said.
With Wehner’s help at Fitness Together, she said she’s found the system of accountability she needs to really reach her goals.
“I’m a community person. I live here, I work here and I shop here,” she said. “If I walk from work to McDonald’s, I have to walk past Brian’s office. He’ll see me. If I leave work, I have to go to the gym, because he’ll see me get in my car if I don’t.”
“It is never too late. It can be done if you don’t quit on yourself,” Wehner said. “You don’t have to kill yourself out of the gate. You just need to make a commitment to get moving.”
Of course, running in a 5K race every month, or twice a month, has helped Herrmann.
So far, she has participated in the Newcastle 5-K and the Alki Beach 5-K run benefiting cancer research. Herrmann will run the Pumpkin Push Oct. 24 at Seward Park, and then the Jingle Bell Walk and Run, benefiting the Arthritis Foundation, on Dec. 13.
At 266 pounds, Herrmann said, she still isn’t sure what her ultimate goal weight is, but she’s hoping to inspire others and has started a blog where she shares her trials, successes and a few skinny secrets.
What she does know is that her ultimate goal is to walk the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer 3-Day, which takes participants over 60 miles of local roads and trails.
“I just want to be healthy,” she said. “I think there are people out there that would say having extra weight isn’t healthy and that a person who is 5 foot, 7 inches and weighs 136 pounds is.
“But what does that girl do behind closed doors?” she asked. “If she smokes, doesn’t work out and doesn’t eat, I think that is worse than having the extra weight, eating healthy, not smoking and working out.”
“I like that she’s not a quitter. She likes to be pushed,” Wehner said about Herrmann. “That, ultimately, is what is making her successful.”
Amy’s skinny secrets
If you wake up at 7 a.m., then you should not eat anything after 7 p.m. If you wake up at 9 a.m., then nothing after 9 p.m. After 12 hours after you have woken up, there is no reason you need to eat anything; your body begins to start slowing down and most people head to bed about four to five hours after that.
The top of your hand from your knuckles to your wrist indicates the size portion of meat or protein you should eat.
If you cup your hand, that’s the amount of carbohydrates you should eat.
Watch how many calories you drink.
If it’s hot, don’t reach for ice cream. Freeze Yoplait Whips! and they become frozen treats without as many calories.
Write down everything you eat.
What she misses: ice-cold Hi-C orange drinks
What she craves: hamburgers
Indulges in: small portions of homemade spaghetti
Food she found: lean fish, like salmon and cod
Read more: www.chubbygirlscanrun.blogspot.com
Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.