A little backstory. (Ha!, just realized the pun!)
I always thought pretty poorly of myself, physically. In fact, I never approached women to date, because I felt hypocritical -- if I found them attractive, why should I inflict my pasty, pudgy self upon them? I weighed 160 as a teen, then went up to around 180, where I hovered until about 6 years ago when I moved to Colorado. After a few years here, I was up to 200. I had gone to health clubs before -- in fact, my recent credit report shows that I joined Bally's Vic Tanny (the Michigan area chain of Bally's) when I was 18. I went for a few months, but never really lost any weight.
Last year, finding myself newly single, I decided to get into shape. I started hiking up Mt. Sanitas trail every morning (I was unemployed). I didn't walk very fast, but it was my goal to hike all the way up to the top without stopping. After about a month, I bought a copy of Body-for-Life, decided that following it to the letter was too intense for me, but decided I would try it for 90 days and see how much weight I lost. I chronicled my exercise on my web page here. I never had the willpower to do the 20 minute running detailed in Body for Life (sprinting for 4 bursts of 5 minutes each), so I instead used Mapquest to plot out a 5 kilometer loop around my house. (Up Moorhead, behind Willville to Baseline, over down to Thunderbird, then back home.) I couldn't jog fully it without stopping for breath and walking about halfway through, but I kept it up.
I bought a Rio MP3 player off my friend Ben for $100. I'd found out ~3 years ago that I could exercise 3 to 4 times longer on a treadmill with music, than without.
Then, around June, I let a friend talk me into signing up for a 10k race. I plotted out a 10k course around my house. I ran it twice, then ran in the race -- the first time I'd ever actually tried competing, and only the 3rd time I'd run 10k nonstop. I turned in 56:11, none too shabby.
I lost around 40 pounds, and around 11 inches off my waist. I could actually look at myself in a full length mirror, and feel "OK" about myself. I wasn't good looking -- but I wasn't dumpy. I was just "normal". I actually had some self-esteem about my appearance. I planned to take yoga to get some more flexibility, and then to learn a martial art.
(That's it for the backstory. I'm feeling I'm being a bit melodramatic as it is journalling this at all, but I really want to get my whiney complaint out there. I don't want to count my blessings, rationalize it, or be sensible. I want to fucking complain)