Dani Holmes-Kirk has a smile that is infectious, and a personality that exudes so much happiness, it comes right through her emails. I’ve never met her in person, but I’d like to think we would get along famously, until she tried to make me run. Dani is a runner, a marathon-er and blogs about her adventures at, “Weight Off My Shoulders.”
It’s hard to believe that a few short years ago she led a sedentary lifestyle and battled an eating disorder. Today, Dani is 82 pounds lighter and she’s keeping it off thanks to smarter food choices and her rekindled love of running.
This is Dani’s true weight loss story –
When did your weight struggles begin? For as long as I can remember I was overweight. I can look back at a certain picture of me on the beach in my bathing suit when I was maybe 3 or 4 and thinking, wow, I even had a little belly then. I remember being made fun of in 7th grade and getting MOOed at by a passing car. The overweight mentality was burned into my brain for a long time.
What habits specifically led you to gain weight? Poor eating habits, sneaking food when no one was around, emotional eating, and having a newfound freedom in college to eat and drink whatever I wanted. Darn you, french fries and beer.
What caused you to realize you needed to change? I was unhappy with myself, depressed and tired of feeling miserable with how I looked and felt. Initially, I lost weight through a combination of two eating disorders. It was very unhealthy and once I started eating again, the weight came back.
How did you lose the weight? I joined a commercial weight loss program on November 2, 2009. Between the online tools and attending weekly meetings, I not only changed what I ate physically, but I was finally able to start changing mentally, as well.
I used to be a gym rat and stay there for hours, but then I refueled by heading out to eat. Once my eating habits changed, I realized I didn’t have to be at the gym for that long, providing I used my time wisely and made smart food decisions to refuel. Now, I love classes like Spinning, and even rekindled my love of running. In 2013 I started running triathlons. It combines the variety of swimming, biking and running, which I really enjoy!
Did you have any “ah ha” moments along the way? I learned I could lose weight in a healthy way. It helped me realize that even when I overate, I didn’t have to resort to old unhealthy habits. It was eye-opening.
Biggest struggle in your journey? For years I was the master of self-deprecating humor and self-hatred. I thought once I lost the weight it would be rainbows and unicorns, but once I hit the “after” I didn’t have the weight to hide behind. I have to work each day to improve the self-love.
Biggest Accomplishment? I’ve accomplished a lot in my journey, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come with my running. Years ago I couldn’t run half a mile but now I’ve completed three marathons, 14 half marathons and two triathlons. I continue to set new fitness goals in order to push the bounds of my comfort zone, and see what I can truly accomplish.
Current/future goals? I am currently training for my second Boston Marathon. I was fortunate enough to finish the 2013 marathon one minute before the explosions. I have also committed to completing my first Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) in September 2014.
Advice you’d give to other people struggling to lose weight? Find a support system you can rely on. You can use a blog, social media, friends, family, meetings, but you cannot do it alone, especially when you’re struggling.