Screenshot_2016-02-22-15-46-57Today I ran my fastest ever—a 9:29 mile. My average pace is 9:37 per mile putting me in the 66.71 percentile for a 5K. The average woman my age runs at a 12:41:48 pace.

This April 30 I will run my first competitive 5K—the Heritage 5K Run/Walk. The money raised goes to benefit the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida in Valparaiso.

Why is this such exciting news? Because less than a year ago I was a chunky office monkey. I weighed between 185-200 pounds. I could barely walk the dog to the end of the street and back without heavy breathing. I sat at my computer all day long at work and came home to sit at my laptop for another 5-6 hours.

I dieted. I tried pre-made meals and plans. I tried a few meal replacements shakes. Nothing worked. Determined, I gave up my home laptop time and walked around the block for hours each night for a month. Not a pound was shaved off.

The break through happened suddenly and began after my husband and I watched the movie Fed Up. We decided to give up sugar. I can’t handle eating solid food first thing in the morning so I started looking for a sugar and artificial sweetener free meal replacement shake for my breakfasts. I could only find one from 310 Nutrition.

Suddenly the weight that wouldn’t budge no matter what started peeling off. I dropped 15 pounds in my first month with no exercise. After I had easily lost 20 pounds I stalled out and had to start some activity.

Embarrassed to be seen huffing and puffing in public I marched in place in the privacy of my bathroom. I started with 15 minutes that nearly killed me and worked my way up to a full hour. Another 20 pounds vanished quickly.

Eventually I got bored with my bathroom. On November 10 I bought a pair of running shoes and set out on my first 5 mile run. It took me an hour and ten minutes. The next day, my sore muscles staggered along on the same run in an hour and a half. I thought I was going to die. I persisted and it paid off.

I am not telling you this to say how amazing I am. I’m not. I just discovered what works for me and kept at it. I’m 47 years old, but I am in better shape right now than I have ever been. I haven’t been this weight since I was in my 30s. Today I weigh 150—35 pounds lighter in less than a year. I feel like I am aging backwards.

Why can’t we all feel this way? I think we can. It just takes refusing to be discouraged. Keep trying until you get it. It may be that how I did it will work for you. You may find something better. Whatever it takes, don’t waste another day. Take your life back.

Want to calculate your run or walk pace? Use this handy calculator!

Previous posts from my weight loss journey…

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By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Ryukyuan-American, award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years in newspapers. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year, she shares Authortunities, a free weekly calendar of author opportunities at

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