What a Difference Nine Months Makes


As I entered the plane, the usual feeling that comes over me was gone. For the last couple years, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to fasten my seat belt when getting on a plane. Sometimes the seat belts seemed longer than others. Other times I had to push with as much force as I could muster to get the belt to click. And once or twice, I simply threw the belt around me placing it very strategically and hoping that the flight attendant wouldn’t notice. It’s amazing what you can camouflage when your nerves are on edge and you’re sweating profusely from the anxiety. 

If you’ve never had a weight problem this probably seems like a crazy experience to you. 
But today was different. I walked on to the plane, picked my seat and got comfortable. I hadn’t been on a plane in about ten months. That time, on the second leg of my flight, I couldn’t fasten the belt. It was terrifying!! I had just been on the first leg and had about an inch of belt to spare but on this leg of the flight I couldn’t even get the tip of the belt near the buckle. Why aren’t these belts all the same length! I was frustrated but more embarrassed than anything. 
Today, I had chosen to sit in one of the two seats of an exit row. I took the inner seat and not long after I sat down someone asked me if the seat beside me was taken. When he sat down there was no uncomfortable wiggling around to keep out of his space. I wasn’t in his space!
At that moment I was latching my seat belt. The exhilarating feeling that comes from buckling that belt, pulling the strap and realizing that you now have about 8″ of belt to spare is a feeling of pure excitement and joy that I can’t even describe. If you’ve been there, you can relate.  
Since November I’ve lost 65 lbs. I’ve still got another 60 or so to go. For the first time in a long time I don’t feel like I’m the biggest person in a room. I don’t walk in confident on the outside but nervous on the inside wondering if everyone is looking at my size. 
My inside now feels like my outside. I see the strong, beautiful woman that has been in there all this time. I don’t see the fat me anymore. I feel my own strength and I love myself for all the growth that I’ve experienced in these last nine months. I guess you could say I gave birth to a new me –  the me I’d lost these past few years. 
We all have our own health and fitness journeys. My struggle is far from over. My struggle is completely different from your struggle. But I’ve come to recognize the small steps that helped me get to where I am right now:
* I am stronger physically for all my strength training, bootcamps and HIIT workouts. I’ve always loved weight lifting. It has always made me feel powerful. 
* I am faster in my running. A year ago the best runs I had were always a run/walk. 8-10 miles running 2 minutes and walking 2 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had huge accomplishments in my running even 65 lbs heavier. When I looked back at the end of 2015, I realized what I had accomplished.Four months ago, I started running a little more and walking a little less. Before I knew it I was running the whole workout. I was running a whole 5K. I was running the whole 65 minute flying feet workout. And best of all my pace now had a running group. I was actually running near and with other people in the group in long runs. I could see other people. This was huge! No more being out there by myself with everyone else miles ahead of me. 
* My mental addiction to food is drastically diminished. I won’t say gone because once a food addict always a food addict. I’ve spent years in therapy breaking bad habits and fighting food demons that consume my every thought during the day. I’ve broken free from those demons. It took medical intervention to do that but for the first time in my adult life I can use the word normal and food in the some sentence. I feel normal around food!
* The hills in a cycle ride don’t seem as intimidating. I can push up most of them without running out of gears – except that one long steep one that still remains me nemesis. But I’m working on that one.  
* I love being more active again. I don’t have to shy away from experiences because I won’t fit in the ride or in the go kart or in the kayak. 
I’m FREE!!!  
Cassandra Burke is a Forensic Scientist by day, and a Group Fitness Instructor, Swim Team Coordinator and Travel Agent by night. A Breast Cancer Survivor since 2010, she writes about her journey as well as her struggles – training for triathlons and races, struggling to get back her health, and balancing family life all while building her brand and finding her purpose after cancer. Subscribe to Cassandra’s newsletter for updates and follow @poweredbybling on social media! For endurance sport race travel and custom family vacation travel, visit her at pbbtravel.com.


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