Most of us could use a little more exercise and a little less junk food.
Staying in shape is hard work. For those with kids or busy personal lives and those who work, it’s hard to find the time to exercise and eat right. It’s much easier to grab a burger through the drive-thru than make a healthy dinner at home. Once you’re overweight, it’s even harder to get motivated. Still, people who are heavy can work hard to lose the weight.
One woman is proving this to be true.
After gaining some weight and realizing she hadn’t been exercising right, Mirna Valerio knew she needed to start running again. She had always enjoyed running and was ready to get back at it.
Some people thought she was too big to run. It’s something Mirna has experienced before, but it hasn’t stopped her from working to stay healthy. In fact, it motivates her to do better. She wants people to know that there is no perfect size and that you can be healthy and athletic without being stick thin.
“The word ‘fat’ is a descriptor that’s also a noun. I do have fat on my body, and I am a larger woman. I’m fat or plus-sized. I’m used to kind of being an anomaly.”
Mirna is a mother, a teacher, a singer, an author, and an ultra-runner.
It takes a special person to be an ultra-runner. They not only run regular marathons that are 26.2 miles, ultra-runners run marathons that are usually 50 to 100 miles.
Mirna loves to run and be outdoors.
“I really, really love doing long distance. I love being outside by myself in my own head for a long time.”
There’s another reason Mirna has started running again.
She had a health scare that made her realize that she wasn’t in the best shape anymore. It had nothing to do with her size, but everything to do with her health. She explained it saying:
“I thought I was having a heart attack, and it ended up not being a heart attack but a panic attack. I realized that I hadn’t run regularly for four years, and that made me really sad. When I followed up with the cardiologist and he told me that I had to change my lifestyle in order to get better, I took it really seriously, because I wanted to make sure that I was here for myself and I was also here for my kid and my family.”
Getting back into the swing of things wasn’t easy.
She struggled to run the first mile. She stuck it out, however, and each mile started to get easier. Running wasn’t just hard physically but emotionally, as well. She said a lot of people made fun of her for being overweight and running, and there were times she didn’t even want to go running because of it.
“It’s really hard to go out running when you are afraid of people saying things to you or yelling things out of a car or giving you a dirty look.”
But she wasn’t going to let the haters stop her.
She decided to create an Instagram page called Fat Girl Running. She uses the page to share photos of her success and to motivate others to get healthy and not worry about what people say about their bodies.
“It’s really hard to go out running when you are afraid of people saying things to you or yelling things out of a car or giving you a dirty look. Try something that you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been afraid of, or maybe sometimes people have told you you can’t do it, or maybe you’ve told yourself you can’t do it, but try it anyway.”
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Body-shamers try to tear her down, but Mirna is strong and can run for miles.
Posted by Humankind Stories on Friday, March 2, 2018