Jessica Hay: Paving the way for those too nervous to try


Jessica Hay will be participating in the YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run for the first time this year, something she probably didn’t think she’d be doing if you asked her this time last year. Jessica is motivated to keep getting active and make progress towards her goal of running a marathon one day. She’s already come leaps and bounds, too. Read her story below.

I’m Jessica, I have two kids and a wonderful hubby. I’m also morbidly obese (like T-Rex trying to do up their own shoelaces kind of obese – it’s hard).

I was a very active teenager, I played regional/state level basketball, netball, tennis and I loved representing my high school in any sport possible – football, softball, badminton, volleyball, swimming, lacrosse and athletics…you name it I was there.

After high school came more study, travelling and life. I couldn’t find the time to fit in sport and the weight just piled on. After two kids my weight skyrocketed to 198kg at the end of last year. I had been through many years of yo-yo dieting. But I would always put the weight back on.

I knew I needed a new game plan this time.

Fast forward to the start of 2017. Something had to seriously change. Instead going on a ‘diet’, I shifted my goals to wanting to become a marathon runner (no easy feat at a starting weight of 198kg). Why? I wanted to set a goal that wasn’t necessarily weight loss orientated (obviously losing weight is a bonus). I wanted a goal that I could put out there and start working away at it and feel like I’m making progress (versus feeling deflated on my failing weight loss journey).

The marathon journey is going to be long, the marathon is many years away but I know I will get there. I’m proud that my children will get to witness Mummy achieving a goal she worked so hard for.

For too long I was using my children as an excuse that I didn’t have time to go out and be active but now I schedule the time, otherwise I won’t be there at all. I am forever grateful that my husband is so supportive and encourages me to follow my aspirations. I am even thankful he gets all my stuff ready, literally dresses me and pushes me out the door on those days I would rather not go for a run or to the gym. Best support crew ever!

I started with parkrun in January, I didn’t tell anyone I was going in case I backed out or left the course before finishing the full 5km. That first parkrun was mentally and physically hard. I was so lucky to have so much encouragement from all the regular parkrunners. I’ve now completed 15 parkruns, completed the ‘For Fitness Sake’ challenge which was 50kms in 10 days and now I’m attempting to do 10kms at Run Melbourne in July. I’m also doing ‘Run Down Under’. Every run I do gets added to my tally and eventually (virtually) I hope to have ran around Australia.

To anyone wanting to get out there but are too scared to- I know how hard it is to get out there and try to better yourself, I know that the prying eyes of all those watching is overwhelming and I know how much the (intentional/unintentional) remarks can make us never want to go out and try again.

It’s easier just to stay home and avoid it all. BUT my advice is to ignore that one person that may give you a horrible look in public because believe me, you’re being watched silently by many others and they admire your bravery. They admire that you’re doing something to better your health. Your dedication to not give up has triggered their thought process, ‘if they can do it. I can do it’.

That’s what I hope I’m doing, paving the way for those too nervous to try. Just try and keep trying.

Yes it’s hard, it most certainly hurts but I would rather be in pain from trying to be active than be in pain from just sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

On the good days I picture that marathon finish line and on the bad days I remind myself there are better days coming.

I can’t wait to do the YMCA Father’s Day Run with my husband and two kids. I’m looking forward to them being in an environment where everyone is encouraged (including their Mummy that is a work in progress). This will be a momentous occasion for us all.

So bring it on…

The training continues. Watch this space.

Instagram: @thelongweighdownwithjess

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