Wednesday, February 23, 2011



Barbara Ward-Finneran
Get out of your own way... Life is about making a comeback. 
It’s all to easy to decide to put off or wait till next week what needs to be done.  In many cases what is long over due.  I can not put my finger on exactly when I decided that I had had enough.  I know I heard the voice in my head constantly saying you have to stop.  An emotional eater who was torn with every spoonful of ice cream knowing in essence that I was killing myself with every bite.  Yet spiraling for over two years with not being able to be in control for more then a few weeks at a time.  Wondering often, “When exactly did I lose control of my life?!”

My 40th birthday was approaching in the spring and I knew I did not want to start the next phase of my life with my five foot one inch frame carrying a morbidly obese amount of weight.  I prayed for the courage and strength to commit to taking my life back.  One day I looked ahead on the calendar to see when exactly my 40th birthday hit.  And, there was the sign I prayed for, April 12, 2009 was Easter Sunday.  Easter, the day of resurrection.  The day of new life.  The tears streamed and I knew I’d had enough.  Time to reclaim my life and find the girl who felt alive when reaching for goals and chasing her dreams. I looked at the tired, dull eyed reflection in the mirror and said out loud, “I want more and only I can make that happen”.

This coincided with the realization that I couldn’t “fix” our finances, “fix” my son’s autism, “fix the constant changes at my job, “fix” all the challenges that came with marriage and other relationships and life, “fix” the many things that attributed to the obscene number on the scale.  However, I could choose to stop killing myself one bite at a time. To fix myself.  To find myself.  To heal myself.  To begin my “recovery”.
Recovery is not a word I choose lightly as every single one of the last 730 days has been a choice.  Everyday you have to choose to still want it.  Even those days when you struggle, make mistakes and even back slide.  I didn’t have an operation or join another program or fad diet.  I chose to change my life and embrace a new lifestyle.  I wanted to be healthy and once again like what looked back at me in the mirror.  I wanted to do it for life.  So there would be no “die”t... as I knew you have to live it.  Embracing a lifestyle change was the only way.
I choose everything in moderation with portion control being the key.  The non-athlete that I am, one who liked to say “always the artist and never the athlete”, I choose to increase activity and began with walking.  I dug out dusty VCR work out tapes and invested in new DVD’s by Jillian Michaels and the Biggest Loser. I started using Wii Fit and learned yoga.  Fifty pounds and year later I toyed with “running” and at the encouragement of my friends, Rob and Sarah, I signed up for my first 5K in February 2010. Eventually, later that year, I even felt brave enough to join a gym.
Two year ago today I committed to taking my power back.  I committed to keeping the promises that I make to myself. I committed to finishing what I started. 
So I started.  I took that first step and haven’t stopped since.  Somewhere along the line rediscovering my passion for writing and using it as a tool for growth, gratitude and healing.
Today I celebrate over 90 pounds lost.  Banished from my being through blood, sweat, tears and prayers.  I may not be the thinnest I have ever been, but I am the strongest, most athletic and healthiest I have ever been.  I feel better then I have in years! The photos at the top say “Then” and “Now” because I’m not finished yet and since I value this as a journey of recovery - I’m not certain there ever will be an after - as I embrace that in recovery you are never done.
This Saturday I will finish a years worth of 5Ks and one 15K.  Race number thirteen is my anniversary run.  An run to benefit Autism.  When I ran it last year I was determined to finish it even if I walked every step.  This Saturday I’m hoping to run way more then I walk and finish with a personal record surrounded by my friends and family who were there last year and the new ones who will join me.  
I share this today because I remember searching for a sign.  Reaching for inspiration.  Looking at before and after pictures of other success stories.  Reading magazines or online articles hoping to find the courage to start.  Sometimes you have to just start. If I can do it.  So can YOU!
Start your comeback. Don’t delay your reaction any longer...   
What’s holding you back?  Get out of your own way!  
Choose! What do you have to lose?


Dedicated to my incredible family, my amazing friends, my priceless posse, and my beat up "running" shoes --- I cannot find the words to describe or explain what your support has meant to me.  For every moment you were there - I THANK YOU!!!  Again & again, I THANK YOU!!!



  1. wooo hoooo!!!!! Awesome post! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  2. Truly Inspirational! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I want to start today!

  4. I am beyond speechless girlfriend. I'm glad there have been many who have helped you and kept you motivated. Because you know darn well. I wouldn't have accomplished as much as iIave done without you as my lifeline for all these years. As for that hot smokin body of yours it amazes me the changes I see you put it thru every couple of months I get to see you. Can't wait till my next surprise 14 days Barb . Can't wait!!!! Lylas

  5. This left me with goose bumps and the need to watch Rudy one more time!!!! Congrats!!!!!

  6. Didn’t expect it, but here I sit, a blubbering mess. What a fantastic piece of writing. Although it is a highly over used expression I just have to say "YOU GO GIRL!!!!!" For both the subject matter and the way it is written. I’m super proud of you and proud to be your friend!!! I’m willing to bet that somewhere in the world, at least one person is going to read this and their life is going to change because of your inspiration.

  7. Your mom was right, "throw away your doctor scholls they are going to kill you" and what happened you slid down the driveway and scrapped your knee. I'm So happy you found your "old pair of running shoes" Run Barbara run up the hill back to your happy and healthy self. We are so very proud of you. Love you always, Marie

  8. Barbara, Congrats on tremendous accomplishment, I understand 100% your feelings and had a similar journey a few years back, with a 58 pound weight loss and more to go I certainly got inspired reading this! Next race try a half marathon, I've done 3 training for my 4th, and it's doable!!! I wouldn't suggest if I didn't think so. Keep on keeping on!

  9. I an overwhelmed by all the kind words!!! Thanks everyone!!! Dawn, Kringle, Tony, TMF, all of you - if this post inspires anyone to "just start" , not just a lifestyle change but, any goal or dream - then I know I am "paying it forward".

    @ Anonymous... DO IT! Start today!

    @ Patty - HUSH! I'm not sure I'm there - YET! But it's not for lack of trying! YOU remember who inspired me in the first round. Can you say fridge magnet - LOL! This time is FOREVER - I expect a butt kickin' from those who love me if they see me "fall off the wagon". I'm counting on you & all my friends!

    @ Jackie - Power to the Posse - 'nuf said! ;)

    @ Marie - YOU KNEW ME WHEN!!! HA!!!
    I still HATE sneakers and running shoes! They are off within seconds of ending a workout or run! However I have traded up the Doctor Scholls for
    quite the collection of FMPs & stilettos. As I said recently when complemented on a pair - "I gave up emotional eating and took up cool shoes!" How did I ever forget how I loved shoes... LOL. :)

    @ Deanna - the "Half Marathon" is already on this years race schedule. I decided to do it after my 15K, - I WILL DO IT - Keep the promises that you make to yourself!!!