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This Single Mother of Four Started Running at the Start of the Pandemic and Has Lost Nearly 40 Pounds

Runner’s World logo Runner’s World 4/13/2021 Sierra White, as told to Emily Shiffer
a man and a woman looking at her cell phone: “Once I started running, I stopped feeling so icky all the time, and it inspired me to make healthier choices for myself.” © Courtesy Sierra White “Once I started running, I stopped feeling so icky all the time, and it inspired me to make healthier choices for myself.”

Name: Sierra White

Age: 29

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky

Start Weight: 190 pounds

End Weight: 152 pounds

Time Running: 1 year

For years, I struggled with finding the motivation to lose weight. I have a history with anorexia, so diets have never been easy for me. My weight made me feel severely fatigued, and separately, I have struggled with depression.

I am a mother of four, and after the birth of my last daughter, I was diagnosed with a chronic deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clotting disorder. I learned this would be a lifelong issue, so I was advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


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On top of that, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I lost my job, which led to worsening depression. Being stuck inside all the time wasn’t good for me, so I decided to pick up running to get fresh air in March 2020.

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When I first started running, I experienced a lot of pain. My hips hurt, and I got really bad shin splints, but I loved how I felt after finishing each run. So I pressed on, wearing compression socks to ease some pains and help prevent blood clots that can come from having chronic DVT.

When I first started, I ran about three times a week for 30 minutes outside. Gyms were closed, so I didn’t have access to a treadmill. I realized I needed some sort of guidance, so I decided to download the Nike Run Club app. I used it for pretty much every run, and eventually, I worked my way up to four- and five-mile distances. It felt amazing.

From March 2020 to December 2020, I lost close to 40 pounds through running. Because of my past experience with anorexia, I don’t really like to do diets because I stress myself out and become obsessive. But learning about macros, choosing healthier options for when I am hungry, and listening to my body helped me a lot when it came to changing my nutrition. I also am studying to become a nutritionist, so I am excited to see how my eating evolves.

Especially as a woman and a parent, I felt an intense pressure to bounce back after every pregnancy and maintain this ideal weight that never was obtainable again. In the last year, I learned to appreciate my body for everything it has done thus far in my life and focus on all it has yet to do.

Unfortunately, in January 2021, I was in a terrible car accident, and I contracted COVID-19. My body is still in some form of recovery from both, and I’m currently easing myself back into running. I am currently only able to run about two miles at a time.

I see a physical therapist who has been helping me get back in top training shape. Although my goal was to start training for my first half marathon this spring, I have put that on hold until later this year.

Now I am changing my mindset to set attainable goals. In the past, I could never stick to diets or exercise, because I was so zeroed in on becoming skinny instead of becoming healthier. One tool that has helped me is using a PopFlex Active Fit journal from trainer Cassey Ho. It really helped me to focus on setting healthier habits for myself, and I found my groove and more success with losing weight.

Running changed my life because it was such a healthy outlet for me to help my mental health. Running has given me the ability to disappear into the music for 30 to 60 minutes, and it makes me feel so calm. Once I started running, I stopped feeling so icky all the time, and it inspired me to make healthier choices for myself.

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