If you had told me five years ago that I would lose 120 pounds, I would have been thrilled. I would have pictured myself in a bikini, my arms sculpted, my belly flat. I mean, 120 pounds! Where would I even find clothes small enough to fit me?

The reality of a 120-pound weight loss is a little different from my delusional daydreams. What really happened is that I got fit without losing all of the fat. I know that fit fat people aren’t a new phenomenon, but it’s still weird when it happens to you.

The research is out there and has been for many years. You can be fat and still be fit. It’s a slim (ha!) majority of folks who fit that bill, but for better or for worse, I’m one of them. It takes a lot for me to break a sweat, to get my heart rate up. I ran my first 5K race in 32 minutes, 51 seconds — at 196 pounds. That’s not exactly speedy, but I know many thin people who could not travel 3.1 miles in that amount of time.

Pounding toward the finish at nearly 200 pounds!

I’m somewhere in the 180-pound range now. Yes, some of those pounds are muscle, and a lot of them are fat. I have height on my side — the taller you are, the better distributed your weight usually is.

It’s frustrating when your post-weight loss body doesn’t match your fat girl fantasies. I know that I am not quite there yet, that my weight has not bottomed out yet.  My 300-pound self never thought she’d wear a bikini, but she also never thought she’d run several miles at a time. I’m learning to appreciate what my body can do, not just how it looks.

Just like my running, it’s a journey — one step at a time.