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Daron: Finding Happiness & Changing my Life with Running

For years, I was an overweight friend and a son. It all started when I actually dropped playing basketball as a kid and focused more on secondary school studies. It kept going that way for four years and many more to come. Overeating happened to be a sneaky habit slowly replacing other sources of happiness in my life, as in being able to run, catch and throw a ball. Every time I had a member of my family or close friends pointing at my weight, I always had a snappy response: “I will not go through my 30s like this. Don’t worry. I’m young and enjoying this for now.” It was an easy escape sentence.

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In 2012, I was 29 and getting close to be 30. I knew this was a turning point.

I knew if I’d hit  my 30th birthday at 340 pounds, I would go the same for another 10 years.

For the long run, I realized that I was getting older and it was getting difficult for my body to carry that additional amount of fat and digest all the garbage I ate every day.

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The starting point for a new chapter in my life was May 1st, 2012. Since I knew I’d injure my knees running at that weight, I first started indoor cycling. In addition, I stopped eating starchy food, bread and sugar. In five months, I dropped 90 pounds. I was doing 40 minutes of cycling in the morning and another 40 in the evening for five consecutive months.

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When I finally saw 250 pound on the scale, I started running. I always wanted to join one of these “First 5K” training programs, so that’s what I did! I bought a Runkeeper Go membership and started digging deeper into the data analytics. I bought several HR Monitors (yes, a gadget geek here), and foot pods to improve the amount of data sent to Runkeeper. In a short time, I was able to run my first 5K and the rest did just keep coming: public runs, marathons, as well as mud races.

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I switched back from the person who found happiness in junk food to a person being happy with running. I should admit that losing weight was easy for me. I loved it!

Once I got that huge amount of fat out the door, I focused more on performance, sprinting and muscle building.

Let me tell you this; building muscle is not as easy as losing fat.

Maybe, that’s just because I’m not done yet and I might change my mind in a couple of years. Still, my focus has shifted and I started doing shorter runs and focused mostly on speed improvement. Weight training ended up being a huge part of my daily workout routine and I kept using Runkeeper to log all these workouts through GymHero. Runkeeper has always been the best place to keep all my data. It does not matter if I want to run, row, or weight train. It does not matter what my primary focus in training was. The best part is you are always able to go back in time and see the progressive steps you have taken that brought you to where you’re now. That surely is a source of motivation to push further ahead.

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Today, I weigh 205 pounds with 11% body fat and I feel like I need to let everyone know about how good it feels to move!

You! Do you run? No? Just jog, it does not matter! Go buy a running shoe, a heart rate monitor, install Runkeeper on your phone and start moving, tracking, improving! Now! Not tomorrow.

Daron Yondem

About the author:
Daron Yondem

Daron is a Runkeeper Ambassador based in Istanbul, Turkey. his fitness journey began with indoor cycling ranging from 5Ks to marathons and strength training!

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