From Walk to Run: Courtney Belanger, SUBWAY® Restaurants’ Commit to Fit Ambassador, Learns to Run – Again
We throw around the cliché “It’s like riding a bike, you never forget” a lot when revisiting activities we haven’t done for a while. Just like breathing and walking come naturally to us, I never thought that going for a run after a few years off would result in such a painful (and truthfully – embarrassing) reminder of muscles long since forgotten. Growing up, I was never overweight. I was really involved in physical activity throughout my life as a student, from downhill skiing to ballet and competitive swimming. When I look back on it now, I often wonder how I was able to juggle so many activities along with school work and homework.
Eventually, I found myself happily married with a newborn baby and the activities that I loved so much had quickly faded into distant memories. Life just takes over and suddenly you have no choice but to spend every waking-moment thinking about another person’s wants and needs. Incredibly, it was that very person, my 3-year-old daughter, whose words were the trigger that prompted me to turn my life around and led to my role as SUBWAY® Restaurant’s Canadian Commit to Fit Ambassador. It’s amazing how great things start happening the moment you begin making positive changes in your life.
The five words that changed my life were “can we go swimming tonight.” At 265 lbs, I was unable to face a public pool in a bathing suit. So naturally, I did what any good parent would do and told my daughter that the pool was closed. From that moment on, my husband and I made some drastic changes in the food we were eating. We switched up Friday night pizza for Friday Night SUBWAY® sandwiches. Then, I made the decision to start running. I didn’t make it very far before the realization that I was extremely out of shape hit me like a ton of bricks. Literally – I couldn’t breathe, and my shins felt like the bones had split from my ankles to my knees. This was the moment I realized it really wasn’t “like riding a bike.” It wasn’t as simple as just tying up my laces and going for a refreshing 5K jog. I had to teach my body how to run again. It started with having the right equipment and giving myself goals. I’d start a run and tell myself, “You just need to get to that next stop sign” and as that stop sign grew closer I’d tell myself, “You can totally keep going.” So I’d push myself a little further each time until one day I realized I was ready for the next level.
I registered and completed my first 5K in 2010. Next, I completed my first 10K and then my first half marathon. As a mother of two, I was tasked with the responsibility of being a role model not only for my family, but for my community and Canada. I will proudly say that running is my solitude. Running is a refreshing escape where I can be alone with my thoughts, release any stress and ultimately push myself to achieve goals I never would have attempted three years ago.
Being SUBWAY® Restaurants’ Commit to Fit Ambassador has allowed me to share my story and inspire others to make healthier choices while committing to a more active lifestyle. This year, I’m challenging Canadians to take the Commit to Fit Pledge on SUBWAY Canada’s Facebook page for a chance to win $10,000 and show their community how they’ve committed to fit. But ultimately, it’s my wonderful husband and my two beautiful daughters, waiting for me at the finish line that keeps me motivated and committed.
Thirty-two year old Courtney Belanger, who lives in Milton, Ontario, is the ultimate family woman and SUBWAY® Canada’s Commit to Fit Ambassador. In 2011, Courtney took on SUBWAY® Canada’s Commit to Fit Challenge and in nine short months she lost 120 pounds and went from a size 18 to a size 6. Today, Courtney is a paid endorser of the SUBWAY® brand, whose favorite fitness activity is Hot Yoga, among many others.
* Those considering starting a weight-loss program, should first consult an appropriate medical professional