Greetings FFTFL readers! I am honored to be able to contribute an update on my life since the filming of FFTFL. Forewarning: I know a lot of people hope to hear that after such a life changing event such as massive weight loss that nothing but sunshine and roses follow. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, I truly feel that sharing our experiences can help those who are struggling and hope my update may guide you to your own self-accountability.

Lealah in 2012 weightloss goal

Lealah in 2012 at her weightloss goal.

Following the race and filming of the From Fat to Finish Line documentary (a truly awesome experience), I started hitting obstacles in my weight loss maintenance. I began getting injured (probably from overtraining) and I had to really rein in my running. I also struggled with personal issues and depression. I had new battles with my eating habits. Due to marathon training, I had been able to eat whatever I wanted for quite some time. I started to realize that while yes, I had grown and changed for the better tremendously, losing weight did not fix everything. Imagine that! Even though I worked on my self-esteem and confidence while losing weight, I continued to be my own worst enemy.

I decided that I would focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle while pursuing something new and unrelated to weight loss. I needed to stop obsessing on my physical self and start bettering myself in other areas – so I went back to school. Accounting seemed like the obvious choice since I worked in finance at my office and actually liked my job. I studied nonstop. Not only did I go full out nerd, actually enjoying the material, but I was driven by my need to do my absolute best. Unfortunately, I had little time to dedicate to my workouts and unhealthy foods became SUPER convenient.

This continued until October 12, 2015. On this day, my entire life shattered and I was left broken. My little brother chose to end his own life on this day. I will spare you the horrific details, but if you or someone you know has been affected by suicide, my detailed posts about suicide, the months following, and my path to coming back from the nightmare can be found on my personal blog. Please feel free to read it if you feel it could help.

I will leave the recap as this: I by far encountered the darkest era of my life and found the darkest corners of my mind. I had to do some serious soul searching and come to some life-changing realizations before I could escape the darkness. All my life, I have tried to look for the good in things, to find light in everything and to always have hope. My brother’s death collapsed all light for me. For some time afterward, all I could see was darkness.My heart may never be free of the ache left by my brother’s death, but I am okay with that. Every experience is one of learning, and I wish with all my might that I had learned some lessons differently; however, I will not allow his death to be in vain. I am realizing even darkness has beauty.

Lealah Shahin at the From Fat to Finish Line film premiere in Nashville, TN.

Lealah with friends after her first marathon in 2012.

I have had to come to terms with the fact that I have been unaligned for quite some time. Maybe I achieved physical health and fitness, but what about my mental, spiritual, and emotional health? I started the work, but I never actually dedicated myself to strive for alignment. But, now is the time. It’s time to think healthy thoughts, to be in sync with myself and my purpose, to allow the responsibility of my peace and joy to fall on myself, not on my expectations of self and others. It’s time to be healthy inside as well as outside. It is time to be the best me I can and let all of the other junk just be stripped away. I want to be a better person and to benefit my fellow man.

These realizations came to me through meditation, yoga, and lots and lots of soul searching. I have a new plan for getting back on track and regaining health, in all realms. I have allowed myself to stray from focusing on health and have dealt with some road blocks that have made me want to give up on everything.

As far as weight loss goes, I am up somewhere between 40-45 pounds, but I am trying to not get wrapped up in the scale and numbers again. That obsession will not benefit me either. I am getting back to a healthy way of eating, back to my workouts (slowly due to having a ton of back issues this past year), and a stronger commitment to my yoga and meditation sessions.

I will never find meaning in my life until I am in touch with and content with myself. The best part is that I am not starting from scratch. I have learned much and grown tremendously from ALL my experiences. It’s not enough though, there are still more experiences to have and more lessons to learn.

It’s time for Round 2.