I Started Running at Night So No One Would See Me Struggle. Now I Run Half Marathons.

Carolyn Walker’s 70-pound weight loss began in 2012. Photograph courtesy Carolyn Walker.

Changing your body takes hard work, persistence, and dedication. Here’s one local’s story. Want to share your Transformation Story? Email ccunningham@phillymag.com.

Who: Carolyn Walker, 27, a marketing director, graphic designer, and fitness coach from East Stroudsburg

Why I wanted to make a change: “I decided to make a change the summer before my junior year of high school. I was the ‘fat smart girl’ in school and hid behind my grades and allowed my peers to make fun of me. I was sick and tired of the laughs and being picked last, so I wanted to prove people wrong.”

Height: 5’6″

Starting weight: I stopped stepping on the scale when I reached 215 pounds.

Current weight: 145 pounds.

What changed for me: “I gained confidence, and for the first time I wasn’t ashamed of what I looked like or who I am. I finally loved me for me, which I was lacking my entire childhood. I saw the potential in my life and believed I could do anything, no matter what anyone told me. I started my journey thinking I needed to prove people wrong and that they’d only like my if I was skinny — but it ended with my finding myself and not caring what anyone else thought. I did it for me.”

“I started my journey thinking I needed to prove people wrong and that they’d only like my if I was skinny — but it ended with my finding myself and not caring what anyone else thought. I did it for me.”

How I changed my diet: “I actually became a pescatarian and later developed a lactose intolerance. I eat a ton of vegetables and fruits and vegan proteins — trail mix and almond butter are my weakness! I cut out all the sweets and sodas and that helped tremendously.”

How I changed my workout plan: “I started with running at night so no one could see me struggle. What started as a struggle turned into a love, and now I am running half marathons. My brother also got me into the Beachbody workouts, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Shaun T is my man! Currently I work out two times a day during the week, rest on Saturday, and do a distance run on Sunday. I do two workouts during the week because I actually Skype with my parents to get them to remain active since I moved out on my own.”

The hardest part: “The hardest part was my mindset. I had a lot of rough times — a lot — but with a supportive family and a few strong friendships, it helped be get through a patch of darkness and really see the light. I had to get out of the mindset of hating myself and seeing the words people threw at me on a daily basis — I wasn’t that girl people said I was and I needed to prove it to not only them, but myself.”

Carolyn Walker’s 70-pound weight loss was aided by a pescatarian diet and running. Photograph courtesy Carolyn Walker.

What I’m most proud of: “I am most proud of finding myself and loving me for me. I didn’t quit when people told me it would be impossible, I held my ground and I never backed down.”

What’s next in my journey: “I am always working on change; my weight never stays the same and it’s always up and down. But instead of getting down on myself or getting upset, I know a steady balance and understand what needs to be done. I allow myself to enjoy my life while also going after my goals. I feel like we are never satisfied with how we look, but I am definitely in a better place that I was when I started.”

What I want everyone to know: “Nothing is impossible, you just have to have the courage to start. If you want something bad enough, you’re going to work your ass off to achieve it. Don’t let anyone or anything get in your way, you deserve that happiness!”

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