BY INES MADRID
Kelly Roberts started to run to save her own life. After the tragic and unexpected loss of her brother Scott, running became the therapy and helping hand she never imagined.
In dealing with her grief, she also discovered how she didn't love her own reflection in the mirror.
And in the process, she founded the Badass Lady Gang and She Can/And She Did running groups. In addition to marathon plans, community runs, and coaching, the platforms encourage women of all shapes and sizes to find their inner athlete.
Kelly is currently training for the Chicago Marathon, where she is hoping to earn her Boston Qualifying time. In the middle of marathon training, she shared her experience on the path to how loving yourself frees you to live your best life.
1. When did you begin to love and embrace your body, and decide to challenge the stereotypes of what a female athlete should look like?
I don’t think it happened in a moment. Most of my life, I was obsessed with weight loss like pretty much every other woman I've ever known. I wasn’t athletic, so an athletic build wasn’t something I thought to aspire to. I didn’t want muscle, I just wanted to be a 00 or look like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Destiny’s Child. But I didn’t really understand or take a sledgehammer to our traditional feminine beauty ideals (thin, nice, quiet, spend your money on appearance and take up as little room in the world as possible) until I ran a marathon. It was the first crack to that construct and two years later, when I started chasing a BQ, it finally fell apart.
I’d bought into the lie the food industry sold us that weight loss is as simple as calories in versus calories out and if you were overweight, it's because you weren’t working out enough. And there I was, eating a healthy and balanced diet, running 40+ miles a week, cross-training and strength training, and I was still a US size 10/12. I didn’t understand why I wasn't losing weight even though I was eating healthier and running stronger than I'd ever run in my life. I finally decided I was tired of feeling sad and disappointed every time I saw my reflection or a picture of myself.