2018 is right around the corner, which means it's time for New Years Resolutions.
It's no secret that one of the most popular resolutions people make involves losing weight and getting healthier. Now, a Valley woman talks about her struggles with weight, and how she's motivating others.
The time is 5:00 a.m. By the light of a silvery moon, a herd is gathering in the East Valley. Leading that herd is Melissa Kahn. She's a Chandler mom and one proud (self-described) heifer.
Kahn created "Run, Heifer, Run" in 2013. She's fit now, but pictures from six years ago tell a different story.
"I was absolutely miserable," said Kahn. "I was insecure. I was bitter. I was angry. Every type of misery you can imagine, I was."
At 5' 3", Kahn weighed nearly 300 lbs.
"I would get upset," said Kahn. "I ate cake. I drowned all of my emotions in food."
A popular weight loss meal plan helped Kahn drop most of her 100 pounds. She found a fitness center in Gilbert, with the kind of inspiration and a personal trainer she said motivated her to keep going.
So, how do heifers play into this journey? According to Kahn, it was 2013, and she was talking to a friend about prepping for an upcoming race.
"When I started training, she said 'what are you doing?' I said, 'I'm going out running,' and she said 'run, heifer, run'," said Kahn. "I thought, in that very moment, there's something catchy to that and I bought the dot-com, dot-org, dot-net."
Four years later, Kahn has a logo, t-shirts, and thousands of dedicated heifers following her, both men and women. They support each other's goals to get healthy, in any way they can.
"We're all a bunch of heifers having a good time, different shapes and sizes," said Kahn.
Heifer, Kahn said, is a term of endearment.
"So yeah, I'm going to call you a heifer," said Kahn. "It's in love, and you should call me a heifer because that's in love too. We're a community. We're a herd, and that's how we travel. We travel together and we support each other and we're there for each other."
With 11,000 heifers strong on social media, Kahn has organized virtual races that attract runners and walkers from around the world. Her website features merchandise, blogs, recipes, and stories of triumph. It's a virtual community of people supporting one another, as they try to get fit. Kahn wants to connect them.
"If you call me and say, 'I'm in Peoria, Illinois, what do you got?' I've got 15 people within miles of you. Call them. Go run. They're all heifers. There's a sense of belonging right away because we got you," said Kahn.
Two to three times a week, the heifers run or walk together. The herd is growing, and Kahn is trying to get more people off the couch and moving. She wants Run, Heifer, Run to be a motivating force.
For this heifer, it's personal.
"For 38, 39 years, I have been the fat girl. So what do I tell people sitting on the couch? Just start because you're worth it. You deserve to be happy," said Kahn.
Run, Heifer, Run Website