If you’d met me just a few years ago, you would not have met a fitness enthusiast…
In fact, you would have meet someone who avoided fitness at all costs. Someone who was:
- Afraid of getting active.
- Afraid of trying.
- Afraid of failing.
But there came a point in my life where I had to make the very hard decision of whether to fight for my health, or go on living the way I was – possibly cutting my own life short.
My father’s wish
Let me take you back to where I started.
This is me in 2009. I weighed 420 pounds and physical activity was about the last thing on my mind.
I tried being fit and active briefly, to get a guy that wasn’t attracted to me to actually see me rather than my weight. I lost 200 pounds, got the boy and got married. When the relationship went sour, I went back to my unhealthy relationship with food and gained it all back.
Then a more important man in my life came to me and told me he was worried that I was going to be dead before I saw 40. I couldn’t let my 83 year old father spend his last days worrying about burying me.
Making fitness fit me
I started chasing the “happy and healthy life,” that my father expressed wanting for me. I began walking, I went back to dieting. I lost 100 pounds and decided to have gastric bypass surgery in 2010 as a tool to fight my obesity, recover from my addiction to food, cure my diabetes and try to insure that whatever weight I lost this time, I managed to keep off.
When walking got easy I started adding more activity. I began swimming. Next I hired a personal trainer (I’ll tell you more about that in a second) to help me build muscle and make me feel stronger. I started hitting a kickboxing bag around. Every new aspect of fitness I tried was hard at first. Really hard. But the more I did it, the easier it got. But then something really hard happened.
I lost my father in 2011. I can’t even describe to you what that loss felt like – and just when I was experiencing the biggest success in my weight loss journey. But instead of turning to food to cope with the overwhelming grief, I turned to fitness.
Using emotions to fuel my fitness
I used to define myself as an emotional eater. Now, I’d call myself an emotional runner.
I miss him more than words could ever describe. But every time I lace up my shoes and hit the pavement for a run, I feel like I’m having a conversation with him. I can feel his spirit just as I feel the wind on my face, pushing me to go farther, to keep trying.
That ability to use my emotions to fuel my fitness wasn’t automatic – and it still isn’t easy. I tried a lot of different things to make fitness fit me. And I’ll be honest with you. Some of it didn’t.
For example, I don’t like spin. I probably never will. But now I realize that I don’t have to do things I hate in order to achieve fitness. In fact, I was more consistent with exercise when I found things I love to do.
But it wasn’t easy for me as a weight loss surgery patient. It seemed like many exercise plans are geared toward people who started with some level of fitness knowledge. I didn’t have much! In fact, I spent a lot of time in the beginning trying to figure out what kinds of exercises a 280 lb. woman could (and should) do and how to properly eat to fuel my body when my eating capacity was so very limited. When I didn’t find the information I needed, I decided to hire a trainer.
There were a couple of things I tried that didn’t fit me. Like Spin. Things I didn’t enjoy. But I realized quickly that I didn’t have to do those things! I found the things that I enjoyed and I kept at it. For me that meant running. I had used running to deal with losing my dad and in doing so I had found a way to stay connected to him when he was no longer with me. Running was my time to talk to him, to ask for help and guidance, and I always knew he was there with me.
I went through quite a few before I found one that fit and honestly I was often upset that they asked me to do things I couldn’t do. They made me feel like a failure and that didn’t motivate me. After a few of those types of experiences I promised myself that someday I would be that trainer I was looking for that would help people who were in the same position I was.
Let me help you figure out how fitness fits you!
Many people seem very impressed that I’ve done as many half-marathons as I have. While I am thankful for the amazing changes my journey has taken me on, I know that my results are not unique. Anyone can do what I did, get the results that I got. It’s not easy – it takes perseverance, motivation and support – but anyone can do it.
I know what you’re thinking. “Even me?” Yes, even you!
It took me a few years, but I made good on that promise I made myself all those years ago. I studied and became a certified personal trainer. My career is now dedicated to helping people just like you find their fitness perfect fit.
Because I understand what it’s like to be a person of size. I understand how overwhelming it can feel to get started. I know the frustration you feel when it seems like none of the fitness advice applies to you. I’ve felt the eyes on me as I took my first steps, and I’ve felt the judgment of trainers who didn’t understand me or my body.
And I want to make sure that never happens to you. That’s my promise to you.
All I ask is that you take the first step. I’ll help you take the second..and third…and fourth. And together we can walk this journey together. Are you ready to take that first step?
If so, I’d love to meet you!