My weight has fluctuated from the mid 1990's to July 2011. That was when I said enough is enough! My highest weight was 250lbs. I am 5'3' with a medium bone frame. In Aug of 2003 I weighed 204lbs and I started to keep a food and fitness journal. I walked daily and got my bike riding up to five miles a day. It took me until July 2004 to lose 25lbs. By 2006 I was back up to 199lbs. I won't play the blame game even though I'm tempted. I made some poor choices on top of the fact that I like to eat. Plain and Simple. I am an eater! Not necessarily junk food, though kettle chips are a big weakness of mine. I come from a family of snackers and eaters. Nothing like going to a nice restaurant or having a nice home cooked meal or better yet sitting down to a good book with a bag of chips and dip. My parents shared a love for good food and passed that down to all their children. None of us had a weight problem until we got older. I can remember my mother hiding the can of Utz's potato chips because once I started eating them I wouldn't stop, and no one else got to eat any. I also remember fixing Thomas English Muffins in the morning with butter and sugar. Not one muffin, but at least three. Strangely enough, I did not have weight issues until my early 30's. I did not connect my eating to emotional issues until much later in life
Like a lot of people, I experienced many ups and downs in life. The most catastrophic was when my son was killed in 2000 in a horrific car accident. He was only 19 years old. I have spent the past 12 years vacillating between wanting to live or die. I make no apologies for those emotions. He was my only child and my world as I saw it back then. But I will not shame my son's memory by giving up and quitting on life.
In June 2011 I was at my lowest in a long time, and I just happened to tune into Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. I watched a few episodes. One in particular struck a chord within me. I don't remember the young man's name. What I do remember is sitting on the couch squalling like a baby wanting to reach out to him and tell him just how wonderful I thought he was. I kept asking myself what was I doing to myself yet again? If this person at his weight could make life altering changes then so could I. That night I went online to find out just who was Chris Powell. That search led me to Reshape The Nation and I joined the free community that night. This in itself was a major step as I have never done any interacting with other people on a computer. I felt so shy and out of place until the members made me realize just how welcome I was. I had arrived!
My story does not end here. RTN became the first baby step to what has become a true lifestyle change. I then went in search of a gym -- I was still a free member at this point -- that had the Humana Silver Sneakers Program. That search led me to Fitness Lady. Wrong Program. Right Gym. Turns out the gym I was looking for was coed and across the street from where I was. The powers that be and my son were looking out for me that day, because this was the place I was meant to be. A really nice lady by the name of Sharon told me all about their program and offered me a pass to their evening water aerobics class. I was blessed when the owner, Kedgy Larson, heard me tell Sharon about my hips not working anymore and she said she would personally take me through my first fitness session. She and my doctor work hand in hand as to what I am allowed to do. If anyone of you know what it's like to live with an anxiety disorder you will understand when I say the hardest first step was for me to walk through their doors on that first day. I remember asking Kedgy after about a week or so if she was always so perky! lol! Her response was we aim to please. Now guess who is the perky one? lol! I never expected to see that side of my personality again. I was again blessed when I messaged Mademois Elle (a Reshape team member) to ask if the program would work if I just followed the meal plan and did my doctor supervised exercises at the gym. The response was an emphatic yes! Before I got the seven day trial I had started a new food journal and was studying the board posts to see how I could improve my meals. I became friends with a very nice young lady named Christina. She gave me lots of encouragement and advice along with many people on the board itself. Most who, unfortunately, no longer post. They unknowingly helped pave the way for my new life's journey. I cannot tell you the exact moment the shoe fit. I believe it was with the second wave of new members. A few of us, like Canadian and kangab, had an instant rapport and a similar sense of humor. I had finally found a place where I could relax and be myself with people who shared similar heartaches and goals. At the same time I was slowly adjusting to being out in public and around like-minded women. The goal: to become healthy and fit. Mind, body, and soul.
I do not want to press my luck and say I was blessed a third time, but I was. During the month of August I received an email from RTN honoring me with a lifetime membership. To say I was shocked would be an understatement! I can still see myself walking into Fitness Lady with a big smile showing Kedgy my letter. I was now on my way to better health. Could life possibly get any better? Yes it could and did. Kedgy announced in class one night that she and her daughter, Brianna, were leaving to attend a fitness seminar in Chicago. Chris Powell just happened to be one of the keynote speakers. I pestered that poor women for at least a week to please get me his autograph saying I was an over age groupie. lol! She promised to do what she could. I was disappointed, but completely understood when they came back and told me that the days were too hectic and there just wasn't enough time for autographs. Little did I know! Not long after I was heading into class and Kedgy pulled me aside to take my picture. I never take pictures and I do mean never! (Or should I say until the past eight months.) She kept having me pose in a certain way. I was definitely curious as to what it was about, but she gave nothing away. Not a clue. About a week later Kedgy and Brianna presented me with a picture of Kedgy, Chris Powell, and myself!! Did I get my autograph? No I was given something better. A daily reminder from my two favorite people as to why I am here. I was told that it was Chris' idea to put his arm so that when my picture was added he would then have his arm around me as if I was there for the original shot. So very sweet and thoughtful. I must have smiled for days after that.
So where does that leave me now? I am heading into my eighth month 38lbs lighter with about 50 to 60 more pounds to lose. Three days a week I ride the recumbent bike doing level six intervals for 15 to 20 minutes, doing about 4.2 miles. I am working on increasing my rpm to 75. I can now leg press 40lbs for 40 reps, arm row 35lbs for 40 reps, use the red tube to work my triceps and swim laps anywhere from a quarter of a mile to a mile depending on how much time I have left to workout. A mile is 80 pool laps. One lap being down and back across the pool. (160 laps total.) Just recently I have started to switch up with swimming intervals at least one of those days. I am trying to keep my body from knowing my routine. Two nights a week I attend water aerobics taught by the phenomenal Kedgy herself. Let's just say I never have problems sleeping on those nights. By the way I named my machine (body) A Rockin and A Rollin! Not too shabby for a lady who will be turning 59 next week. My doctor was so pleased on my last checkup. He said I was making his job easy by curing myself. My blood pressure has returned to normal, my sugars are down and my cholesterol was back to normal. What more could a person want?
Will the rest of my journey be easy? It will be as easy or as difficult as I choose to make it, or as Chris always says I will get out what I put in. Nothing in life worth having is ever easy. I fully expect more hurdles, but I choose to “dance in the rain.” Kedgy Larson recently pointed out to some of her members that we do not plan for bad days, but when they do happen -- and they will -- it is how we choose to face the day that makes the difference. I have kept that advice close to my heart.
Do I live in the best of two worlds? I do indeed! First, I have found my passion in life. Being a part of the RTN community by supporting others who need help as I did eight months ago. It is my intent to be a part of the community for as long as I exist. To be able to give to others what has been given to me, support, encouragement, and friendship, not to forget humor, will be a lifelong honor. Secondly, I have a new family at Fitness Lady. It is Kedgy Larson's goal to see that all her members are provided the opportunity for total body fitness. Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally. She provides the learning tools in the way of exciting and challenging classes, breakout sessions given by the PT's and seminars. These are offered every month and it is up to me to take advantage of the wealth of information that is being offered, which I do. And there is always Chris' daily motivational video as well. I feel like a sponge that just cannot absorb enough information. Oh, and I mustn't forget the wonderful support of my family and friends who are so happy to see me happy and embracing life again. Even if I do get just a tad annoying trying to share all my new found knowledge! I want everyone who cares to share in my experience!
More importantly than my weight and inches lost, though those are very important, is the emotional change I have undergone. I have regained a better perspective on life, found my lost sense of humor, which is going to be crucial on this journey. Canadian and I made a promise to each other never to lose our sense of humor. I am slowly developing a confidence to interact with others and to realize that I too am important and sometimes actually have interesting and important information to share. Not to keep doubting myself. Above all I now realize I did not fail my son or myself. Failing would have been giving up and that is no longer an option. There is much more Reshaping yet to be done!
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story. My goal and desire is to set an example for the over 50 population. That they too can make healthy choices. It is not too late. What is too late is to never embrace the opportunity of change. Having been given this opportunity myself, I now plan to set a good example and be a voice for a fit and healthy lifestyle until I draw my last breath. How can I lose with RTN, Chris Powell, David Smith, Kedgy Larson and all of Fitness Lady watching my back!!!! Thank you.