I have always lived by the words, capture life, live in the moment and get in front of the camera. Well that’s what I always told my clients. For me though it was a daily struggle to get up and be able to look in the mirror.
One day in Dec 2014 I woke up and couldn’t move. Pain was shooting from my fingers all the way to my neck. By Jan 23rd 2015 I was on a surgery table having my C5-6 and C6-7 fused. I was told I wouldn’t be able to lift weights or work out like I wanted to again. This was devastating for me because I’m not a person who could just stop for months to recover from a major surgery. I am a mother of 2 beautiful girls that needed me. My husband and I have a photography business and we had so many clients depending on us. I know I didn’t take the proper time to recover. Within 2 weeks after surgery I was shooting a wedding in a neck brace because I couldn’t let my couple down. I became so depressed about the pain that still lingered in my neck. Pain pills were a necessity to me. I hated taking them but couldn’t get through the night without them. The pressure of everything got to me and I turned to what I thought made me happy, sugar. I gained weight, ate more and gained more weight. I would try to work out and eat healthy but I could never do both of them at the same time. For me it was a mental block.
I remember always driving by Life Time. Then one night we met Elliott, a personal trainer. Be told us we should check it out. We decided to go for a tour of the Summerlin location and instantly fell in love and signed the family up. We would go to the gym as a family and the girls would go to their classes, and after we would finish up with a family swim or rock climb. We were going to the gym but I wasn’t keeping my eating in check. I was actually gaining weight all summer. I used my neck and the pain I was still having as an excuse.
I remember waking up and saying “I am just done! I want my life back!” I sat down at my computer to start working. Opened my email and there it was, the next Challenge signup. Without thinking, I signed up. Oh boy now what?
I remember going in and not wanting to step on the scale in front of anyone. Deep down knowing I was at my heaviest I had ever been. A whooping 194.4. I wanted to cry. I remember the trainer asking me what is my why? I took a moment then wrote it down with a smile.
Other than being ready to work out I knew I needed help. I went to the Try-It Tuesdays. One happened to be on nutrition. The biggest thing I needed. I started using the Life Time StrengthStack and the L- Glutamine which helped me with recovery of the neck after workouts. I was using the LifeCafe for protein shakes and bought some protein to have at home. For the first time, I was consuming the proper amount of protein in my diet as well as proper fruits and vegetables.
After the first weekly weigh in I was feeling good about myself. After weeks 2 and 3 I was starting to doubt myself. I set a goal to lose 45 lbs and it wasn’t looking good. Self doubt overwhelmed me. I went back and read some of the other contestant essays and saw that doing the AMA test helped so much. So I thought I would give it a try. I did my first one on Sept 8th on the stationary bike. I loved spin class, especially Chelly’s classes, so I wanted to get my zones. This helped so much, but yet again I was at a huge plateau for almost two weeks. So I did another one on Sept 27 on the elliptical with Andre. Not only did I learn I was working out too hard, but also I could burn 97% of my fat if I stayed in the right zones. After the test, I sat down and Andre put together a workout plan that fit my needs. Now I am so in love with the LT app. I just put my heart rate monitor on and push Start, and the app tells me what I need to do for the workout. I love it.
By the last couple weeks I was so emotional. I’d worked so hard and needed one last push. I signed up for a training session with Sally. She helped give me that last motivation I needed to push through the end. I followed the 2-week D.TOX program. My family fell in love with the Chili Recipe. Without Sally’s help and the online email support, I may have let my emotions get the better of me.
I thought by doing this Challenge it would help me find myself again. Which it has. I have seen a confidence not only in myself, but in my daughter. Now when I pull up to the gym I know I have a whole group of friends I get to see. Everyone knows me at the front desk and they have been cheering me on every time I walk through the door. I can say that I have gained an amazing group of supporters that I never received at any other gym.
What was my “why” that I wrote down on initial paper that I used as my determination? It was to be able “to look in the mirror and to see the person I loved before neck surgery.” I love the person I’ve become, but I’m not done with this journey yet. I’m signing up for the next Challenge and doing the Transformation next. Thank you to everyone.