It’s not about the setbacks in life, but about the comebacks that matter.
Every transformation starts with those triggers. My first was already being an emotional wreck trying to make it home to see my grandma one last time before she died, but then bursting into tears because I barely fit in the airplane seat. Lots of chocolate made me feel better, but the next 5 lbs didn’t. Then I freaked out when I found out in 10 months I had to perform in a mother/daughter group recital dance. Enough was enough. I was tired of being so embarrassed by my weight. I wanted to stop the emotional and physical toll obesity was taking on my life, so a friend suggested Life Time.
After I met Jordan Albright, I knew I found the right place to help me. Admitting to years of eating bad and no exercise, seeing my initial health score was hard. After we discussed my goals and concerns, he introduced Core3 Training and I was excited to get started. Following the AMA/RMAs and meeting with dietitian Kelsey Ermels, I found out that years of low-calorie/low-fat diets had killed my metabolism. The food sensitivity test gave me insights that I was sensitive to gluten and eggs, so eliminating those from my diet stopped all my stomach issues and I had more energy. The biggest adjustment was the meal prepping and actually eating more calories and healthy fat, but I loved the online guides, recipes, and shopping lists to help me get the right types of protein, carbs, and fats. Also, the LifeCafe made it so convenient to get the right supplements.
The next step was to get moving. I had many aches and pains from old injuries, including bad knees, ankles and shoulder; that limited what I could do. I committed to 3 days a week each of cardio on my own and strength training with Brandyn Ambrosy. He taught me the right way to do so many new exercises that got me moving without the stress to my body. We changed my cardio to incorporate HIIT and optimizing the time in my zones for increased fat burn. Eventually, I even added Reformer Pilates. He also stressed recovery with the need for a day off, saunas, massages, and taking supplements like the StrengthStack, multivitamins and fish oil.
I was so proud when I finished the Spring 2016 90-Day Challenge #3 nationally and had actually lost 100 lbs and went from 45% to 8% body fat in less than a year. I thought I had it figured out and was ready to maintain on my own, but I was wrong.
To celebrate, I had a “cheat week” followed by frequent happy hours, eating out, and vacation. Then started the emotional eating from added work stress and feeling discouraged that I didn’t make it as a 90-Day finalist. It turned into nightly uncontrollable urges for weeks. I upped my cardio to try to burn off the calories, but that just made the cravings worse. In no time I had gained back 25 lbs of mostly body fat. I was so disappointed in myself.
To make matters worse, I was dealing with another blood clot from a medical condition I have dealt with for over 20 years called May-Thurner Syndrome, which in the past had caused many DVTs, poor circulation, and ultimately led to a torn Achilles and more weight gain. I saw a new vascular surgeon, and due to recent medical advances, he was able to reopen my vein. He is hopeful that he will be able to repair the DVT damage with a few more surgeries. Imagine going from living with the fear of an early death to having a newfound hope for a longer life.
I wasn’t going to waste this chance. I decided to sign up for the 60-Day Transformation Challenge with my husband. I almost didn’t because it was physically and emotionally hard on me the first time, but I needed to bounce back and remember I was doing this for myself and my family: to get back to my goal weight, support each other, and make a lifetime commitment to living healthier. First I did the D.TOX program to clean out my system and kick-start the healthy eating habits from before. I re-did my AMA to adjust cardio to my new zones. The Try-It Tuesdays, weekly email tips, and online recipes and resources helped reinforce what I needed to focus on most. I even ran my first 5k.
The best part is that I have a solid maintenance plan. I’ll continue to eat healthier with only the occasional indulgence: once per week, not per day. I’ll keep up with a good, varied workout routine, but set new goals for different physical challenges like doing a 10k. Finally, my celebration is going to be a spa day and shopping spree, not food.
Life is always going to have its challenges and there will be times when living the perfect healthy lifestyle 24/7 isn’t possible. What matters most is to find your support group; forgive and learn from the past mistakes; focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t; and remind yourself why you started this. Thanks to Brandyn and the Life Time staff for their knowledge, support and words of encouragements, but most especially to my family for changing with me and helping me come back.