My weight loss journey began at the ripe old age of 10. In 5th grade I stood up in class and told everyone that I needed to lose weight. My teacher’s jaw literally dropped to the floor. Growing up, I remember how my mom gave my older brother chocolate snacks and told him to hide it from me because I was chubby. I even remember her encouraging me to take diet pills. To no surprise, I developed a low self-esteem and was met with 2 different eating disorders.
So here I was, 40, pre-diabetic and overweight. I had tried every fad diet out there and seriously thought I was eating healthy. I gained so much weight with each pregnancy and it never came off. I became complacent with my size and basically threw in the towel and accepted the fact that I will remain overweight.
I received emails to vote for the Challenge Finalists. I read their stories and saw how they overcame their struggle with weight. I am a competitive person by nature and know that I needed some accountability, so I immediately signed up.
My game plan was to eat clean by cutting out sugar, processed foods and dairy. Water intake was also important, so I carried around a gallon of water with me all the time. The first few days were brutal because of the epic headaches, fatigue and moodiness. It wasn’t until I was making lunch and dinner when shock came in. Like I said, I thought I was eating healthy, because drowning veggies in olive oil was good for me right? While cooking I caught myself 10 times almost putting food in my mouth. As a mom, I am so used to eating my kids’ leftovers, I didn’t realize I was doing this subconsciously. So all this time those extra pieces of whatever I was putting in my mouth really added up. I started to weigh and measure everything I ate, and realized that my previous portions were enough for a linebacker. Soon, my body began to like these changes and the headaches were gone. I started working with trainer Erin. Erin continuously supported and worked with me. She suggest that I batch meal prep on Sundays so that I can have my meals ready to eat for the week. She gave me some great new workouts to do that promised to strengthen my body and core.
My plans allowed for a cheat meal. Like a death row inmate, I had meticulously planned this meal since Day one. I dined on a burger, fries and ice cream. While prepping the ice cream, I asked my daughter if she would like chocolate or vanilla. She told me that she didn’t want any because it had too much sugar. My heart sank. What have I done? A 5-year old should not have to be burdened with this stress. Flashbacks of my mom’s arsenal of Slim Fast and her body issues came flooding back. That’s when I knew that I wasn’t doing this Challenge just for me. I was doing this for my children, my grandchildren, etc. I had to be the positive role model for my family and break this ferocious cycle. That said…game on, I stopped phoning my workouts in and pushed myself. Like Erin said, “we are stronger than we think we are”.
I had been a Life Time member for almost a year, and being a stay-at-home-mom, it’s my second home. I have 3 kids 5 and under and use the Kid’s Academy where my kids enjoy taking classes they offer. I love the Vernon Hills location because of all the group fitness classes. It’s awesome seeing my gym family and receiving the support from them and the amazing, motivating instructors. I really benefitted from the Try-It Tuesdays because I was able to change up my workouts with people in the same boat. My love for running came back after taking the first Boot Camp class.
The dreaded plateau hit and I felt defeated and wanted to give up. But that’s when I met up with trainer Kendall. He looked at my meal plan and asked if I was tired because I wasn’t eating enough carbs. Once I started implementing all of the invaluable information Kendall and Erin gave me, the pounds started coming off. I also planned all of my cheat meals to revolve around special occasions and holidays so that I can still enjoy all the food that comes with a holiday feast.
I have learned so much through this 60-Day Challenge. I would not have been able to do this without the support of my family, my friends, and of course my Life Time Vernon Hills family.
I understand now that taking care of myself isn’t just about me, it’s about my family. If I am able to break the cycle with food obsession and body image, then I truly have won. There is nothing special about me, I didn’t take a magic pill to lose the weight. I am a sleep-deprived, stay-at-home mom that is trying to make it work with life’s challenges, just like everyone else. I now know that every ounce of effort counts and that I can eat healthy and indulge AND still achieve my goals.
Because I am a huge sci-fi nerd and am super cheesy, I would like to end this with a quote from Professor Charles Xavier “Just because someone stumbles and loses their way, it doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.”