I know something that many other professionals do not.
I didn’t learn it in school; I didn’t learn it at a workshop. It helps me be a better trainer, a passionate instructor, and a more understanding person.
My “something” is both simple and powerful: I know what it feels like to be fat, out of shape, and unable to tie my shoes.
As a teenager and young adult I was not fat. Yes, I did have some “heavier” times, depending on my stress level. I exercised a lot: biked to school/work, exercised at the gym, walked everywhere. So my taking comfort in food didn’t show – I worked off whatever I ate. At 19 I also began teaching group exercise classes, which I did for many years. But despite my teaching, the excess calories began to show. I was 5′ and 164 pounds by the time I was 26 years old.
Every day I would wait for “tomorrow” to start my diet.
I had started and failed hundreds, if not thousands, of times. And every tomorrow would become another tomorrow. And another. So the weight kept piling on. I stopped exercising. By the time my father became terminally ill with cancer in April of 2003 I weighed 184 pounds. The next four months, as I cared for him, food kept me going and made me feel comforted. When my father passed away that August I was 198 pounds, my highest weight ever (or, my highest recorded weight).
Many people have a “life-changing” experience. Mine was holding my father’s hand while he died – and facing my own mortality. It made me think of all the things I’d never done while waiting for another “tomorrow.” Waiting for the day when I’d miraculously wake up thin and fit.
I started small. I never dreamed I would end up losing the weight I did. I began walking. Then lifting some weights. Then using my elliptical machine. I changed my eating habits by adding some fruits, vegetables and whole grains to my pitiful diet. I scoured every health and fitness resource I could find.
Nearly a year and 82 pounds later, I was 116 pounds and a size 4.
I’m not going to lie. It was hard. I made a lot of difficult choices: I had to say “no” to food a lot. I had to say “yes” to exercise a lot (even when I didn’t feel like it). I had to learn to put my health first and make tomorrow happen today.
I don’t have 6-pack abs, but who cares? I have much more energy. I can bike 60 miles (or more)…and I can still eat chocolate!
P.S. Don’t forget to visit my weight loss blog for tips, recipes, exercises and motivation!