About Me

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After years of sloth, I am now a mama who runs and practices yoga. I write about exercise; parenting a grownup child as well as two little kids; and whatever is annoying me at the moment.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cutting through the noise: My sister's kickass fitness story

"Noise" is how I have come to think of all of the stories, studies and opinions on losing weight and gaining fitness.


Think about all of the stories about "The Biggest Loser" lately and the critics who say it's all a sham because people regained their weight. 

Another story recently quoted a study that basically said heavy people who lose a lot of weight are often doomed to gain it back. 

Then there are all sorts of diets with names like Whole 30. (I cringed once at a kid's birthday party listening to this mom talk about the Whole 30 all of the food she had had to cut out and gradually add back. God, it sounded awful.I wanted to yell at her "you're going to gain that all back!")

It's just all so confusing. No wonder people get frustrated and give up or don't try. Who can blame them?

Which brings me to what I believe, based on my own experience and now the that of my sister Missey, whose amazing story she's letting me share here. Hard work, not gimmicks, are what will get you to your goals. It's work to stay fit and healthy, too. It's so, so hard. But it's doable.

My sister, who is two years younger than me, is AMAZING. She has lost 80 pounds in just a few years -- the slow, hard way. No gimmicks, no fads, no starving. She's gone from obese to being a fitness coach (who no doubt could kick my runner's ass) and finishing 5Ks and recently a 10K. 

My sister's story in her words:

I have been with my husband for 22 years (married for 20 1/2) and we have three wonderful sons: my step-son Dakota (who gave me the most adorable grandson last October, Ryker), my sons Ryan (19 and a freshman at University of Nebraska) and my youngest Breck (14, in the eighth grade).  They have brought a tremendous amount of joy to my life!  

I am a special ed paraprofessional at an elementary school, a job I have loved for six years. Prior to that, I was a branch manager for a large bank a dozen years -- a job I loved but that cut too deeply into time with my family. I also had to sit a lot and developed a bad habit of eating out, which caught up with me (along with two pregnancies!)

In March of 2014 I decided that a change needed to be made. 

I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. Then 44, I had no ill effects from being overweight -- but I knew it was coming. I have two wonderful parents who both have an excessive amount of heath issues and I did not want to go down that path.  

My first step was getting a fitbit.  The first two weeks I had it I continued to eat as I had been (lots of fast food) and realized I was eating well over 3000 calories a day!  Eek! I was in such shock to see that this was a daily occurrence. No wonder I had hit my highest weight.

I realized that I could no longer blame the office job (I had been gone for more than three years) or baby weight (my youngest was 12 then). I really had to look hard at myself and decided that I was in control of what I put in my body.  

My first step was to cut out fast food. I lost 10 pounds in two weeks from that alone. I tried to eat healthier, but I am not a veggie person so it was hard. But I reminded myself that I was making steps in the right direction. After years of trying all the fad diets, I realized that it really is a lifestyle choice, not a diet. I told myself that this was the right course and that it would take time to make the changes needed -- because it took years to put all that weight on.

Two months after I started making my changes, my dear friend Carmen wanted to focus on losing her baby weight and get back into running again.  She and another coworker decided to do a month-long challenge to eat healthy and start to exercise again. I joined in and stepped into a gym for the first time in my life!! It gave me extreme anxiety to do so, but I knew I really had no choice if I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle.  

It was hard at first. I could only walk for 10 minutes at a slow pace on the treadmill, but I did it!  We kept up with the walking and tried weight machines and some fitness classes. I started to overcome my anxiety of working out, especially in front of others.  

We were both so excited that we continued small challenges to keep each other motivated.  By March of 2015 -- one year later -- I had lost 60 pounds and 20-plus inches!  I felt amazing and couldn't believe how far I had come, although I knew I still had a way to go.  

Carmen and I continued to walk, go to the gym and started sharing meals.  Last summer, I had a few setbacks and gainedback a few pounds (too many bbqs and adult beverages).I was frustrated and attempted to refocus as best as I could, but felt I really needed something different to renew my passion for living a healthier life. 

Then a co-worker told Carmen and me about Farrell's, which offered a 10-week fitness program -- 45 minutes a day, six days a week.That same day, October 9, 2015 we both signed up! 

The team atmosphere, focus on both building strength and developing cardio fitness, and nutrition guidance was exactly what we needed to re-motivate ourselves!  

I learned so much about nutrition, including to no longer solely focus on counting calories and losing weight. I learned it was important to fuel your body with the proper amount of carbs and proteins.  

During that 10 weeks I lost 16 lbs, 13.75 inches and 3.5 percent body fat. Since that 10 weeks ended, I have lost another eight pounds and 12.5 inches. My clothes became much looser and I had never felt better!  By week five of my 10 weeks I was asking when I could sign up to be a FIT student.  :)

I have had people tell me that I need to lose more weight (which is true); however I am now healthier and stronger than I have ever been.  

Even then my early 20's when I was a size 3 and weighed 115 lbs, I may have been thin, but I wasn't healthy. I was just young.  

I walked/ran my first 10K in March of this year at the age of 46, I can easily go on 3-4 mile walks, play basketball with my son, keep up with all of the kids as school and now kickbox! I did not have the energy then that I do now 26 years later. I've learned that looks are definitely deceiving and that the number on the scale does not define the shape or health you are in!

Yep, this is me, 20 years old in 1990.  I may have been thin but I was not as healthy as I am now. I didn't exercise and my diet consisted on mostly fast food. (but don't you love the hair!) 

This is me on the left and Carmen in March of 2014.  Both of us started to realize that changes in our food choices and exercise needed to be a priorities in our lives.  As Carmen has told me and others, being a mom makes it hard, but if we don't take care of ourselves how will we take care of others?

Yes this is me at my heaviest in both of the above pictures (2013 and 2014) and me now (2016).  I be may older but I am so much healthier (I know I keep saying that but it is true)!  

I have dropped six pant sizes, four shirt sizes and even a shoe size!  I am now down 80 pounds and 40-plus inches.

Although a lot of my weight loss came before Farrell's, I have lost more inches in the six months at Farrell's then I did from the 1.5 years of cardio and weights I did on my own. To me, this speaks about how much this program works!  It really is 80% balanced nutrition and 20% exercise.  

The best thing to come out of this -- I am now honored to be a fitness coach at Farrell's and try to help others find their path to a healthier life.  

This story you've read is the story I now share with new clients. I hope my story helps them realize that no matter what your body size is, the health you are in, it is NEVER too late to change and live for you!  I encourage all of them to talk to us and ask questions, and remind them that we understand what they're going through and that we are here for them and want to do our best each day to support them through their journeys!!

Missey and Carmen at a recent 5K race: Looking fabulous!

Thank you for taking the time to read this

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