At first, I joined to simply lose weight. It had gotten out of control and I knew it. I liked the idea of being held accountable because I didn’t trust myself to do anything on my own. As the weeks went on, I started uncovering so many more reasons that had been buried deep inside and I began facing those. As a single mom, I obviously want to be healthy so I can be around a long time for my kids and I want to set a good example for them. I also realized how much control I have let other people have in my life and how much emotional trauma has taken its toll on me. I had allowed myself to become a victim of my circumstances, use them as excuses and truth be told, I didn’t like myself very much and I was ashamed, embarrassed with low self esteem. Very early on I realized that really, I am doing this to take back control of my life. To rediscover who I am, who I want to be, and not let my situation, my job, my stress, my emotions, or any other person control me. I am in control… I choose how I want to live my life. The most important thing I have taken away from this experience is how to accept myself for who I am right now… not where I want to be, but right now. This was a starting point for me, a springboard. I am not done, I have more to learn, and more to accomplish. The weekly weigh ins and accountability have helped me so very much.

Although this is the beginning for me, I feel like I have learned so much about planning ahead. knowing what’s on my calendar and planning for my meals and workouts. I was consistent with my workouts, consistent (the majority of the time) with the meal plan and I feel very accomplished. I had given up and quit several times in the past when I’ve tried to lose weight… I would find excuses and let that voice in my head justify why it was ok to stop. Not this time! Every time it showed up, I told that voice in my head to take a seat and shut up! LOL!!! That is a HUGE accomplishment for me!

Several people have told me that because of what I’m doing, it has inspired them to start eating better or start exercising. It’s very humbling since I’ve never considered myself as one who could inspire others.

So many changes have happened along this journey! Clothes I haven’t worn in a long time are now fitting, I have TONS of more energy,  I have kicked my addiction to Diet Coke, and I am doing SO much better with how I look at food (as fuel rather than comfort, rewards, or entertainment) Most importantly, I feel so much more confident about myself and I feel like I am now in control! May 2017

After completing my first challenge and losing 22 pounds, I knew I still wasn’t done. I had a lot more weight to lose. Having the accountability of the Trainers really helps me to stay on track, focused and determined to continue working towards my weight loss goals. I wanted to continue investing in myself and my health.

I continued learning much more about myself, what my triggers are, etc…I was able manage my stress levels more without reverting to old habits of emotional/stress eating. The amount of weight I lost in this challenge came off at a slower rate than the first challenge I participated in. Not seeing those big losses on the scale after having put in so much hard work can be very disheartening. The old me would have said “screw it, what’s the point?!?” or I would have been so upset that I would have comforted myself with some kind of fast food or some kind of dessert. However, I am very proud of myself for overcoming that feeling (although I was tempted!). Yes, I would still be disappointed, but I didn’t let that get me down. I made sure that I still stayed committed and dedicated to my goal and continued to put in the hard work no matter what the outcome on the scale would be. So I would say that my biggest accomplishment was my MINDSET!

Other accomplishments I’ve made are, I am no longer taking high blood pressure medicine, I am down three sizes, (an 18 to a 12) And even my 12’s are starting to get a bit baggy. I’m doing cardio in the evening after a VERY long day… that’s a huge accomplishment for me! I noticed that I no longer have to get on my knees when I’m doing pushups and that I have increased the weight that I lift as well.

The biggest change I’ve seen in myself is my self-confidence. I can still be a shy introvert, but I actually LIKE myself more now, and I’m proud of myself! I don’t cringe when I pass by a mirror and I don’t dread going shopping for new clothes. I feel like my hard work, my commitment and dedication to the program is setting a good example for my kids about grit and discipline. I hope that they will learn from that. We are eating MUCH healthier at home…even the kids! This is huge for them. We are doing more things together as a family, the boys and I… going on walks and hikes together. Other changes are the foods I choose to eat. The other day I told someone that I wanted to try making brussel sprouts… words that I never would have imagined I’d hear coming out of my mouth in a million years! LOL! I feel so much better about myself… I have a ton of more energy and feel a lot younger!

Since starting my journey in May, several people have made comments to me about how my weight loss, my hard work and my dedication has been an inspiration to them. Some have started exercising, some have stopped drinking diet soda, others have even joined me. And they say it’s because of me? Wow! That is such an honor, and very humbling! But hearing them say that, helps keep me motivated. The amount of compassion, comradery, support, motivation, etc. from people you don’t even know is truly amazing! Getting to know your trainers and fellow members, making new friends has really made me feel like the gym is a second family. I post things on social media for accountability. It makes me want to continue and work even harder… even on those days when I don’t feel like it, and even on those days when it was a rough day at work…To know that my own journey is helping others…it’s such an amazing feeling! I can’t quit! I don’t want to let anyone down! Fall 2017