My name is Wendy. I’m a 47 year old mother of four adult children. I’ve been in a loving, committed relationship for 6 years. I have a great job, beautiful home, and a few really good friends, with many more acquaintances. I have 3 siblings, and my parents are both alive. There’s no doubt that I’m blessed in my life. Sounds perfect, right? But there’s a catch. And maybe other people can relate to this.
I’ve never felt comfortable in my own skin. Sometimes I’d avoid looking in the mirror because I didn’t like what I’d see. Or I’d see my reflection and have a sense of self-loathing. I saw every thing that makes me unique as an imperfection. In time I hated myself. I felt lost. I felt weak, emotionally and physically. If someone complimented me, I didn’t believe they were being truthful. I was overweight, not grossly so, but my clothing sizes had been creeping up year after year, and nothing ever felt like it looked good on me. I was tired all the time. If I wasn’t working, I’d usually just go to bed, sometimes as early as 6:00 on the evening. I didn’t want to participate in group activities with my family. I didn’t feel involved in my own life. I was depressed.
What was the biggest obstacle you faced in your journey to become healthy?
I’m smart enough to know that it was irrational and that it definitely wasn’t healthy to feel that way. But besides depression, procrastination is definitely high on the list of obstacles for me. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to doing what’s best for my health and my body. I can see where I want to be, and I can visualize how I want to look. I read a lot about nutrition and fitness. I listen to whatever information is available. So I’ve had a good idea what I ought to be doing. But I wasn’t making the time. I’d say, I SHOULD eat a healthy meal, and then I’d make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead. Usually not just one. I’ll eat better tomorrow. I’d say, I SHOULD exercise, or go for a walk, but then I would snuggle into a blanket and watch tv. I’ll exercise tomorrow. These things were comfortable to me. It became a vicious cycle of, let’s say I’m going to do something, and then do exactly the opposite. My health was always a plan for the future, but never a goal that I put into action to achieve.
Who or what helped you overcome it? So that’s what’s tricky. Let’s face it, my mom is overweight. Her siblings are overweight. My brother and sisters struggle with their weight. In my workplace, we sit all day in front of a computer. Day after day would watch people leave at the end of the day, and almost everyone leaving was overweight. I saw that as my future if I didn’t do something about it. But that wasn’t enough.
I would have to say, became motivated when I saw my sister. She has 6 kids, and was always on the go, taking care of everyone else but not herself. For a long time she, like me, hadn’t made fitness her priority. But then she did. She started going to Beyond Fit every morning at 5:30am. For months she posted about how great it made her feel. And she has developed a community of friends and a support system. The fitness trainers cared about her success. Her friends cared about her progress and her health. And she, for them. And I wanted that for myself.
But here’s the thing. I still had to decide for myself to actually do it. So finally, in May 2017 I made the commitment, to myself. I laid out my clothes shoes towel and water the night before. I set my alarm on my phone. There would be no excuses, no more procrastination. And when my alarm went off, I didn’t give myself the option of staying in bed. I got up, dressed, and I just did it. That first day, I wanted so much to be in my bed. But I remember you asking the group on my first day: why are you here? Do you remember what I said? “Because I’d like to lift my (butt) back where it belongs ". That was an oversimplification. But I had goals. So I showed up.
And I was terrible! I had bad form, and I couldn’t keep pace with anyone else in the room. I was out of breath. But you know what? Everyone in that room encouraged me to do what I was capable of, and assured me that if I keep at it, soon I would be keeping up. And they were right.
What is most different about your life now (off medications, more energy, more confidence, etc.)? Before I took control of my health, I was just going through the motions. I had very little that I felt anything about. Joy and happiness were just words to me. I didn’t FEEL. I was depressed, no doubt about it. I was just kind of drifting through my life. Doing what needed to be done. Working. Watching life pass me by.
But then something changed. My sister was checking in every day at the gym. She posted pictures with her “breakfast club” workout buddies and everyone was so happy. I knew I wanted to be happy. So, I made up my mind that I was going to do something about it. I started going to Beyond Fit. What changed in me didn’t happen overnight. But I continued going to those morning workouts. I remember thinking that staying in bed would be so much easier. But I pushed through those thoughts and kept going. At the end of that hour, I felt such a sense of accomplishment and empowerment because I got through that workout. I repeated THAT cycle day after day. And soon, what I found is I had more energy at work. I was focused, thinking clearer. When I had a lunch break, I wanted to keep up the momentum. In the second week I started walking during my lunch breaks. It was invigorating!
After just a couple weeks of doing the weighted workouts, and walking about 20-30 minutes each weekday, I started to SEE changes. The Beyond Fit trainers were encouraging me to push harder at the gym. They were literally cheering me on. It was fun! I felt like I was a part of something again. In the mirror, I noticed my muscles started to get defined. My clothes fit better. During my workouts I was keeping up. I started to sweat during my workouts, not just on my forehead but all over. I would leave a puddle of sweat on the floor! My body was adapting to this new lifestyle of fitness and getting more efficient. I felt the change inside. I felt better. Emotionally, not just in my skin. And it became addictive. I wanted to keep up that momentum. It felt so good. I was finally feeling good!
What are you most proud of? I relocated after about 4 weeks or training. Boy, was I scared! Do you remember how we talked about it? I was crying. I was afraid that i would fall back into my old habits. That terrified me. Those 5:30 morning workouts at the gym would not be accessible to me for a while because of the move. But I came to terms with that. I couldn’t change my location. But then I realized I had learned so much that it didn’t matter where I was anymore. I found myself repeating the workouts that I’d learned at Beyond Fit, at home. I would send messages back and forth with the trainer, my friend now, and the encouragement continued. I have been making good choices with my nutrition, because that is what feels good now. I am fueling my body instead of just eating out of habit or for comfort. There is definitely cause and effect between exercise nutrition, and a healthy and happy life.
It’s been a few months now, and my health journey is continuing. I slid a little, for a while. But once I started feeling down again I knew what I had to do. I reached out to my support system at Beyond Fit. I took back control. I am the one who decides how I want to feel, and I have to put in the effort. I’m thrilled to say I’m back to working out 5 times a week. I’m walking again, and even starting to run. I’m building bonds with people through healthy activity and exercise. My adult kids and life partner are seeing my transformation, and it has motivated them to do the same. I have friends who I encourage and who are encouraged by me. We help each other stay on track. We’re all in this together.
I could’ve stayed on that path of just going through the motions in my life, but I wasn’t really LIVING. Now, I have my life back. I’m finally living, and loving myself. And by loving myself again, I can love the people around me, and really engage with them. And I feel happy. And what I love is that the Beyond Fit family continues to be a part of my support system, MY family. I’ve made some really good friends here. Being part of the Beyond Fit community really has changed my life.
Follow me on: