From Overweight and Embarrassed to Fit and Confident – One Mom’s Journey to getting Healthy in Her 40’s

11124901_10205843053988065_1967664333_nMy name is Michele and I am a mom of 3 with my own wood craft business. I’ve spent the majority of my life overweight. Just like everyone else I said “tomorrow I am going to start a diet” but when tomorrow came I said “I’ll wait another day.” A few times throughout my life I did actually start that diet and was often successful for a short period of time and would lose a significant amount of weight. I always joined Weight Watchers and the accountability of having to get on that scale weekly made me stick to it. The minute the scale stopped moving frustration would set in and I would say to myself that this is no longer worth paying for and stop going. Then slowly the weight came back and every time I gained more then I originally lost because my frustration turned into eating chocolate….lots and lots of chocolate. I convinced myself that I was ok with being overweight and didn’t care if people judged me. Every time I went to the Doctor I put my back to the scale because I didn’t want to even know. My blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar were always good so I told myself I had nothing to worry about and ignored the doctors comments. Once I had children in my mind that gave me a legitimate reason to say I don’t have time to exercise because I’m so busy taking care of them. I convinced myself I was who I was supposed to be, to old to change and I was happy…I WAS WRONG!

On May 30, 2013 I met a friend of a friend who shared their weight loss journey with me. After that conversation I thought “wow, good for him” but never thought “Wow, I should go on a diet.” Four days later it was my Mom’s birthday and I was feeling very sad. She passed away June 15, 2011 at the age of 61. For some reason I took my daughters bike, put it in my van and went to a local bike trail and road about 7 miles. It was bright and sunny and the trail was beautiful. I had stopped to rest and took a picture of the scenery and sent it to the friend of a friend, who had now become my friend also, and he replied with some kind, encouraging words. The next day and several days that followed I did the same thing enjoying those last days before my kids were out of school. About 2 weeks later I realized that I started subconsciously making healthier choices for food and was bike riding daily. I bought a scale and decided to step on it. I cried my eyes out when I saw 301 pounds. For some reason I chose to focus strictly on the encouragement I was receiving from friends and continued to make healthy choices and make use of my gym membership that I had been paying for for years but never used, and every Friday morning I stepped on my scale and texted my results to my friend. I started slowly on the treadmill and just tried to improve every time I went. On the weeks that I didn’t do as well as I anticipated I started to except that everyone has bad days and that’s okay. The first time my workout didn’t go as planned I got a text message back that said “but you worked out and that’s whats important!” My way of thinking slowly started to change. I set small, short term goals as well as longer term goals. I hoped to lose 50lbs by my birthday which was Oct. 20th and I missed it by 1.2lbs but that following Friday I lost close to 5.5lbs. I then set out to lose my children. My 11652168_10205941558690621_1777279666_nyoungest weighed 68lbs and I lost her by New Years. My oldest daughter weighed 82lbs so I wanted to lose her by her birthday in March and I did. My son was a solid 146lbs…that could NEVER happen, or could it? I thought two out of three isn’t bad…or is it?

When I hit the 100lb mark by making the best food decisions I knew how to, increasing my length of exercising and trying to figure out how to use the machines, I switched gyms to one that offered better hours so I would never have the excuse of “they close early today”. They offered a free session with a personal trainer which I took hesitantly because even after losing 100lbs I was easily intimidated and rarely stepped out of the women only area when working out. My first day at the new gym I went at 5:00am and had to circle the parking lot twice just to park. I sat in my car and cried over the horrible mistake I just made by switching gyms. If there were 5 total people in my previous gym that was considered very busy. I thought about going home but decided all of the recent good things that were happening to me were taking place outside of my comfort zone so inside I went and I survived. The first time I met with my trainer, Jenn for my free training session, we spent much of our time talking so I walked away thinking that’s not going to help me. She offered me a second session which I took and she kicked my ass! I was soaking wet and shaking by the end. I went home, showered, ate and drove right back to the gym to sign up for more sessions before chickening out. Throughout the sessions I often said “you want me to what?? Are you crazy, I can’t do that!” At times I realized I could actually do it and at other times I couldn’t properly do it but that motivated me to work on it so the next time we worked together I could show her my improvement.
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The 1yr anniversary of the start of my weight loss journey was approaching and it fell in the middle of the week. I celebrated by volunteering to be a 24hr walker for my Relay for Life team and walked 77 miles that day. The following weekend I ran 5k Color Run with my daughter on Saturday and Sunday I ran my very first Spartan Obstacle Course Race. My friend that inspired my journey is a Spartan racer which I had never heard of. After googling it I instantly thought he was crazy! I could never! I would never! Once again, I WAS WRONG. I could, I would, and I did!!! I loved every bit of pushing my mind and my body past limits I never thought capable. As I look back on how I celebrated my 1 year anniversary I am proud of my accomplishments.

My weight loss obviously slowed down but I never stopped trying. I was focusing more on toning and building muscles. I no longer stepped on the scale weekly but continued to weigh myself and in December of 2014 Santa came early. I stepped on the scale and my new weight loss total was 149 pounds…I succeeded at losing my son! I have not stepped back on the scale since then but continue to celebrate based on how my clothes fit. My workouts are more focused on building muscle and getting stronger. I celebrated my 2 year anniversary in Ohio running a Spartan Beast which is a minimum of 13 miles and 28 obstacles on Saturday and a Spartan Sprint on Sunday.
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My journey to good health has been filled with many highs and some lows. The people I expected the most support from often were the ones that were negative and although it hurt I turned that hurt into a good workout. When life tries to knock me down I no longer turn to chocolate, I run…as fast as I can so the stress can’t catch me. I finally learned that although others believing in you certainly helps whats most important is that you believe in yourself. As long as you give 100% of what you have to give that day, during that workout you will succeed no matter how old you are or how much weight you have to lose. I have been blessed to have met many amazing people along my journey that have offered words of encouragement and inspiration. My biggest inspiration througout my transformation said “the choices we make and the actions we take reveal the true nature of our character and without character who are we? To become a champion takes courage and the belief that you shall not quit, no matter the odds, no matter the circumstances. Its not about the past and its not about the future. Its about right now.” Those are words that I now live by. I am just your average mom of three beautiful children that went from never running any races or playing any sports up until the age of 45 in 2013 to one that never misses a day at the gym and is registered for 18 Spartan races in 2015. If I can do it….so can you, you just need to want it bad enough. In my opinion it is worth all of the blood, sweat and tears just to see the pride in my children’s eyes and to get to actually enjoy being active with them without being short of breath.

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