My story of transformation begins with tragedy. In November 2002, my father passed away from a sudden heart attack at 56 years old. It was during my freshman year of college and I was completely devastated.
My dad was strong. He was a Marine, served two tours in Vietnam, and was awarded the Purple Heart. His life mission was to serve veterans and he did so with passion. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him or miss him. He was and is my hero.
But the loss of my dad led me to look inward. His loss, I felt, was preventable. Like a lot of Americans, my dad did not live a healthy lifestyle. His weight fluctuated a lot, mostly due to PTSD of serving in Vietnam. It took him years to get it under control. And his diet was not the most healthy … until he developed Diabetes. That wake-up call made him shape up, but the damage had been done. At the end of his life, my dad was on dialysis because his kidneys were failing him. It was hard to see such a strong man struggle with his health.
A few months after my dad passed, I did something for the first time I had never done in my life … work out. I had never been in a gym, taken a walk, or gone for a run a day in my life at that point. The picture of me in my dorm room is proof of that. But I knew I wanted to end the trend and not be in constant battle with my health like my dad was.
Most freshmen gain the dreaded “Freshmen 15” … I lost my “Freshmen 20.” A simple choice to walk everywhere on campus and go to the gym 3-4 times a week and do the elliptical machine made a world of difference in my weight. I hadn’t even really changed anything about my diet yet.
My sophomore year of college I took the required physical education credit. Most students take power walking or belly dancing. I decided to take something outside my comfort zone: Jogging. Until then, I had never run outside. I was blessed with a great teacher and found a love of jogging and running. That class also gave me a great foundation in nutrition. During my junior and senior year, I continued to lose more weight and was already half my size.
As I entered the real world, I found it tough to keep up with the fitness as I had liked. With a lot of dedication, I was able to achieve my first milestone and run a full marathon. It was an amazing experience!!!
After that, my body needed something new. I got P90X and saw my strength soar. But my good nutrition habits came and went. I didn’t do the recommended Shakeology drink with P90X. I tried lots of different things, like going vegetarian and even vegan for 3 months. I was the skinniest I had ever been, weighing 117 pounds … but I wasn’t healthy. I was eating protein bars for almost every meal and wondered why I didn’t have enough energy at the end of the day. Then I slowly started gaining weight back (that’s actually what my doctor recommended), but then a slippery slope came with stress at work.
To give me a new jumpstart, I did Insanity. I still didn’t drink the Shakeology because I thought I was above it. I kept on running. Then I had a major life change and decided to fulfill my dream of getting my Master’s Degree. In the process of moving around a lot, I went back to unhealthy habits. Then I found a new workout class I fell in love with – Pure Barre. Hello, lifting, toning, shaking, and burning.
In 2014, I started PiYo. I had been waiting anxiously for it to come out, knowing it would be a game changer for me. And it certainly was. I’ve never been as flexible as I am now. My shoulder pain I’ve had for almost a year has almost disappeared.
What I had not expected was the culture and environment of being in a challenge group. I fell in love with the accountability and the camaraderie. I’ve never had that type of experience in fitness; it’s usually just been me on my own island.
Oh, and I finally ordered Shakeology and started drinking it daily. Needless to say, it has helped me maintain good habits and given me energy I didn’t think was possible in the mornings after I drink it for breakfast. More importantly, it is the best nutritional shake I have ever had (and believe me when I say I have tried them ALL.)
Since 2014, I have been on an incredible journey. I have completed more programs (Insanity Max:30, CIZE, and 21 Day Fix). I got to celebrate life more. I was trained to teach classes in PiYo, Insanity, and CIZE.
All because I made ONE CHOICE.
My journey with health and fitness has its ups and downs, but I am no longer the person I was – the person that constantly battled food, made excuses, or was anxious all the time. I am no longer the person that thought I would just be “big” because that’s what my family is. I am no longer the person that takes for granted our time on earth and treats my body with disrespect. I’ve become empowered through health fitness and feel uplifted every day in my career goals to serve others to be their best self.
Fitness UPLIFTS me.
Being better than I was UPLIFTS me.
Seeing results UPLIFTS me.
What UPLIFTS you?
Let’s start our journey together and find out!