"My initial goal was: Lose 25 pounds and get off the meds. Looking back on it, I see it as the initiator of what I should have done a long time ago."
Listen in as Anne walks us through her journey to health with our Powerful Women program, her courage to keep going, and how she developed healthy habits to create a new lifestyle for herself...
Read her story here:
What type of change did you make in your life? Or what goal did you set out to achieve?
In late 2016, I was put on two cardiac medicines as I had been in atrial fib a couple times over the last few years and was having heart flutters all the time. The side effects of the medication were really unpleasant for me, and I wanted to be off of them. The cardiologist told me I had to lose 25 pounds in order to stop the medication. In May 2017, a good friend and I decided that we would work together on a similar goal, so that is what my initial goal was: Lose 25 pounds and get off the meds. Looking back on it, I see it as the initiator of what I should have done a long time ago. I am a wife and mother to three kids outside of work, and for many years, I had put my own health on the back burner to make sure they were always taken care of as I felt they should be my priority. This change to my health really pointed out to me that being the best me I could be was a priority too, and I needed to take care of myself. It was so easy to say “I just don’t have time,” or “I can’t leave the kids while I go to the gym,” there were a lot of excuses, and all of them were just that. My kids were/are at an age where I can be gone for 1-2 hrs and they were/are fine. It was time to put myself in the priority list.
What are some challenges you faced that elicited that change or that made you want to go for that goal?
Unfortunately, I had been in a really sedentary lifestyle. I started out just walking the track. I bought a Fitbit to track my heart rate, and count steps, and started using My Fitness Pal to track my calories and exercise. Barriers I encountered—biggest one was ME. I’ve struggled with my weight for many years, and been unsuccessful many times on different diets. Negative self-talk and belief that past failures would just be repeated really plagued me in the beginning but I made a promise to myself to make this a life-style change, not a diet. So I started just by moving and tracking my intake/output. I was introduced to Yoli, and started using their protein shakes, and have stuck to a low carb/high protein diet, tracking everything each day. I was successful with the diet change and walking, and lost about 25 pounds in about 12 weeks. I had to have additional testing to make sure I could stop taking the medication and before I knew it, it was November 2017, and I had lost about 35 pounds. I was cleared to stop taking the medication, which was a huge relief for me!! By then, this had become a routine, and for the first time in my life, I loved the idea of working out.
As I starting adding other things to my routine, I tried cardio kickboxing classes, running and weight lifting, but went into it too fast and ended up needing some physical therapy to help with tendonitis and bursitis. Active PT has been very helpful in my journey as they gave me the relief I needed and guided me on exercises to help strengthen areas that were giving me issues. I hit plateaus along the way which really frustrated me and, I’ll be honest, it was hard. I have had moments where I felt like I wasn’t being successful, but thankfully I had an incredible support network of family and friends that really lifted me up on those days. Those first couple of months, the weight really came off quickly, but as time went by I felt like I wasn’t continuing to lose at a fast enough pace. I saw the board in the entryway at the DAHLC in January 2018 of those that made a commitment to be there 4x a week, and promised myself I was going to be on that board next year. So I made an appointment to get a fitness prescription at the DAHLC.
What are some factors that helped you make that change or that helped you achieve your goal?
I used the track exclusively for the first several months. I tried a couple classes, and then I got my first fitness prescription in March 2018. It incorporated body weight and dumb bell excises. I liked it so much that after my 10-12 weeks of that were up, I felt like I was ready for something more challenging. I had lost another 15 pounds, and was down about 50-55 pounds at this point. I met with Drew in June 2018, he listened to what I was looking for and he gave me a really intense workout. I loved it! While the weight had somewhat stopped coming off, I could tell I was gaining a lot of muscle. In September, I signed up for the Powerful Women class at the DAHLC, and Terri pushed me twice a week to work harder than I ever have and I definitely gained a lot of strength in this program! I can do pull ups, for the first time in my life! November marked 60# lost, but so many good things gained! Since finishing the class, I have started taking the EX4 strength class with my husband in the evening a couple times a week—it is SO hard, but SO good! Try it. I come to the DAHLC on my lunch, almost every day, so there are many days I’m there twice a day.
What would you tell or encourage someone with who is in your old shoes and doesn’t know where to start?
First, make a reasonable goal(s) for yourself—something you can achieve in the short term. And then make a big goal. I am still not at my big goal; it’s about 20-25 pounds away. But along my journey, I have made several small goals. My first was to be able to hit 5k steps a day. Then, 10k. It doesn’t always have to be about what the scale says, but man does it help when you hit those. Small goals help keep you motivated to the big goal. Right now, my short term goal is to get back to where I was before the holidays—and then to hit 65# low. Slow, but permanent has been my mantra the last couple of months.
Second, have a tribe to support you. Find a walking buddy, or someone to help you be accountable. I would not have made it and maintained any loss without my people that held me to the promise I made to myself. They have listened to me cry at my failures, lifted me up and dusted me off and told me to get back to it. They have cheered my successes and encouraged me to try other activities. Your tribe will keep you motivated. Make a friend at the DAHLC if you don’t have one in your life that can be these things for you.
Third, allow life to happen. When I started, I would get so mad at myself for not following everything to the letter. But the truth is that life happens, people celebrate birthdays, there are holiday goodies, and there are reasons to toast. Don’t avoid them. Allow yourself celebrations, and then start the next day with a new mind set to get back to your goal. Small set backs are not the end, they are just a chance to reset (it took me a long time to get this). Don’t beat yourself up for a bad day; just have a better next day.
Lastly, use the resources available to us at the DAHLC. Join a small group! Don’t be afraid to take a chance on a class, especially the drop in ones! Don’t be intimidated by taking a class that you aren’t entirely comfortable with, they will work with you--they will push you, but they will make sure you are safe, and won’t hurt yourself. Don’t feel like you have to do this alone. Get a fitness prescription—have a trainer give you instruction and help you develop a plan. They are good at making you be accountable, too.
How does the future look different than it did before?
I look forward to being a healthy wife, mom, and friend. Since May 2017, I have been able to get off all medications; I have lost 12 pants sizes, 54” off my body and have hopefully negated all the health issues that were waiting for me in my previous lifestyle. My blood work shows incredible improvements, in the last year I cut my triglycerides almost in half from 139 down to 74. I’m hoping to do my first 5k this year, along with other firsts. One big goal I met is that I was notified I will be on that DAHLC board for being in there at least 4 times week! I could not have done this, been this successful and maintained my success, without the DAHLC. Every step of the way I have felt supported and I truly am so thankful for those that have been directly involved in helping me on my journey. I have 20 pounds to go and then a lifetime to maintain. Thank you for being there.