I’ve generally always been a yo-yo kind of weight loss person… and it only got worse after college. Up for a year, down for eight months or so, up heavier, then back down and so on and so on. When I moved to Indy, I was doing well at keeping weight off but, as it usually does, life got in the way with stress from work, relationships, etc. I let excuses lead me into bad habits. When I was mentally ready to get at it again in 2016, I went and fractured my ankle in October. OCTOBER!!! You know, just before Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all of the tasty holiday treats – and I’m Southern, so all the food is rich and plentiful during the holidays. By January 2017 I was up to nearly 280 lbs., and I felt miserable. But, I made a commitment to myself that I can be better and feel better, so I started healthier habits. I began making healthier eating selections and trying to do some fitness on my own. March came, which brought a business trip to New Orleans, and I didn’t do horribly with food!! But, let’s be real for a minute, it WAS NOLA, so we know food, drinks, and lack of sleep were all present! From running a conference, going out with friends, and the travel on top of it all, I was feeling oh so sluggish. I was laying on my bed thinking, “How do I not let that week throw me off on the 20 or so lbs that I had lost since February?” And what do you know, there was a Facebook ad for the “New You Challenge” at a gym that also offered CrossFit. I’ve trained with personal trainers most of my adult life, but by no means got the athletic ability of my parents and was terrified that I’d end up in a gym with a bunch of super competitive people that would make me feel as if I couldn’t do it. I was afraid I would hurt myself because they wouldn’t teach me what to do. To my surprise, I found the exact opposite. I found a gym that taught me nutritional and fitness skills that worked for me. They helped keep me going every moment, even when I wanted to say, “Screw this!” or, “You can take that next rep and shove it!” I started in the “New You Challenge” at 250 lbs., and by the end of it was at 220 lbs.
When I moved to Indy three years ago, I was 218 lbs. I’m standing proudly today at 207 lbs., and honestly, I’m a little teary-eyed as I think about it. I know some days seem as if they don’t work and there are days we look at ourselves and don’t notice the differences. I hated taking the before pictures because I was incredibly unhappy with being the heaviest that I’ve ever been. But seeing that picture reminds me of how far I’ve come.
I was at another gym the other day and ran into an old neighbor who almost walked by me because he barely recognized me. Those are the moments that bring it all together and show me how much progress I’ve really made. One my best friends, who I only see on FaceTime as she currently lives in Bahrain, said, “I love you and your fitness family.” Then it hit me; this isn’t just a gym, it really is a family that offers encouragement and pushes us when we need it most. I’m thankful for the collective care that happens from the environment that Hanley has built with an excellent team of Erin, Cory, Justin, Audrey, and Andy as our healthy living experts. Thank you for being the place I call my fitness home!