Anywho, I have some deep subjects that I want to talk about (I will create another post for it), but before I get all depressed and deep, I wanted to share with you a NSV!! I have made Member of the Month at my Gym - the person that hated the gym just over a year ago, is now member of the month!! I can't get the article to save into a format to post here, so I'll just paste the words. Here goes:
This month’s Member of the Month story features Heather *****. Heather is a single mom and a full time college student -with a very busy schedule. Heather is about to graduate with an AA in Paralegal Studies (congratulations Heather!!).
And with that said, here’s a fun fact for all you readers….Heather will graduate wearing a dress that is smaller than what she could fit into in Middle School. Better keep reading because you will see, our pal Heather is not your average single mom/full time college student.
On October 5th, 2011, Heather had lap band surgery. Motivated to get rid of the chronic pain that she felt in her joints and to get healthy for her son and herself, she made up her mind she needed to change her life, and that she did. After having a bone scan to rule out other medical conditions and undergoing a psychological evaluation, our single mom/full time college student decided it was time to lose the extra weight.
Now, you must know, lap band surgery is no joke. In order to be a candidate for lap band surgery (a procedure where a band is placed around the top portion of the stomach in an effort to slow the consumption of food, ultimately leading to eating less food), a person must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than or equal to 40 or a BMI of 35-40 with at least one additional co-morbid condition.
So, topping the scales at 5'7" / 299 lbs, Heather’s starting BMI of 47 made her an applicable candidate for the surgery. The lap band surgery does not come without risks and it is not a magic pill to weight loss either. Heather knew all this going into the procedure, and although it would be a helpful tool, she knew the lap band was not a cure all for her weight management problems. Says Heather, “It is not a magic bullet. The doctor does not just put the band in and all the weight falls off. Some people think I cheated (nay-sayers) but no, you have to change your ways and I did and I'm not going back. Nothing comes free.”
This is the type of attitude that leads to success. Being realistic, knowing that you have to put in some hard work, and make some permanent life style changes in order to see results are all parts of the recipe that helped Heather succeed. With her hard work, consistency, determination, and perseverance Heather has seen her BMI drop from 47 to 31.2. That's an OMG members!
That's a loss of over 100 lbs since her journey to better health began back in August , 2011. Today, Heather is only 20 lbs away from her long term goal of 180 lbs that she spoke of the day she joined FFL Fitness Center.
Having a lower BMI not only indicates that Heather’s fitness level is improving but it also means that our friend is at a much lower risk for developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes (yay!).
So how did she do it? Heather began to make small changes to her lifestyle in order to produce weight loss. “You have to pay attention to what you eat and when you eat it,” says Heather. She started coming to Fit For Life where she followed the routine that Monica prescribed for her for six months. Says Heather, "I started from ground zero. At the beginning of my journey, I was doing two minutes on the elliptical. Now, doing thirty minutes plus on the elliptical on a regular basis is no problem. Even more inspiring, during this interview, Heather was pumping it on the elliptical the entire time! That’s right, our two minute elliptical user has now progressed to the point where she can hammer on the elliptical AND talk for half an hour (amazing!).
At first, Miss Heather was slightly apprehensive about the gym. She was intimidated by the thought of the gym and wasn’t so sure she wanted to be a regular gym goer. However, this quickly changed. “Coming to Fit For Life made me realize I could lose the weight. The pain of being overweight far outweighed the pain of coming to the gym. The gym also helped me because it is a lot easier not to eat junk like cookies when you realize how much time and physical activity is required to work off those calories.”
Heather also started going to support group meetings. These meetings help her relate to other people going through similar journeys. She now follows forty to fifty women who blog about their fitness journeys. On these blogs, Heather and her fellow bloggers share tips, stories, experiences, and advice with each other. Having a strong support group truly helps her stay determined and on track.
Now, coming to the gym and blogging with other women are not the only things that helped Heather change her life. She also started walking more, drinking more water, fitting in small bouts of physical activity during her busy days, and tracking her food consumption with the “My Fitness Pal” App, and started to monitor her activity with a little gadget called a FitBit. (Check it out on http://www.fitbit.com).
Being a single mom and full time college student, Heather has limited time to exercise. She cannot just pop into the gym for several hours. Momma Heather began to incorporate fitness into her and her son’s daily routines. They started to go on bike rides outdoors, walk to her son’s karate classes twice a week, and if she was hungry, Heather would first drink lots of water and if she still wasn’t satisfied she would have a protein bar for a ‘boost’. Heather also slowed down while she ate. She did not eat so quickly that she practically swallowed her food whole, but instead, chewed each bite making sure she was savoring the taste of her meal.
Incorporating fitness into her and her son’s daily routine helps her get fit without the guilt of missing time with her son because she's at the gym. Another tool this multi-tasking pro uses to help motivate her along the way are pictures. Heather has taken pictures of herself every day for a year. She keeps these photos so she can track her journey and now looks back on them as often as possible to remind her how far she’s come.
After all of her hard work, one would think it is tempting to relax and slip back into old habits, but no way for our gal Heather. You see, Heather has a very high-tech, reliable way of making sure she is staying on track…..her son’s hugs! Heather can see her progress by how her son’s arms fit around her when he hugs her. Now that is very sweet and most worthy of putting in print.
She also stays on track by planning and running 5K races (that’s 3.16 miles folks!). That’s right, you read that correctly. Miss Heather recently ran her first 5K race ever. She used the “Couch to 5K” App to help her prepare for her first race (what a good way to put technology to use!). She didn’t run the entire time but she finished the race which brought her a sense of self accomplishment and pride. “I saw the finish line and I ran through it. I thought I’d have to cross it on a stretcher, but no, I did it!” Heather said. The feeling of accomplishment she got from finishing that 5K has inspired her to run another one (The Foam Fest 5K in March). Running two 5K races in one year is something she would have, “never, ever considered until now.”
Run Heather, run!!!
So what can we all learn from Heather’s inspirational story? Determination, hard work, and perseverance pay off! Says Heather, "The weight loss journey that totally changed my life did not happen overnight." It wasn’t one huge change that she made, but a series of many little adjustments to her daily life. You may be asking, is it really worth it? When we asked Heather if she regretted anything her answer was, “Even if I was having a bad day I would do it all over again a hundred times!!” So, is it really worth it? You decide!