To my wonderful trainers and my those of you who are following my journey to get healthy—this is my open letter to you all.
I was always the fat girl. Always. As a kid I had about 2 years that I wasn’t chubby, round, or “cute”. By 6th grade I was named MVP on the girls D list Volley Ball team–not for my athletic abilities but because I kissed my coaches ass like no other. Cleaned up after everyone, showed up early, grabbed water yada yada yada. I never believed I had ANY athletic abilities. Fast forward to Jr. High and I was the one with the 23 minute mile. Always one of the last 3 people to come in. I walked every mile we had. I wish I could take that back now.
When I started college I lost some weight. Never thought about strength or being strong. Just cute in clothes. That’s all that mattered—that’s all that’s mattered most of my life. By the time I was 19 I started dating someone that was athletic–and I was a size 12. By the time the honeymoon stage of the relationship ran its course our inability to see eye to eye on weight, health, etc. really started to cause friction and I made a choice to be skinny. Not healthy. Actually I became very destructive now that I look at it. I started smoking to kill my appetite, gave up food, and when I ate I depended on my handy toothbrush to help my body get rid of it all right into the toilet. This went on for about a year. My hair, skin, self-esteem, were flushed away too during that time. I was a 21 year old kid–who was a size 4 and still not happy with how I looked.
Fast forward another year. I stopped smoking, stopped barfing, but continued to pretty much starve myself. At this point I married the most amazing man ever–and soon after became very ill. I spent one year in and out of hospitals until I was finally diagnosed. My worst Christmas was the one I celebrated with the hospital Santa. I almost died once from internal bleeding- make that twice. After I lost my colon to my illness I couldn’t recover from my surgery. Not until they pushed a tube in my arm and into my heart to feed me after not eating for 10 days following my surgery. Did I mention that I had put on a 100 lbs. Between the meds, the hospital stays, and a dead colon I gained weight. A lot of weight.
Fast forward 4 years. I lost some of the weight. I got pregnant–and put on 80 lbs. Good stuff. Postpartum + 100 extra lbs made life wonderful. Lots of things happened during these years within my family. I became pregnant again and during this pregnancy I developed hyperemesis gravidarum. Basically I threw up over 40 times a day, got an IV for 6 hours a day for 4 months, and lost 20 lbs. Remembering what it felt like to gain 80 lbs with my first pregnancy I did things very differently. I started being active. Eating healthy. And I only gained 17 lbs. with that pregnancy. All of which I lost in the hospital.
Now between pregnancy #1 and #2 I got sick again. I ran a 100 tests. Had one positive lupus test–and told no one. Then a negative lupus test. I ran more tests and was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalga. My pain had a name. The numbness, the fatigue, the exhaustion all had a reason. At least I knew I wasn’t crazy. This is where I welcomed anti-infametory injections and Costco sized bottles of Advil into my life. There was also a great conversation with my doctor who told me to get on narcotics, think about getting on disability and come to terms with my life changing.
Since I hate meds I never got on anything strong. But I did loose a part of myself that day. After my second son was born I decided to continue getting healthy. I started eating right (found out I had a gluten intolerance), and started doing some cardio. Over the course of 1.5 years I lost 80 lbs. YAY me! Right?!? Wrong.
I was still as weak as ever. Sleepless nights filled with agonizing pain became a norm. But no one saw it. All they saw was the person who lost 80 lbs. If you looked closely you could see from my horrible posture my hunched back (from having no strength in my back muscles), the falling (from the numbness in my legs) and a 100 other symptoms I hid very well. I had accepted that this was who I was. I became my illness.
Then I met John (Owner of Fast Action Training) about a year ago. I told him I loved what he was doing–but it was too hard for me. Great for everyone else. But not me. At that point I was about 10 lbs smaller than I am now and in my mind I didn’t need a trainer–and that with my illness I would never survive. I was small enough to be happy. I didn’t care that I had no stamina, no strength, no energy. My clothes looked ok—and to me that was all that mattered.
I developed another auto-immune disease. Enter Hashimotos. FML right? I instantly gained weight–and kept going up 2 lbs a week. I got weaker. I Lost more muscle function, and at this point got scared. If at 32 I was starting to breakdown like this what would 40 looks like? I’d be a crippled old lady by 50 if I didn’t stop it.
My only choice was to get strong. I didn’t believe I could do it. Remember—I’d always been the fat girl. The weak girl. The sick girl. So I called John and I started my 6 week bootcamp. Confident that I would fail. But I wanted to try. I owed myself, my kids, my husband at least that.
You might be wondering if it hurt. You bet your ass it did. My Fibro flared up like no tomorrow. But I had a support system. Keith sat with me and taught me how to work out the knots in my back after boot camps, Nadia checked in on my food habits, and how I was doing emotionally when things got too hard, and John believed in me before I believed in myself. They all believed in me before I believed in myself. No one listened to my “I cant’s”. No one let me quit. And 2 months into it I walked/ran/crawled my first mud run. I didn’t quit. I didn’t back out–and that was all that mattered to me.
So here I am almost 4 months later. You’re probably wondering what changes I’ve seen in my body? I’ve lost over 5 inches in my waist, almost 4 inches in my chest, over 3 inches in each arm, a few inches in each thigh etc. But what I care about is that I can walk straight because my back doesn’t cave. I feel strong. I eat right. I can jump, run, do a push up (actually I can do a few ).
I’ve also gained a lot. Like these tiny little bumps on my arm I like to call muscles (when I flex really hard). I’ve also gained a family at Fast Action Training. Seeing Nadia, Keith, John, Kevin, Kayla, Megan and Sue is a part of my life now. And when Fibro flareups happen (like they have been this week) I don’t stop going. Because I know when I think I can’t pick up the weight they believe enough for me.
So how do you thank people who gave your life back to you? How do you put into words how excited you are about your future, and how a doctors visit doesn’t scare you anymore? I’ve learned you can’t. But you don’t give up–you prove them right and when it hurts too much you remember what they taught you…”You can always do one more.”
So with all of this do I have any regrets? Just one. I wish I started after that first meeting with John. I wish I didn’t put it off. So I encourage you to start your journey to your goals now—today. Don’t put it off. I did for a lifetime, and I had this in me all along. You have one life to live—as cliche as it sounds. Make it your best!
And thank you to those of you who are following my journey. I won’t let you down. It’s no longer about my weight. It’s about my health. My future. I will one day be stronger than my illness.
This is me today…