I was just going through the motions of life.
My life was stuck in a cycle. Get up, go to work, go watch my son play sports, eat on the go, go home, go to bed, repeat the next day. But in January of 2014, everything changed.. During my annual wellness visit with my doctor, I learned my BMI was over 50 percent. Half of me was FAT!! I was stunned. This was the eye-opening experience I needed to finally want to do something about my weight and overall health. I began my journey by walking on a treadmill. I could only walk for three minutes before having to lie down. I reached out to a friend and set regular walk times, but found that I hated it. My knees hurt. My shins hurt. My feet and ankles hurt.
At the same time, however, Whirlpool was advertising memberships to a local gym that offered water classes. After the first visit, I was hooked. I found water, being a form of exercise that is easy on joints, was the best place to start because of my inactivity. After a few weeks of faithfully going to water class 2 days per week, I begged the water teacher to add a 3rd class per week. 2 times per week wasn’t enough!! They did add a 3rd class per week and I was a regular. I met someone wonderful people and have made some lifelong friends.
During this time, I was trying to make better food choices. I stopped buying cookies and chips and started buying lots of fruit and nuts for snacks. No pop at all. Plus, I started using a smaller plate for my meals. I thought I had my food under control.
After losing about 40 lb, I got stuck. The water teacher, Sue (she’s the most amazing instructor/motivator) told me it was time to move the workouts to the land. I was scared that I couldn’t do it. I started slowly by riding a stationary bike then moved to some of the classes on land. Now I have worked my way up to running on the treadmill. RUNNING! I have turned it into a mental game to push myself. I also learned how to use the leg and arm machines. Sue and I work out together – sometimes even after a water class – to focus on abs and arms. The key is mixing it up.
While I was doing land workouts as well as water, and I was meeting even more people. Everyone kept telling me that I needed to journal my food but I resisted that idea for a long time. Who wants that hassle? Then, one of them suggested the app “Myfitnesspal.com”. As of 01/22/2016, I have logged in for 424 days in a row. This app has made me so aware of my food. I thought I knew what a portion was. WRONG! It’s amazing to learn how many calories and how much sugar is in the food we eat everyday. With this app, I feel like I really am in control of my food and I do make much better food choices now that I log it daily.
Now that I am two years in, my journey has no end in sight. I am totally addicted to the gym and try to get there 5 or 6 days per week. If the weather allows, I skip the gym and take my dogs for a walk. Food decisions are much easier to make since it is now habit and part of my routine. To date, I have lost 101 pounds and have a brand new wardrobe since I have shrunk out of everything in my closet. It feels amazing to be wearing a size I haven’t seen since high school! The thing that I am most proud of it that I did it honestly. I didn’t use any pills, energy drinks or replacement shakes. There’s no surgery involved. I just used good old-fashioned diet and exercise and literally worked my butt off.
A few tips I’ve learned from this experience are 1) Find a workout buddy. It’s much more fun to workout with someone else and you tend to push each other. 2) Log or track your food. I resisted this idea a first, but now it’s a way of life for me. There needs to be some accountability for all of the calories you put in your body. 3) It’s ok to splurge. It’s ok to fall off course as long as you get right back on track the next day.
Megan Hyman, Ottawa, OH
March 10, 2016