Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Taken from

Anna's Success Story

I struggled with weight my whole life and had never been able to win the battle--my health kept getting worse.  I gained my weight by over eating, making bad food choices, binging on comfort foods and not being active. I was stuck in a cycle of self-destruction: the more I ate, the worse I felt about myself which would cause me to eat more. My health issues became amplified when I became pregnant with each of my children. I was sick and making myself ill with every extra large bowel of sugary cereal. I had no one to blame for my actions but myself. I grew up watching people in my life try every fad diet and weight loss plan that came across the media lines--the diets would work for a while but the extra weight would eventually come back. I believed it was impossible to reach a healthy weight and maintain it.

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One day I realized that I had two tiny sets of loving eyes watching me slowly self-destruct. I was in my early 30’s and suffering from a host of weight-related issues. I felt completely out of control. I knew I had to do something but didn’t know what! Many people said I couldn’t do it; I wouldn’t do it; I couldn’t stick with it; I wasn’t strong enough. They were wrong--once I found the courage within myself to act… I became unstoppable.
I want to teach my children that goals are attainable with hard work, commitment and effort. I also need them to know that being healthy and strong is more important than being skinny. Finally, I want them to understand that they have toollow their hearts no matter what others think. To do this I had to change my relationship with food and my attitude about exercise. I had to stop making excuses and take my health into my own hands. I recommitted myself to my goals every day.

I put my plan into action when I hit the local library to start education myself. I disregarded all of the healthy eating plans that wanted me to buy their products or were trying to sell me something. That ended up being the best way for me to reach my goals. I started eating clean. That meant cutting out the processed food and opting instead for fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. When it comes to choosing food for my family and self the more NATURAL the better. We are meant to eat fresh fruits and colorful vegetables--not preservatives or processed sugars.

It was important to me to make changes gradually and to involve my family in the process. My children now help plan meals, help with the grocery shopping and assists in preparing meals. We try to make healthy eating fun so the whole family wants to stick with the changes. We use the age-old art of portion control when it comes to preparing and serving meals and snacks. I personally eat 5 small meals a day to avoid being hungry. I keep only healthy foods in our home to avoid temptation. It also helps me to set small realistic goals for myself--rewarding myself when I reach each goal. Like with anything and everything in life “you only get out of it what you put into it.”

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Getting healthy was about more than my diet, it was also about becoming a body in motion. When I started my journey I was very out of shape and couldn’t do much but I didn’t let that stop me. I was done feeling sorry for myself and making excuses for my actions. I was ready to become the person I wanted to be for myself and my family. One cold March morning I bundled up my little ones, put them in a stroller and went for my first 1 mile walk. It was the first of hundreds of walks that would lead to a healthier me. Eventually, I started leaving the kids with my husband in the evenings so I could jog or run. Once I found the courage and confidence to move and I started seeing myself get strong, I knew it was time for my first gym membership. I looked at gyms for a few months and found a perfect fit. A small gym with a family like atmosphere was just what I needed to flourish--they aslo have a good child care center on site.

These days I train 5 days a week and I really love challenging myself. That is one reason I run a 5, 10 or half marathon almost every month.  I always plan my training sessions ahead of time so when I get to the gym I know what I am going to do and exactly how much weight to use or how far I want to run. Journaling my workout also keeps me motivated because I can look back and reflect on how far I have come and plan new goals. I keep me exercise routine fresh to prevent boredom by trying new exercises, machines, equipment and fitness classes. Some people see fitness as work, they treat it like a type of punishment or think it’s only good for weight loss… I see it as a time for self-discovery; a time to reconnect; clear our minds and relieve stress. This ultimately makes us much better at all our endeavors. 

The unexpected consequences of my actions were interesting to say the least.  I have had the chance to meet some really good people and have made new friends. I found a love of fitness and realized how much I like motivating and helping people reach their goals. It’s also really awesome when my children say stuff like “Mommy when are you going to race again, I likewatching you go fast!”

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There is no easy way around it: getting healthy takes work, commitment and effort but it’s all worth it. I am stronger, faster, healthier today then I have ever been and have no intention of ever going back. I don’t know everything about healthy living but I am constantly learning and growing. “I am a work in progress and hope to be for a long time to come."

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