When a client has made great progress with us we ask them a variety of questions about their journey with the purpose of being able to share their stories and inspire you.
Sometimes clients send back their responses in such a well-written series of statements, almost like an essay, that I can’t help but share it just as is.
Denise D is one of those clients.
Her story, in her words, is simply too true and hilariously written for me to not share it as is.
I was a “militant non-exerciser” – that is to say that I downplayed and mentally ridiculed people who talked about going to the gym all the time. They just seemed pretty sanctimonious. Not to say I never was in shape. I swam butterfly in high school, was on college, graduate school, and adult ski teams, swam water ballet in college (hardest sport I ever did), and have always golfed. But flat out exercise??? No way. Maybe a smattering of failed attempts here and there. I collapsed running laps in middle school while on the basketball team, and swore I’d never run again on purpose – unless someone made me. (I’m sure I was dehydrated – in the Caribbean, outside in the afternoon, running on an asphalt court – all before the emphasis on water…). Most exercise involved running. Wasn’t doing it. Still don’t want to. I think that may have affected my attitude toward exercise???
And I really bristled when people posted about their gym accomplishments on FB. If you’re doing it for yourself, great. Stop cramming it down the rest of our throats. Defensive??? Perhaps…
So fast forward to me as a 55 year old. My doctor told me, every time I went in for an annual physical (or anything, really), that I needed to lose weight and exercise. “Please get down to at least the top end of the normal BMI range, ok? Do you know what that is? You can start with just losing 10%. That is shown to make a health difference. Have you ever thought of Weight Watchers? A lot of my patients have good luck with that.” [Yep. Been through the program. Four times – the first time when I was 16… And I did Slimgenics 11 years ago and lost 56 pounds in 6 ½ months, fully intending to start exercising once the weight came off. Then I went on the road 80% of the time for the following 10 years and got to where I was.]. So after not listening to the doctor of late, I have stopped going in for annual physicals. If you pay a professional then don’t take their advice, why go?
And I had been dodging the camera at all costs for at least 3 years. If there was a group picture to be taken, I made sure I was in the back row with my head poking through. If someone happened to get a picture of me and tagged me on FB, I religiously untagged myself. Hubby and family definitely got the message to take no pictures of me. And my clothes sizes just kept creeping up. Suits are expensive, so no small thing. Then even the large sizes wouldn’t let the buttons close.
And then I realized that these were things that my mom had been doing for a long time before she died of a heart of attack at age 74. That was 19 years older than I was. That’s not a very long runway from where I was sitting.
And sitting, I was. I had started my own business, home officing, in July before I started at FBBC in September. Do you know how little you have to walk when you work at home in a job that has you on the computer or phone all day? Even the kitchen for coffee and bathroom for, well, you know… are very close. Even my printer was now right at my knee. Not. Very. Many. Steps.
And those persistent FB pop-ups from FBBC! Finally, without any knowledge whatsoever about what I was getting into, I signed up for the Fall Fitness Challenge. No trial class. No one I knew who went there. Just jumped into the deep end of the pool with a vision to lose 75 pounds eventually. FBBC was waaaaaay more expensive than anything else I knew about, so I figured I’d get started there then move to someplace else once I got into a groove, or on my way. And here I am 14 months later
1- How were you emotionally, physically and mentally before FBBC and what has changed?
Physically I was not strong. Didn’t really know how “not strong” I was until after I started at FBBC. And I had NO IDEA how poor my balance had become. Could that have been part of the reason that I broke my hand the November before when I tripped? Perhaps. There is a high percentage of broken bones once one hits 50. In part because of reduced bone density (not my issue). In part, I’d bet, because of poor balance. I hadn’t slept well (read more than 5 hours) in years. My skin had issues. And let’s just say it out loud – I was, um, fat. I can couch it in lots of terms: Obese according to the medical charts. Had moved up to the Women’s section at the stores (plus sizes – ugh. Just the entry sizes, but still!!!). And I wasn’t fit enough to feel confident enough to want to DO things anymore. Time to take the dock in? Let’s schedule it when my 22-year-old son could help my husband. Thinking about a trip to the Boundary Waters? How about if hubby would go with his guy friends instead of me – I’m sure that would be more fun for him anyway. Put on the snow shoes and go tromp on the lake? That sounds REALLY cold! Skiing in January? Can’t we wait until it’s a little warmer? And when was the last time the canoe was even in the water??? Any excuse would do. Reading a book with a glass of wine in my hand ALWAYS sounded better. (Ok, that still sounds pretty nice, actually.)
Mentally I think was still in pretty good shape. I do a lot of heady work, so that never got the opportunity to slide. Though I’m sure that more years of not enough sleep would eventually trash that.
Emotionally, I was sick of hiding. I was pulling into a shell just because of how I looked. I was embarrassed. When I looked around a room, I almost always pegged myself as the heaviest. This was perhaps an underlying reason that I left my really great job as a consultant with Gallup. I was in front of rooms of people – leading discussions, giving presentations, and giving speeches on most days. It was starting to feel like I didn’t belong there because of how I looked. I thought about a statement that I read about sort criteria someone used when choosing to hire a consultant… physically fit appearance was high on the list. It reflected discipline and establishing high goals for oneself. OK. That wasn’t me anymore.
Today I am strong. I am physically strong (my kids gave hubby grief that I was the athletic one in the family now, even though he started going to the gym last January – and he spends 2 hours there whenever he goes!) and mentally stronger. Emotionally I’m still on my journey since I still have a long way to go to hit my goal. I think what I posted on our FBBCMG group page is a pretty good indication of where I am:
A revelation on vacation: I started at FBBC 14 months ago to lose 75 pounds and to get smaller a different way. I’m down 40… Haven’t hit “goal” yet but have stumbled (or rather didn’t stumble) upon the benefits of being FIT. I’m stronger. I said “Yes, let’s do it” to a tough 4 mile bike ride followed by a difficult 1 mile hike in the dark over broken lava (each way) to see an AMAZING lava flow. I said yes to a 2-tank scuba dive when in the past it was one tank (on the second tank we got to swim with a 30′ whale shark!) I hiked up and down Diamond Head volcano and then said, “Sure. Let’s walk the 2 miles to the beach” instead of taking an Uber. (On our walk we found there was going to be a Phillip Phillips concert on that end of the beach in 4 hours…)
I have never given any credit (or thought, really) to the benefits of being FIT. Today I can proudly say that I get it.
And I will still SLOWLY lose those other @#$! 35 pounds. Thanks Megan, Abby, and all the rest of the Fitbody family.
2- What or who is your inspiration? Tell me about this.
What was my inspiration? Perhaps fear of dying young. Perhaps wanting to regain confidence. Perhaps watching my previously-competitive-Irish-dancing daughter start to behave physically like me and gain weight (OK, maybe it was the Freshman 20…). I was tired of hiding – that wasn’t me. And really? Since I only saw hubby who home offices in the same office I do every day, it was a way to get out and see other humans in person. A little bit of a lot of things.
3- How do you balance your work life, family life and your day to day agendas with fitting time in for yourself at FBBC?
FBBC is a part of my day to get out of the house! If it’s a low energy day at my desk, I take off at “lunch” and hit the noon class. Since intermittent fasting has become my norm, I drink a protein shake at 11, so midday is open (no eating time needed…) I’m lucky as both of my kids are adults now (though my oldest, my son, still lives – and eats – at home), so I have more flexibility to be selfish and take time for myself. It also helps A LOT that hubby goes to the gym also (though not as often as I do.) We talk about what moves our respective trainers are asking us to do. We complain about which muscle groups hurt. We pick vacation hotels that have gyms and actually go together and use them. And I love that FBBC has so many time options. (Though I wish there was an earlier Saturday one as many times it would be easier to fit in other plans if this was done sooner.) I’m pretty committed to showing up at least 4 times a week, and I try for 5. Seems to be working as I’ve been at it for 14 months!
And it’s only an hour door to door. Not a bad investment in myself – and then it’s one fewer hour that I have to think about not drinking my wine in the cellar! (Ok, wine closet…)
4- What is your overall experience with FBBC?
It’s great that it is about a lifestyle change and being fit – a totally different mindset that I had entering. The transition is still a journey… My experience has definitely gotten better over time as I’ve gotten to know the coaches – some of them pretty well. Now I look forward to seeing who is there coaching, and usually chatting with her. It’s nice to go someplace where the leader in the room looks genuinely happy to see that I’m there – and knows my name. But honestly, it started off pretty rocky. My first coach assignment didn’t really connect, and thankfully Jackson sort of stepped in an picked me up. Since I was just starting, that was important and probably a turning point. My first challenge did not deliver the results I was expecting either. I believe there were tears at weigh in… Coming to terms with the slow progress when one is over 50 has been tough to swallow. Working on that. I think the entire FBBC knows I’m working on that.
Every so often it strikes me that I’m usually the oldest person in the room. It doesn’t change how I do the work – so that’s good. Just an odd realization… Kim’s success and passion is a great role model!
5- What is the biggest obstacle/challenge you have had to overcome at FBBC and how did you get through it?
I think the biggest obstacle is the incredibly slow progress on losing weight and really size. I keep working on coming to terms with the benefits of being fit and strong, not just smaller. But I still want to be smaller!
Denise! Thank you for sharing your story with us.
I didn’t edit or cut anything because your words tell it all.
I think many of us can really relate to wanting to be a smaller size but a lot of that is really negative media influence. We need to celebrate being fit, strong and healthy because that’s what it is really all about.
Megan K and Team