I still remember that summer night. It was August 2012, and I was running up a flight of stairs at work. I'm a nurse, and I nearly died in that hot, sticky stairwell. I was out of shape and nearly out of time...AND excuses. Believe me, I had tried EVERY diet ever created before this fateful night. I had probably lost and gained the equivalent of a few small children in my day. So, when I couldn't breathe after climbing those stairs at work, I knew I had to make a change.
A few months prior, I had joined EverBody's Fun & Fitness Center. The gym had started their own "Biggest Loser" competition, but I was too embarrassed to sign up that May. However, when August rolled around, they had had so much success with the first one, they were offering a second season. I had seen people all around me losing weight and getting healthy, and I was a little jealous. I wanted in on the action. On the very LAST day to sign up for season two, I reluctantly agreed to "try" to lose weight for 12 weeks. Honestly, I had failed so many times before, so I didn't have much faith in myself. Well, over the first 12 weeks, I lost 27.2 pounds and came in second place out of over 120 participants. ME....the girl who was out of shape, out of excuses, and had a behind the size of two bowling balls. I did it. I lost weight! I continued into the third season as both a participant AND coach. During the next round, I lost an additional 27.8 pounds for a total of 55 pounds in a little over eight months. I have never really been an overly emotional person until this point in my life. I had done something for me and succeeded. The moment I stepped on the scale for the final time, I teared up. I had done it!!
Over the last few years, I have gained some of my weight back, and I'm ok with that. My focus now is being strong, NOT skinny. Since my first BL, I have gone on to coach eight seasons. I have met so many wonderful and inspiring people throughout my journey. One of my proudest moments was coaching two different RED teams that, over the course of two seasons, never dropped out of first place. Seeing all of their excitement, enthusiasm, and success made coaching easy. Along with coaching many great "LOSERS", I have also reached some fitness milestones over the last three years. My initial goal besides losing weight was to run a half-marathon. Since 2013, I have participated in four half-marathons. I have also become addicted to cycling, and have recently started working out with a personal trainer. Kelly, you have been a life-saver and great motivator for me!
I mean it when I say that the gym saved my life. Blair and Breanne, I can't thank you two enough for what you've done for me and this entire community. I used to think working out was a chore. Now, I incorporate it into my life and make it fun. I also have to say thanks to my first coach, Kathy Pyle. She believed in me and made our season fun and enjoyable. There are too many people to mention. Please know that ALL of you have taught me something important along the way. Now, I can't imagine my life without my gym and the "family" that came along with it. My advice for anyone whose journey has yet to begin....make the choice to change. Start slow. Every step counts. Every minute counts. Find a buddy. Just get moving. I guarantee that you won't regret the decision to join the gym, recommit to a fitness program, or sign-up for the BL. I'll admit, I was hesitant to join. However, those dreaded stairs reminded me that I had A LOT of life left to live.