Transformation of the Day: Athena lost 125 pounds. This mom was taking care of everyone but herself. Extra pounds, extreme knee pain and mobility issues, led her to choose weight loss surgery. After the surgery she worked hard, started running 5ks, 10ks, marathons and took her fitness and nutrition to the next level. She shared with us about the actions she took and the awesome coaches she connected with.
I’m not one to talk about me, but I can’t hide behind my story anymore. I know it will help others. I was a single parent for a while, but I always had the help of my family and close friends, so I was never alone. However, for so long I tried to make up for that sometimes empty space for my sons by keeping them engaged and involved in so many activities, and ensuring they were good students. I took care of everyone else, was succeeding at work, but I was losing on keeping me in a good place physically and mentally, deep down inside. I was offered a new job in a new state, and moved my family 5 hours away from our support system, but we felt we were ready. In our new place, I repeated the same behaviors and took care of everyone but me. My weight continued to climb, and I could no longer walk completely around the mall without extreme knee pain. As the end of 2011, approached I saw my reflection in a store window and was shocked at how large I had become. It looked like I could carry a food tray on my behind. That was enough. I weighed more than 270 pounds (height: 5’6″) and I was crushed, but I was ready for change. Enough was enough.
I researched different solutions and decided to have gastric bypass surgery. As I prepared for my April 2012 surgery, I lost 30 pounds on my own, but felt the need to relieve the pressure on my joints, so I went forward with a successful surgery. I ate according to the food plan I was given after surgery, and by September 2012, I’d worked up to running my first 5k. In October 2012, I discovered Zumba and my two passions (running and Zumba) became part of my weekly workout routine. So, I was doing cardio, cardio, cardio. I dropped plenty of weight and went as low as 148 pounds, and for a brief moment could wear a size 8/10, down from a size 20/22. Once I was medically cleared by the doctor, I continued to try to eat healthy by incorporating veggie/fruit/protein powder smoothies as my morning breakfast. Even though I was still working out, doing HIIT classes, Zumba classes, running 10ks and half marathons, my weight was slowly creeping back up. I had a great traininer who gave me great workouts, but we were in 2 different states and it was a challenge. By the time I needed to get fitted for my wedding gown, I tried it on and found that it was too tight. I had gained weight and was back up to 175 pounds, and was wearing a 10/12. I finally had to admit that my “healthy” lifestyle was not working for me and I needed help from the right source.
I’d been following the Facebook page of IUTBU for over a year, and I finally reached out to Coach Wiltrina in April 2015 to help me fit into my wedding gown in July 2015. We started working on May 18 with a custom plan of real food and real exercise, and my gown fit beautifully on July 11, 2015. I decided to enter her transformation contest which started on August 24, 2015, 4 days before my birthday. I am happy to say that with 1 week left in the contest, I was the smallest, strongest and healthiest I’ve ever been since my days of playing college volleyball and high school sports. I now weigh 145 lbs, wear a size 4/6. Now I know that weekly meal prepping, eating every few hours, and getting in real exercise daily where I challenge myself to get better everyday is the key to my successful lifestyle change. I’m grateful for my Maryland personal trainer, Del of BTXR who was straight up and honest with me and pushed me to soreness. I’m also truly grateful for Coach Wiltrina Jones of IUTBU for empowering me to trust her process and learn that I was only limited by me because the possibilities were still possible.
Eating habits: My sons and I used to eat out a lot. Fast food was a regular thing, along with treats in the pantry. PopTarts were devoured if I brought them home. I stopped eating all these things. I’ll still eat out occasionally with my husband, but I’m very picky about what I eat because my taste buds have changed and the food has to be worth my money. I don’t eat fried food hardly at all, but I enjoy a good salad, lots of vegetables and my proteins.
Advice: For those who want to lose weight, learn to love yourself and invest in yourself. Decide that you are worth the change that you’ll experience. There is no food that should have so much power over anyone that it keeps you from doing what is right for you. If you are harboring baggage, forgive yourself for your past, let go of the burdens and free yourself. Move on to your new space on your new journey. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth what you discover. We are hidden under layers and layers of our issues, our problems and our stresses. I’m surprised at what I’d been hiding and I’m so happy with who I am.