In late January, 2011, a colleague/friend of mine stopped in my office and said “I looked at myself in the mirror today and I am headed to Jenny Craig at noon, they are doing two-for-one memberships. Want to go?” I looked at my calendar and thought, “I’m free – why not?” I certainly didn’t wake up that day thinking I needed to make a change.
When I arrived at Jenny Craig I was asked the hardest question. “How much do you want to lose?” I replied with great confidence, “100 POUNDS!” All the while thinking to myself, “how the heck am I going to achieve this?” I had been heavy for years, I was known as the big girl who worked hard and partied harder. I was always the center of attention. The most outspoken and confident person in the room. I managed a global sales force for a large global bank, and client entertainment and global travel were an every week occurrence. How was I going to lose the weight and still be successful in my personal and professional life? I knew things had to change, but within the same construct of what I had to do each week and weekend. This was mine to conquer and I didn’t want it to be at the expense of my clients or my spouse.
Initially my exercise consisted of walking at lunch and walking the dog, but that wasn’t anything I didn’t already do. So in April 2011, I said to myself, “I need to pick up the weight loss pace, and also ensure that if I hit this goal of 100 pounds lost, that some or all of this body snaps back into place, somehow/someway!” I decided to join the Hockessin Athletic Club. (I also convinced that same person who got me to join Jenny Craig to join HAC as well!) I had driven past HAC a hundred times, but had never stepped foot in the place – and had no intention of doing so. I’d joined fitness clubs in the past, and went maybe once…for the tour. I get asked all the time why was this time different. The answer is two-fold: the staff at HAC are great, and I signed up with a personal trainer on day one. Getting a trainer was the smartest thing I did in this whole journey. My first trainer was Damon Marable, who is phenomenal. Damon’s enthusiasm and passion were contagious and a great motivating force.
Signing up for personal training did a few things:
- It made me accountable to someone else. We had dates and times where I was expected to show up.
- I now had someone to show me what to do. I was clueless initially, which I have a problem admitting.
- This person was going to teach me, encourage me, and show me that I could push myself physically and see real results.
- Little did I know, the other trainers on staff were watching and taking notice of my transformation. They too would encourage and push me on the fitness floor or and in a group fitness class.
Over time, the weight came off slowly and steadily, but the real transformation was the way in which exercise was changing my entire physique. I think it really hit me when I went from “women’s sized” workout clothes to buying an Under Armour tight fit shirt and Athleta work out pants from the HAC Pro shop. It was the first time I’d been able to shop in a boutique-style fitness store, and what was more – the clothes looked amazing on me!
On Wednesday, March 14, 2012, I weighed in. It was not as dramatic as what you see on the biggest loser – no one cut away to a commercial for suspense build up – but for me it was a suspense that had been building for months. As the numbers settled, it showed that I had lost a total of 100.8 pounds! It took 14 months, but the goal had been achieved, and the first thing out of my mouth was, “Mariah Carey has nothing on me she only wanted to lose 30 pounds!”
Of course, the first person I texted was my personal trainer Damon to give him the news, as he was very aware of my progress and how close we were. Later that day, I arrived at HAC for my standing personal training session, and as I was walked up the sidewalk from the parking garage, the acknowledgements began. From the parking lot, to the front desk, to the personal training desk, people were congratulating me! Do remember, I LOVE being the center of attention, and I was in my glory. Not long ago, I heard one of the other trainers telling his client “She’s the one I was talking about.”
I will in no way tell people this was easy. It was a lot of hard work and perseverance, but I believed and pushed through the weeks when it got tough. The times I gained weight despite all my efforts. But, know that if I can do this, so can anyone else who has a goal and sets their mind to it.
It sounds so cliché, but it is true: There are no shortcuts or quick fixes – just old fashion diet and exercise.
When my trainer Damon left to pursue other opportunities, I didn’t quit. I’d made a commitment to myself, so I signed up with Ron Shoop who picked up just where Damon left off. Ron has continued to challenge me to improve with each and every workout.
I want to thank my colleague and friend Laura, (yes, she too has lost a lot of weight and is still a HAC member), my husband for his unwavering support, and most of all my trainers Damon and Ron, as well as all the personal trainers at HAC that have encouraged and cheered me along the way. Every milestone achieved makes it worth it and keeps it really fun to come to the gym each day, week in and week out. Also, I can’t forget the many HAC members that also approached me to provide encouragement and compliments throughout my journey. All of this helped me tremendously as I worked to hit my weight loss goal.
P.S. – I had my biggest “Ah-ha!” moment when I went on a sales call in Chicago. I was seeing a colleague for the first time in over a year. I walked into the clients’ lobby, right up to him. I gave him a quick hug and kiss on the cheek, and he had a look of shock on his face. That’s when it dawned on me – HE DIDN’T KNOW WHO I WAS! I quickly put my visitors pass that was attached to my lapel in his line of sight, and it came to him. He played it cool, but we both knew he had no idea who I was. That one moment made all the hard work worth it.