Before and During!
I promised myself I wouldn’t let too many weeks go by without a blog. This blog is both documentation of my journey and a key part of taking stock along the way while paying it forward. These past two weeks have been great. Absolutely great!
The head of the team is Leif Anderson, Program Director and Lead Trainer and Nutritional Coach at Fitness North. I have written about Leif many times; he is simply amazing, bar none! Leif has worked with me these past few weeks to get back on track post -100 lb weight loss and adjust for the second phase of the work. Currently, he is helping me tackle a new short-term goal — to win a weight loss contest at Balance for Life Fitness Center for the most percentage of weight lost in six weeks. The final weigh in is May 23, so I have one full week to go and believe I am on track to have a shot at the grand prize of $500 in training sessions! But even if I don’t win the grand prize, I consider myself a winner because I am losing again and feel so strong. Thank you Leif.
My current training team at Balance for Life Fitness Center consists of two excellent trainers and human beings — Julie Gronquist, founder/owner and lead trainer, and my new second trainer, Sandra Swami, wellness and fitness consultant. I train about 3x per week with Julie and Sandra and they are both great supporters and coaches. Julie knows me extremely well after five years of working together off and on, and I think she is as excited as anyone to finally see my success. She has definitely seen the downs more than the ups! Sandra reminds me of Leif — she is a huge asset on the nutritional side and pushes me hard in the workouts, beyond what I think I can do. And she is the master of correct form. I love that. She is also insightful and “straight” with me — qualities that make a good trainer, a great one!
This past week I reconnected with my close friend, Jimbo, and processed what has made this journey successful where so many others over the years weren’t. Jim was both inquiring and offering counsel. (Thanks Chief!) He has seen me through years of failed attempts and I think is both pleased and a bit surprised as to why the success this time.
The success formula is probably as individual as we are. But, for me, it boils down to a few significant and fundamental shifts. First and foremost, you have to be ready. I was finally ready to commit to this and to myself above all else, no excuses — not my business, my friends, my family, just myself in the center of the equation. My friend, Elaine, and I joke about being late bloomers and certainly I wish I had gotten to the “ready” place sooner, but I didn’t. This is my journey. The point is, I got here! Yeah for me! For whatever reason, this time when the stars aligned I was ready and I grabbed hold of the opportunities before me and didn’t let go.
Secondly, the stars aligned and opportunities were presented when I met O’Neal Hampton of Biggest Loser fame/success and learned of Fitness North at my beloved Surfside on Lake Superior. The universe gave me an opportunity and I knew the moment that I met O’Neal and he looked me in the eye and said “We can do this!” and “We’ve got this!” — this was it. It was my time. I grabbed hold. Scared as hell, but I lept.
Finally, Fitness North was the jumpstart on the journey and has been my program foundation the entire way. Fitness North has offered so many incredible gifts, but the single most important was it taught me that I could do it – I could do literally anything I put my mind to! It wasn’t my body or physical limits that was stopping me all of those years, but rather my mind and the negative thoughts such as “I cant’!” Turns out – I CAN! Leif Anderson and Jay Grove, the trainers at Fitness North, led the excavation to help break me of the bad habit of quitting/stopping when it got hard. And, it got really, really hard at Fitness North – but quitting was not an option. I thank them both (two amazing human beings) to this day for providing the opportunity for me to push myself to a place where now I tell myself “I CAN!” and to truly know in my head and my heart, I can do anything I set my mind to.
The last big nugget for me was being willing to put myself out there and share my journey publicly. This had to be part of my program strategy in the beginning as it provided a level of accountability that I needed. In the end, it has provided soooooooo much more. I have connected in a new way with so many incredible people — both in my circle and outside — and each and every comment, supportive Facebook or blog post, or encouragement helps me get to the next level. I am a lucky girl to have so much love and support all around me.
So if there is a winning formula, for me, that’s it. That and a whole lot of hard, hard work to fight past the emotional “I cant’s” or “It’s too hard” and a bit of stopping to celebrate the successes and the progress along the way.
Speaking of celebrating progress. Today I found a before photo of me in a red jacket that was 4 sizes bigger. This was taken when hiking (strolling) the Temperance River on the North Shore with my sorority sisters last November, just one week before Fitness North. Then I found a photo my friend, Sally Nankivell, took this past month when we hiked Temperance – this time in a new red jacket four sizes smaller — and a100 lbs lighter. My before and during photos! Pretty cool to see the progress when you put them side by side.
I am so excited to see what comes next. And, I’ve already decided that when I reach goal I will buy a new red Eddie Bauer jacket and take that “After” picture at Temperance River State Park! I hope you will all be there to celebrate with me.