Making the Commitment

I had the opportunity to help my friend and trainer, Rebecca Black, work her Strong Body by Rebecca booth at the Columbus Bridal Show this past weekend. It was a lot of fun, and we got to talk to some women who are truly interested in getting in shape for their big day. 
Rebecca & Me at the bridal show
 However, what surprised me was how hesitant people were to make the commitment to get healthy. A lot of interest, but no commitment. I heard people say, as they avoided eye contact and passed us by, “I don’t have any extra money to spend on personal training;” “Oh, I don’t need to work out;” or “I don’t have time.”
This is surprising to me because now, more than ever, Americans are struggling with weight and obesity. It has reached epidemic proportions in our country and it continues to get worse. More Americans are becoming overweight or obese, exercising less, and eating unhealthy foods. In fact, recent studies show that in 2009, 63.1% of adults in the U.S. were either overweight or obese. The statistics are overwhelming and alarming, in my opinion. People who are overweight are far more likely to be diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or to have a heart attack. The amount of money we spend on obesity-related healthcare is also alarming – 43 percent more than normal-weight adults.
Even with all of these health concerns and added expenses, why do we find it so hard to make the commitment to get fit and healthy? In fact, recent studies show that some people who are obese see no reason to make efforts to achieve a healthier weight. “I’m fine now;” “I’m pretty healthy;” “I’ve always been this way;” “It’s too hard to make a change now;” or “I’m too busy.”
To answer this question, I look back at my own story. It’s hard because it’s hard to make changes! We don’t want to change. We drive the same way to work everyday; keep spending money we don’t have, eat food that is fast and convenient, and keep putting thins off for another day. I even said to Rebecca this weekend, as some ladies passed us by and wouldn’t even respond to us, “I know what they feel like. That was me a couple of years ago.” I was embarrassed by the way I looked, felt ugly, felt worthless, and felt horrible all the time. It was humiliating – I wouldn’t have even talked to a trainer or walked in a gym for fear of revealing what I believed I truly was – a fat, ugly, worthless, destined-to-be miserable person. I couldn’t even walk up the stairs without getting out of breath, I was depressed, and I hated myself.
It wasn’t until my health became a disaster that I realized I needed to make a change. My doctor told me one day, during a routine endocrinology appointment, that I was on the fast-track to becoming a full-blown diabetic. She gave me about a year until I would be fully-dependent on insulin. She explained to me what that meant – my body would never be able to produce its own insulin, I would need a pill or a shot for the rest of my life to make my body work the way it was supposed to. It was potentially life-threatening if left untreated or left to fully develop. I played it off like I was planning to do something and she gave me a book about healthy eating for diabetics. She said it was serious and if I could loose weight in the next few months, I would dramatically decrease my risk of becoming diabetic, not to mention feel better. I left saying I would, “Look into it.”
Truth be told, I got in my car that day and had a freak-out moment. No, I had a life-changing moment. I knew one thing – I did not want to be diabetic. I would do whatever it took to ensure that didn’t happen. I made up my mind right then and there. I was scared out of my mind. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t know what to say. I was just terrified.
A couple of days later, I found out about a 6 week long boot camp style training camp through one of my friends at work. It was expensive – about $600 – but if you lost the most weight, you got your money back. I was sold. I found the money; I paid it in two payments. It was hard.
What happened next was a complete transformation of my life. I took the first step and I have never looked back. Sure, I have bad days (I’m actually having one right now!), but I always come back to making the commitment. I’ve even had to recommit and probably always will. But, I will because I am worth it. I know this now; it just took me a little longer and a hell of a scare to figure that out.
It was hard. I couldn’t do a squat, I couldn’t run for a minute, I couldn’t do a push-up on my knees, couldn’t do a sit-up, jump on a block, and I couldn’t life a weight – I didn’t even know how. Incline on a treadmill? Never even knew it did that. But, the trainers I worked with helped me and when I couldn’t do one thing, we did another or another or another until there was something I could do and you know what? I started to feel better about myself. I started to make progress – baby step after baby step.
Six weeks later, I was hooked. Literally. That’s all it took. I didn’t win the competition (I came in second), so I didn’t get my money back, but you would have thought I won a million bucks for as happy as I was. My whole life changed: my health improved, my relationships were happier, I felt better and better everyday.
I knew I wanted more and I had enough self-confidence to go out on a limb a little bit and explore what health and fitness options were out there. I joined a gym, hired a personal trainer, and joined MIT. I never had any more money – I just spent my money differently. I started cooking at home instead of eating out. I worked out in the park instead of renewing my gym membership when things got tight, as they sometimes do. I saved my money for races instead of for clothes or a vacation. It was hard, but I was hooked. There was never going to be another way. Fitness and health had become a part of my life.
So yes it was hard and no, I didn’t have the money or the time to get healthy, but I did it anyway. You make time, you find the money, and you do something that works for you. And if you don’t know where to start, you talk to sometime like Rebecca who can help you come up with a plan. Once you have a plan, a roadmap for success, you can go anywhere. I’m living proof.
Me & Rebecca when I was about 30 lbs heavier
 So, what’s stopping you? Make the commitment. Once you do, you’ll never go back!
Here’s to our health,

Comments

  1. I know what you’re saying. It is very frustrating at times. That’s why I admire people like you who have made the choice to get fit and healthy. You are an inspiration to others, sara =)

  2. What a fantastic post! This is the kick in the butt I needed! Thanks!

  3. Crafty Jogger says

    What a great post! I love reading about your experience at boot camp. You are so brave! I also started my “fitness journey” with a boot camp. I was SOOO scared. It’s AWESOME to see how you have made life style changes to accommodate your new healthy habits.

    It’s great that your doctor was so honest with you and told you the information that you needed to make such a major change. Sometimes I wonder if people should be MORE frank in places other than the doctor’s office. When someone is overweight, we (unlike some other cultures) tiptoe around the subject to avoid hurting people’s feelings. Maybe some painful honestly would do a lot of good in the long run.

    However, I say that….and then at the same time I can’t even figure out how to talk with my own boyfriend about his weight/unhealthy habits. So…it’s easier said than done!

  4. Great post!

    I’ve been on both sides of the coin. From my perspective, I think we are a country of denial. We think everything is fine. Food is how we celebrate EVERYTHING. Drugs are bad, cigararettes are bad but food? Nah, it’s just a piece of cake.

    We are also a society obsessed with appearance and ironically, I think that backfires when it comes to our health. So many become hung up on the fact that they’ll never look like a supermodel – so why bother? People become so worried about what their a$$ looks like that they forget about how their lungs, heart, and everything else functions.

    Like you, I started my journey because I was scared for my health future – and am I glad I got on this road.

    xo

  5. Crafty Jogger says

    I just wanted to tell you that after commenting on this post… I decided to stop being a wimp and talk to my boyfriend about making healthier choices. I was nervous about hurting his feelings (because to me- he’s absolutely perfect! but the more I learn about diabetes and heart disease in school…the more I worry about his health in the future!)…but I focused on showing him the numbers: calculated his BMI, added up his calories from that day and compared it to his suggested calories, showed him he already met one of the criteria for a diagnosis of “metabolic disease”. Since then, he’s been tracking his calories on his phone. I am really proud of him!

    I think the “aha!” moment came when he typed in “1 cup alfredo sauce” and realized it had 1000 calories…as opposed to <200 calories in a cup of marinara sauce.

    So thanks for inspiring me to be a health advocate! =)

  6. I know what you’re saying. It is very frustrating at times. That’s why I admire people like you who have made the choice to get fit and healthy. You are an inspiration to others, sara =)

  7. Crafty Jogger says

    I just wanted to tell you that after commenting on this post… I decided to stop being a wimp and talk to my boyfriend about making healthier choices. I was nervous about hurting his feelings (because to me- he’s absolutely perfect! but the more I learn about diabetes and heart disease in school…the more I worry about his health in the future!)…but I focused on showing him the numbers: calculated his BMI, added up his calories from that day and compared it to his suggested calories, showed him he already met one of the criteria for a diagnosis of “metabolic disease”. Since then, he’s been tracking his calories on his phone. I am really proud of him!

    I think the “aha!” moment came when he typed in “1 cup alfredo sauce” and realized it had 1000 calories…as opposed to <200 calories in a cup of marinara sauce.

    So thanks for inspiring me to be a health advocate! =)

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