Fitness is a Blessing

In the last 24 hours I’ve had no fewer than 5 “reminders” that I need to tell my story – that I need to share why I’m passionate about working a little bit each and every day on being a healthier me. And why I’m so excited to be a Team Beachbody Coach.  Okay, Universe. I hear ya.

 

“Fitness is a blessing – not a chore or a punishment” – Chalene Johnson

Fitness is a Blessing.

Fitness is a Blessing.

I read that quote this morning and tears welled up in my eyes.  You see, that’s EXACTLY how I feel about this part of my life, and especially fitness.  Do you have any idea what a blessing it is to be able to MOVE your body? I do…

 

When I was in elementary school, I had 9 step throat infections in 6 months.  Of course they yanked my tonsils out, but unbeknownst to us the Strep had entered my bloodstream and made me very sick.  I ended up with massive amounts of inflammation in every joint in my body and spent two years on crutches.  Two years of constant pain and being scared this was going to be the rest of my life. Two years of pills, and more pills to counteract the side effects of the other pills.  Pills to help me relax and sleep.  And wheelchairs at Wal-Mart. Wheelchairs at the mall.  And the teasing.  Sweet mercy, the kids were cruel. Daily I was called a faker by my peers, even by some super awesome teachers.  They would try to trip me on my crutches in the hall.  God it was lonely. To my super awesome best childhood friend (you know who you are) – you were the best a girl could ask for and don’t ever think I don’t remember you standing by my side!

Luckily, that was but one chapter of my life.  As I moved into junior high, the inflammation went away and I could slowly start to move again, but it was really my senior year in high school before I felt strong. Before I felt well enough to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. But years of forced physical inactivity meant fitness wasn’t a priority for me as I entered college, besides a couple of friends dragging me to the Rec Center at Mizzou every once in a while.

I was focused on what I was good at – school and leadership.  I held positions in every club I was in and was determined to meet the goals I had set out for myself – study Business and French, study abroad in France, work in France, move to France, marry a…you get the idea. Well, the summer of 1999 was pretty pivotal for me.  I did a 6-week study abroad in Paris and Cannes, which was to be followed up by an amazing internship for the rest of the summer in Paris. I was on my way! But I remember the very moment I realized I was on the wrong path.  You see, in Cannes they celebrate the 4th of July to honor the Americans who liberated them from the Nazis. It was July 2nd and the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt had just anchored in Cannes Bay.  Pre-9-11 they were giving tours to anyone who wanted to go out and take a look.  I was walking toward the marina for my tour and I saw the American flag waiving over the castle ruins on the bluff. Pride in my country, in my home, swamped me like a tidal wave. I’d never really taken notice of our flag before, but at that moment I KNEW I was on the wrong path and France was a nice place to visit, but not home.

By now you’re thinking “Good for you, Rebe, but uh…what does that have to do with fitness?” Hang in there.  Back at school a sorority sister joined Air Force ROTC. We weren’t close, but we chatted about her experience a bit and then mid-year an email went out to the school about a 2 year ROTC program for upperclassmen.  Something about it struck me and I told my mom about it – she looked at me like I was COMPLETELY nuts.  But she had pretty sound advice, “If they need people now, they’ll need people next semester, too. Take this one and think about it – if it’s still something you want to do, then go for it.”  That Momma, she’s a smartie. So in May I met with a recruiter and he told me I could sign up…but I had to meet the height-weight standards and pass a Physical Fitness test. Me??

Oh, God. Okay, let’s do this. I needed to lose 25 lbs, not to mention the pushups and sit-ups and running 2 miles in 21 minutes…now remember – crutches? wheelchairs? I was starting at a level 0.5. But, I joined a gym and Weight Watchers and slowly the weight came off and the runs became longer and faster and I got strong.  It took me 6 months before I was ready to take the test. That’s another moment etched in my memory.  Early morning, my brand new boyfriend (yup, that was hubs!) there to cheer me on and a good friend Liz who ran every step of those 2 miles with me – encouraging me and pushing me to pass. I passed with a time of 20:25.

In the car on the way home I had to pull to the side of the road and quietly fall apart.

I was so relieved. So proud. So BLESSED to be able to achieve things I had never, ever imagined would be possible. I cried and cried and thanked my body for supporting me and thanked the Universe for providing me with such an amazing opportunity.

I’ll condense my Air Force experience into this – it was the best time of my life that I would never do again. And, it made me hate fitness. Made me look at my body, my weight as the enemy. As something that could and did get me into trouble – not fast enough, not skinny enough, weight too high. Work out THIS way, at THIS time, at THIS pace.  Bah. My self-esteem took a kick to the nuts, that’s for sure. But then I discovered this “new” thing – Pilates and I fell in love. I decided I wanted to teach Pilates upon leaving the AF, so I began to seriously work one on one with an amazing teacher.  I signed up for an intensive training program and was really nervous, but on my way.

And life had other plans. My husband, Alex, still had one more assignment in the AF and we were going to California. “Great!” you think, “A Pilates studio on every corner! She was set!” For those of you who don’t know, California is NOT one giant mega-city that stretches from San Diego all the way up to San Francisco.  There are HUGE areas that are unoccupied and Vandenberg AFB was smack in the middle of one of them.  The nearest Pilates studio was over an hour away on 2 lane state highways winding through fog-shrouded coastal mountains.  Yeah. Or, I could take a promotion in my current career field and work on base, 8 minutes from my house. Yeah. When the course I had signed up for was cancelled, I took it as a sign and kept on doing Contract Negotiations by day and Pilates in my living room at night.

We left the AF eight years ago and moved to Chicago. I kept the day job and I was good at it.  Didn’t love it, but it paid nicely, so there you go.  In the past 8 years I’ve had two amazing babies and oh, God.  They are the lights of my life.  Buuuutttttt, they were HARD on my body.  Both pregnancies were high-risk and I was so scared to lose them. I was scared to move and anxiety = comfort food, plus hello? Preggers over here! So on came the weight. 50+ pounds with the first, and an additional 10 (cumulatively)  with the second until, well, I was over 220 lbs at 5’4″ and a size 18.

This is my before picture. This is where I was the summer of 2011 after having my youngest, Jamie. THIS is when I knew I had to make a change.

DSC_0207

The start of this chapter…

 

So I started working with a trainer, tried Weight Watchers (again), and dropped a bit of the weight.  And then a friend of mine, who is a gorgeous mama of FOUR, started doing a fitness program at home from DVDs called P.I.N.K. She had incredible results and I started asking her all sorts of questions on Facebook about the program, how she was liking it, etc. So, I took the plunge and ordered it for myself. I had good results and liked it, but it wasn’t until this same friend recommended I follow in her footsteps again that I found my TRUE fitness love. INSANITY. People, I’m telling you Shaun T can make me work harder than ANYONE else can. I love that man. I get a high from doing a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout like runners get. And the results? Well, what do you think?

IMG_0869

Still in the middle of my journey…

Needless to say, over the last two years, I’ve become addicted. I’ve truly come to appreciate that fitness – even when it means getting up at 4:45 to workout – is a BLESSING! Not a chore or punishment. I struggle – absolutely! There are days when I have to yell at myself to get my butt out of bed. But after multiple rounds of Insanity (some of which I finished, others I did not), Focus T25, P90x3, and now PiYo and drinking Shakeology every day I KNOW for a fact that I’ve added years onto my life. I’m a good role model for my boys and they are my biggest cheerleaders. I’m currently down 40 of those 60 pregnancy pounds and man, do I have my sights set on those last 20!

But, but! Here’s the difference – I exercise now because of how I feel afterwards – strong, healthy, energized, BLESSED. Not because I have an audio playing in my head about how fat I am. And Beachbody gave me that AHA! moment.

How could I possibly keep that enthusiasm contained? How could I possibly be miserly and keep this knowledge to myself? The answer, of course, is that I can’t. I want to help others be healthy. I’m returning to that original passion, when I dared to dream of doing something different, of being a positive influence in people’s lives.

I am a Beachbody Coach and I can’t wait to build relationships and see people blossom and grow on their own fitness journeys, as I continue to work on my own.

 

So here’s my parting question – How can I help YOU? Do you need support and encouragement? I’ve got that covered! Do you need help with finding your true-love-workout? Do you need to tighten up your nutrition? All of the above? Well, you’re in luck!

 

Will you trust me? Travel beside me? Support me back as I support you?

If the answer is yes, please let me know.  If you don’t want to leave a comment here, you can either message me on Facebook, or send me an email at coachrebe at gmail dot com (written this way to avoid spammers – you know what to do. :) )


2014

I will hit a milestone this year.

I turn 35.

And while you can see I started this blog in 2011 and I’ve worked hard during those 2.5 years, I’m still on this journey – to become satisfied with less-than-perfect in a Pinterest-crazy world and be the healthiest me I know I can be.

Since 2011, I’ve discovered my love of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) through Team Beachbody and the amazing programs they have. I’ve been struggling during that time with some lower back pain that would flare up right toward the end of a workout program and derail my progress. As a result, I’ve yo-yoed around a bit with my weight, but I really, really mean it this time – this shit stops now.

So, I’ve been in physical therapy to resolve the back pain and am finally ready to start a new program – P90x3. It’s 90 days and I’m very excited to start and be able to FINISH this program. In addition, we are planning to do a Whole30 diet reset in April. It is such a relief to be able to MOVE again!


A picture is worth a thousand words

Wow.  I was just downloading the pictures we’ve accumulated in our cameras over the last couple of months and found some my DH took of me over Memorial Day.  Sweet baby Jesus.  I’m tired of pictures of me making me feel worse about myself.

 

I keep telling myself that I’ve lost inches since that photo was taken and I’m working on things, but ugh.  Makes me feel gross.  Makes me feel ugly.  Makes me feel like I’ve still got SO FAR to go – what’s the point?

 

Here’s to staying the course even when you want to drown your sadness in chocolate sauce.


Status and Stats

Hip hip hooray! There’s less of my hips to hooray about!!

I started working with a personal trainer about 4 weeks ago. I can tell already I am going to have a very love-hate relationship with my kettlebell. Let’s just say that there are very personal areas of my body that are very angry with me this morning. But, tough shit for my gluts and hamstrings, because we’re doing this particular workout 2 more times this week!

As part of keeping track of my progress on this here journey, I took my measurements. I measured my neck, bust, chest, right bicep, waist, hips, thighs and right calf. And while I’m not prepared to share what those measurements ARE, I can happily report that in the last 26 days I’ve lost a total of 3.75 inches combined from the above locations – including a full inch from my thighs and half an inch from my bicep. And, none of my measurements went up. The dreaded scale hasn’t moved much, so these numbers are a much needed boost and definitely are encouragement to keep up the hard work and to continue to make each decision a good one…one that nourishes me and my body! I just keep asking myself, what’s more stressful? Not eating that second brownie? Or struggling to lose weight? Getting up and moving? Or not being able to fit into clothes at most mainstream stores? I know what my answer is!

I’m going to measure every 4 weeks and keep posting the results.


Breaking the cycle

Everyone has a tipping point. The point where they’ve had enough and things have to change or they’re going to lose it. Whether it’s with the kids, their spouse, their job or themselves – something, somewhere pushes you over the edge into action.

This is the story of MY tipping point with myself.

I am D O N E with fighting my weight. Both my parents are significantly overweight and face the whole host of health problems associated with carrying way too much weight for most of their lives. I’ve been yo-yoing with my own weight since I was a teenager (so for roughly the last 15 years) and have really struggled with it since my first bouncing boy came into my life 3 years ago. I never lost 20 pounds from him and then we were blessed with a second child just 8 weeks ago.

 

I am 5’5″ and currently 209 lbs.

And I am done with this shit.

 

I heard a quote once that “when the pain of the current situation is greater than the pain of change, that’s when you’ll be motivated to make those changes.” Well, friends, here I am. I’m done with not wearing the flirty skirts and dresses that I love because my thighs rub together. I’m done with not being able to buy short-sleeved blouses because my arms are too flabby to fit into them. I’m done with being embarrassed about my body. I’m DONE because I want to be active in my 60s. I’m done because I want to play soccer with my sons and race them to the playground. I’m done because I have enough to occupy my time and suck up my energy without worrying about this crap, so I’m going to change it. NOW.

 

You’re welcome to join me on my journey to finding the healthy, happy woman I know is lurking inside.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.