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Christine’s Journal – 2013

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Week 1:
This is a story about undoing – undoing the harm and stress I’ve put on my body, undoing the lies and excuses I’ve told myself for the last year, and undoing (or decreasing) my risk for breast cancer.

After I found out I had the breast cancer gene in November, 2012, I had a radical hysterectomy. The doctors told me it was the right decision to decrease the amount of estrogen in my body. But I then proceeded to gain 18 pounds in 6 weeks. Unheard of you say? Nope. I had my doctor run every test in the book… it couldn’t be my fault that I suddenly got fat. But it was.

My first step was creative cardio. Ty went through everything very clearly and even drew me pictures. And thirty minutes per day is all they ask of me! When I first learned what the “8 Weeks to Greatness” program entailed, I was sure that I’d have to devote an hour or more per day to working out – and with three active boys I wasn’t sure I could do that. But I quickly learned that lengthy cardio workouts are more for endurance training and than for burning fat, and so my personalized cardio workouts are short enough for me to manage.

So far the food decisions have been the easy part. The trainers have made the choices clear and now I know what to eat and when. As I started the program, Christina did have to realign me a time or two as I was trying to eat too little. It’s amazing to me that eating more, especially protein, is better for my weight loss and fitness goals. The hardest part I had was giving up Diet Coke. I thought I NEEDED it. But what I have realized is that it is only chemicals and not something I NEED.

One of the other challenges I have had to overcome is the portability of the food I need to eat. As we travel to baseball tournaments each weekend and I work through the week, I have had to learn how to bring my food with me. I traveled to Memphis one weekend, and even though I was surrounded by barbecue, I brought – and ate – my own smoked chicken, wraps, and rice cakes.

Christina and her staff have given me back the control and the tools to be successful. This is the first week and I know this journey will be tough, but I have to “undo.”

Week 2:
This is a story about patience – patience with my body, patience with my family and patience with myself. I am learning to be patient in all parts of my life.

We have all daydreamed about winning the lottery – waking up one day with no financial worries and getting rich quick. I, too, have dreamed of the lottery, but in that dream I always figured out a way to lose weight fast, too… no matter what the cost. However, what I am learning in this process is that no matter how much money you have, there is no “quick fix.”

This week I have had to remind myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint. I have noticed that my body is adjusting and I have to listen to it. I let Christina know that my shoulder was bothering me a bit as we progressed with the weights. She showed me that my posture was creating stress on my back and leading to the shoulder pain. Amazingly, as I have reminded myself to straighten my posture, my shoulder issue has resolved itself. Christina and her staff are amazing at listening to their clients and tailoring the workout to keep each client comfortable.

I have noticed a significant increase in my energy level. I am able to get out of bed without feeling so groggy and foggy. This means that spring cleaning has come early and my children and husband have had to pitch in – despite their protests. And I have more focus and my memory is better.

My family is also eating things they aren’t used to. However, I have been pleasantly surprised that most of what I make, they like – even tilapia (which I never thought would be possible!) The food which I am able to eat is easy to pack and because I am given so many choices, I am not having trouble sticking with it. I truly believe that after being educated on what to eat and when to eat it, I can continue with this forever. I feel like I understand food better than I ever have before – for example, I now know that eating often and including high amounts of protein is essential for our muscles and overall body function.

Patience has never been one of my strong points, but it is paying off. Every day, every meal, and every workout counts and it all adds up to goal achievement. I am so grateful to Christina and her staff for teaching me this kind of patience.

Week 3:
This is a story about trust – trust in my trainers, trust in my co-workers, and trust in myself.

This week I got off course. I thought I knew what I was doing, but I fell back into that old diet misconception that eating less is better. I was using the information that I had been given about what to eat as a guideline, but not doing EXACTLY what Christina had told me. (I was close… but as they say, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.)

I was actually making this process harder than it needed to be. Christina emailed me the EXACT things to eat and when to eat them – which helped me tremendously. I have to admit that I am not a person who really cares about what I eat and I am definitely not a “foodie.” So eating the same thing every day really works for me and takes the decisions away. This allows me to think about everything else I am doing with work, family, and friends – and not about what I need to eat at 10am. I have learned that eating clean, eating more and eating throughout the day is the way our bodies are designed to work. Protein is king!!

My co-workers have been great through this process, too. They have supported me and asked me how I’m doing every step of the way. I have had to trust them to pick up some slack when I need a short break to grab a quick meal or more water between patients. I appreciate them all a great deal and hope that I am becoming a stronger leader and teacher as we go through these weeks.

And now I have to trust in myself. I have to know that I can do this and stay strong. This has been the hardest week so far. I don’t want to let anyone down – especially Christina who has given me this gift – and so I will persevere. As my dad says, “If this was easy, everyone would do it.”

Week 4:
This is a story about freedom – freedom from the pounds that weighed me down, freedom from the negative thoughts in my head, and freedom to look in the mirror again.

Over the past year I have avoided mirrors. I would look in a mirror to get ready in the morning, but I would NEVER look at my reflection in store windows, in the mirror when getting in and out of the shower, or any other times. That helped with my denial. Even after this short amount of time, Christina has let me look into the mirror again. In fact, I am absolutely shocked each time I catch a glimpse of myself. Just like that!

My husband and I have three boys. One of the things we talk to them about is visualizing themselves being successful. This is a tool many professionals use as they progress through their careers. I was doing just the opposite. I was visualizing myself as fat, ugly, and someone that no one wanted to look at. It was pretty depressing and pathetic. One of the other things we always tell our boys is that “if you have a problem, fix the problem.” And yet I was unable to follow my own advice. But these last four weeks have taught me that I am capable of living a disciplined lifestyle and that moving my body with creative cardio is essential for my mind/body balance. The media is always selling us those quick fixes – the His & Her Fitness approach is helping to “fix me,” but in a healthy way. It’s an approach that is practical and doable.

Today I put on a pair of jeans that I had purchased one year ago. I couldn’t fit in them, but had kept them for “when I lost weight.” I am embarrassed to say how many clothes were in my closet with tags still on them in sizes that were too small. But now they fit!!! Not only can I fit in them, but they are baggy! What an amazing feeling! The results have come so quickly, it is helping to keep me focused. I am finally free to wear clothes I haven’t for months… it’s like I have a whole new (old) wardrobe.

I don’t want to make it sounds like there is a magic wand. There isn’t – but there is a team of people waiting to help anyone who asks. Freedom feels amazing and it’s just beginning! 🙂

Week 5:
This is a story about commitment – commitment to Christina for giving me this opportunity, commitment to be a good example to my children, and the commitment to live my best life.

We all make commitments. Some of them we keep, some of them we don’t, and some of them stretch us thin as we try to fulfill them. As I have gone through this process, I have found it easier and easier to fulfill this commitment. This week my menu changed again. Christina always thinks about my lifestyle and how the choice of food will fit with my day. Most of us have to make so many choices that it is refreshing when some of our decisions are made by someone else. And it has been educational to learn what foods to eat, what portions to eat, and when to eat it. I consume a lot of food throughout the day – and that is so counter-intuitive to what most of us think about weight loss.

Two days ago my oldest son was talking to our sweet neighbor as she trimmed his hair. He explained to her that I don’t like him (or his brothers) to consume chemicals. We have talked a lot as a family about clean eating and why we make the food choices we do. My boys are learning about being healthy right along with me. This is such a lifelong gift that I have been given… not just for my life, but also for my children’s lives and for the generations to follow. Our bodies were designed to process regular food… not Cheez-Its!

As we go through our days, we all have a point when we realize that life is not the ‘white-picket’ dream we once thought it was. We lose those that we love, we have bad things happen to us for no reason, and we get sick. All we can do is do our best – and try to avoid these things as best we can. By knowing what our bodies need, physically and spiritually, we give ourselves the best chance at avoiding the negative. As I have lost all the pounds and inches, I have also reduced my body’s risk. The risk for disease and skeletal stress is reduced with each session of creative cardio that I do and each structured food day that I complete.

I believe that this commitment has had a domino effect on my life and on those who surround me!

Week 6:
This is a story about inside – the inside of me, the inside of our home, and the inside of our refrigerator.

I can’t believe how the weeks are flying by. And, as I look back at the beginning of this journey, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I still wonder why I felt like I couldn’t do this – and I wonder even more what held me back from asking for help. Pride? Maybe… But I think I was more ashamed than anything else. I was holding so much inside me… mostly disgust at the lack of discipline I had when it came to my personal health. On a daily basis I talk to my patients about inflammatory processes inside their bodies. I tell them that so many of the foods we eat contain chemicals that our bodies can’t recognize – and how they can put our circulatory system into a state of inflammation. This impacts our hearts, our brains, and our eyes. This is why anti-inflammatory foods like fish and nuts (containing Omega-3s) are crucial to our long- term health. “Doctor, heal thy self,” wasn’t exactly working for me. Now, as I have made adjustments, I truly “practice what I preach.”

Daily activities inside our home have changed. We make sure that time is carved out to do cardio. It’s amazing how my mood and energy level increase after thirty minutes of an elevated heart rate. This week my younger two children chose to attend the workout with me. Christina trained them along side me and explained why certain moves were so important to strengthen their athletic abilities. She even taught them how to run properly! My husband has joined this journey, too, and has gotten into amazing shape. It makes me happy that pull-up contests happen in our home – although I’ll never reveal who wins!!

The inside of our refrigerator looks much more colorful these days. Red, yellow, and orange peppers, green spinach, and egg whites are abundant. Meal planning has made mornings much less stressful as our food is prepped the night before and ready to go for the next day. The boys have started asking for fruit smoothies instead of ice cream and take fresh fruit in their lunches instead of fruit snacks. (Their brains are still developing and need all the natural food they can get!) I know that these changes will continue and hopefully stay with the boys as they grow.

The His & Her Fitness team understands what role nutrition plays in our body goals and incorporates that information into each client’s plan. They are coaches, ready to help you look better on the outside and feel better on the inside. Their training philosophy puts focus on the whole body. And another side of these trainers was revealed to me this week – they take their role in the community seriously. This week H&H held a benefit for Big Brothers and Big Sisters. The training staff took time to teach others creative cardio routines and make money for a great charity at the same time.

Now I know – it’s impossible not to recognize how changes on the outside of our bodies lead to changes on the inside.

Week 7:
This is a story about Thanksgiving – the holiday we celebrate and the reasons we all have to be thankful.

This week we went home for Thanksgiving. My husband and I are from a small town in western Kansas and go home every year during this week. I was worried about traveling and how I would be able to handle the change of venue. Luckily Christina has taught me how to prep food ahead of time and how to travel with it. It was easy to pack it up and get it four hours down the road.

It was the best feeling in the world to walk into my parents’ home and have them be proud of my weight loss success. (I don’t think we ever outgrow wanting to have our parents’ approval!) My parents now know how hard I’ve worked and how much I’ve needed this. My dad turned 70 last summer and we had family pictures taken. WOW… It was me at my heaviest and it’s hard to look at those pictures now. However, it is a definite reminder of how far I’ve come in a short amount of time.

Every day we need to take time to be thankful for the blessings we have in our lives. Even though I had a successful career, busy children, and an amazing husband, some days I was still unable to feel thankful as I lost control over my weight. I have been given this journey and hope to share it with others to let them know that they can do it, too. I have so many things to look forward to and I feel better prepared than ever to move forward. Happy Thanksgiving!

Week 8:
For me this 8-week story has been amazing – simply throw-your-hands-over-your-head-like-you-just-crossed-the-finish-line-of-your-first-marathon awesome!!! I have been proud of myself for accomplishments in my life before, but this one was BIG!

However, this is really a story about continuing – continuing to learn, continuing to build and change my body, and continuing to live a healthy lifestyle.

As I have gone through these weeks, I have been focused on the finish line. I have visualized the end result. I’ve thought about what it would feel like to get through these eight weeks, have my clothes fit, and feel better overall. I even set an alert on my phone calendar! However, what I have come to learn is that there is no finish line and this journey never ends. This is a lifestyle change for life and for health. I had really lost sight of the bigger picture. Seeing how Christina “walks the walk and talks the talk,” I now have a true understanding of the gift I’ve been given. I see how she gives of herself to her clients and I understand what I have to do. I will continue to learn about what food does to my body and what choices I can make to keep myself and my family healthy.

I have come a LONG way over the last few weeks. My body looks different – not just because I’ve lost weight, but because the shape is different. It’s so much easier to decide what to wear to work when all the clothes in my closet fit! And I have become almost addicted to the lactic acid in my muscles. It sounds crazy that a person would like to be sore – but it makes me feel the progress before I see it in the mirror. And now I see these changes happening a little faster without all that fat cloaking the muscles.

I had a new patient meet me for the first time today and she said I was glowing. She knew nothing about these last eight weeks; she knew nothing about my struggles with weight; she knew nothing about the breast cancer gene I was born with. She just saw me and felt strongly enough to comment about my outer glow. Confidence feels good!

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