Six years ago, I walked into a gym. I had just earned a Masters Degree in Special Education, my dad had just passed away one week from my being done with school, with congestive heart failure and I weighed 300 pounds!!! I struggled with asthma, nerve damage in my legs from surviving meningitis at age 36 and ahost of other ailments. I literally felt like I had one leg in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Finding a job as a Special Education Teacher was especially difficult, since I could not find employment anywhere. Everywhere, I went to interview, I would get the sympathy look from the ones doing the hiring. The look that spoke volumes saying, “How is she going to be able to teach Special Education? She can barely breathe.”
I was struggling. I couldn’t even walk around the block without having an asthma attack. I knew I had changes to make but I had no idea where to start. After an especially hard interview, where I got “the look” again – my confidence was crushed. I went out to the car – where my daughter was waiting to drive me home and told her to drive me to the nearest gym. I wound up at a gym that a friend of mine had just joined. I joined a Weight Loss class that met three times a week. It included fitness and nutrition classes and my life was forever changed.
When I joined this gym, my triglycerides were well over 500 and the doctor had told me I was a walking heart attack. I had never before stepped foot into a gym, so it was with some fear and trepidation that I stepped onto the treadmill and took off – never to look back. Often times, during my workouts, I would set a picture of my Dad on the treadmill, for my inspiration. I could just hear him cheering me on. I started out walking at a two percent incline and a speed of one and I thought I was going to die!!! I couldn’t breathe and oh!!! The Pain. The Agony! Fast forward to two years later – I had lost 115 pounds and I felt great! I went from barely being able to walk around the block to running 5k’s and 10k’s.
While on my fitness journey, I have had the chance to work with some really awesome fitness trainers and nutrition coaches. They have motivated me, encouraged me, lectured me and inspired me to keep going – even when it gets tough. Last year, I decided I wanted to give back to others what I had learned and I signed up to take classes to get my NASM certified personal training certification. I graduated from the school in August and then had a minor setback. I tore my peroneal tendon and some cartilage in my ankle. I am currently recovering from surgery. It’s not going to stop me from reaching my goals though.
Through the years, I have learned to overcome many obstacles and speedbumps. I have survived bacterial meningitis which put me into a coma for three days and a wheelchair for six months. I have battled my way through physical therapy and some grueling training sessions. I have learned mental toughness to cope with the nerve damage in my legs. I will endure physical therapy again as I begin to rehab my ankle. No one ever knows what the future may hold… but I truly want to go from writing Individual Education Plans to writing Individual Fitness and Healthy Living Plans for others
In the past few years, I have ran and crossed the finish line in more than 15 races. I have the scrapbook to prove it. I have learned to love the healthy way of life. My dream is to help and show others how to do the same by using the creativity process to document their journey.
I hope that by reading this you find inspiration in my journey and follow me in this series of crafting our way to healthy.