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The quote that helped me is “You’re closer than you think”. I think everyone out there who is out of shape or over weight gets signs. It’s your choice on what you do with your sign. My sign was during spring break. My son and I had golf plans to play Monday and Tuesday. We played Monday and everything was fine. When I got up Tuesday morning I was so sore from playing golf I could hardly swing the club and didn’t care. Now, I’m a very competitive person which some of you might not know that from my laid back personality. That was my sign. Also I was tired of looking at myself in the mirror and seeing someone who didn’t look healthy. I coach in an AAU basketball origination called the Western KY Elite. We have teams from the 6th grade to the 11th grade. I was coaching encouraging these kids to run hustle when I couldn’t get up and down the floor one time. I came to the Y 5 times a week Tuesday- Saturday. I usually took Sunday and Monday off to give myself and my body a break. It was always good to see all the friendly faces that greeted me when I arrived. There is always pretty much the same group every morning when I come. We all kind of inspired each other on being there. Most of them probably didn’t even know how much of an inspiration they were to me. If I had a day I didn’t feel like going, I knew someone there would wonder where I was. I want everyone to know how friendly of a place the Y is. I know there are people who are reluctant to come and start because of the shape they are in currently. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to come here, no one will judge you, they will only encourage you and inspire you. I want everyone to listen to this last bit of advice I have to give. I have gained and lost weight on just about every weight loss pill available. As soon as you stop, the weight comes back. The key to getting healthy is eating right and taking care of yourself. The Y is a place to take care of yourself. I hope this brief story helps or inspires someone to start their journey on a healthier lifestyle today. Always remember “You are closer than you think”.
Two & a half years ago, I knew I had to do something to improve my health. I have been over weight most of my life. I was a chunky child and even in my early teen years I was “thicker” than many girls my age. At age 19, I learned that the electrical conduction system of my heart was abnormal causing many debilitating symptoms I experienced while exercising. I was also warned against having any children due to my heart issues. My stubbornness and desire for children overruled resulting in 9 pregnancies (eight children, one set of twins & two miscarriages). This worsened my heart condition. I have had over 60 procedures and about 20 surgeries to attempt to correct, improve and stabilize the arrhythmias without success. Then February 15, 2014 changed my life forever. I was declared clinically dead for 2.5 minutes after my heart went into a rhythm incompatible with life (V-Tach). I was resuscitated & flown to Louisville where a pacemaker/defibrillator was placed and is now necessary for the REST OF MY LIFE. After this incident I began cardiac rehab & learned very quickly how much I despise the treadmill & elliptical machines. I went three days a week & worked hard at strengthening my heart. After 36 visits, I had only lost THREE pounds. Talk about disappointment, I thought there was something wrong with me. I was eating healthy & exercising so it didn’t make sense to me, SOMETHING had to give. I was determined to figure it out. Soon after I completed rehab, I had heard about an adult zumba class at the local dance studio. It sounded interesting however I was very skeptical but I decided to give it a try. I walked into the class with trepidation. “I’m going to look like a complete fool,” I thought. With my head down, I walked into the room & took a spot in the back. That first class was HARD. I was 37 years old and weighed 265 pounds. I had to stop several times to catch my breath. I had no coordination and wasn’t able to make my body “move” like the instructor. I still remember her words from that day. “Keep moving..even if it is toe touching back/forth, just keep MOVING.” I did just as she said and guess what? I lost a few pounds that week, so I came back the next week and then again the next. After a few classes the instructor mentioned that Zumba was also offered at our local YMCA. This excited me because I had found an exercise that didn’t feel like exercise and I was dripping pounds “dancing.” The next day I went to the YMCA and became a member. The YMCA has ever since been a huge part of my weight loss journey and my life. My absolute favorite thing about the YMCA is the PEOPLE. Each time you walk through the front doors there are always smiling faces who greet you at the Welcome Center. With having multiple children, my first stop is always the childcare room. The childcare personnel are PHENOMENAL! Knowing that my children are being well cared for and hearing say they LOVE going is a HUGE deal for me. The personal trainers are always available to help, encourage and motivate you to do your very best. The fitness instructors are AMAZING hence why many of them have become personal close friends of mine. However, the MOST treasured part of having a YMCA membership is the closeness and support I get from my FITNESS FAMILY! THANK YOU to each of you who have been alongside me on my journey (you know who you are). Without each of you there to push, motivate and encourage me I would not have made it to where I am today. The weight loss has definitely improved my overall health and lowered my risk factors for many other health issues. Sixteen months after joining the YMCA, I had dropped 123 pounds (meeting my long term goal of a BMI of 23%), over 80 total inches off my body and I dropped eight pant sizes (from a “tight” size 24 to a loose size 8). I have been able to maintain this weight for an additional 2 months and am currently working on toning/building upper body strength. Unfortunately even after giving it my all up until now I am still very limited heart wise. I have learned modifications to most exercises I am unable to do fully. This allows me to continue to push on regardless of my limitations. My future goals from here are to go to an instructional class to become a ZUMBA instructor. Becoming an instructor will allow me to share my love for Zumba with others as well as improve my understanding of proper techniques. It has truly changed my body and mind in a way I NEVER thought possible. I would definitely recommend Zumba to anyone looking for a fun way to lose weight. However & more importantly, I think it’s really about finding something you love to do. It is amazing once you find a workout that you love, that isn’t a chore and you start looking forward to it. I’ve always read that in magazines, but I honestly never thought I would be able to find a workout like that for me. Zumba has proven to me that exercise can be FUN. I am always available to help encourage others on their weight loss journey. Although I am no expert and only have my experience to go by I will share all my tips with anyone who wants to know more. It is extremely satisfying to overcome the weight loss hurdle, and I would love to be able to assist others in their journey. This IS my testimony and my way to show the YMCA staff and members (my YMCA family) my gratitude for all that I have been able to accomplish thus far. The story don’t and won’t end here…I’m in BEAST mode!