It's Sunday and that means it's time for another uplifting success story. This week, check out Bertha's story!
Sarah: What initially motivated you to start working with a personal trainer?
In December, 2015 I had my annual physical exam and I was not happy when I weighed in and was told that my weight was 244 lbs. This is the heaviest I have ever been. I was also taken aback when I was told that my blood work showed me to now be pre-diabetic and my cholesterol and triglycerides numbers were high. This physical exam was a real wake up call for me as I have noticed that as my weight increased, so did my lab numbers, and not in a positive direction. After I left my doctor's office that day, I decided then and there to get back to a healthy weight and to reclaim my health before it was too late to do anything about it. I was also adamant that Idid not want to start taking meds for conditions that can be prevented by exercising and improving my diet. These revelations are what prompted me to get myself back into shape and that's when I decided work with a personal trainer (Sarah), to coach me the correct way on proper exercising and eating habits to become healthy and to stay healthy.
What have been your biggest successes since starting?
I have been working with Sarah for 6 months now and I have lost a total of 30 lbs. (from that fateful day in the doctor's office in December to my most recent weigh-in on June 18). Also, even more important to me than the weight loss, I returned to my doctor for more labs and follow-up and was very happy to know that in just six months of exercising faithfully and improving my diet, I am no longer pre-diabetic. Pre-training, my A1c was 5.7, cholesterol was 237 and my triglycerides were high, although at this time I can't remember that number. Post-training, after six months of working with Sarah and improving my eating habits, my A1c is now 5.1 (blood glucose 86, cholesterol 187 and triglycerides 36 which are are all now in the normal range. My doctor was pleasantly surprised as well by my progress and he even remarked that my triglycerides were so low that my numbers are now better than his and that's saying a lot because my doctor is very active, athletic and in great physical shape.
Sarah: What is your exercise routine like?
Right now I attend the gym and work out 4 days a week. Two days with my personal trainer, and then two days on my own. I do a half hour of training exercises (weights, etc.) and a half hour of cardIo on the two days that I train with Sarah. When I attend the gym for two days on my own, I do a half hour of my training exercises and an hour of cardio. I also try to "get it in where I can fit it in". By this I mean that even when I'm not in the gym working out, I still do things throughout my day to get in bouts of exercise. I have an hour for lunch everyday and I work in downtown Detroit, so I just put on my headphones and walk along the Detroit Riverwalk for an hour almost everyday I am at work and weather permitting. Also where I work, our offices are spread out over 6 floors (20-26) and I work on the 24th floor. I usually only take the elevator when I arrive at work and then going home in the evening. Any tasks that I have where I need to go to the other floors, I always take the stairway to and from, whether it be on the 20th floor or the 26th floor. I do not take the elevator at all!
Sarah: What kinds of nutritional changes have you made?
I started out having two protein shakes a day, one in the morning and one in the evening with a regular lunch. For the most part, I still do the two protein shakes, but every once in awhile, I'll have my protein shake in the morning and then a regular lunch and light dinner. On the days that I do two meals, I make sure my dinner is really light (300-400 calories). I tend to eat the most calories usually at lunchtime and I do that because I still have a lot of hours after lunch to burn some calories. Especially if I'm having an extremely hectic day in the office. Also, the biggest challenge for me while changing my diet was cutting back on sweet treats. Notice I said cutting "BACK", not cutting "OUT" because I do still enjoy an occasSional treat, but I try to
limit those treats to special occasions (birthdays, etc.), rather than eating a sweet treat every day like I used to. I have also incorporated healthier snacks into my diet. For example if I get hungry between meals, I may have 1 serving of nuts (pistachios, walnuts or almonds), a piece of fruit or maybe two hard boiled eggs (yolk removed) and I do my own "deviled" egg by substituting 2 tbsp of red pepper hummus for egg yolk, or a protein bar. I make sure my protein bar has at least 15 grams or protein, less than 200 calories and less than 5 grams of sugar . Choosing one of these snack options usually keeps my hunger at bay until I have my lunch.
Sarah: What do you consider the most important thing that you do that has helped you to be successful?
The most important thing that has helped me be successful on my journey thus far has been just NOT GIVING UP! I am 49 years old, and a big revelation for me was that I was going to have to be
patient and work hard to be successful and to see progress. This took some time for me to accept emotionally because when I was younger, it was never hard for me to lose weight before if I needed to.
I have learned to be patient when the numbers on the scale don't seem to budge. I now accept that plateaus are a normal occurrence when losing weight. But I stuck to my routine, even when I was frustrated that the numbers didn't continue to move downward, and eventually the numbers on the scale started moving in the right direction again. You definitely cannot get discouraged or give up when that happens, because it's only temporary and if you continue what you're doing your body will respond.
Sarah: What advice would you give to other people with similar goals?
I would say to anyone with similar goals to just stick with it and NOT GIVE UP! If you are losing weight correctly (i.e., no crazy fad dieting), then the weight will come off. It's not going to come off fast or may not even come off in the time-frame you have set for yourself but you have to keep at it and eventually you will lose the weight you want to lose. I would also say to make sure you are truly in it for the long haul, mentally and physically. Like I said before, when you hit a plateau and those numbers on the scale don't move down or may creep up a pound or two on occasion, you will get frustrated! That's when you have to keep your "eye on the prize" and accept that weight loss is not only a physical challenge, but a mental challenge as well. When you decide to take this journey be mindful of the emotional challenges you will most likely encounter on your journey. Also, don't beat yourself up if you go "off the rails" one day and eat way too many calories than you should have that day. Just remind yourself that tomorrow will you will "get back on track" and eat better the next day and the day after that and so on and so on. Try not to make a habit of "going off the rails". If it doeshappen, just make sure it's one of the "every blue moon" events. If you do that and stick with your exercises and eating properly it will all balance out in the end and you will still reach your final
If you have questions or are interested in beginning your own health and fitness journey, please contact me here.
In good health,