Success Sunday...Mom (er, Kathy)!

All of my clients are near and dear to my heart and often feel like a member of my family, but this week's Success Sunday feature IS a member of my family...she's my Mom!

My mom, Kathy, started working out with me about 5 years ago. I have always pestered her to exercise (she will appreciate that I use the appropriate word "pester" versus "request," "ask," or even "beg"). My mom was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure and had to have a heart procedure almost a decade ago. I had already lost my dad to pancreatic cancer, so the last thing I wanted was to lose my mom to heart disease. Pestering was in order!

We started by going to Zumba class together. This was something she enjoyed and didn't feel as much like exercise. Eventually when I began working as a trainer, she started coming to the gym and I introduced her to strength training as well, which would be especially important since she also has osteopenia. (I also have had osteopenia but, through the wonders of strength training and a healthy dose of calcium, no longer do! More on this to come in a later blog!)

Back to my mom, her goals have not always focused on weight or her physique. Don't get me wrong, she was happy to shed a few extra pounds and get her BMI into the "normal" range, but her biggest successes have been evidenced at her cardiologist appointment, not on the scale. I'll let her tell you in her own words...

What initially motivated you to start working with a personal trainer?

When I retired six years ago, I found how easy it was to become far too sedentary. Each morning I would promise myself to “get on that basement treadmill”, but day after day would pass without action. I realized I NEEDED an appointment to motivate me. I had lived and worked by appointments my whole life…and I needed them. Now, I work out with Sarah three times a week, and it takes an important conflict for me to miss one of my scheduled workouts. What have been your biggest successes since starting?

I was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia in my late 20s that became increasingly severe, leading to Congestive Heart Failure and the need for an Ablation over ten years ago. Well, now at the age of 65, thanks to that ablation and five years of working with Sarah, I am no longer diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. In fact, my heart function (Ejection Fraction) has gone from a worrisome 35 up to a “near normal” 45!! And, best news yet this summer, I have NO need for a pacemaker. Thank you Sarah and my Beaumont Doctors!! What is your exercise routine like?

During my three workouts per week, I depend on Sarah to make sure to include plenty of Cardio (treadmill, track, elliptical, jump rope, etc) to keep my heart in tune. Since I don’t really know the “science” behind good strength and agility training, I also depend on her to vary my programs to “include it all” – weights, core, Pilates, etc. I’m definitely not the strongest person at the gym, but my strength and balance have improved greatly, and that’s important to me as I age. Outside of the gym, I use walking as my main form of exercise. What kinds of nutritional changes have you made?

Nutritionally, I now eat more “portion controlled” meals. While living alone, it’s difficult to get motivated to cook healthy meals like I know I should. So instead, healthier frozen meals like Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice dinners along with salads full of veggies help me control meal size better. On work out days, I have a protein shake with oats, flax and fruit for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, I still “indulge” in less than ideal choices too often. The difference is, now at least I know better choices I can make. I have managed to maintain my initial 10 pound weight loss for 4 ½ years. While that may not seem like a lot, on a 5 foot 1 ½ inch frame, it is “statistically significant” to me, especially in light of typical yo-yo losses and re-gains.

What do you consider the most important thing that you do that has helped you to be successful?

Well…that’s an easy one – working with Sarah of course!! But, I also use “My Fitness Pal” to track food especially when I’m trying to reduce calories consumed, and I use a “FitBit” to help track my activity and heart rate. What advice would you give to other people with similar goals?

My advice would be to first MAKE training appointments, then KEEP the appointments, drink more water, control food portions, allow yourself some treats, and just keep moving – whether it’s walking, dancing, biking, or doing whatever you enjoy. In the long run, a healthy body is a blessing that isn’t just numbers on a scale – it’s being able to continue being active – just like life, it’s not a sprint, but a marathon!

If you're interested in learning more about the many benefits of training, please contact me at the link here. I would love to help you and design a personal program for your specific goals!

In good health,

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