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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sharing my weight loss and fitness story

The gym at which I have a membership recently asked for volunteers to share their fitness stories. I wanted to share my own personal experience of how becoming more physically active changed my life.  It was cathartic to talk about what led me on this journey and to share my story.  I was a little worried about coming clean, but I think it was the right thing to do.

When I first moved to the Buffalo area I gained a lot of weight after my 3rd child was born.  People often ask how much weight I lost.  To be honest, it is a painful subject for me to talk about.    I did not struggle as much with my weight when I was younger and I think that seasonal depression led to most, if not all, of my weight gain.  I can only hope that something positive might come from sharing my story.  I lost the weight 5 years ago and I will not look back.  It was a tremendous growth experience and continues to shape me as a person.

Here is a sample of several of the questions I was asked as well as my responses.

What inspires you to exercise and why is it so important to you?

Staying active and making exercise a part of my daily routine helps me to deal better with stress and anxiety.  I have much more energy.  Exercising helps me cope with the winter blues.  If I didn’t stay physically active, I would have a more difficult time maintaining a healthy weight. 
Was there a time when you didn’t exercise?
I have always enjoyed exercising.  However, when my children were younger it was more difficult to find the time to take care of myself.  I enjoyed taking long walks outside when I lived in Virginia.  This changed after I moved to Buffalo because I do not enjoy spending time outdoors during the winter months.
What changed that?
I had gained a lot of weight after my youngest child was born.  I didn’t struggle as much with my weight when I was younger so this was a difficult period for me.  I was very depressed and knew that I had to make some drastic lifestyle changes.  I have lost a lot of weight (in the double digits) and I have maintained the weight loss for 5 years.  Exercise helps me to cope emotionally with the long winters.  It was a difficult adjustment for me after moving from a warmer climate.  I am eating a much healthier diet now.   I credit much of my weight loss to giving up eating junk food and replacing white flour with whole wheat in recipes whenever possible.
What benefits do you get from exercise?
There are so many benefits that I get from exercise.  I feel so much stronger than I did when I was out of shape.  Zumba is my favorite workout, after an hour class I walk out transformed. It helps to put a smile on my face.  I am a shy person and what I love about zumba is that it helps me to express myself. I have more confidence and energy, I feel better about myself and how I look. I am a different person than I was just 5 short years ago, happier, healthier, and more content. 
What helps keep you motivated?
I try to focus on a short term goal which helps me to stay motivated.  I have my 30th year high school reunion in Long Island coming up in May.  I have not seen many friends from my graduating class in years and would like to look my best.  I also write a health and fitness blog on blogger (Loriloves2bfit, Fit and Lovin’ it) where I share healthy recipes, the challenges I have faced with weight loss, healthy eating, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  It helps to know that there are other people facing the same challenges and it keeps me true to my goal of staying healthy.

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