I would say I was never really an athletic type person nor a super thin person, but I was never as unhealthy, overweight and unfit as I was before starting Versus.
I had always kept my weight in check. You could say I lived on a diet of some sort my entire adult life to make sure I didn't gain too much weight at any given time. Until February 2010 when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. I went through 6 months of harsh chemo and radiation treatments.
Something changed after my treatments. I didn't care about dieting any longer. I started to eat whatever I wanted and did very little exercising. Some of the overeating was due to steroids, some due to depression, some to thinking I deserved it and some due to the fact that I just didn't have the mental thought process after the treatments to make a plan and stick to it. You would think I would have become a health nut and worked hard to be healthy after enduring 6 months of harsh cancer treatments, but I did the exact opposite. Chemotherapy does some really crazy things to your mental capacity. I lost all my short term memory and it caused my once manageable lack of focus/adhd to go into overdrive. Sadly, I just kind of gave up and did what I wanted to do and ate whatever I wanted to eat.
I gained so much weight during that time, that it was literally affecting every area of my life. It was even affecting my job. I had to pass some jobs up because I just could not do them physically. It literally hurt to get out of the bed each morning. My joints hurt so bad they would even keep me up at night.
Now, as I look back, I realize even though my body was healed of cancer, I was still a very sick person physically and mentally.
Fast forward to October 2015 when I joined Versus. I had a sweet friend, Anna Gaston, that would encourage me ever so often to come try a boot camp. I put her off so many times, until finally I was so disgusted with my appearance and my weight that I decided to try it. I didn't care how I looked trying to do a burpee, wall balls, kettle bell swings (all things that were completely foreign to me)...I figured as bad as I looked attempting 'those exercises' was not nearly as bad as dealing with how I looked and felt physically.
After completing that first week of boot camp, I noticed how different I felt. I hadn’t lost weight and I hurt all over, but I felt so much better. So I decided to go back the next week…again didn’t lose weight, but felt great despite thinking I might die. Again, went back another week…didn’t die and felt great. So, in January, I joined the indoor classes.
I kept going every week and the weight started coming off. But more importantly the brain fog from the chemo was lifting. I loved that I was losing weight, but the surprising side effect was that I could actually focus on a task. For the first time in over 5 years, I felt like I could actually set a goal and reach that goal.
In May 2016, I did the Clean Kitchen Challenge. That was life changing for me and my family. I feel like now we are eating clean and reducing our risk for ever having cancer in the future. I lost 20lbs and 24 inches while doing the CK challenge. I learned habits that I still use almost 3 years later to stay not just healthy but fit also. CK is truly a life style, it is not a diet to keep my weight in check. Thanks to CK I'll never need to go back to yo-yo dieting.
Within the first year of joining Versus, I lost 52 lbs and who knows how many inches. I have competed in 5 competitions (3 of those I have placed in the top 3) and have made huge strides in my fitness journey. I’ve gone from a very sad overweight, unhealthy person to being in the best shape of my life, not just physically, but mentally as well. I tell people all the time that I go to the gym not just to be physically fit, but I go just as much for my mental stability.
It hasn’t been easy or quick, but the journey has been amazing. Every single week...even 3 years in, I see new improvements. I am constantly setting new fitness goals. There was a time that I couldn't focus on setting a goal, much less smashing that goal.
It's not all about smashing goals...although that is very important (I may have a little competitive side I didn't know about before)!!! But, as a wise gentleman, aka Steve McAlister, recently told me…This fitness gig is a process…Enjoy not just the results but enjoy the journey.
I’m definitely a work in progress and I’m enjoying this ride. There will always be a new goal or a new obstacle to overcome. I can’t think of a better place to be.
I’ll forever be thankful to Versus for giving me the vehicle to not only get on a healthy track, but to be in the best shape of my life. And I love that this is just the beginning!!!