Archive for September, 2010

I Am No Longer a Manatee

Friday, September 17th, 2010

I have been overweight all my life. I had never really tried any diets or anything until I was in my mid-20’s. I lost and gained the same 30-40 lbs. for quite a while until I had my son in 1998. Ironically, I was at my lowest weight when I got pregnant. After giving birth, I suffered from depression and then 3 years later went through a divorce. During the divorce I lost quite a bit of weight due to the stress. I spent some time healing and trying to figure out what direction I wanted my life to take. After much thought I decided to go back to school. I was working a full-time job and being a single parent I had convinced myself that I had a full plate and my health would become first priority after graduation. So while undertaking all that in my life my weight kept creeping up, and up, and up until I was the heaviest I had ever been. I graduated in June 2007 and it wasn’t until March 2008 that I decided it was time to do something about my weight. The push that started this lifelong journey was the defective digital picture frame on my desk. It would freeze periodically and the most common picture was one of a manatee. There would be days I would look at that picture and think to myself “that’s what I look like – big ole body and little bitty head.

Jennifer - 2 years ago

Jennifer - 2 years ago

I wasn’t quite sure which direction I wanted to take. I wanted someone to know who I was and care if I showed up or not. I wanted to meet “real women” you know the kind – with kids, career, home – probably the very type person you are. I was not too thrilled with the idea of joining a gym. I also looked into a personal trainer but after doing some research I knew that it was too expensive. I remembered seeing an ad for WoW! Boot Camp and thought I would check out the website. I still wasn’t too sure of this decision but told myself that if the digital picture frame froze on the manatee again that I was going for it! Well, I am sure you can guess what happened!! Yep, manatee! I took a deep breath and signed up for the first month thinking that I would at least give it a month – after all I was only committed for a 3 days a week for 4 weeks. I knew that I could do anything for 4 weeks. If it wasn’t something I enjoyed then I didn’t have to go back – not a whole lot of commitment there. When I went for my first assessment I was amazed at how April really seemed to want to get to know me—what I was here for and what my goals were.

The first day of boot camp finally rolled around and I was both excited and nervous. April told us to do the best we could and not overdo it. I thought I was going to die! For someone who had not worked out in years – what a shock! I was slow and came in last in everything we did. April and Karen did nothing but encourage me and make me start to believe that I could do it. The day was beautiful and when the class was finished I felt proud that I had completed an hour of exercise that was harder than any class or video that I had ever done. I can’t say it was a walk in the park because it wasn’t. IT WAS HARD!! The next class I was there again – ready for more and it was still hard. At the end of the month I was pleased that I had not only lost weight but I had lost inches too. Granted it wasn’t a whole lot but it was more than I had lost last time I had attempted to lose weight! One month turned into two, two turned into three – hey, what’s wrong with me…I actually LIKE this stuff?!?! While I wasn’t breaking any speed records I was feeling good about myself, and I just felt better.

Jennifer – in her “Goal Weight outfit”

Jennifer – in her “Goal Weight outfit”

After 6 months of boot camp I decided to my first 5K. One of my WoW! friends had said that she did her first 5K after completing 6 months of boot camp and if she could do it so could I. I came in next to last but I had finished and I was still alive! Ironically, there were only 2 people in my age group so not only did I cross the finish line I received some hardware to boot. There is nothing like the feeling of crossing the finish line knowing what you have accomplished – that you have finished something that no one can take away from you. I now run most weekends and enjoy myself almost every time. There is something so empowering about crossing the finish line, whether it is an “official race” or just going out and coming back home. The fact that I have this time for myself with nothing but my thoughts and ipod has become my therapy. It has reduced my stress and just makes me a happier person and a better mother to my son. There are so many amazing things I have learned about myself and one is that I can do anything as long as I have the proper training and a great support system.

There is no way on this earth that I could ever thank all the women who have come into my life through WoW!. We are all there for different reasons and all bring unique elements to the class. These women love me for who and where I am. They believe in me as much I believe in them. We have become more than workout partners – we are friends and truly care for each other. These women have inspired me every step of the way – from the ones that can run marathons to the ones that are still walking their first mile. They encourage me when I am struggling that day for whatever reason – whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. If you are thinking about WoW!, please just sign up for the first month, it will be the hardest thing you have ever done but I am proof that the rewards come if you stick with it.

At Your Own Pace

Friday, September 17th, 2010

The Tortoise and the Hare
The Daily Om

People take life at different speeds and one way is not necessarily superior to another.

The classic tale of the tortoise and the hare reminds us that different people take life at different speeds and that one way is not necessarily superior to another. In fact, in the story it is the slower animal that ends up arriving at the destination first. In the same way, some of us seem to move very quickly through the issues and obstacles we all face in our lives. Others need long periods of time to process their feelings and move into new states of awareness. For those of us who perceive ourselves as moving quickly, it can be painful and exasperating to deal with someone else’s slower pace. Yet, just like the tortoise and the hare, we all arrive at the same destination, together, eventually.

People who take their time with things are probably in the minority in most of the world today. We live in a time when speed and productivity are valued above almost anything else. Therefore, people who flow at a slower pace are out of sync with the world and are often pestered and prodded to go faster and do more. This can be not only frustrating but also counterproductive because the stress of being pushed to move faster than one is able to move actually slows progress. On the other hand, if a person’s style is honored and supported, they will find their way in their own time and, just like the tortoise, they might just beat the speedier, more easily distracted person to the finish line.

It’s important to remember that we are not actually in a race to get somewhere ahead of someone else, and it is difficult to judge by appearances whether one person has made more progress than another. Whether you count yourself among the fast movers or as one of the slower folks, we can all benefit from respecting the pace that those around us choose for themselves. This way, we can keep our eyes on our own journey, knowing that we will all end up together in the end.

Take 6pm Bishop Park WoW! Boot Camper, Jennifer Givan’s story as a case in point.

Jennifer - 2 years ago

Jennifer - 2 years ago

She started out slow & we mean S.L.O.W!! Everybody worries they are the slowest – you can stop worrying. Karen and I agree that Jennifer will probably always hold that record. (There was definitely a lesson there for us tortoises!). Jennifer could barely make it around the “big loop”. EVERYTHING hurt her (especially her shins), but she was told to just show up and move to the best of her ability. And that she did – (usually) with a smile! One workout at a time. It seemed for every 10 pounds she lost she picked up a friend! She kept showing up even when it was cold and windy, or hot and sticky or her heart was breaking because her Dad received a scary diagnosis and her cat had to be put to sleep. She also hung in there when her weight loss hit a long lasting plateau & even when she gained back several pounds. AND she keeps coming after she attend her 25 yr class reunion and she was over the top with pride when “Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE)” kept talking about how great she looked.

Jennifer – in her “Goal Weight outfit”

Jennifer – in her “Goal Weight outfit”

You go girl!

Congrats to all the Tortoises and Hares for showing up day after day. It takes what it takes for our goals to be realized. Sometimes are patience is tested & we have to dig deep – especially if there’s a setback. Showing up isn’t always the “easy” choice & sometimes it’s really hard not to compare ourselves to others! But one thing is for certain though…if you give up – it won’t ever happen! So hang in there.

Trust that you will find your way in your own time if you: “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP!”. – Winston Churchill

-April

Check out more WoW! Boot Camper Testimonials