Tip of the Week

Roll with the punches! Life is gonna smack you right in the face when you don't expect it. If you're head's on straight, you're certainly gonna handle it just fine. Roll with it. Complain a little bit, and let it go.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Success Story: Amber with No Last Name

Hey guys--there's a disclaimer for this post. First of all, I confess--I work out to Jillian Michaels' Twenty-Minute Shred video lately, (as an additional supplement to my life.) Secondly, they're legit. It's like having a best friend that yells at you and is terrifyingly in shape do push-ups and crunches with you when you're in sixth grade and just getting into the basics of fitness. What I mean by that is that it uses the practical aspects of working out and gets the job done. They're freaking great. (More on this Sunday.)

Now, since I, OF COURSE, researched little Miss Jillian Michaels online, I found loads of success stories. And so here we go! While I don't dig the cheesy tone of the articles (boy--they sure are sell, sell, SELLING the franchise, aren't they?) I'm totally into these real-life people who HAVE improved their lives by re-learning a push-up and just teaching themselves that they are capable. It's the greatest, and oh so heart-warming. :)

Hey! Ps. My mom sent me a bag of Reeses today. I am the happiest! 1) I love Reeses. 2) I ate a few, then put the bag away to save. I'm totally starting to understand this body-needs-x-amount-of-energy thing. :P

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Growing up, I always led a very active life. I played softball and basketball, ran track, and was a member of the cheer and pom squad. However, during college I lost a lot of weight (down to 107 pounds at 5'6") due to a bacterial ulcer that doctors didn't pinpoint for two years. After two weeks on a heavy antibiotic, I was good as new…or so I thought. After two years of near starvation, my body started to hold on to every morsel of food I put in my body. For the next ten years, I slowly gained pounds at a time, and I struggled to find myself. Not happy in my personal life, I dove headfirst into my career in politics, never realizing just how out of control my weight had become.

The final straw came in May 2007 at my sister's wedding. She had asked me to be a part of her big day, and I turned her down, because at 247 pounds I didn't want to stand up in front
of so many people. I was never so ashamed of myself for allowing my life to get so far out of my control. I made a vow to myself that day I would shed 100 pounds and take control of my life.

It took time for the transition: I needed my friends and family for accountability, and I threw out all my bad food and restocked my fridge with healthier food. On Monday, June 4, 2007, I officially began my journey. I developed better eating habits first, and in late July I started working out. Like almost everything else I do in life, I went full-steam ahead, not realizing that the years of being sedentary weren't going to allow me instantly to run for two miles. I got an overuse injury, but I was determined to not let it stop me from accomplishing the goals I had set for myself.

During this time, I found Jillian's site and the 10-Ton Challenge — it was exactly what I needed to motivate me. I saw how passionate and deeply caring Jillian was with her contestants on The Biggest Loser, but I also admired how she pushed them out of their comfort zone both mentally and physically at the same time. I started doing circuit training "beatings" religiously, leaving out the lower-body portions because of the injury but eventually working my way up to completing all five circuits, as well as two more days of spin class and two additional days of running. I purchased a heart-rate monitor to ensure my workouts are on point and a calorie-counting book to make sure my diet is on point. My goal, which Jillian helped me formulate, is to be able to maintain five hours of exercise a week for the rest of my life.

I am grateful for Jillian Michaels's passion to help others lead healthy, fulfilled lives. After winning the 10-Ton Challenge essay, I was amazed by the time I spent with Jillian in Los Angeles. In my one-on-one workout she helped me realize something about myself that I hadn't known up until that day — I'm strong and capable of much more than I ever thought possible. I'm still learning, growing, succeeding, and failing. And I'm okay with all of it. Before I couldn't and wouldn't tell people "No," but now I say it regularly without guilt. I love that I feel confident enough to wear cute little tank tops, I love that exercise makes me feel strong, and I love not being scared of what lies ahead.

The extra weight I carried around for a little more than a decade not only weighed me down physically, it also weighed down my personality. Now that the weight has been literally lifted off my shoulders, I feel like a completely different person. I'm the Amber I used to be — I've always laughed a lot and enjoyed making others laugh, but now it has a whole new meaning. I'm not laughing to cover up insecurities in my life; I'm laughing because of the pure joy I feel deep inside myself.

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