Starting to think about change... Emcee at my cousin Erin's wedding. Shopping for a dress was a nightmare. I stayed in Toronto after the wedding and during a long conversation with my aunt and uncle admitted life was not as it seemed and discussed the pros and cons of making a change in my personal relationship and life. It was one of the most influential conversations of my life.
The starting point for the transformation. The "A-HA" moment happens while watching Madonna perform at Madison Square Gardens.
I walked through the doors of LA Weight Loss and made the commitment. On the first visit they asked me “How much do you think you weigh?” I had no idea but took a guess and asked them not to tell me what I actually weighed. Initially I said I wanted to lose 40 pounds but when someone left my file sitting on the desk several weeks later I was shocked to learn that I had started at 220 pounds. Accepting the new reality I revised my goal to lose 60 pounds.
It was only after the first month when I had lost close to 20 pounds that I decided to share with my family and select friends that I was dieting.
LA Weight Loss goes under. A friend gives the best birthday gift... a trip to Weight Watchers with me. I attended one group meeting and when the leader said “Let’s share,” I decided to take the program and figure it out on my own. I paid for the weekly accountability of the weigh-in but didn’t meet again with one of their facilitators until I reached my goal weight. When I joined I didn’t select a goal weight. I simply said “I’ll know when I get there.”
Time to hit the gym.
Down 45 pounds, I talk myself through the doors of the gym. I commit to go 3 times a week for 30 minutes. It was a cold snowy night in January when I sat in my car on the parking lot of a local gym. I literally had to talk myself out of the car and walk through the doors.
Once inside I toured the gym and activated a membership I had held (and paid for) for two years and never used. On the first night I walked the treadmill for 15 minutes and made a promise to myself I would come after work at least three times in the first week.
Every subsequent visit I increased my time on the treadmill until the fourth week when I was doing 45 minutes of cardio a minimum of four times a week. Encouraged by the results I realized that I really liked eating healthy, it was no longer a diet and I enjoyed the stress relief that cardio gave me. Of course, the continuing drop on the scales motivated me too.
Shoppers at Filene's Basement in Boston were treated to my fist-pumping shrieks as I hit my first single digit clothing size since high school. And my first Vera Wang dress too! Dizzy with excitement I couldn’t wait to get outside the store with my new purchase and call home. This was the first time I thought “maybe I can even get to a size 7.” That afternoon I continued my retail therapy with confidence.
Strolling down Newbury St. I bought my first pair of designer jeans (Joe’s Jeans worn by Jennifer Aniston) at Anthropologie, a pair of killer tall black boots at Kenneth Cole and a new wardrobe for work at Saks. Before returning to the hotel and heading out for the night I had a makeover done at the Bobbi Brown makeup boutique.
My only problem was that all the clothes purchased were too baggy to wear a month later. I continued to alter them until finally the tailor told me I had to pitch it all and start over.
On a roll and down 70 pounds, my body says "more please" from the gym. I hire a trainer and start lifting weights. Ironically when I went for my first fitness assessment (a mandatory before starting with a personal trainer) I was adamant that I didn’t want to develop a lot of muscle. I just wanted to “tone up.” But six weeks into the sessions I started to develop cuts in my arms and I liked it.
I also enjoyed the strength and exhilaration I felt lifting weights. Before I knew it I was counting the minutes until I could hit the gym again. I am still as passionate now when I enter the gym doors as I was back then.
Everything must go.
Down 80 pounds, everything in my closet must go! I celebrate with a mother-daughter shopping and beach excursion to Florida. Running on a beach one morning I decide to complete the transformation by training for a figure competition. I must be one of the few people who can vacation and lose weight. During that trip I dropped four pounds, indulged in some of my favorite foods and shopped till I dropped.
At first it was overwhelming – I had to buy everything from pajamas to shorts, shirts, jackets, dresses, pants. The list was endless and I really didn’t know what style I liked anymore. Thankfully I met a really great personal shopper at Saks who overheard me telling my story in the change room. She introduced herself and began handing me clothes. I could barely carry the bags back to the car but in my heart I felt like I could float. This was really happening.
I complete a 96 pound weight loss at WW. It was a Friday morning at 7:45am when I reached my goal and lifetime membership. It was a perfect day to celebrate as our office shut down for the day for a team building day at the Wilds. I remember afraid to touch any unhealthy food but I did have a couple of low carb drinks to mark the occasion. The next morning I was back at the gym.
Stepped on stage for my first figure competition and was hooked. Decided to pick up the sport and become a figure competitor. I didn’t know what to expect from my debut on stage. I remember being really nervous backstage but it disappeared with the first step from the wings.
With the lights on for the morning show I immediately spotted my Mom and brother sitting in the middle section and my coach sitting on the right hand side. They didn’t know what to expect either. It’s a very vocal sport and you receive a lot of encouragement to keep your pose in check on stage. When I felt myself fading (30 minutes on stage holding poses with your stomach sucked in is tiring!), I could hear my coach singing out with encouragement.
That night many of my long time friends and their husbands came to watch and cheer me on. Although I didn’t place, I felt as if I had won for the victory was taking the step on stage as a transformed person nearly half my bodyweight.
The next day while brunching with my family my Dad said “just get back on the horse and try again.” I was hooked and determined to improve my physique for the next competition. A figure athlete was born.
2nd place at the NL Provincial Figure Championships. Qualified for nationals.
Is the Dream Over?
Ankle and tendon injury setback dream of stepping on a national stage. Long road of recovery begins. It’s every athletes’ nightmare. You wake up one morning to find you can barely put on your boots. By the day’s end you unzip them to find one leg 3 inches bigger than the other and you can barely walk.
It happened to me in February and I naively thought it was just a sprain. After weeks of physio I had clearance to train and headed to Florida to Gold’s Gym. On Day 5 I had that sickening feeling of feeling something tweak in my right foot while trying new cardio – a lateral skating machine. I knew I had put nationals at risk.
In 2011 I endured 9 weeks in a walking cast and continued to train while taking anti-inflammatories for months. Even in the boot it hurt to just get out of bed but I didn’t give up. I had to step to the sidelines for nationals but fought my way back to cardio and getting conditioned to take the stage again this past November. I could barely walk in my stage shoes and had chiro and physio on my leg in between the morning and night show but I repeated my 2nd place performance and qualified once again for nationals.