I’m humbled that I’ve been given the chance to write about my weight loss journey and how it has changed my entire life in just one long (scratch that – very long) 3 years. This journey has transformed me in countless ways, and if my story can alter just one person’s life even a little bit, it will be well worth telling it.
Being overweight is something I’ve dealt with since I was a little girl. As I packed the weight on year after year and realized how much it was affecting not just my appearance but also my state of mind, I quickly became a master of the yo-yo diet. We’ve all been there and have had to deal with the “this time it’s going to work!” thought process that creeps into our heads (whether we like it or not).
Time after time I tried and failed to lose even a pound or two, and as time went on, I started to believe that I was always going to be big. Even though everyday tasks like tying my shoe and walking up stairs had become a challenge, I had given up and been worn down by all things life around me. You see, you can’t live the life you want to when you’re over 300 pounds; at that point, you feel ashamed and sometimes even lucky just to be alive. I wanted to be “normal” so badly; I wanted to date and get a look or two in my direction when I was out with the girls; I wanted to be Sarah and not that really big girl over there.
Things had to change – and fast.
Last Christmas, my boss gave me a personal training session as a gift. I had joined Ravenswood Fitness Center a few months prior, but I was sticking to the yo-yo dieting and lacking the focus I needed to shed any of the extra weight I’d been carrying for decades. At that point, going to the gym was still an internal struggle that had Bad Sarah on one side telling me to “just go tomorrow” or “watch more TV” and Good Sarah on the other side reminding me about living a long, healthy life and finally doing something for myself. Shortly after receiving the training session, I called the gym and set up an appointment with Katy. I mean, it couldn’t hurt, right? What was there to lose besides a bunch of weight?
It wasn’t long before one session turned into 10 and then 20, and before I knew it I was hooked and cutting the string of that yo-yo for good.
As time training and working out regularly went by, I was seeing results both on the scale and especially when I peered into the mirror. Mentally and physically, I felt unstoppable – and with the daily encouragement from everyone around me, I knew quitting wasn’t an option. Hell, at this point I can’t even remember what that word means. Working out had always been a daunting task to me; now, it’s no different than setting an alarm clock for work, getting up and going.
And where I go “for work” is Ravenswood Fitness Center. I go to see my friends in class, my second family at the front desk and the trainer who saved my life. Katy has made me realize that this journey was and always has been about me and what I want from life and not what anyone else wants. None of this has been easy; in fact, it will probably be the hardest thing I ever do. I’ve cried, laughed, dripped sweat, gotten mad and maybe even uttered a few swears here and there, but in the end I’ve been given a second chance to make something of myself, a second chance to live. I was able to finish the Chicago Marathon, become a certified trainer myself and find a passion for boxing. All of these things were out of my reach just a few short years ago.
Today, I’m brimming with newfound confidence, self respect and pride. I’m proof that you too can make that change, reach that goal and live that life you’ve always wanted.
That life for me is much clearer now: it starts with 140 pounds lost, and everything else gained.
Watch Sarah’s appearance on The Today Show: