When people meet me they are surprised to learn that I was overweight as a child and struggled with obesity into adulthood.
Back in the 1970’s it was definitely not a societal norm to be overweight and I grew up terribly insecure about my body and as a result my self confidence was incredibly low.
Childhood names like “Shannon the Cannon” have stuck with me although they no longer hold a sting.
The photo is me with my father, I was about 9 years old and as you can see we both had a love for those girl scout cookies!
Today I can giggle about it and so should you….can you say Thin Mint!?!?!
When I was young I exercised to lose weight. Unfortunately it was more of a form of punishment and not something that I enjoyed.
When I was in my late 20’s and into my 30’s, I then took diet and exercise to a total extreme.
I signed up for my first 5k which led to a 10k, and of course that automatically meant Hello Marathon! Then began Spinning which of course led to getting on the real road…. 50 milers and to 100 mile charity rides.
And of course when it came to food, I lived in complete and total deprivation.
And then I met Coach Rob
When we started our health coaching business back in 2003, we purchased a children’s exercise franchise called Stretch-n-Grow. Five days a week I was teaching classes about 4 to 6 hours, exercising 2 to 11 year olds and it was a complete blast!
I could see how much fun exercise was for them and something inside me shifted.
It became apparent that my way of thinking had caused more harm than good for my physical and mental health.
Rob was very understanding about my body image struggles and has only ever been supportive. I am so grateful that he has been my biggest cheerleader.
Total confession – I was a total cardio junkie. I was exhausted from all the time and effort without ever reaching my goals. I had gone from 189 pounds down to 125 and yet I was still miserable and my friends told me that I looked unhealthy.
Rob and I sat down and put together a plan for me to strength train 3 days a week and I could add in cardio but no more than 2 days in the week.
At first it felt like I was loosing an appendage!
You know what was amazing?
I put on 10 lbs and dropped 2 jeans sizes.
Um…how in the heck did that happen?
I’d spent hundreds of hours on long runs, short runs, long bike rides, short bike rides, counting calories, counting macros, starving myself…….you name it – I did it!
And within about 6 months everything changed. Everything that the experts told me about diet and exercise was TOTALLY wrong.
NEWS FLASH……..It wasn’t about eating less and exercising more, in fact it was the opposite!
My body totally transformed and my mind began to follow.
I decided to say goodbye to all of the emotional baggage that made me unhappy about moving my body.
Fast forward 16 years
Today exercising and eating healthy are staples and something that I now actually enjoy. Neither Rob or I are perfect and we definitely have days when we just “don’t” wanna do it but we don’t allow those voices to win because we know better, we also know how we’ll feel when we are done.
We recently had our annual medical exams and the proof was in our results. We had complete physicals, blood work, colonoscopies and I had my mammogram and pap smear. Everything was excellent.
All of the doctors were very pleased and told us to keep on doing what we are doing – at 53 & 56 that’s a pretty great sign including neither of us taking any medications at all.
On starting a new routine
The month of July we transitioned training studio to our 100% online training platform. And ironically exercise wasn’t the first thing on our “to do” list.
We now had a lot to do to prepare for the move up to Washington and tying up a lot of loose ends and packing up our condo!
It was the first time in several years that we were not in a routine and we noticed a big difference in our bodies and energy levels. We were stiff, our sleep suffered, we both started to feel like we were in a funk, and as you would imagine our pants got tighter.
Everyone told us that this is what “getting old” feels like, but we knew the changes were not from getting old, in fact, far from it.
It’s never too late!
With our arrival in Washington we have slowly gotten back into a very simple exercise routine. We joined the gym at a local college a few miles from our rental and do two to four strength sessions a week and usually one cardio workout.
As you can imagine we also sit now more than ever, I’ve jokingly called us “Chair Warriors”. We’ve been saying for years that sitting for too long is a hazard for your health so we set timers to remind us to get up and take a walk a few times a day along with doing mobility work through our training app.
Rob and I are both multi passionate about whole health which is why True North Fitness & Health didn’t stop at Fitness.
Guess what? we already fit into our pants without working out every day. We didn’t have to go on a ridiculous limited diets, cut out carbs, go keto or paleo, do a detox or cleanse, and we even got to enjoy a glass of wine!
Taking care of your health is about taking action – it isn’t a short term 30- 60-90 day project.
It’s about being consistent. It’s about healthy habits.
It’s about showing up when you said you would because you made a promise to yourself.
Are you ready to let go of the emotions that have been wrapped up into exercise and nutrition and make positive steps in your health recovery?
Thank you for listening to my story,