Most people that meet me as an adult are surprised to learn that I was overweight as a child and into adulthood. Back in the 1970's it was definitely not a societal norm and I grew up terribly insecure about my body. 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 definitely had an affinity for those girl scout cookies! Which yes, today I can giggle about.
Before I met Coach Rob I exercised because I needed to lose weight. It was more of a punishment and something that I "had" to do and definitely not something that I wanted or liked to do. Never once did I consider the health benefits of regular exercise and what it would mean for me in my later years.
When I was in my 30's I took exercise to extremes. I signed up for my first 5k which led to a 10k, and of course that automatically meant Hello Marathon! I started Spinning which of course then 50 milers and then a 100 mile charity ride. And when it came to food I lived in complete deprivation.
I could go on but I think you are getting the idea.
And then I met Coach Rob
When we began our health coaching business we purchased a children's exercise franchise and my life was forever changed. I taught classes about 4 to 6 hours a day 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 started to change.
It became apparent that my "diet mentality" was causing more harm than good for my physical and mental health. I learned over time that my "manic ways" no longer served me.
Rob understood my body image struggles and never judged me and only ever supported me. I am so grateful that he has been my biggest cheerleader.
I was exhausted from all the hours and effort without ever reaching my goals. When I started losing weight I was 189 pounds and here I was at 125 pounds and a size eight and I was miserable and unhealthy.
Rob is truly a master at exercise science and program design. We put a plan together to strength train 3 days a week and if I wanted to add in cardio I could but no more than 2 days. I'll tell you at first it felt like I was loosing an appendage!
You know what was amazing?
The weight that I struggled to lose all those years?
Well, I put on 10 lbs and dropped 2 jeans sizes.
My body totally transformed.
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. It wasn't about eating less and exercising more, in fact it was the opposite!
And yes, I stopped buying "health" magazines and listening to the diet gurus!
Fast forward 16 years
I recently turned 53 and am proud to say that exercising and eating healthy are staples and something that I 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 and we know we will feel better after we get it done.
We recently had our annual exams and the proof was in our results. We had complete physicals, blood work, colonoscopies and I had my mammogram and pap smear. All of the doctors were very pleased and told us to keep on doing what we are doing!
I have to share that we both chuckled every time a nurse or doctor commented "Really at your age you don't take any medications?"
On starting a new routine
In July of 2018 we began transitioning our brick and mortar gym to 100% online. While the timing wasn't exactly when we had planned we decided to take a leap of faith.
In August we got our our daughter off to college to San Diego and when we returned we began to pack up the condo for the move to Washington State.
Needless to say, exercise wasn't the first thing on our "to do" list and we got off track. Instead of beating ourselves up, we choose to relax into the calamity called life. And boy was it a calamity!
It was the first time in several years that we'd taken that much time off from our regular routine. We both noticed a difference in our body and energy levels. We were more stiff, our sleep suffered, we both started to feel like we were in a funk, and our pants got a little tighter (thank goodness for leggings!).
Everyone told us that this is what "getting old" was like but we knew the changes were a result from lack of exercise, thank you but we'll choose how we get old!
It's never too late, you are never too old
We've been in Washington since October 2018 and have slowly gotten back into a simple exercise routine. We joined the gym at a local college and do two to four strength sessions a week and one to two cardio sessions.
With transitioning to an all online platform we now sit more than ever, I've jokingly called us "Chair Warriors". Sitting for too long is a hazard for our health so we set alarms to get up and move and we take one if not two short nature walks a day.
We are both multi passionate about whole health which is why True North Fitness didn't stop at Fitness. Whole health is about the balance of deposits and withdrawals that we make on a daily basis that add up over our lifetime.
Our goal is to make sure that over time at the end of the day, week, month, and year that we make more deposits than withdrawals.
Life is meant to be enjoyed and should be cause for celebration just not to excess. We are already fitting back into our pants without working out every day or two times a day, nor did we have to eat grilled chicken and asparagus, and even got to enjoy a glass of wine!
If you need an extra push and added accountability, we are here for you!
Reach out and please know that this is a judgement free zone. We want you to know you are not alone!
Thank you for listening to my story!