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Contest Winner Celebrates Success through Motivating Others

Guest Blog by “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest Winner
Amy Smith

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Well, week one of training is in the books, and there are only 12 weeks left before I’ll run a 10k. When I last wrote, I was still scared about the 10k, but no longer. Week one was amazing! I found out that I can actually run my miles faster by doing intervals of :60 running/:60 walking than just running start to finish. When I set out to run a full mile or more, I hold back, worried that I will run out of energy. But when I’m running for 60 seconds, I push as hard as I can, telling myself, “you can do ANYTHING for 60 seconds.” Runs one and two were on a treadmill to monitor my MPH and heart rate recovery. But I took my 2-mile Saturday run outdoors, and Pandora’s response to my result was, “you’re going to get faster than me!” That felt fantastic.

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The other feel-good moment of the week came via my supporters. I created a Facebook event for Team Slender Seekers and asked my local friends to join my team for a 2k color run to benefit the United Way in my hometown of Dover, Ohio.

I needed four or more people for a team, so I hoped for at least 3 volunteers. But my local Slender Seekers rallied, and I’ve organized a team of 26 people with $530 raised for the United Way. I experienced so many emotions as friends emailed me their fears, saying, “I don’t think I can do this, but I want to.” I promised to finish the race as the last Slender Seeker so I could guarantee each participant that she would not be the last to finish.

My friend started training with her sons and wrote about how much she loves the quality time outdoors with them, and I received an email thanking me for inspiring the sender’s previously inactive relative to begin running. More email poured in that brought me to tears:

“I just want to say thank you for accepting my friend request and allowing me to join your 2k. Your weight loss and journey is such an inspiration. You have given me a spark of hope that has been long lost. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

“Your courage to go public is gonna save lives. I hope that as your team grows, it can become a huge movement!”

“I met a high today. Before when I walked with the kids my calves and back would hurt so bad I’d be in tears. Today I walked 1415 steps without any pain at all. And barely outta breath!”

“Oh Amy I keep looking and looking at this 2K and want to do it so bad, but I’m so scared. PETRIFIED is more like it. I have not been walking or anything all winter and am up to XXX lbs (with tears in my eyes). How do I get over this anxiety of being so scared of doing this 2K? I must sound so silly…”

This last one really hurt my heart, because I could have written it myself one year ago. I replied:

Silly??? Are you kidding me? That’s exactly how I felt when I registered for the Hot Chocolate 5k when i weighed 200+ and hadn’t run one step!

I truly DON’T know if you can walk 1.25 miles. But here’s what I DO know:

You definitely won’t finish it if you don’t try.

You probably will finish it if you do try.

I also know there’s no section of the paper where they print the names of the people who tried and didn’t finish.

And I know it would be a lot of fun to have you there, and that I’d be so proud of you for even trying.

And I know that you have 2.5 months to just move a tiny bit every day to prepare.

I also know that they don’t chase you. They don’t throw things at you or poke you with hot sticks. All that happens is they say “go,” and you start moving with your friends, and you keep moving until you finish or until you feel like you can’t or don’t want to move anymore. There’s no pressure, no rules, it’s just fun, and it’s for a good cause. Nothing scary.

And do you know what happened next? She signed up. And THEN she walked .75 miles, more than HALF of the 2k distance she will need. She’s got it in the bag! I told her to start with .15 miles per day, and she hauls out .75? THAT’S MY ROCKSTAR!

So now tons of people are moving, feeling confident, and getting excited about the journey, and I couldn’t be more…. miserable. Wait. WHAT?

Trust me, I’m THRILLED about the above developments. Inspiring people and making them feel like anything is possible has been a dream come true. But somewhere in the mix, I briefly lost my focus and willpower almost entirely. I invested a ton of time in gathering 2k registrations, planning team t-shirts and tutus, and promoting the event. Then I also tried to cram in every social activity possible before my training began. I totally over-indulged in some food and beverages, stayed up way too late night after night, and I didn’t get (or make) the time I needed in the gym before training began. To say I’ve stretched myself thin is an understatement. So now I’ve actually managed to gain a few pounds and totally screw up my mojo. I’m over here emailing words of encouragement to others while thinking, “I’d better get some wine and fondue into muh belly before things get too serious!” I know. IN-SANE. By the end of last week I was getting headaches and was in a bad mood, and my mom even asked if I was having a nervous breakdown. No good.

new_blog_headshotSo here’s the plan: I hereby declare this to be THE WEEK OF AMY. I’m going off of the grid. No non-emergency social events, email, phone calls, Facebook messages, smoke signals or texts, please. I’ve stressed myself out, and I need a week for just me. I’m 12 hours into a 5.5-day body, mind and spirit detox. My priorities are going to be eating right, exercising enough, sleeping 8 hours, getting my taxes done, and cleaning my house. And if I have a few minutes to spare, I’d love to either finish the book I started a month ago, or watch one of the episodes of Parenthood on my DVR, which has sat untouched for 3 weeks now. I feel like a big dumb jerk saying “don’t call me, don’t talk to me, don’t ask to see me (unless you want to go to the gym with me, which would totally rock).” But it’s what I desperately need in order to get focused, and I hope everyone will understand. I’ll rejoin the world next Saturday at 1:00 when I’m having lunch with an old friend and our moms.

Until then… work hard, Slender Seekers. But most importantly, stay true to yourself, and make YOU your own first priority. Treat yourself to time in your day for working on your goals. You’ll end up being a better friend, co-worker or family member because of it. Right now I’m kind of no good to anyone, so I’m checking out. But I’ll be cheering for you from behind the scenes all week. Make me proud, and I’ll do my best to reciprocate.

As always, a great big, huge, very large, monstrosity of a thank you to my incredible sponsors, Wellese, Kay’s Naturals, Ameriwell Bariatrics, BariMelts, Celebrate Vitamins and Desperately Seeking Slender for making all of this possible. Not only for my trip to the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, but for the domino effect it’s had on my community. People are running, walking, spending time getting fit as families, and even $530 raised for a fantastic organization. I’m pretty sure I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Check out the Second “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest

Team Slender Seekers Sponsors:

Bariatrics_Banner_Ad

AmeriWell Bariatrics
Like AmeriWell Bariatrics on Facebook ]

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WELLESSE
Like WELLESSE on Facebook ]

Celebratecmyk

Celebrate Vitamins
Like Celebrate Vitamins on Facebook ]

Kay's Logo

Kay’s Naturals
Like Kay’s Naturals on Facebook ]

BariMelts Logo

BariMelts
Like BariMelts on Facebook ]

#TeamSlenderSeekers would like to thank these early entry Sponsors

Please support our sponsors!

 

Celebrate Weight Loss with Fitness – Meet our Contest Winner

Today is the day! Are you ready for the big news? We have an official winner of the Second “How Do you Celebrate Success” Contest.

Before I tell you who she is, let me share her story with you…

I found out I was different in kindergarten when a boy asked if I was pregnant. That was the first time I was made aware of my weight at school, but not the last. In 7th grade I was excited to wear my new yellow ESPRIT sweater to school, where I was devastated to be called “a yellow balloon.” In 10th grade I skipped school when we had to run the mile in gym, because I didn’t want my peers watching while it took me another 10 minutes to finish what they had long since completed.

HDYCS2aMy hatred of running began in 8th grade gym. As “the fat kid,” laps were torture. I’d make it one lap before walking. One day the teacher announced, “if Amy runs all of her laps without walking, nobody has to run any more.” So there I was, in a gym of classmates who had finished, screaming at me to RUN. Not screaming supportively, but threatening. Dizzy and fighting to hold in my breakfast, I finished. For a moment, I felt victorious. I’d been hugely embarrassed, but I had saved us from ever running laps again! Then the teacher said, “I expect you to run them all tomorrow, now that we know you can.” Someone reminded him of the deal: my success meant no more laps! With a sneer, he said, “I meant no more laps today. You’ll run again tomorrow.” Everyone else groaned then moved on. I went to the restroom where I vomited and cried, humiliated. I carry the pain with me still, over two decades later.

So to me, running was a punishment. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could run for fun. For me, “success” wasn’t exertion, it was avoiding exertion! My celebrations were never healthy. They were cheesecake or a pizza. I’d been taught at a young age that success meant treats! Plays, musicals and concerts ended at Friendly’s with a sundae. My favorite part of elementary school was reading books to earn free pizzas. Success = a full belly!

In April 2012, I applied to The Biggest Loser. I stared at my application photos in disbelief. At 5’4” and 243 pounds, I was morbidly obese. I was terrified I’d be chosen. What would happen when Jillian screamed at me to RUN and I couldn’t? As I stared at my cheeks that swallowed my eyes, I realized I shouldn’t need to go on TV with my fat rolls hanging out to get healthy. I cancelled my audition and made a plan. On April 22nd, I began my weight-loss journey, on my own.

First, I celebrated success with marbles. I decided my goal was to lose 100 lbs, so I bought two vases, and filled one with 100 marbles. After weigh-ins, I’d move a marble for each lost pound to the other vase. Moving marbles felt better than sundaes! Seeing the empty vase begin to fill up was incredible!

Then I celebrated success with tools to help myself. Lose three, buy a yoga mat. Lose ten, a pair of jeans. I was able to wear my first pair of skinny jeans! I celebrated that by sending my BFF a picture doing the dance of joy at Target.

After doing the “walk of shame” from a roller coaster in 2010, another goal was to fit onto coasters. When I hit a comfortable weight, I celebrated success with a trip to Cedar Point. With shaking hands, I sat down and brought the seat belt together… click. It fit!!!! We had a blast, and for each 10 pounds lost, we went back to Cedar Point, a total of three times!

HDYCS2bAfter losing 55 lbs, I wondered if I should try running. I downloaded Couch to 5k and joined a gym. I told myself it couldn’t be THAT hard, day one was only running 60 seconds at a time! Well, it WAS hard, but I survived. Soon I completed week three. I celebrated that success by registering for a race I’d read about, The Hot Chocolate 5k. I was nervous but excited! I had two months to train.

As I got stronger and leaner, I decided to try a 5k just to see how I did. It ended up being 85 degrees that October day, and I had to walk some, but I finished under 45 minutes, the minimum pace I’d need for the Hot Chocolate. I celebrated THAT success by signing up for a third 5k!

By the end of 2013, I’d lost 85 pounds and did nine 5k’s. I was no longer morbidly obese, but I WAS a runner. A slow runner, but getting better all the time! I celebrated my success by making a video with photos from my 5k’s for Facebook. Prior to that, I hadn’t publicized my diet or weight loss, afraid of public failure. But for the first time in my life, I felt like I was truly a success.

Right now, a half marathon seems nearly as unimaginable as a 5k once did. It was on a trip to Disney when I first became aware of RunDisney. That was before I began C25K, so it was more of a curiosity than a goal. But as I ran races this year, it turned into a dream. If there’s one spot in the universe for a dream to come true, it’s Disney. I want to show everyone that they too CAN do this, no matter how impossible it seems. I want to prove to that 8th grade version of myself that I’m taking care of her now, and that I’ll never let her be humiliated by her weight again. From now on, the only way for me to celebrate success is by setting another goal, reaching it, then reaching farther. The Disney Wine and Dine weekend falls on my 37th birthday, November 7th. What better way to celebrate my re-birth as a healthier, happier, stronger woman than to cross the finish line of my first half-marathon? That is how I’ll celebrate success!

CONGRATULATIONS to our Second How do YOU Celebrate Contest Winner :

Amy Jo Smith

She will be celebrating her 37th birthday with me at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida!

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Amy was selected as the topic pick of all of the entries by an outstanding 4 out of 5 judges and we’re very happy to celebrate her weight loss success by giving her this opportunity!

After her entry was submitted and Amy received the email confirming her entry Amy wrote me a short email. What she said, while i had no baring on her entry whatsoever, is the sort of thing that inspires me to do not only do things like the How do YOU Celebrate Contests, but to help others on their weight loss journey whether through motivational speaking, wellness coaching or weight loss coaching.

Again, thank you for this contest. Even if I don’t win, it has really inspired me this week to read the posts on your page, watch your video, look at your pictures, learn more about your victories and what drives you. It has helped me motivate myself to get to the gym when I wanted to lay on the couch. To push harder to run another minute or another two minutes. On Monday I ran 5 minutes on the treadmill before I walked. After entering the contest on Tuesday, I went and ran for 12 minutes. I felt so inspired, so much more strong and capable.

You are a truly special human being, and I hope to one day run by your side.

Have a great weekend!

Love,
Amy

Thank you Amy. For such a sweet note, and congratulations on being the winner of the Second “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest.

I cant wait to run with you, beside you, celebrate your weight loss, your 37th birthday and your first half marathon with you! You can now consider me your official motivator, coach, cheerleader and of course, friend.

And of course, a special thank to our sponsors. None of this would be possible without you. Ameriwell Bariatrics, Wellesse, Celebrate Vitamins, Kay’s Naturals and BariMelts thank you all for making dreams come true…

Amy Jo Smith I have a question for you. You just won the “How do YOU Celebrate Success Contest” What are you going to do now?

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Check out the Second “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest

Team Slender Seekers Sponsors:

Bariatrics_Banner_Ad

AmeriWell Bariatrics
Like AmeriWell Bariatrics on Facebook ]

logo

WELLESSE
Like WELLESSE on Facebook ]

Celebratecmyk

Celebrate Vitamins
Like Celebrate Vitamins on Facebook ]

Kay's Logo

Kay’s Naturals
Like Kay’s Naturals on Facebook ]

BariMelts Logo

BariMelts
Like BariMelts on Facebook ]

#TeamSlenderSeekers would like to thank these early entry Sponsors

Please support our sponsors!

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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