“I felt empowered!!” is what she wrote to me in a Facebook message. Just like that – with not one but two exclamation points. I got chills and wanted to stand up and cheer. I can think of few other words I’d rather to hear from a friend.
In 2007 I met this really friendly, fun woman named Robin at a bible study. The first native Louisianan I’d ever known, she said “y’all” a lot, fed me grits once, and fascinated me with her stories about life all over the world with her Army husband. She’s quicker to giggle, crack a joke, or cry in empathy with a friend than anyone I know. We bonded over parallel adventures of raising kids who at the time ranged from kindergarten through high school, as well as our love of cappuccino with fancy frothed milk hearts on top, girlfriend lunches, wine, and scripture. In the years since, we’ve spent a lot of time in prayer for each other and our loved ones. We’ve also shared our mutual battles with gravity and weakening muscles. Now we live across the U.S. from each other but thanks to Facebook I still get to laugh and cry with Robin.
I saw that Robin had started running several years ago and admired her ability to do what I believed at that time was an entirely unappealing sport 🙂 Then she was running all these different fun races with friends and family and it looked like she was having a blast. Now it’s fun to have that in common with Robin too! This Spring she started talking about a new exercise program she was going to. The next thing I knew she was dropping all kinds of pounds, looking energized, and taking on even tougher challenges….
This is the rest of the Facebook message Robin had sent me:
“Today it was pouring down rain with high winds at 4:30am when I normally get up, so I stayed home and made up my own circuit training routine. I felt empowered!!”
Those are a few sentences I’m sure she never imagined herself saying for most of her life, but one tiny step at a time and she was finding herself light years from where she’d ever been.
It’s easy to tell how great and strong Robin feels, and I thought her story would be easy for many people to relate to.
1) First name & Age
Robin, age 51
2) What was your original dream, idea, or goal?
My original dream/goal was to have my clothes fit better, lose some weight and to not feel so tired and pudgy. (Haha!)
3) Why did you want to achieve it?
I saw some pictures of myself and felt my clothes shrinking. Eek!
4) How long did you think about it before embarking on it? Had you tried it before? What was different this time – do you remember one specific turning point moment?
My friend Janet, who is my running partner for the past 4 years, had twice participated in Lighten Up at our gym. I kept thinking I should do it but it was rather expensive. Then one morning I got on the scale and that did it for me. I talked to my husband and he said, “Go for it!” We will find a way to make it work.
5) What was your initial plan when you began (if you had one), and how has it evolved?
Lighten Up is a 10 week exercise program with a trainer and/or classes 5 days a week. Plus they encourage healthy eating habits. I completed the program by going 5 mornings a week at 5am. Yes, I said 5am! I lost 15 lbs! Once we finished that I slacked off and my oldest daughter started being a Beach Body coach and asked me to join her on some healthy diet/exercise challenges. Then I started participating a Spartan Training group 2 nights a week, with my husband too, while continuing to run on the weekends. I’ve lost another 15 lbs since Lighten Up via the Spartan Training.
6) What have you done to continue to motivate yourself? What do you do when you get discouraged and want to give up?
Being part of the training group has certainly helped. I’ve made friends within the group and we do other classes together plus we run as a group on Saturdays. Getting to wear clothes that fit right helped to motivate me as well. I’d have to say having the support of family and friends has been the biggest help.
7) Describe how what your life was like before you took this on and what it’s like now… how do you remember feeling in general and how do you feel now?
About a year ago our family did the Daniel Plan eating program and I discovered that wheat products hurt my stomach so I’m used to not having that but I would eat other unhealthy stuff w/o a problem and I would have a glass of wine at night. Basically I was sabotaging the work I did last year on the Daniel Plan where I lost 15 lbs. I gained it back and then some. I felt great for a while then not so great gaining it back. Now that I have lost 30 lbs and am staying active I feel much better and stronger. I’ve dropped several minutes off my mile runs and can do burpees, though they are NOT pretty! I have more energy and love wearing clothes that fit. Did I say that already a couple of times. (Haha!) I can keep up with our rambunctious grandchildren.
8) What advice do you have for others embarking on this challenge?
My advice is this: If you think you need to be healthier, then you probably do and you should go for it! Find what exercises work for you. Bring family and friends along for the fun ride. Learn to pace yourself. Listen to your body when it says, “Hey! Don’t do that!” when something is a weird pain…not a good pain.
9) What’s next? Has this created new dreams in you?
Our group is doing a Mud Run and I would like to complete a 10K this year. I have about 8 lbs to lose to be at my goal. It has caused me to encourage those around me to eat healthier and get moving no matter what their age is. People think eating healthy and exercise are expensive but its cheaper than you think to ditch the bread and go for a walk, run, do crunches or the dreaded burpees!
10) Anything else you’d like to add?
I’ve told people over and over that if I can get moving anyone can. I was 47 when I started running with the Couch 2 5K program. It was the best $1.99 I’ve ever spent! I now run with my husband who for years, I thought was nuts for enjoying exercise and running. Now I love the time we spend together getting fit. Try it you’ll like it!!!
Robin (bottom row, third from left, with her Spartan Training group.
Thanks so much to Robin for sharing her story with us and giving us some inspiration!