I turned 50 in 2015. My dad and his siblings had all died of heart related problems before they reached 50. This was always in the back of my mind.
The night of my birthday party, I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw and I stepped on the scale and was even less happy. For someone who had always considered herself a healthy eater and quite slim, I found my weight was an at all time high of 180lbs. (I considered a healthy medium for me to be around 150lbs). Scarily it was mostly carried around my mid section – a problem area for those of us with heart issues.
It was time to wake up – although I was concerned about my health I hadn’t really taken decisive or consistent action to deal with it.
That year I took control of the exercise part. I finally joined a gym, got a fitness check and signed up for a program – I saw some immediate results in terms of weight loss. I bought a Fitbit and started to increase my activity levels.
And then in fall 2016 I joined CrossFit Sherwood Park and really amped up my fitness workouts. By this time I had shed 20lbs and was feeling pretty pleased with my body composition.
However one area of my life that was still a concern was my stress level, as I juggled the demands of a very demanding job, an ageing parent who started to experience significant signs of dementia, a teen son struggling through high school with anxiety and parenting for the most part solo. At this point I had also been experiencing the nasty symptoms of peri menopause for about 3 years My body and mind frankly started to feel out of control. Night sweats interrupted my sleep, I had terrible mood swings and waves of anxiety and depression.
Although I was on the one hand trying to build better habits such as exercise, I wasn’t doing the same when it came to eating habits and perhaps more importantly drinking habits. I realize now that I was certainly relying on the wine bottle to self medicate. I wasn’t really looking after me.
Early in 2018 I noticed that my weight was starting to creep back up, and through the summer, it continued. At that time Shannon had started her nutrition counselling and I had watched a few Crosssfit clients really start to improve their performance and lose pounds and inches.
Finally September 2018 I decided I needed the support of a coach to help me rethink how I was managing my weight gain. I had gone back up to 173 lbs again and really wanted to reverse this trend.
I wanted to lose some pounds and inches but also to better fuel my workouts at the gym. I was feeling pretty tired and strung out all the time. My sleep wasn’t great.
I wanted to do something but it wasn’t to follow a new diet. My earlier forays into dieting had focussed on low fat diets with the hope of keeping high cholesterol at bay and of course I tried a series of trendy diets over the years, sometimes I lost weight but every time I gained it back.
When I met Shannon initially we tracked my food intake over a few days and the first thing we noticed was how erratic and unbalanced my eating was. Goal one was to stabilize my intake of protein, carbs and fats every day. She was very clear this wasn’t about a diet and more about a sustainable balanced healthy nutrition plan.
Although I was focussed on the weight at the time, Shannon has recently said to me that when I first started working with her I was so stressed I could barely finish my sentences. And in hindsight and through my learning with her I realize how much the two were linked.
Over the last 9 months I have worked with Shannon on my nutrition, learning about and tracking macros, introducing vitamins, strategies for better sleep, ideas for managing stress and planning my workload- in sum a range of tactics and strategies to tackle the underlying issues which contribute to my weight and health concerns. I’ve developed sustainable eating habits that don’t include depriving myself of the things I enjoy. Wine is still part of the equation but on my terms.
I have achieved a great deal. Most importantly I think I am so much calmer and relaxed. I still face many of the same challenges but I have learned strategies to better manage them, understand what I can control, be more intentional in my response and work through them. I’ve recently had some great success at work and my relationships have improved. I am sleeping so much better and my workout performance is great. And I’ve lost almost 20lbs and many inches.
Working with Shannon as my coach has made a huge difference in my life.
I now look in the mirror and am happy with what I see, but it’s not just about body composition, it’s about a smiling face with less worry lines and a positive relaxed attitude shining through.