“In the Fall of 2012 I was finishing the requirements for healthcare insurance to have bariatric surgery. I found myself over 360 pounds and felt my only answer was surgery to save me. Then while traveling for work in Michigan I received a phone call from Akron General Hospital. My husband Jim (who had just gotten off from his five hour dialysis treatment) had gone into full cardiac arrest while sitting at a doctor’s office. Luckily I had a coworker with me who drove me back to Ohio immediately. I made it to the hospital where my husband laid in a coma. He survived and three months later was able to come home. During all these times I just continued to eat and gain more weight. With Jim needing me more for other things I stopped attending the bariatric doctor visits.
As we went into the Spring of 2013 Jim’s half sister (who had found him on Facebook a year earlier) wanted out of an abusive relationship. She asked if she could move in with us along with her five year old daughter Promise. Two days later they arrived. It was nice to have help around the house and with Jim. The fifth day at our house she asked if we could keep Promise while she went to finish up a few things where she was living. She left the next morning and to this day has not been back. Besides the stress and anxiety in my life the only other constant was my emotional eating.
As I am sure many of us have done, I did Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and the 21 Day Fix from Beachbody. Each time I would lose a little weight but would gain it back within a few weeks or months. So at the end of 2015 I decided to go back to the doctor again for bariatric surgery. I completed the entire seven month program and had my surgery date scheduled in April, 2016. Five days before my surgery I was taking Jim to a doctor’s appointment for back pain. While answering the questions of the medial assistant, Jim fell over in his wheelchair. The office cleared the waiting room and they laid him out and began working on him. He needed shocked four times this day before making it to the hospital where he was life flighted to Cleveland. Jim was in the hospital for almost 2 weeks this time before moving to a rehabilitation center. My bariatric surgery was canceled…for good reason… but canceled.
2016 was a rough year. I continued to eat. I was up to a bag of Hershey Kisses in a setting (family size). On a good day I may walk 2,000 steps. Forget walking up a flight of stairs, I took the elevator. I got up put Promise on the bus, took breakfast to Jim, went to work, came home and picked up Promise to go down to the center to spend the evening with Jim. During this time, Jim was in and out of the hospital with multiple issues-MRSA, amputation of his foot, infections in his heart, amputation of his leg, infection of his bowel…..it never ended. I did my best to stay strong but comfort came in eating and a lot of snacks and candy. I was an emotional 360 something pound mess.
2017 came with Jim being in the Cleveland Clinic for more heart issues. Promise was getting more worried and anxious, and it seemed she needed a positive outlet. One day I was looking up fitness programs for children. I was looking for something Promise could do to stay active. I didn’t want her to follow where I was at emotionally or physically. I found this place called CrossFit 330 and it had a child’s program. Then on Facebook it kept coming up in my feed about a bootcamp for everyone. I was skeptical. I mean look at everything else I had tried. When it came to losing weight and anything that involved good nutrition and living healthy, I was a complete FAILURE. The feed didn’t stop coming up and it seemed it was meant for me. I finally reached out and made a time to discuss the program with Carmen.
I joined Troop 21. On enlistment day my baseline consisted of walking to the white sign in front of the building, 40 squats, and 2 sit-ups. I could not continue. That was my true wake up call that it was time to change. From there I went to my classes, I followed the meal plans, I did my extra credit work in the booklet. Anything I was told to do, I did it. The fast march was literally me increasing the number of steps I took a day. I couldn’t run but I sure got used to walking more and more each week. I may not be as fast as the other bootcampers and I may have not completed many of the exercises or movements; however, I did keep moving. At the end of Troop 21, I had lost 40 pounds, plenty of inches, and was able to complete the entire 400 meter walk/run, 40 squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, and 8 burpees.
I continued to Troop 22, but during the second week, Jim got sick and passed away. It was heartbreaking (and still is) but I had (have) to be strong for Promise. At the most difficult and extremely emotional times in my life, I had to make it. I still had good support from bootcamp leaders and participants. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel like I had to eat my way through the emotions. I was able to take what I had been working hard to accomplish. I am not going to say it was easy, but I did it. I stayed on my eating plan and did not stray ONCE. I would cry and eat some almonds, cry some more and go for a walk.
I joined Troop 23 and continued on my path to being a healthier person for me. I got stronger, I was able to do more, I was able to walk further, and every week I continued to see the improvements. At the end of Troop 23 I finished the baseline in under 8 minutes. I was so proud of myself. I had some confidence that was long lost. I felt good!
Some great things I have done since I joined bootcamp are: rode rollcoasters, walked around amusement parks, fastened my seatbelt on an airplane, fit in a booth at a restaurant, don’t have to use the handicap stall in public restrooms, joined CrossFit, went whitewater rafting, jumped rope, play volleyball on a work league, went down 4 pant sizes, and lost almost a hundred pounds.
I am almost 7 months into this journey of the new me. I have along way to continue to go but with my family, friends, and the great people at CrossFit 330 I will make it. CrossFit 330 is fitness for everyone and I am proof of that. It turns out I never needed surgery, I just need a great place to go and great people to help me. I am going to continue my journey and can’t wait to see where it takes me and what I will be able to accomplish once I get there.”