Continued from Part One—
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Hometown: Geneseo, IL
Goal: Love myself through all stages of my life, have more lean muscle mass, have better endurance, overcome health issues and become an athlete again. (I am currently training for duathlons.)
What was your greatest motivator—the catalyst—that got you going? My greatest motivator at the beginning of my journey in 2013 was my best friend Aubrie from college. The catalyst was being diagnosed with a laundry list of gastrointestinal issues after losing a lot of weight in a small period of time. Aubrie motivated me and pushed me to get back in shape and start taking care of myself. At that time my weight was fluctuating; I lost a lot, gained it all back and then some. It had a major effect on my mental health and how I viewed myself. I developed body dysmorphia and was obsessed with weighing myself. I was beyond insecure and uncomfortable and slowly became a version of myself I wasn’t proud of. I had a really toxic relationship with food, which also made me realize I needed to change something. After getting settled into some medication for my stomach and seeing how my body changed, I knew I needed to really dive into fitness to feel better about myself and become healthier again.
For your game plan, what was your timeframe and what methods, services or products did you use? My game plan at that time was to lose weight and feel better about myself. The timeframe was realistically three months, even though I wanted results immediately, as we all do. In 2013 I had a nutritionist I met with weekly to work through my issues with my weight, my relationship with food, the scale and myself. Now, I have a personal trainer at Pulseology Fitness who pushes me through workouts every week and encourages me to perform at my best in running and biking for future races.
How did you stay strong, positive and committed while pursuing your goal? My goals change frequently, but the biggest piece for staying strong, positive and committed is patience. Nothing changes overnight and good things take time. Our bodies are constantly changing, and whether you’re on a diet, eating consciously, or eating freely, it takes your body time to react, adjust and respond. With my current goals, I have learned to lean into the process—ask questions, research and learn my body. The biggest motivator is proving yourself wrong, seeing results and growing in more ways than one. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, as well.
What were the easiest and hardest aspects of your journey? Did you ever consider quitting? The easiest part of my journey is the exercising. I don’t feel like Megan unless I work out, lift weights, walk, run, or ride my bike. I have always been pretty athletic, so staying active is a fun part of my schedule. The hardest part was creating a healthy relationship with food. Learning I can eat freely and indulge every day without feeling bad about it. I have quit numerous times and given up on myself. In 2013 I bounced back after seeing the weight I had gained, how insecure I was, how poorly I talked about myself and how I viewed myself. Now I bounce back because I love myself.
What are the most exciting changes you’ve noticed from this experience? The most exciting part is finally truly loving myself—being able to look in the mirror and be happy with who is looking back at me. This journey has been more mental than physical. Sure, I have gained muscle mass, lost fat, learned how to fuel my body and handle my health issues, but I have also learned far more about being a woman. Now I know it’s ok to feel insecurities, frustrations, pain, or whatever the case is, and work through them. Learning to love myself through all the stages of my journey has been incredibly challenging, but also by far the most rewarding and powerful feeling.
What’s your best advice for others who are setting out to achieve their own personal goals? If you keep doing what you’re doing, you will keep getting what you’re getting. Create your own path. If you want something bad enough, you will do whatever it takes to get it done. I work a full-time job, am an assistant high school basketball coach and have my three-plus hours a day of lifting and training. I could easily say I don’t have time, but I make it happen because this is what I want. Also, set realistic goals that set you up for success. People tend to quit when they don’t lose X-number of pounds in two weeks, when in reality, that goal wasn’t attainable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Journal through things because it is awesome to look back and see how far you have come. Be proud of yourself for taking the step(s) to better yourself. Have fun with it because life is too short. Always remember that your story is unique because you are different from everyone else.
Finally, what’s your most valuable takeaway from this life-changing transformation? Health is your greatest wealth. If you don’t take care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally, you won’t perform at your best at the gym, with your family, at home, at work, or in life. I am who I am because of the struggles, the adversity and the challenges I’ve had. Grow through what you go through! Arrival is not the end game. The journey is where you are.
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
Goal: Feeling more comfortable in my own body by making more conscious food choices and being more active.
What was your greatest motivator—the catalyst—that got you going? I moved my office upstairs at the beginning of the year and noticed that I would get winded going up and down the stairs all day. I ended up having to work from home for a couple weeks at the beginning of the pandemic and decided it would be a great time to start exercising and focusing on my nutrition.
For your game plan, what was your timeframe and what methods, services or products did you use? Initially, I started with home workout videos and a food tracker since I was stuck at home, and I started to see a difference. Once summer came around I hit a plateau and couldn't get out of this three pound range. The practice I manage has a great relationship with local health coach, Alice Batson, so I reached out to her about using Purium products again. I had used the products years ago and ended up doing a 10 day transformation with two of my sisters. I felt SOOO much better afterwards, I committed to their Ultimate Lifestyle Transformation, and I am so glad I did!
How did you stay strong, positive and committed while pursuing your goal? Seeing changes on the scale and in my measurements and getting positive comments from those around me really helped me to stay committed. Because of the pandemic, I hadn’t seen family members and work acquaintances in months. They gave me such uplifting compliments when I finally did see them.
What were the easiest and hardest aspects of your journey? Did you ever consider quitting? If so, how did you bounce back? Initially, I was so motivated to workout. When I hit my plateau, I stopped the home workouts and the food tracking app because I wasn't seeing much change. Purium is what helped me bounce back. I haven't gone back to fully exercising yet, but I vowed to meet my daily 10,000 step goal by walking the dogs twice a day. I've slowly started increasing my running distance, as well.
What are the most exciting changes you’ve noticed from this experience? I sleep better at night, am more rested in the morning and feel as though I don't get as anxious throughout my day, even though work has become more hectic. I have lost 25 pounds this year and now fit into clothing that I haven't been able to wear in close to five years! It is such a great feeling to start feeling comfortable in my own body. The most exciting thing I have accomplished this year is running a 5K!
What’s your best advice for others who are setting out to achieve their own personal goals? Have accountability partners! I had a friend who lives hours away and worked out with me everyday. We kept each other on track and made sure we met our daily goals. I did my initial 10-day transformation with my sisters, and then went on to do an ultimate lifestyle transformation with Purium. With that came an amazing group of people who helped to keep me on track with my nutrition. It really helps to have others you can turn to who have similar goals in mind!
Finally, what’s your most valuable takeaway from this life-changing transformation? Set small attainable targets. Nothing feels better than to see yourself progressing toward your ultimate goal!
Hilton Head Island, SC
Goal: Lose 65-70 pounds. As of today, I’m 56 pounds down!
What was your greatest motivator—the catalyst—that got you going? I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I had tried a million different avenues to lose weight with no luck. I felt like my metabolism had come to a screeching halt. A high school friend of mine moved back to the island and looked like a million bucks, full of energy with four kids in tow. I asked for her secret, and the rest is history. And, my original motivator was wanting to fit into my old clothes, but that quickly changed once my energy level rose. I slept better and started feeling years younger. I realized the bigger motivator was feeling so much better on a daily basis.
For your game plan, what was your timeframe and what methods, services or products did you use? My original goal was to lose 40 pounds by the end of 2020. What better time than during a pandemic when I had more time than ever to commit? I joined a program called Total Health that looks at all areas of health—nutrition, hydration, sleep, movement and my relationship with food. On this program, you eat every 2-3 hours all day long so you're never hungry. It balances your fat, protein and carbs to create the perfect combination to burn your visceral fat.
How did you stay strong, positive and committed while pursuing your goal? This was my biggest concern. After not finding success with so many other programs, I worried I would fall off the wagon. But I was thrilled when I proved myself wrong. My whole family jumped on board to support me, with my teenagers always reminding me to stay strong when I had my moments. Nothing like a little teenage angst to keep you moving in the right direction. I was also lucky to have a life-long friend as my health coach to guide me and support me along the way.
What were the easiest and hardest aspects of your journey? Did you ever consider quitting? The easiest part by far: I was never hungry and my energy levels were through the roof. I had no idea how wiped out and exhausted I was. I felt so much better that I wanted to keep going, to keep feeling so darn good. And, I assumed the hardest aspects would be traveling and just saying no to old habits. This past summer we bought a cabin in Sugar Mountain, NC. My college town, Boone, is right down the road and home to most of my favorite restaurants. It felt like a victory to still be able to enjoy all of them while staying on program. I have really learned how to eat healthy, be it at home, or on the road.
What are the most exciting changes you’ve noticed from this experience? Hands down, the way I feel. I'm more motivated, more active, and more grounded than I've felt in years. I recently pulled down three big tubs of clothes from the attic that I wore more than a decade ago. I moved them with me over the years hoping they would one day fit, but never really believed it would happen. Today, I'm wearing everything in those bins and stealing my 16-year-old daughter's clothes.
What’s your best advice for others who are setting out to achieve their own personal goals? Commit. You've got to commit to the change to make it happen. Get your friends and family involved and cheering you on.
Finally, what’s your most valuable takeaway from this life-changing transformation? Take the time to take care of yourself. For years, I was "too busy" with work, family, dogs, friends, travel, you name it. There was always a reason to not put myself first. Once I focused on my health, I realized the rest would fall into place. And it has. A few months into my weight loss, I decided to start coaching. I wanted to help others the same way I found help. I have had over 15 clients join me, and collectively we are down over 500 pounds.
Hilton Head Island, SC
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Goal: Practice more self-care, value myself enough to take better care of my body, heart and mind and have a better life as a result.
What was your greatest motivator—the catalyst—that got you going? It was time. Enough was enough. That is the greatest gift of pain, eventually it gets great enough to make a change.
For your game plan, what was your timeframe and what methods, services or products did you use? I signed up for the Orangetheory Transformation Challenge. The challenge is an 8-week-long contest, in which the person with the highest percentage of weight-loss wins. I am incredibly competitive, so this was excellent motivation for me. Also, no matter what, I would be a winner because I would be more healthy at the end of the contest than when I started. Not only did I lose weight, I gained muscle mass, strength and flexibility. By eating healthy and working out at least three times a week, I won the challenge, even beating all of the boys in the competition. I was a pretty chubby kid growing up. I could make my own sundaes with extra marshmallow sauce when my mom worked at Friendly's. I always thought I had to eat less to lose weight. Through Orangetheory, I learned that I just had to become more healthy. I also learned that I loved working out! The music, the coaches, the endorphins! That was the biggest lightbulb moment for me, and a workout is now my favorite way to start the day, next to a strong cup of coffee.
How did you stay strong, positive and committed while pursuing your goal? The rewards of becoming more healthy reinforced my commitment to the cause. Buying new clothes that fit better and I looked good in was a definite perk. Also, I just felt better in my body, mind and spirit. I was spending a lot of money on specialists and physical therapy for my left knee. I even had an MRI done. Doctors and therapy couldn't help me. Building strength in my leg muscles and losing weight set me straight. As General Manager of Memory Lane Portraits, I am out on the beach almost every night all summer long capturing memories for happy families. Before my transformation through Orangetheory, I had to take a folding camping chair with me for low-angle portraits. Now, my squats are perfection, and I leave a towel in my car to protect my seat from all of the sand and ocean I bring back with me after every exciting shoot.
What were the easiest and hardest aspects of your journey? Did you ever consider quitting? It is a life-changing commitment. Once you know better, you do better, and I believe there is no going back. I wouldn't want to. I mean, did I eat a bunch of peppermint bark during the holidays? Heck yeah! You can bet I got right back on that treadmill the first chance I got.
What are the most exciting changes you’ve noticed from this experience? Everything is exciting! Everything is possible! I am an inspired person, full of hope and new possibilities. That awesome outfit will look great on me! The fence, I can jump no problem! A marathon, let’s go! One life-changing challenge down with so many more to go. I feel accomplished, powerful and grateful. My spirit is full, and even my mind is more clear. I am a better leader, better friend and better person. My pup, Tigger, is also happy about it all. He has a special running leash that wraps around my waist, so we can go on runs and photoshoots together.
What’s your best advice for others who are setting out to achieve their own personal goals? Find your happy. It is yours and yours alone. You are so much stronger than you will ever know until you try.
Finally, what’s your most valuable takeaway from this life-changing transformation? The greatest gift you can give yourself is to live the best life you possibly can. It may be even better than you imagine.