In my adulthood, I have spent a lot of time making a lot of excuses for my health and fitness levels.  I felt like I was destined to be chubby forever and that there wasn’t anything I could do to fix this.  I would go to the grocery store and feel lost.   There were aisles and aisles of things I knew I shouldn’t be eating, but I also knew that they tasted good and I didn’t know any alternatives.   I joined some gyms, but never found a community and never stuck with anything for very long.  That all changed when I found the Warehouse!  Here is the story that led me to one of my favorite places on the planet. 

CHILDHOOD: When I was in elementary school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  While I didn’t understand exactly what was happening, I knew it wasn’t great.  I was scared and confused and also happened to discover that food made me feel better.  I turned to eating to make me feel better; sneaking whatever junk food was in the house into my bedroom and hiding the wrappers under the bed.  While thankfully my mom went into remission, I had developed the habit of eating my feelings.

HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE: I didn’t have the healthiest habits in high school and college.  I didn’t play any sports and I still really liked to eat junk food.  Whenever things didn’t go my way, I REALLY liked to eat junk food.  I left college much heavier than when I had entered.

ADULTHOOD: I entered in my 20’s with no healthy habits to uphold me.  I dabbled with working out, but nothing ever stuck.  I ate a fruit or vegetable a day and told myself that I was being as healthy as I could.  I was newly married, working as a teacher in a high-needs school and let the needs of everyone around me consume me.

Then my husband and I decided we were ready to have a baby and… nothing happened.  I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and I learned it was going to be hard for me to conceive.  We were devastated, but determined to make our dreams of parenthood come true.  In 2010 we discovered I was pregnant!  We were cautiously optimistic, but unfortunately that pregnancy ended in miscarriage.  I was devastated and turned to my good friend junk food to eat my feelings.  At the end of this experience I topped the scale at over 200 pounds.

After getting myself back under control, I knew that in order to obtain and maintain a healthy pregnancy, I had to do something about my weight.   I joined a gym in Ames and slowly but surely lost 25 pounds, all while learning about different fertility treatments.  Lo and behold, while we were waiting to begin a fairy invasive treatment, I became pregnant!  Our dream baby, Piper, was born in August 2012.

In this time, we moved from Iowa to Minnesota, my husband began his career as an analytical chemist, and I became a stay-at-home mom.  I felt lost, as being a teacher had been such a huge piece of my identity for so long.  I loved my baby and was so thankful to have her in my life, but something was missing.  There again, I turned to food to make me feel better.  

I went back to work the next year, but lost myself in being at a new school and felt so guilty for being away from Piper all day that I refused to make time to exercise. 

TIME FOR A CHANGE (ENTER THE WAREHOUSE!): Fast forward to September 2014 when my husband’s beloved step-father passed away after a four year long battle with cancer.  He was the kind of man that we all want in our lives (not to mention in our children’s lives as a grandparent): kind, compassionate, generous, and loving.  Prior to his cancer diagnosis, he had some vices (smoking, drinking, candy) but gave it all up to optimize and lengthen his time on earth.  When he passed away, I knew something had to change in my own life.  I needed to honor the changes he had made to his own lifestyle and I needed to make my own life as meaningful as possible. I started searching for something.   In October 2014, my family and I signed up for the Border Battle family run.  I had no idea that small decision was going to change my life in the best way possible.  It was there that I met my coach, Amy, and Nickie Carrigan.  I was very hesitant to talk to these ladies, but something pulled me over.  I chatted with Amy and Nickie and filled out a form for a raffle.  I walked away thinking that while they were lovely, I probably wasn’t driving to Rosemount to exercise (I live in Eagan and after all, I couldn’t even make it to the gym two minutes away from our house).  However, fate would have it that I was meant for more with the Warehouse.  I won the raffle and ended up at the Warehouse for a demo class.  I tried the class, signed up for the Halloween challenge, and the rest as they say, is history.

AS AN INDIVIDUAL: I look different on the outside.  When I look in the mirror I no longer focus on what I need to change, I focus on what has already changed.  I see where inches have been lost and where muscle has been gained.  I am able to see strength, hard work and dedication.  Not only has weight been lifted from the outside, but it has been lifted from my soul, as well.  I am kinder to myself and to other people.  My smile comes more easily.  I am happier with myself, which has given me the power to be more positive and encouraging with other people.  I am a better person. 

AS A WIFE: My husband has always ben very fit and it fills my heart with joy that we are now able to run 5K’s (I am at a 10 minute mile!) and go on bike rides together.   Fitness has given us more common activities both as a couple and as a family.  My husband as also been my #1 supporter, from healthy meal preparations to extra loads of laundry to helping make a place in our budget for my fitness needs.

AS A MAMA:  I have so much more energy for Piper!  We are constantly on the go, exposing her to everything life has to offer.  When she sees me making healthy choices, she follows my lead.  We enroll her in dance, gymnastics, and fun runs to show her that being active is not only an important part of life, but FUN!

AS A TEACHER: Twenty 2nd graders have been impacted by the changes to my lifestyle.  Due to experiencing the mental clarity that comes with a good morning workout, I start every morning in my classroom with ten minutes of exercising.  An hour doesn’t pass without my students being out of their seats, MOVING around the classroom.  I eat lunch with my students and have become more aware of the impact of my food choices on them.  When I bring in a treat I try to expose them to healthier options, rather than resorting to ice cream and cupcakes.  I feel positive that my students are stronger and healthier than when they entered my classroom in the fall, which fulfills me just as much as when my students meet academic goals.

In short, the last seven months have been life changing.  Just when I needed it, I connected with Amy and Nickie and my life will never be the same.  I am so grateful to have found a tribe of positive, motivated people at the Warehouse.  There aren’t words for the profound impact EVERYONE there has made on my life.  I am simply better for it.