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I’ve always dabbled in fitness and sports, but I’ve always been, well, round. Baking relieves way more stress for me than jogging, and for a long time you could tell. The year I turned 29, at my annual checkup, I got quite a shock. “You’re at high risk for heart disease” was how the primary provider ended the visit. Most of my dad’s side of the family has had heart attacks, stents, even a bypass by 40. We ate relatively healthy, and I wasn’t too overweight, but it was time for a change. It didn’t come easy for me though. I wasted a lot of time and energy putting up roadblocks for myself. I was so nervous for the first few classes I took with Nickie I almost threw up before I even got to the building. What if I couldn’t keep up? What if I was the only one that couldn’t do the exercise? What if I embarrassed myself? What if I failed?
I had the same internal struggles with changing my eating habits, along with one confession. I hate vegetables. Not all of them of course. I like carrots, red peppers and sweet potatoes. That’s it. I’d rather eat sawdust than a salad, and give up sugar? That was the craziest thing I’d ever heard! I couldn’t give up mellowcreme pumpkins, or corn candy, or rock sugar, or sugar babies, or frosting, or…. Slowly, as in years later, under the influence of the Warehouse crew and the rest of you, those things don’t sound crazy to me anymore. Changing the conversation in my head was just as hard as Jeanine’s 5:15 am workout. Half of a mellowcreme pumpkin is plenty, and a bag of sugar babies lasts me weeks. I still struggle to enjoy vegetables, but joining a CSA forced me to try new ones. Now I even eat vegetables for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner.
Oddly enough, I haven’t lost a pound since I started with Nickie. But, I’ve lost 2% body fat and two sizes. And I am STRONG. I won the stair climbing contest at work, and can do more pushups than my teenager. And last November, it happened. After kickboxing one morning, I had a heart attack in my kitchen. One minute I was talking to my daughter Claire, and the next I felt like I had been sucker punched in the left chest. I couldn’t breathe, and I’ve rarely felt anything that painful. But here’s the best part – there is no detectable damage to my heart. A week later I was back to my normal workout schedule, and feeling just fine. I don’t even have to follow with a heart doctor. My heart was so strong I don’t have any of the lasting effects most people do. I wish my transformation had been quick and easy, but that wasn’t my path. I had to work on my confidence along with my habits and exercise routines. Because I CAN keep up (most of the time!), and I CAN change my eating, and my heart can be strong