Erika, over to you!
Take it from someone who’s been dieting in some form or another for more than 25 years: Heather Fuselier is the best lifestyle/wellness coach a woman (or man) could have, and if you’re willing to do the work, she will change your life. But first, she’ll shut down every excuse — and I mean every excuse — you have for not achieving your goals. That’s what she did for me. The result? At age 40, I’ve lost more than 73 pounds, and I’m 10.5 pounds away from my goal weight.
When I met Heather, I was carrying 224 pounds (an all-time high) on my 5’4” frame. I’d always been overweight, but I was now at a point where my joints and feet hurt constantly, and I was miserable. As a working mother then in my late 30s, I didn’t exactly have time, circumstances or even genetics on my side. I was ready to take responsibility my health and start changing my body, but I didn’t really know where to begin.
With her trademark combination of compassion and toughness, Heather helped me cut through the clutter of diet and fitness mythology (Just take the stairs!) and negative self-talk. First, she helped me clean up my eating and disabused me of the notion that nutritionally bankrupt food qualified as a “treat” or a “reward.”
Whenever I complained or felt deprived, Heather listened patiently, reassured me that the feeling would pass, and then asked me if I’d planned my workouts for the week. It’s not that she didn’t sympathize, because she knows from personal experience how hard it is to ignore the siren scent of waffle fries. But if I was seeking an enabler, I’d come to the wrong place.
When I moved on to complaining about the workouts, she reminded me that a) changing your body through regular, vigorous exercise is supposed to be challenging and that b) I would never regret completing a workout. I couldn’t run for a full minute 18 months ago. Thanks to Heather’s guidance and encouragement, I completed a 3K before my 40th birthday. Since then, I’ve completed a difficult-course 5K, and running has become my cardio of choice. I’m certainly not breaking any time or distance records, but as someone who always thought of running as something far beyond my capability, finishing a 30-minute run — and enjoying it — makes me feel like a gold medalist.
Losing weight hasn’t been the gimmicky, quick-and-easy process I always dreamed of. But even when I didn’t believe in myself, Heather did — and it made all the difference. I am thinner and in better shape than I was at 30. I no longer leave clothing stores in tears or avoid being photographed. Most of all, I like setting a good example for my kids, who now have two healthy, active parents.
When I began this journey in earnest, Heather promised me that the short-term discomfort of pushing myself would be worth it in the long run. She was right, and I can’t thank her enough.
— Erika D. Peterman
Heather's Note: Not only is Erika is a clean-eating wellness champ, she is also one of the hilarious and kicky women of Girls Gone Geek, a highly entertaining comic book blog, as well as the writer of I Don't Read My Blog Either, where she never fails to crack me up with her commentary on pop culture as she sees it. Check her out!