Thursday, June 9, 2011

Intentional Health: MY (long) Story

Most people assume that fitness comes naturally to me, and that I have always been fit. Not the case. An interest in fitness and a desire to be in a state of streamlined health has always been with me, but not the intentional actions that led to that goal.  

As a kid I always thought I was fat, which of course I was not. I would run with my dad, go on crazy diets, and do TV workouts in my living room to lose weight. It never really worked because I didn't have the nutritional habits to use as a foundation for my efforts, and I just didn't have any real weight to lose!  In college I got on the serious fitness kick spending every available moment lifting weights, running, and swimming, but my nutrition still wasn't there and again, I floundered.  It was frustrating and angering. Eventually, shortly after I got married, I gave up. I figured after that many years of working so hard to transform my body into my vision for myself, it just wasn't going to happen.  I actually conceded defeat. It was a divorce of sorts, because I truly loved fitness and exercise and how I felt when I was in that zone. But I felt betrayed by the lifestyle I had given so much of my energy to. I had loved it and it didn't love me back.  Fitness just wasn't that into me.

I don't remember how much time went by, but it wasn't long before I found myself about 40 lbs heavier. Then 10 more. Eventually I was a size 14, heading into a 16, and standing in a store trying to buy clothes and feeling completely defeated. This wasn't the life I wanted. I was tired, bitter, uncomfortable, and most of all I was living apart from my true self.  I had let anger and failure consume me to the point that I didn't even recognize myself; I knew things had to change. No, I had to change.  So I did.

Somehow I found a website called, and I was engulfed in a community of women just like me. Once I decided to start intentionally changing my life it became easier to stay motivated but what really started to come out was my love for motivating. In fact, I got so much joy from helping and seeing others achieve their weight loss goals that not only did it fuel my own weight loss, it was the beginning of my path as a wellness coach.  People began to email and ask me to help them; other women reached out and asked me to be their coach and their source for accountability.  I also met one of my best friends, who has been a sincere blessing in my life.  As a result of my reaching out and intentionally changing my life, I was even featured in First for Women Magazine for my eventual weight loss of about 55 pounds. I thought I had done it - I lost the weight, reconnected with myself, and found a new life passion.  But there was so much more.

Oh, there was more!  I had barely scratched the surface of the power of intentional health. I didn't do anything magical to lose 55 pounds, just intentionally ate less and moved around more (that's not to say it was easy: it took three years because of yo-yoing, gaining some back, and learning some lessons the hard way).  The magic started when I realized that was just step one. I thought, if I could lose weight, keep it off, and motivate others to do the same, what else could I do?

I was a woman on a mission. I got a trainer who introduced me to clean eating and started fine-tuning. I was in great shape and really living in flow. Then, I got pregnant and gained 75 lbs. In January 2006 I took a deep breath and did it all again. I lost the weight again, I had the epiphany again, I learned the lessons again.  That's when I turned into Healthy Heather.  

I'm now a triathlete, half-marathoner, Ultimate Fitness Challenge finisher, Certified Personal Trainer, and just weeks away from earning my Certified Wellness Coach designation.  But I'm not living my dream. I'm living my reality: the reality I finally reached out and snatched back into my life because it was MINE dammit and I was sick of letting it sit on a shelf because I got my nose out of joint over life not being fair.  I didn't win the genetic lottery and wasn't born into a naturally lean and athletic body. I made one of my own, and it didn't happen by accident.

I did it on purpose. I did it intentionally.  You can too.

Now get out there and get healthy!


Stephanie said...

What a wonderful story! Congratulations to you!!

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that you are also a wonderful person and, most of all, one of the best friends a girl could have. :) You're such an inspiration!!! Carole

E. Peterman said...

This made me well up a little. You are truly an inspiration, and a fantastic human being. I thank my lucky stars that we are friends, because you really did change my life.

Debra Bonson said...

thank you for sharing this story, Heather. Wish you could be my wellness coach. I need one :)

Healthy Heather said...

You guys are all awesome. Thanks! Knowing I am part of a community...and that I have friends who inspire me and keep me accountable...makes such a difference. Thanks! :)