New Year; New Beginnings

How many years have you set goals before the New Year to lose weight, get fit, or take an active vacation?  How many years did you get to the end of the year weighing the same or more, being in worse shape, and “vacationing” at your desk at work or worse, staying home while your husband took active vacations?

This year can be different like it was for Active Souls member Vicki Jensen.  Last New Year’s Eve as I celebrated 2016 with Vicki and her husband Scott we started talking about Active Souls and our upcoming programs (my favorite topic!)  Vicki was very curious about the Take Down Challenge* because she is competitive and wants to win in addition to wanting to lose weight. 

Vicki’s kids are grown and living on their own, she and her husband had downsized to a new home, and she was ready to take care of herself.  I’ve known Vicki for a number of years and she is a person who will do anything for you; sometimes at the expense of herself.   I want only the best for Vicki; she has been there for me at some of my best times and some of my lowest times.  So when she was convinced the Take Down Challenge* was for her, I was very excited to be able to help her.

Vicki joined the challenge and it was a challenge!  It is a new way of thinking about food and eating.  There are guidelines, which take some getting used to, and eating on a schedule was new to Vicki.  She never ate breakfast and sometimes skipped lunch.  Fortunately she had the support of her husband and they started doing this together. 

In January I invited a few friends of mine to Active Souls on Sunday afternoon to do a training ride after the gym was closed.  Scott and Vicki came along for the workout.  Vicki had just started the challenge and wasn’t able to finish. She attended the twice-a-week workouts from the challenge and would walk on the treadmill at Active Souls after dropping her husband at the train.  This was the most consistent she had been at exercise in years.

Things started coming together for her.  She was consistently losing weight and her clothes were fitting better.  After a few weeks, exercise didn’t seem like such a chore. She was looking forward to an upcoming cruise where she’d be able to fit into clothes she hadn’t been able to wear.  

Vicki won the challenge with an overall weight loss of 16 pounds and many inches.  I was thrilled.  But with the upcoming cruise and the “all you can eat” options Vicki would be tempted with, I was apprehensive.  How would she do?  Would Scott still support her with all the options available?  Did Vicki have enough momentum to keep the good habits and not slip back into old habits?

They came back from the cruise and Vicki was very proud to report she took the education from the Take Down Challenge* and used it to make better choices than she would have in the past.  She was aware of portion sizes and how to combine foods to make a meal.  She did treat herself but she prepared and didn’t over-indulge.  She gained a few pounds on the cruise but she was back to her pre-cruise weight in no time.

Over the summer Vicki remained committed to her weight loss goal and she has now GOTTEN RID OF over 50 pounds since New Year’s Day 2016 – 1 year ago.  She rode with her husband in the MS-Ride, she accompanied him to a ½ marathon running race in Michigan where she finished her own 5K race, and she participated in another bike ride, the Apple Cider Century.  She is at Active Souls several times each week with her BFF Debbi who she met while doing the challenge. 

There have been others that have lost weight with the program but I am personally involved in Vicki’s story.  She has shared her progress and her struggles with me over the past years and I couldn’t be more proud of her.  She has tried many other things in the past from Weight Watchers to Isagenix to Boot Camp and they have all worked – for a while. 

One of my favorite moments of the past year was going to Jayne, a boutique in La Grange, on an Active Souls shopping night.  We were celebrating the conclusion of the Little Black Dress Project and we were trying on dresses and everything else Jayne sells.  Vicki was smiling from ear to ear in the dressing room because it all FIT!  I have never seen anyone so happy trying on clothes. 

Vicki shared with me one thing that I hope she commits to doing.  She said, “I want to tell women 10 years younger than me to lose the weight.  Do it now and don’t wait as long as I did.  Do it for you!”

As Vicki sat in my office the other day with her legs crossed she commented, “A year ago I couldn’t do this!”

What will you achieve this year?

* The Take Down Challenge is now Balanced Habits Kick-Start