In 2009, when I was diagnosed with having Type 2 Diabetes, I viewed it as just another ailment. Another medication to add to my list. Every three months I would see my doctor and hear the same story: Lose weight through diet and exercise. Over the years, I’ve tried various diets and fitness routines, losing a few pounds only to gain them back. In December 2014, my lab work came back and it scared me. That’s when I decided to make some changes in my life.
My weight loss journey began on January 10, 2015. I read about the Y’s Get Fit Challenge in the program guide. I was not a member at the time but decided to become one and sign up for the program. On the first day of class, I was a bit nervous. I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision. But our instructor, Julie Miller set me at ease, and I made quick friends with other members of the class.
I did not know it at the time, but this program would change my life forever.
The Get Fit Challenge class was incredible. The program includes weekly weigh-ins, an education session on nutrition and exercise and, lastly, weekly group workouts. I knew I had to be willing to change if I wanted to improve my health and have a better life. I made the decision to fully commit to doing what Julie said from day one of the program.
Our first nutrition session focused on the diet plan that we would be following. Julie discussed the Paleo diet in detail and gave us the option of going “all in” from the start. A few classmates and I decided to go all in from day one.
I’m not going to lie, the first three days on the diet were rough. My body was going through a detox. I had a dull headache and people around me told me that I was a bit “crabby”. I questioned if I would be able to follow the diet, but each day got better. I noticed that I felt full throughout the day, and was not starving between meals, which was different than other diets I have tried in the past.
I was nervous when I weighed in for the second week, but was pleasantly surprised when the scale said I had lost six pounds. I kept following the diet and the following week I had lost another seven pounds. A couple of weeks I had small weight loss numbers, sometimes only half a pound, but in my mind, it was still a loss and not a gain!
Our first workout, Julie led us in an AMRAP (“As Many Reps as Possible” high-intensity interval training) style workout and I was scared. I honestly did not think that I would be able to finish. I was using muscles that hadn’t been used in a long time. I came home from that first workout and could barely walk. I wondered if I would be able to continue the program and if my body would hold up. It took me until Monday before my legs felt normal, but again I decided to keep moving forward with my commitment to Julie and her program.
Each week brought a new workout. One week Julie introduced TRX Suspension Training. I had never heard of it before. I wondered how it could be used for a workout. Julie showed us all the different uses of the straps, and how they can be used to target specific muscles, and I actually enjoyed the workout.
Last week was week 10 of the 12-week program. I had a doctor’s appointment the morning of our Saturday class, but I decided to swing by the Y first and check in. I explained to Julie that I wouldn’t be attending the full class, but I at least wanted to weigh in. Julie replied; “Now that’s commitment!” The scale showed I had lost 3.8 pounds from the previous week. To date, I have lost a total of 28 pounds following the program.
The weight loss is one benefit of the program, but I have seen improvements in other areas. I routinely check my blood sugar throughout the day, and I have seen great improvements in their numbers. I’m waiting on the lab results from my recent doctor visit, but I have to say this is the first time that I’ve ever seen my doctor happy with my progress.
My blood pressure was at an all-time low. Depending on the lab results, my doctor stated that he might take me off one of the diabetic medications and possibly my blood pressure medication. He may also reduce the dosage of another maintenance medication. I have a renewed sense of confidence and commitment as a result of the program, but I’m not done yet. I’m going to continue following the program and work towards meeting my goal weight that my doctor has set for me.
I share my personal story to encourage other C.W. Avery Family YMCA members that are looking to make changes in their life to take the Get Fit Challenge. I owe a big thank you to Julie Miller and the rest of my friends from the class for helping me change my life for the better.