From 40 pounds overweight to Triathlete!

Submitted by: Chandalyn Pulmano

Julie's Success Story

40 is the new 20? At the age of 40, I was 40lbs. over weight and feeling defeated and old. The smile on my face never reflected my true feelings. I exercised and dieted-dieted and exercised but everything I took off, I put back on. I have been struggling with weight and body image my entire life. A month shy of my turning 41, my mom passed away at the young age of 64 from complications of pneumonia. She was healthy and full of life and fit for a woman of her age. She walked daily, golfed, and wanted to be active with her grandkids as much as possible. Devastated, confused and drained, I sought refuge in my faith, kids and husband. I realized that I had to start taking care of myself to be the best mom and wife to my family. After my 41 birthday, I had a physical and got all the vital statistics addressed. High cholesterol, overweight, high blood pressure, stressed“.all things that effect every dealing with extra weight. I found myself feeling defeated again, but I didn’t let myself get too low. I started counting WW points and was consistent. My neighbor, Susan, and I decided to start walking our dogs in the neighborhood early in the morning. 3 days of walking turned into 4 days, then to 5 days of walking. We challenged ourselves to walked the route a bit faster each week. I started to feel better and having an accountability partner (who was in much better shape) helped tremendously. The weight started to come off slowly and slowly I was getting healthy emotionally and physically. During that time, I met Chandalyn. I wasn’t seeking a trainer, or anybody to guide and encourage me with my struggles with exercise and weight . I met her through the gymnastics facility that both our daughters attended. We struck up a friendship through being “gym moms”. We talked about our kids and their activities. As our friendship grew and as we learned more about each other, I found out she was a personal trainer and was getting a summer “boot camp” series started for those who could get a group together. I jumped at the chance in our neighborhood. Other neighbors noticed my weight loss and knew Susan and I were walking every morning“others began to join. I encouraged them to join me for this boot camp in my front yard with my new “gym mom” friend, Chandalyn. So early morning June 2008, Chandalyn came to my front yard with 7 ladies ready to be whipped into shape. It was really hard to get started. Many of us were new to this type of workout; one that was being lead in the boot camp style. However, Chandalyn has a way of encouraging us to work to our potential without making us feel overwhelmed. I could hardly walk the next day; my legs were so sore. But as the sessions continued, I became less sore, and I felt stronger and stronger. More and more weight was coming off and I looked forward to what Chandalyn was going to challenge us with the next time. One session of boot camp became two sessions of boot camp. Some participants fell by the wayside, others joined. By the end of the summer, those who stuck with Chandalyn’s boot camp really noticed a difference in body composition, especially me, I had lost 39 pounds since I weighed in at the doctor on my 40th birthday. School started that year and the boot camp ladies still met on my lawn 3 days a week and we had designated leaders leading our camp based on the fundamentals Chandalyn left us. We are STILL 10 participants strong 2 years later; still meet early mornings for a Monday, Wednesday, Friday boot camp session and a Tuesday, Thursday walk of the neighborhood.
A year after boot camp and spending more and more time with Chandalyn, she and Susan persuaded me to sign up for a 5K run. Really? I can’t“but I finished and did 3 more last summer.!!

Along with my neighborhood boot camp mornings, I still meet with Chandalyn for training. I not only attend her All-Sports Academy Boot Camp, but I train with her for fun. She has become my sister, friend, encourager, confidante. This year – Triathlon. Really, I completed an indoor tri at LifeTime Fitness, with Chandalyn at my side. Yesterday, my first Triathlon at Lake Lanier Islands! I’m hooked. I hope to do one or two more this year. If it weren’t for Chandalyn and her sweet encouragement and patience, I wouldn’t be saying, “I want to be a tri-athlete”. Athlete was NEVER in my repertoire, but it is NOW.

Thank you, Chandalyn. I thank God daily for the blessings placed in my life and you are one of them.