Vivian's Success Story
Why I did it? Reality hit me when I had a heart attack in June, 2010. I was at my highest weight, 200 pounds, and discovered that on the weight chart I was obese which came as a shock to me since most of my life I was tall (5’10”) and skinny.
What? I collect turtles. I embrace their philosophy of slow and steady wins the race. I was 65 years old, thought I was in good health even with the extra weight that I had added over the years. After the heart attack scare, I lost 30 pounds, BMI dropped 5 points, body fat dropped 4 %, my clothes size dropped 5 sizes in one year and nine months and I am now normal on the weight charts.
How I did it: After recovering from heart surgery, I was sent to cardiac rehab for four months where I lost my first 10 pounds and came to realize that I would not stick to my exercise routine at a gym on my own. The machines were boring and in previous experiences in gyms there had been very little personal attention. I never considered myself to be athletic so a dramatic jump into a physical routine that was overwhelming would not work for me.
I tried walking on my own, but did not get results because I wasn’t consistent and I found out later I was really strolling, not walking at a pace to see results. I thought about yoga since I believed that my heart attack was the result of stress as much as a weight issue. I didn’t find the right situation for yoga, but luckily, I did find a personal trainer who has proven to be the best decision I’ve ever made regarding my health.
I started weekly individual personal training sessions and then group exercise classes two times a week at Fun Fitness by Nan in S. Tampa. I soon realized that private sessions with Coach Nan Klater would help me set goals, learn proper form and build my confidence. The personal training included keeping a food journal which also included the amount of water consumed and a description of exercise for the week.
Nan reviewed the journal, weighed me weekly and took measurements periodically. This helped me establish a regular work-out schedule and gave me accountability and support at the same time.
I continued this routine for about 6 months when Nan convinced me to join Joe Abrahams Fitness & Wellness Center at Ballast Point Park where she volunteers to lead two classes per week. I lost 15 more pounds, during the next six months, but was still five pounds away from my goal of losing 30 pounds, so I started private personal training once again (this time with a friend) to lose the five additional pounds to reach my goal.
Hurdles: As I’ve learned, at my age, minor injuries are not unusual. I tripped while walking/jogging, but because I was stronger, I was able to heal sooner and Nan encouraged me to continue exercising by modifying and adapting my routine. When I hurt my neck, she incorporated exercises to strengthen my neck, shoulders, back and chest, always cautioning me not to over exercise or hurt myself. Making the right choices for food has become easier for me because if I exercise I don’t want to negate the results by eating too much or the wrong things. I also believe part of my success with the eating portion of the plan was that I did not expect instant results and did not put pressure on myself to lose weight in a specified period of time. I simply changed my lifestyle. I had read about lifestyle change many times, but this time I embraced it and it worked.
Going the distance: I DID IT! Yes, it was slow and steady, but it worked for this 66 year old retired lady who in my previous life would never have imagined that I would be working out five days a week and LOVING IT!!
My life style change has put the zip back in my life, I feel like I have been motivation for others, love buying new clothes, and surprisingly I enjoy the exercise and look forward to classes. I now appreciate my retirement as I have time and energy for myself and my grandchildren as well as doing the yard work that I find relaxing.
Best advice: Find the right physical exercise for you. The key to my success was finding the right personal trainer. Nan is close to home, affordable, positive and fun. Her class offers variety while moving all parts of the body. She is flexible and makes accommodations for special needs. Being in the “autumn” of my life, Nan is the answer to my continued health.