Welcome to my blog, all about inspirational people with amazing stories to share and who have fought their way to their goals and dreams.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mitchie's Story: A Future Bikini Model in the Making

This is Mitchie's story. She went through the sudden loss of her mother, heartbreak and depression, but never forgot her goal to compete in Bikini.

Q. Where are you from?

 I'm from Long Beach, Cali.

Q. Did you play any sports in school?

In high school, I played basketball for 2 years. I tore my ligament in my left knee during a game and didn't    play since my injury.

Q. Did you always have a weight problem?

I didn't always have a weight problem. I was an active kid and in high school, loved playing sports and being outdoors. After my sports injury, I was less active. During my college years was when the weight began to pile on.

Q. What started your emotional eating in your 20's?

My emotional eating began as a coping mechanism from stress. I had a hard time managing my time at work, plus going to school full time and maintaining a long distance relationship. Ultimately, I neglected myself for the sake of others. I was oblivious to the damage I was doing to my body and mental health.

Q. Did you realize you had a problem that you needed to overcome?

Yes. I realized I had a problem with my weight in 2001 when I saw my pictures from my vacation to Hawaii. My friends and family told me I gained weight but I brushed their comments off. Then one day as I was looking at my pictures, a light bulb came on and I saw what everyone else saw in me. An overweight girl.
                                                                     Hawaii Trip

Q. When did you decide enough was enough and started losing weight?

I decided in the winter of 2001. I realized I didn't know how to eat healthy, what proper portion control looked like, how to eat physically vs' emotionally, how to read my body's hunger needs and how to work out. I began by going to Weight Watchers and learned portion control. Which was the best education I ever received. From there I began to educate myself and learn along the way.

Q. What were the tools you used to help you with your weight loss?

My tools were my armor. Weight Watchers, a gym membership I invested in, new sneakers and accountability by journaling my foods I ate and my workouts.

Q. You started losing motivation until the tragic loss of your mother. How did her passing open your eyes to how important healthy eating and exercising is?

I was able to keep my weight between 140-150 from 2002-2007. But the summer of 2007 when my mom passed away and the few months after, I weighed in at 160 and stayed at that weight until 2009. In dealing with her death, the grief and the many emotions I had during this time, my eyes opened because I began to see her death as something that could have been preventable. My mom passed away when she was 60 years old. She had a minor heart attack 3 months before her passing. And when she passed away, she suffered 2 major heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes and pneumonia. I remember the doctor always talking to her about proper nutrition and exercise. My mom didn't follow any of the doctors advice. I realized then that I didn't want to have those same illnesses that I was headed towards at my weight. Even being at 162, July 2009 I turned a new leaf, and committed to having a fit lifestyle. Not a temporary weight loss, not a goal to be fit for a wedding or event. I decided to invest in my life and love myself completely. Today I weight 133 and 23% body fat. I want to get down to 10-15% body fat, compete in figure and bikini competitions and continue to challenge my body.

Q. When did you start working out?

Although I began working out in 2002, it was cardio and light weights. I didn't have a strict regimen. I would say that in 2009 when I committed to being serious about my physique, I began my journey.

Q. What do you love most about working out?

First of all, I love the sense of satisfaction of seeing the sweat after an intense cardio session or heavy lifting day. It's satisfying! I love challenging myself to think mind over matter and push harder on my last set or run another 5 more minutes. Ultimately, I love that by each workout, I have bettered myself physically.

Q. You went through more tough times with a recent divorce, how did you stay on track?

I must admit, while going through the divorce, being at the gym was my sanity. It was my therapy. There have been MANY cardio sessions where while I was running I literally cried because as I ran, I processed my thoughts. And in my thoughts, I came to realize certain realities. I ran and thought through my personal failures and disappointments. Little did I realize, while I spent time at the gym, I found self acceptance for myself.  I learned to love myself completely. So in going to the gym, the workouts helped me stay on track mentally for me first. It's quite the opposite in that I didn't go to the gym to stay on track during a tough time..rather the gym saved me to stay on track. :) I hope that makes sense. I depended on the gym to help me with my tough time.

Q. What are your goals in the future?

My personal goal is to get to 10-15% body fat and face the stage. I want to compete in figure and bikini. I'm not the type of girl to be front and center. I'm putting myself outside the box, out of my comfort zone and going for it! Another goal of mine is to understand how to diet better and to ultimately inspire others to a fitter lifestyle both mentally and physically.

Q. How is your motivation today?

My motivation is stronger than ever! I keep in touch with many fitminded people and within the community it helps me to stay motivated. I really want to achieve a physique i've never had. One day when I see my six pack, it will be a milestone!

Q. What words of encouragement do you have for those out there that are willing to give up so easily?

Don't give up! YOU are worth the investment. Go to the gym and workout because you value yourself and not because you don't like what you see in the mirror.

Q. Any other words?

Aside from the description I gave before, I want to also say that from what I've learned, patience and consistency are very important in reaching our weight loss goal. It takes time and not overnight results. And the mind is more powerful than you think. Let your mind tell your body what to do. Don't let your body tell your mind! Louisa May Alcott once said, "I'm not afraid of the storms for I'm learning how to sail my ship."  In your weight loss goals, don't be discouraged or dismayed at the hurdles that may come your way.  You are learning along the way and will be able to navigate your way in time.

Thank you!

Mitchie Sarmiento

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Colleen's Inspirational Story

This is Colleen's story, from very unhealthy and on medication for so many problems to happy and medication free! This can be done for everyone, if you think otherwise please read this story.
Q. Where are you from?
I am from Boston, Mass. I have lived here all of my 27 years :)
Q. Where you active in school?
 Not really. As a child I played basketball in middle school I did not do anything. in high school I did color guard with the marching band. I never really played any sports or was really physically active.
Q. What was your favorite sport?
Q. Did you always have trouble with your weight?
Not until about 11th grade. I began to just stop taking care of myself and not pay attention to what I was eating. In college I gained about 10-20 lbs a year and it just never ended. Growing up I was pretty healthy because my mother cooked all of our meals and we ate healthy. After I moved out it was just a free for all and the more I worked the more I let my health slip.
Q. You have a few health problems, tell our readers about it.
I always had health problems growing up. This is why I was never motivated to work out. I was always told "you can't do this and that". I had asthma, hypogammaglobulinemia, rheumatoid arthritis, atrial flutter, and celiac disease. I was on IV treatments until I was 19 years old for the immune disorder but since then I have gotten it under control. My arthritis is so much better since losing 64 pounds but it still is painful some days so I do take glucosamine and fish oil supplements. I have come off all of my other medications now and I feel better than I have ever felt in my life! I was taking 5-6 medicines a day.
Q. When did you decide that you needed to take control of your health?
What 25 year old has a pill box to keep their AM and PM pills? It was when I became a mom that I realized that I had needed to get healthy to take care of my daughter. I started looking at the statistics of obesity especially in children and made her healthy habits a top priority. I knew I had to be healthy right along side her to make sure to set the good example. I hope one day we will be running marathons together!
Q. You had a slip up in your weight loss battle, how did you motivate yourself to keep going?
I have been trying to lose weight for 3 years. I always would start something and never finish. I would lose 10-20lbs feel good and slack off and gain it all back and more. This time I just told myself that I have to commit to get healthy and make a lifestyle change. I do not talk about it as a diet because for me diet is a short term solution and sounds restricting causing you to be tempted to treat or make you feel as if you are depriving yourself. Committing to getting healthy and staying that way will allow it to last a lifetime. My daughter keeps me going I am always reminding myself she needs me. Also looking at progress pictures makes me want to keep pushing and reminds me of how far I have come.
Q. How has weight watchers helped you?
Weight watchers opened my eyes to portion control and calorie counting but more importantly that you can eat whatever you want just in a healthier way. There are no special foods you need to buy, no yucky shakes or anything. It just teaches you how to eat healthy and maintain it for life. It also gives you a live support group at meetings every week. Interacting with people who are going through the same challenges as you is really motivating and keeps you determined to keep going.

Q. How are you feeling today?
Great! I got in a good workout tonight and weigh in day is tomorrow and I did well with my eating and work outs this week so I should be getting good news!
Q. How is it like to currently be on no medications for your health?
AWESOME!!! First of all it saves me $50 a month! Secondly I am more energized and feel healthier than I did when I was on them!
Q. How are your eating habits now?
Diligent. I eat mainly fruits and vegetables and lean protein. I try to avoid carbohydrates and sugar. I have learned what my body responds well to and what it does not. Having Celiac disease has forced me to make better choices but also poses a challenge because many gluten free prepared foods are high in calories and fat. I cook everyday and we only eat out 2x a month. This has helped a lot.
Q. How do you stay a positive role model for your child?
I just keep reminding myself that she needs me. When I look at her it makes it all worth it. I know one day she will be working out beside me and I cannot wait till we turn it into family fun to be fit!
Q. What is your favorite work out now? Kettle bells!
I discovered these recently when Jillian Michaels released her new Shred It With Weights dvd. I never knew much about them but I love it so far and plan to keep incorporating them into my weekly workout routine.
Q. Do you have any words of advice for those out there that want to give up?
When you think you want to quit just look back at the reasons why you began and ask yourself if any of it has changed. Know that when you stick with it and push through the challenges you WILL succeed and you can do this. There are tons of people and resources out there all for free just waiting to help! No matter how many times you have a setback and no matter how large or small it is, ALWAYS get back up and keep going. The new day always comes and it is never to late to begin.