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

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sheri's Story

Thank you for doing this interview and inspiring others to get fit and healthy!
Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born and raised in Ohio.  I never left, my Dad is still living close by to me and my Mom isn't far away. 
Q. What do you do?
A. I am a iSeries Programmer, I develop software for a wholesale company.
Q. You had weight issues as a child, what do you think are the reasons that this happened?
A. I did, from the time I started to walk.  All I remember is I wanted to eat all the time.  My Mom would try to put the cookies in a cupboard way high, but I would always find them and get into them.  I remember when we had mashed potatoes I use to tell my Dad “don't eat lots”.  He still brings that up to this day.  Its quite embarrassing now that I look back at it.  I wish I knew why, my parents were never overweight nor was my brother. 
Q. Do you feel that you were raised in an unhealthy environment?
A. Absolutely not.  Mom lead a clean and well managed house hold.  We had breakfasts, lunch and dinner made for us every day.  The problem was there was so much food, that I never knew when to stop.  Back then it was always said “don't leave anything on your plate”.  I did not except for the vegetables, but what kid didn't right?
I was sick a lot though and the doctors never knew why. They diagnosed me with many things but they never  tested me for Diabetes.  Back then you just never heard about it. 
Q. What was the heaviest you ever weighed?
A. My heaviest I will never forget, 255lbs.  That was when I was getting extremely sick not knowing I had diabetes. 
Q. You had health problems that the doctors could not pin point for a very long time. What were the symptoms? Did you feel as if you were going crazy?
A. Oh my yes!  The problem was it was not symptomatic.  In my early 20's I had signs I didn't know were signs of diabetes.  I drank a lot of water, my husband use to ask me why I was so thirsty and I had no idea.  I developed skin disease called Excema and I felt fatigue, sluggish, foggy-headed and just plain miserable most of my days.
In 1995 I had terrible digestive issues, I had terrible pain in my colon and I got a ultra sound done the doctor (who never diagnosed me correctly) said it was IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).  So, once again I have to live with it no getting better, just take this pill.
It wasn't until 1999 when I tried my hand at running with my husband to try to lose weight.  I developed terrible, crippling feet pain.  The doctors looked at it as a running injury, but couldn't find nothing!  I went to 5 different doctors in 9 months.
I had 12 inch needles go into my spinal column to put Lidocaine in my Sympathetic Nervous System because they thought I had RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy).  To rule it out I had to get this done.  The Neurological doctor that did it said that is was not what I had, and that was all he said. He didn't send me for a EMG (Electromyography) which would have shown it was diabetes neuropathy!
Q. You ended up in a wheelchair for a while. Did you ever feel like giving up?
A. Oh I did give up so many times!  I thought I was destined to be a slave to diabetes neuropathy for the rest of my life.  I had no hope for it to get better.  My first Endocrinologist (specializes in Diabetes) and he told me and my husband was sitting next to me.  “You need to look like your stick man here”, my husband weighs 149 – 151 and is 6'3”.  He's an Ultra Marathoner and never been overweight a day in his life.  I said “I can't get that thin!”, the doctor said “you've got to try Sheri or your neuropathy will never get better nor will your blood sugar”.
So, from that day on I tried and tried, I lost about 30 pounds on my own and it started coming back after I was diagnosed with Hypo-Thyroid disease and to be honest I gave up and went back to poor eating.
Q. What made you think of checking yourself for diabetes?
A. Because of all the research I did during the 9 months of agony going from doctor to doctor, I found that peripheral neuropathy was exactly how my feet felt.  If you look at these definitions, you will see Diabetes connected to it.  When I first saw it I was in denial, I couldn't have Diabetes....so I thought. 
Q. When you finally found out what was really wrong with you, how did you feel?
A. I felt so relieved!!!!!  Even though Diabetes is not something I want, I had an answer and now I can work on improving.
Q. Can you describe what type of diabetes you have, and what has happened to your body?
A. Hmm, well I kind of answered this throughout the above questions on what happened to my body, but the Type of Diabetes I had once again was a fight to get an answer.  At first, the General Practitioner who I saw at the time diagnosed me with Type 2 diabetes,  he was also the one who diagnosed me with IBS in 1995.  He put me on Metaformin (brand name Glucophage) Extended-Release Tablets used in the management of Type 2.
My blood sugar was still very high even on these drugs.  I tested my blood sugar about 8 – 10 times during a course of the day.  I knew something wasn't right, I did some more research and decided he is not the doctor for me.  So, I went to a Endocrinologist and I loved him, he was so knowledgeable!  He did blood work my GP never did and found that I had Type 1 diabetes with Type 2!! 
Type 1 diabetes is known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.  The body's white blood cells mistakenly attack the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells.  We don't know when I actually got Type 1, it could had been when I was younger they say a person doesn't get Neuropathy except when the blood sugar has been out of control for many, many years. 
Type 2 diabetes is known as insulin resistance, unlike people with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes produce insulin; however, the insulin their pancreas secretes is either not enough or the body is unable to recognize the insulin and use it properly.
Type 2 diabetes can occur in anyone, but the top reasons its running so rampant in America today is due to obesity and lack of physical activity.
Q. How did you start losing weight?
A. It wasn't until 2008 when I saw the scale moving up, I was now weighing in at 231.  I pretty much sat at 222 for 8 years.  I could only walk my dog down the street and back due to my feet pain and during those walks I would dream about being thin about being healthy.  The Autonomic Neuropathy that I was diagnosed with in 2006 was wreaking havoc on my digestive system.  Remember when I said I was misdiagnosed with IBS?  This is what I truly had and it had now turned into chronic constipation to the point laxatives weren't enough.  I did not want to lose my bowel function something had to change!!!
One night July 22nd, was the date I was talking to my husband and said “I have got to try something, or I am going to die at a very young age”.  He agreed and supported me 100%.  I made a call to Nutrisystems because I was lazy and did not want to cook. 
I lost 60 pounds in 6 months my goal was 190, but I kept going until I hit 171.  That was too hard to maintain especially once I could start exercising again.
I no longer had Type 2 diabetes, my Insulin intake went from 40 units a day down to 4 to 11 a day!  Truly amazing!  My body is no longer insulin resistant!

Best Day Ever!
Q. Now you are quite athletic, how did you feel when you did your first run?
A. Oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!  I was in serious heaven!  I wrote about it on my blog, check it out here: Motivation for Health and Fitness ~ My Inspiration.
Q. What do you do for physical activity now?
A. I run 4 times a week and I am into lifting weights every day except taking off 1 day a week.  It wasn't until about 4 weeks ago did I take weight lifting seriously. 
My struggles with this left over skin makes me do a lot of research online.  I came across a few inspiring women who lift and found that lifting heavy is the key to burning the fat off, not cardio!
I downloaded a fellow blogger's workout that she has on her blog and modified it for me cause I workout at home, not the gym.  I really dislike it there, the men are selfish with the weights and I don't like it.
Anyways, since doing this for 2 weeks now I have noticed a HUGE improvement in my body.  I have already shaved off ½ inch around my mid-section.  I feel strong, I feel tighter and I am so confident!
Q. What sort of foods do you shop for now?
A. I only eat 6 times a day, and I try to eat whole grains, tons of veggies, fruits for filler food. 
Breakfast usually consists of 1 TB. Of honey, 1 TB. Of Flaxseed Meal (this is my way of taking care of chronic constipation, it truly works!), 1 Zone Bar and ½ cup of Fiber One Cottage Cheese.
Morning Snack is Greek Yogurt with 1 small box of raisins
Lunch can be lots of things, but mostly I will come home from work and make a yummy salad, with a handful of nuts, and grilled chicken.  I always have a Dark Chocolate Vitatop!  These are a life saver for me cause I need chocolate and they are only 100 calories and have protein and fiber!
Afternoon Snack is usually a small Apple.
Dinner well, sometime we go out, but when we don't I will eat Healthy Choice Steamers or Nutrisystem dinners; sometimes I will cook steamed veggies and chicken or fish with sweet potato fries.
Evening Snack is usually Fat Free Hot Chocolate with whip cream and Weight Watcher desert.
I find as long as I stick with these set meals I am good, if I eat outside of this then the weight starts to creep up.
Q. How do you feel overall right this moment?
A. I feel GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!  I've never in my entire life felt as good as I do now at age 42!  My life truly began at 40!  I would never go back!
Q. What sort of advice do you have for our readers who feel like giving up?
A. Never give up!  The answer to life's questions come down to taking care of yourself!  If you eat right, and you exercise you WILL feel better and you WILL lose weight.
Don't ever think your too old to start something either, its never too late to make your life the best as it can be!
You can find me on Twitter and Facebook or at my website Motivation for Health and Fitness!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jason Adams: 1 year later

This is Jason's second interview on this blog. I wanted to interview him because he is a great example of someone who has lost a lot of weight, and he also proved it can be done and it can be kept off.

Q. You have lost a lot of weight in the last year, what is the total so far?

A: Well depending on what day you ask me, this changes. I started at 292 pounds. Now I seem to hover between 175 and 182. But I have really kind of gotten to the point where I don't care. What I mean is, to me, weight is just a number. I am now at the point where I focus on the look. If I add more muscle, or look better, than that's what I care about. If you get to caught up in what the scale says, I think it can have a negative affect on you.

Q. How are you feeling about this dramatic change in your body?

A: Well obviously their is a lot of pride. I am proud of the work I have done. Some people have accused me of doing it in certain ways, but the reality is I did it through hard work and listening to my amazing trainer Danny-J. The hardest part is finding clothes that fit lol. Danny gets on me because I still wear baggy shirts, but really there is a reason. I still have a good deal of loose skin on my stomach. I am self conscious about it. We need surgery to remove it so I can compete. I have worked so hard to get on stage and can't let some skin stop me. Surgery will cost about $8,000. We are trying to raise money A very special woman named Tameka made a website to get donations and I am surprised, but people are donating. So cheap shameless plug here, if you want to help me achieve my goal please donate to this site http://helpjasonadams.bbnow.org/index.php and there is info on how you can also mail donations on there.

Q. What is the next step for your body?

A: Kind of addressed this in the last question. But the next step is find a way to get the surgery and get on stage. I am lucky and seem to grow pretty fast. In one year I think my arms and quads are really good for such a short time, and the rest is improving daily. I have said a million times, and will say it again. Competing for me isn't about winning some trophy or anything like that. People get to caught up in winning and forget to have fun. I would be happy to finish last place. If I can be on stage and look out and see Danny being proud, that's all I care about. Her pride is better than some trophy. So
I guess the goal is get as big as I can, get surgery and get on stage and show the world what a Danny-J client can do.

Q. You just recently went to the Arnold's, how was the experience?

A: Amazing. It was great to see people I had not seen in a year and get some very nice compliments on my transformation. To finally see Danny again and also meet her very cool husband Nate. Also to meet some friends I had not met in person yet. Last year I felt out
of place, this year I felt....actually I knew, I belonged.

Q. What was your favourite moment at this year’s Arnold's?

A: There were some great ones. Spending time with Sandy Wiedmeyer and Debbie Fowler. Finally meeting people I had talked to but not met like Brea Sharron, Stacy Wright, Jillian Reville and Kat Ramirez. But really there is no contest. Best moment was seeing Danny and showing her what WE accomplished in the past year. Got to spend a lot of time
with her and her husband as well as Aubrie Richeson, Matt Faxon and Tiffany and Nate Oertel. All special people and was so much fun to hang out with them.

Q. You have had a lot of success this past year in the fitness industry, with new jobs and new connections. Tell us about it.

A: You know my blog (http://www.promotingwomen.blogspot.com/) was just meant as something where I could thank the women who have helped me. Then I included female MMA fighters to, as that sport is my passion. Never imagined I would have a fan page with over 7,000 followers. I have said, I wanted to be part of the fitness and MMA industry. I didn't wait for my chance, I made my chance. Now I get to cover MMA shows, mainly my favorite promotion, the NAAFS. I am part of the industry I love. And I even think I have built up some respect. I have had people ask me for opinions on their progress and come to me for advice. That means something to me. I am working on my blog becoming a site and eventually plan to do an online radio show. I have so many goals and things I want to do, but my own competing goal comes first. Also, while I am normally the guy complaining about people who are not certified to train, training others, I have two girls, Kala and Lee who I am helping in their own journey to get in shape. I care about them and want them to do well. Also I am helping Rachel Dovidio, an MMA fighter get ready for her fight on April 16th. If you follow the sport, check Rachel out, she is going to be a star (and guys, she is really cute too). So I love the industry and hope to be part of it forever. And I must thank siouxcountry (http://www.siouxcountry.com/) and Fit Gems nation (http://www.fitgemsnation.net/). They helped advertise my blog when I started and to be recognized on their amazing sites really gave me credibility.

Q. Besides bodybuilding, is there any other goal you would like to achieve in the fitness industry?

A: I have this habit of answering each question in the prior question. As mentioned I want an online radio show. I would like to promote shows to one day. I really want to get certified soon and take on more clients. I don't want to be some d-bag trainer though. One who sees clients as nothing more than clients. I want to be like Danny and you Ang, someone who cares about his clients. Every day it seems I have a new goal, and I think with hard work i can accomplish them all.

Q. Is there any foods on your recent diet you can go without? Is there any that you are surprised that you enjoy?

A: Go without? Well I hate fish, but with chili powder I can at least digest it. I refuse to eat oatmeal and cottage cheese. I wouldn't say that there is one I am surprised I enjoy. I think it's more a case of I am surprised I like eating so healthy. To some, the diet we do seems strange, and to me, it probably would have seemed strange to if I was on the outside. But I enjoy eating healthy. I am o.k. eating the same food day after day.

Q. What is your favourite exercise at the gym?

A: Well biceps are my favorite part to train. Everyone knows that, and its my best part. While most would say one of the cooler sounding ones, for me it's just dumbell curls. I get a great pump from them and just love doing them.

Q. Besides bodybuilding, Is there anything athletically you would like to achieve?

A: I would love to fight and am considering it. But the problem is this. People in fitness might not like this, but there is no harder training than MMA training. That is the hardest sport to train for. Harder than bodybuilding. So where do I find the time? Bodybuilding and competing has to be number one for me. So where do i find the time to do both?

Q. Which male bodybuilder in the industry do you look up to?

A: Male? Well you know I follow women more. But there are four I will mention. First, to me Flex Wheeler is the best ever followed by Lee Haney. I am also a huge Branch Warren fan. But my absolute favorite male bodybuilder is P.J. Braun. Pro card or no pro card, if I could pick one person and say I want that physique, it would be P.J.. Plus he is a great guy on top of that.

Q. Who in the industry would you love to meet?

A: Aahhhh, I knew there was going to be that one question where after I send this back to you, I would forget a name or two. This is that question. Really there are many. People I have yet to meet who I consider friends, like yourself, Belinda Hope, Michelle Beck, Genie Sammons, Jill Crean, Victoria Larvie, and there are many more, and please forgive me if I didn't mention your names. It is really hard people.

Q. People recently started asking for your autograph, how does that make you feel?

A: Awkward lol. I mean I am just a guy who lost weight. I don't see why anyone would want it, but yes a few people have asked me to send them a signed photo. It is flattering and I am humbled by it. People seem to latch on to me. People who are battling their own adversities. Danny once said it's because I put myself out there. I admit by bad days. What you see is what you get with me. If you are a jerk, I will tell you you are a jerk. If you are a good person I will tell you you are a good person. But I think my openness and things is something people can relate to. Too many people are eager to say the good, but hide the bad. I don't hide the bad. I put the bad out there for you to see. And I think people like that, they see it isn't always going to be easy, it isn't always sunshine. So I guess if anyone wants one, just hit me up lol.

Q. When you think about how different your body looks right now compared to 1 year ago, what thoughts go through your mind?

A: "Thank God for Danny-J". She is the reason I was able to do it. Yes, I did the work, but I couldn't have done it without her showing me how and believing in me. That's why I got her name and No Excuses as a tattoo. Some people think it's some creepy infatuation type deal. But that is so far from the truth. It's respect. It's appreciation, it's a tribute to my role model. I have John Elway's last name and jersey number on my arm to. Am I infatuated with him? No! He is my favorite athlete and it's my tribute. Same here. Danny is my role model, and it's my tribute.

Q. When are you hoping to get on that stage?

A: I said all along 2012. For that to happen I need the surgery soon. So hopefully that happens. But rest assured, when Danny says I am ready, I will be on stage.

Q. With all the weight loss, what sort of advice do you have for people out there that think they cannot lose all their weight?

A: If my broken down body can do it, anyone can do it. First step, is believe in yourself. It's your body, you can do anything you want with it. Get a trainer, a good trainer, who will help you. Don't settle for someone who just calls them self one. Do your research and find one that fits your needs. Learn about proper nutrition. People said I can't do it, and I did. For so long I wanted to prove them wrong, but really it took time, but I learned it was about proving myself right. Believe in yourself, know you can do it, and do it. Don't expect overnight results and give up when it doesn't happen. It is a process. Anyone can go to the gym pick up some weight and put it back down. But are the doing it right? Not always. Learn proper form, learn everything. Research, go on websites and learn. But go to good sites and read good books. So many of them are not going to always tell you what's right, there are going to try and advance their own agenda. But before you train your body, train your mind. Basically go by what I call BASE. Believers Always Succeed Eventually. There are great trainers out there, and I recommend Danny. You can find her at www.dannyjfitness.com.

Q. Do you have any other advice to help motivate others?

A: I think I covered this last question. I think motivation comes from within. Just know you can do it. If you know you can do it, then you can do it. Pick someone out. Find someone who motivates you. I my case, it's Danny-J. Don't listen to doubters or haters. It's your body, make it whatever you want it to be.

Before I go, I want to truly thank everyone who has supported and believed in me. I do it because you made me think I can do. Specifically Danny-J, Zoa Linsey, Eryn Strickland,  Belinda Hope, Genie Sammons, Heather Kilgore, Sandy Wiedmeyer, Michelle Beck, Trisha Barr, Nichole Long Brea Sharron, Rebecca Gruitza and of course you Angelique. Love you all