Victoria, BC V9E 2C1
I'm going to go way back to when I was a child. I can't remember exactly how old I was but let's say 10 or so? My Dad played softball on not one but two teams and the nights that he played ball became "fun nights" for me and my mom. What a fun night consisted of more often than not was a rented movie, a huge bag of chips between us, some soda and at least one family sized chocolate bar. Each. I don't resent that time, but I do regret that "quality time" became food centred. I was always a chubby kid, even back as far as my grade 1 photo. This didn't help matters much! And although I was energetic I was never interested in organized sports. I'm not very good at them, so of course I didn't enjoy them!! The one thing I always wanted to do was dance. I never knew you could go to a dance class in Victoria and for some reason I never told anyone.
I started getting body concious in about Grade 6. I had a PE teacher at St. Joseph's school who called me Miss Piggy one day when I was running laps. That didn't help! My Mom was also a cake decorator so there was often lots of cake and icing iin the house. I do have a sweet tooth!! I ate lots of cake as a child!!!
In Junior High I started smoking which blew any chance of getting involved in sports right out the window! I remained the chubby girl but I never thought too much about it unless some of my school-mates decided to point it out the way that only kids can! We can be so mean when we're young!
Anyway, off to high school and nothing really changed. I had a great circle of friends and was really happy. I loved my teen years!! Every once in a while someone would say something mean but my friends were more than enough to make up for the occasional jerky remark. I have since forgiven everyone who ever said anything nasty. We were all on our own journeys and looking back I bear no grudges.
Life carried on with it's ups and downs (life in general and with my weight!) fluctuating and levelling out. In the late 90's I decided to try the Weight Watchers diet. You know the one with the points? It worked! In fact, it worked so well that I decided to try to manipulate it a bit. You're supposed to use the points allowed for your current weight. I started using the points allowed for the weight that I wanted to be, which at the time was a nice healthy 155 lbs. That worked really well and when I reached my goal I started chasing "5 more pounds". So I kept going. When the weight loss slowed down, I'd shave off more points. And more. And more. I added water aerobics and hour long power walks every day as well. Soon I was living on about 6 points a day and turning down any invite where I would actually have to eat something I didn't want to eat. I started using laxatives as well. I went for a haircut one day and the stylist told me I had a bald spot on the back of my head. I thought that was so strange, but it didn't scare me the way it should have. Nope, I kept on dieting chasing "just 5 more pounds". They got harder and harder to lose. I had gotten down to 115 pounds and was so tired just from being at work that I'd come home and fall asleep on the couch. I was grouchy and irritable. Friends were making comments about me being too thin. Me??? Too thin?? Oh right! Tell that to a perpetually chubby girl. She won't believe it! It wasn't until my landlady presented me with some literature on eating disorders that I finally started to listen. I decided to let myself gain some weight.
Needing to gain weight was something new for me! What a weird experience! I became good friends with the Tim Horton's across the street. The weight came on quickly and easily. Then I decided to quit smoking as well. This takes us to about 2001 if I remember correctly. You can bet that I gained weight then! Far more than the obigatory 5 pounds too! My weight ballooned back up to over 200 lbs. After my scare with disordered eating though, I wasn't prepared to diet again. I just couldn't go there! I would start to feel anxious just thinking about it. It was a very scary time in hindsight. I started shopping at the plus size stores and decided that I would be better off accepting my fate as a chubby girl. And they had some cute clothes, I wasn't doomed to a life of polyester.
A couple of years later I started to have really small dizzy spells. I finally saw my Dr. about them. He was a new Dr. to me so as we were discussing my family history I had to telll him that one of my brothers (35 at the time) had a suspected minor stroke and my Dad was about to have a quadruple bypass. He checked me out thoroughly and discovered high blood pressure. I was only 30 years old, how could that be???
One of the first things he asked me was how often I was getting exercise. I was embarrassed to say not very often! He prescribed me some medication and ordered me to exercise 3 times a week. When I walked out of that office I was tempted to go directly to Fitness World and sign up. But I've had gym memberships. Lots of them. And never went. In a moment of rationality I decided to look around at Community Rec Centres to see what was being offered thinking I would give aerobics or something a try. When I saw the listing for Jazzercise at Pearkes I was instanstly reminded of Mrs. Burris' Jazz Dance class that I took after school for Grade 7 & 8 and LOVED! I decided to try it and that is when Laura Uppal changed my life. I went for the first time and of course I felt like a bull in a china shop, but it was fun enough to go back. I originally thought if I could make it twice a week, that would be good. That quickly became three times a week, then four, then five. Then I was looking for other places to get that sixth day in, it had become so addicting! I felt amazing and I never really felt like I was working out, I felt like I was dancing. How wonderful!!! And of course, the weight was coming off with what felt like no effort on my part whatsoever!! MIRACLES!!! After going for about a year people started making comments about me becoming an instructor. Surely, I would think, you can't be serious? Laura would throw me a comment every once in a while that was very encouraging as well. My friend Sabrina started taking the steps to teach because she was moving and either had to give it up or bring it to Mill Bay which she has done with amazing success!! (So proud of you my friend!)
A few months later I heard that another of the participants was going to become and instructor and I could go through "workshop" with her so I wouldn't have to do it alone. I decided to go for it. Jump to 6 months later and there I was teaching Jazzercise, the thing that I loved so much!! I started to get know some of the other local instructors and learned that some of them were also certified personal trainers. As my love of health and fitness grew and my interest in the how's and why's of things work and what does work and doesn't and so on and so on I wanted to get more education. In speaking to my friend Jeanette about it she offered just the right amount of encouragement to go for it. I pursued my Personal Trainer certification with BCRPA through the amazing and wonderful Tina Truscott of Body Blueprint (love you girl!!) and have continued with my thirst for more and more knowledge on how to help the people I love and care about (that means you) to lead more healthy and active lives.
I still carry a bit of extra weight, but I have come to terms with that (most of the time, anyway). I won't diet, it's dangerous and the entire industry is only successful when we fail as dieters. I practice nutritional eating habits but recognize that food is a huge part of the enjoyment of life. Who doesn't love to eat? Most of the social thigns that we do are centered around food. And that's okay when you know how to make healthy choices at least most of the time. I have a healthy body, I am strong, I can run and dance and play for a really long time! How wonderful is that?! I feel fabulous, have energy that won't quit and an amazing quality of life. I run occasionally and have completed two half-marathons this year with an eye on a couple more before the year is done. I have met some amazing and beautiful people along the way and would like to turn this into a full-time career some day. I love hearing people tell me their stories and I really love being able to offer some guidance and assistance along the way.
So when I ask you to let me accompany you on your journey and I tell you that I understand, you now know that I really do understand. I've been there. And I'd like to be there for you now.
I welcome any questions or comments. Thanks for reading!
Be well and know that you are loved!
BCRPA - Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Trainer, Gro
Canadian Red Cross Society -
Canadian Red Cross Society -