I had always been active when I was younger. I played soccer, ran track, and was a varsity cheerleader/school mascot, all of which kept me at a reasonable weight through school. However, after I left school and met my husband the weight just came on, and because I had grown up with poor role models in regards to eating habits, I really didn't know how to stop it. At my heaviest I was 293, and in the fall of 2002 I joined Weight Watchers with the encouragement of a friend. At that point I was so depressed and overweight that exercise of any kind was really not an option.
I worked really hard with the WW program and slowly started to see progress. Finally, after about 6 months I decided I needed to move and started doing water aerobics, which was easy on my joints and didn't make me feel like a complete failure (like the gym did). Skip ahead 5 years and I had lost approx. 120 lbs., and was maintaining a comfortable weight of approx. 180lbs, but I knew that I really wanted to get back into running, and was finally at a weight where I felt I could handle. I wasn’t great at first, but slowly I ran more and more, but never really saw any fitness or body changes, however since I didn't really know how to "work out"(other than cardio). I continued down that road for the years, but never felt like I was "in good shape" even though I had mostly maintained my weight loss of for the last 9 years.
While I had continued to run (up to 20 miles a week), I had still seen little change in my physical person over the last couple of years, and unfortunately due to life and work related stress had allowed my bad eating habits take over and had put weight back on for the first time in years. I was unhappy, and for the first time in a decade I was back over 200lbs, and I was appalled at my lack of self-control.
Thankfully I have amazing friends like, Kelsey Hurzel (Kaia FIT Carson), who believed in me, and believed I could be successful at Kaia, and suggested I give it a try. That was 13 months ago, and the change in my body, weight, motivation, self-esteem, and personal overall well-being has been life changing. For the first time in my life I can do a real push-up, I feel strong, and I have confidence to take on new activities and exercises without fear of failure. As before I still love to run, and Kaia has also helped me increase my endurance, and set several new Personal records with my running.
One of the things I realized when I started Kaia was how I had allowed my eating to get out of control, which caused more depression and stress. Having done the WW program for over 10 years I knew how to eat well, I had just simply stopped doing it. With Kaia I was able to get back on track, and having resources like the cookbook helped me by providing a ton of variety and new ideas for healthy eating. Additionally, adding this level of fitness and regularity of workouts (that I simply would not do on my own at the gym), has gone a long way to reducing the amount of stress that I carry around, and often when I feel that stress coming back, the first place I think to go is to Kaia!
My advice to anyone new to Kaia, or hesitant to try is to Do it! Show up every day, and give your best (whatever level that is), and enjoy all of the love, support, encouragement, and growth that comes from being part of this family. Kaia really is a family, and I cannot say enough about how supportive, encouraging, and sincere all of the coaches, and other women are! The level of support and encouragement I have received has been fantastic, and to workout with other woman who don't judge, or criticize, and want to see you be successful is nothing short of amazing!
Seeing how much progress I have made in the last 13 years with my weight, and in the last 13 months at Kaia, and really knowing that I am NEVER going back to that 300lb keeps me motivated. Also, knowing that I am giving my son a lifelong gift of seeing healthy eating and exercise habits keeps me on track. I also make sure to take plenty of pictures and do comparison. Sometimes when you can't look at the actual changes you don't realize they exist. Actually seeing photographic proof of my new found strength pushes me to do more every day!