Talk About It
Lauren Wire: Small and Mighty
I’ve struggled with weight my entire life, but I have always been active. Growing up I played sports year-round, and in adulthood I’m always on the move: whether it’s a group class, a half marathon, or a 12 week challenge, exercise is my ever-present source of happiness and personal accomplishment.
I'm 4’11" (and a half), so when it comes to weight it's a double-edged sword. When I lose 5 pounds it looks like 20, but the pendulum swings the other way: even slight weight gain shows up on my frame pretty quickly.
I’ve worked as a PR professional in New York City for almost a decade: my world is demanding, fast-paced, and constantly changing. I take pride in my work ethic, both in the office and in they gym.
An Era of Yo-Yo
The first time I lost a significant amount of weight was my senior year of high school, which I maintained through my freshman year of college. However, the effects of partying, social events, and academic stress took a toll on my body. By senior year, I was the biggest I have ever been, at just shy of 190 pounds.
At my height, that kind of weight was no longer about aesthetics, it was about my health. I hired a personal trainer, and over the course of the year lost 20-30 pounds. But that was just the beginning of my experience with “yo-yo” weight. Over roughly the next 5 years, I entered a cycle of getting within striking distance of my health and fitness goals, but inevitably wind up derailed. Up and down, up and down.
Breaking the Cycle
My era of yo-yo weight ended in tears. I was in a phase of weight regain, nearing my original highest weight. I sat down with some of my closest friends in New York City, and I sobbed.
“I HAVE to do something different this time around,” I told them. “This needs to stick, I can’t keep doing this.”
Here’s the thing: there are gorgeous, happy, and healthy women of all shapes and sizes. My shift in mentality happened when I realized my weight loss journey was about where I felt happiest and healthiest. It was NOT about a specific number on the scale (even though numbers tend to be important to me,) or fitting into a certain size of clothing. People come in a million shapes and sizes: health and happiness looks different on everyone.
I started working with a personal trainer at the Fhitting Room, powered by my new mentality. I lost 30 pounds, and my next thought was "How do I keep this going? What’s the next challenge?” No more yo-yos.
I completed my first 1/2 marathon in Disney World. I was still a little overweight at the time, which made it more challenging but I did it. That’s what mattered.
Then I ran SHAPE’s all-women half marathon in New York, then the New York City half marathon. “What’s next?”
I hired a run coach with Mile High Run Club. Thanks to her, twelve months later I shaved 33 minutes off my half marathon time when I finished the Brooklyn Half Marathon. During this time, I was also using my Class Pass app to discover fun and unique workouts all over the city. However I needed to find a permanent community, and in January 2019 I stepped foot in Grit City NYC.
I had finally found my tribe in the fitness community: I made friends and relationships based entirely on my newfound, sustainable exercise habits. I wasn’t alone in my journey.
When quarantine began, I was the fittest I’ve been in years: I was down 50 pounds, and keeping it off. Like so many people, the turbulence of working from home, sheltering in place, closed gyms, and general schedule chaos brought on some slight weight gain.
I’ve gained around 10 pounds, but I’m keeping my eye on the prize, reestablishing food habits during this crazy year with expertise of my nutrition coach, and am already down weight. But this just goes to show that a health journey isn’t a straight path at all: you cannot control or predict the future. You can control how you respond, and how you adjust course when you start to slip.
As I reflect on my weight loss/health journey thus far, there’s a recurring theme of “talk about it.” It’s not embarrassing if you need a therapist, a personal trainer, or a nutrition coach. It’s not shameful to seek help in an area of your life that you’re trying to improve. Talk about it.
If you have the resources, I highly recommend hiring a qualified professional to help you reach your goals. Whether or not you can hire a coach, I encourage everyone to find their workout tribe and talk about your goals. Listen to the aspirations and frustrations of others. Share in each others triumphs, and boost one another up in the face of failure.
After all, the journey isn’t a straight line, but it’s a heck of a lot better with the right company.
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