Why I Got Started
It all started with that awful time of year for any woman. Yup. It was time for my yearly gynecologist visit. Ugh, boy was I dreading it. I knew I had gained weight but when I stepped on that scale and saw my weight was at 148, I died inside. Now you are probably thinking, "148 pounds? So what?" Well, I am only 5'2", so 148 is pretty hefty to say the least and I have a very small bone frame.
I had just turned 38, and my doctor suggested I have some blood work done. That came back with what I considered "old people diseases" and I was not old!
My blood pressure was high, my weight was high, my cholesterol was high, I was pre-diabetic and my doctor was recommending blood pressure pills, cholesterol pills, was talking about medication for diabetes and I was already on Paxil and klonopin!
Holy cow, I left the doctor's office in a whirlwind within my mind. I was actually talking to myself in the car, "What the hell happened to me and how did I get to this point in my life??? AND I'm only 38 years old!"
Now mind you - I had been in and out of the hospital as I suffered from panic disorder, anxiety and depression. So of course with every panic attack I thought "I'm dying" and would rush to the ER.
So many times I would lie in the hospital listening to my heart on that damn monitor.
How many more times did I have to listen to that heart monitor before it scared me enough to change?? How many more ER trips did I have to take before I stopped this self destructive cycle?
(A lot... but one day I was terrified...and made a choice to change.)
So, the next day I went to work and talked with a co-worker about my "conditions." She perked up immediately and told me I should go visit this guy named, Rocco Boulay, at Integrity. I was skeptical at first, and thought to myself, "Really? A guy named Rocco? (ha- eye-roll) A gym is going to 'cure' what ails me?"
So reluctantly, I agreed to go check it out...I really just agreed to go to "shut her up" about it.
I really didn't want to go...that would be like admitting I needed help and I didn't really want to admit that out-loud. (yet)
It kept nagging at me though…maybe I should go…what did I have to lose? It can't hurt to go check it out. Can it?
The path I was currently on was just going to lead me to more ER visits and to be put on more medications...UGH! I wanted to be off the medication I was on!
Something HAD to change...and, well, I guess that change was ME.
How I Did It
Since my conversation with my co-worker...It actually took me a good month to step foot into Integrity...it literally hit me one day as I was popping an anxiety pill - I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Nothing was changing because I wasn't changing.... At that moment I realized the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results.
So, I gathered up my courage and went to the Bedford NH Integrity Location. I was actually the first customer for that location. Integrity had been open in Londonderry NH for many years but Rocco had just branched out with a franchise of Integrity, and Bedford was the second location.
As I walked in I immediately felt like "I should not be here. I'm not fat." but then I laughed to myself and thought,"Umm…yes, you are and you should be here." I was so nervous!
That intimidated feeling left as quickly as it came. I was instantly greeted by a health coach and Rocco Boulay, the founder and owner of Integrity and creator of EZCOACH. They both made me feel so welcome and at ease. I had no feelings of being judged...all they wanted to do was help me get healthy.
Rocco personally gave me a tour of the club, and I explained my "problems" to him - he listened with much patience. I felt like I rambled on for hours! I told him I wanted to lose weight, get healthy, feel sexy again, and be medication free. I wanted to not cover myself up while wearing a bathing suit. I wanted to feel well. I wanted my health back! I wanted my confidence back!
He responded "Ok, here's how." He proceeded to tell me what I needed to do. I laughed and said, "That's it? All I have to do is exercise and eat better?"
He said, "Yep, that's it! We do all the science behind it, so all you have to do is follow the EZCOACH plan and know it will work" so I said, "Ok, sign me up!" So, I signed up and one of the health coaches, Donna Robinson, took me into a private room where they did an evaluation of my vitals and body fat.
My body fat was a whopping 42.6%, which is considered morbidly obese. Yikes, it was worse than I had originally thought and mentally I was glad to be there. Grateful to be there - I think had I kept going down the path I was going I probably would have suffered a heart attack or stroke or worse.
And I'll admit it, I broke down into tears...as in actual sobbing. I felt hopeless at that point once I heard those number. I felt like it was too late for me....Like, I had done to much damage to myself to be helped. But, Donna, reassured me that all my "conditions" could be reversed with proper nutrition and exercise. At that moment I had made a conscience decision that it was "me time" and that I was important. I was important enough, to love myself enough, to make the commitment to get well.
So my journey began. I had my evaluation done, my EZCOACH workout program was created just for me, and I received advice, training, education, and meal planning from the coaches.
I slowly weaned myself off the Paxil and klonopin.
(I highly DO NOT recommend doing this - please get your doctors advise with this)
It was not easy to say the least. I suffered from terrible withdrawals. I had many days with tears and anger but I kept at it. I did NOT give up even though I wanted to many times. It was hard work! It sucked. SO many days I wanted to throw in the towel. But, I kept at it. Kept chugging along.
I was starting to love myself enough to know I had to do this for myself, for my husband, for my kids. I didn't want to become so sick that I would become a burden to my family.
If I needed support all I had to do was call, email, or go down to Integrity and someone was there to support me in one way or another. Whether by the health coaches standing near me as I worked out, or just listening, or even a hug; they supported me 100% with what I was going through. I'll say it again, "It was not easy". But it's totally worth the reward at the end!
Now it was time for me to have my 8 week program update. I was so nervous, but excited to see how well I did. I kind of knew I was doing something right because people were commenting about my weight loss and they were also commenting that I looked refreshed and not as tired.
In 8 weeks, my weight was down to 135 and my body fat was down to 32%. I screamed with sheer delight. In 8 weeks! Only working out every other day, I had dramatic improvements! The numbers were in. I saw results!
Also, I was completely off my meds (even though I was still suffering from withdrawals), I wasn't on blood pressure meds or cholesterol meds and I didn't have to start taking insulin!
By joining Integrity I have actually saved money. No more meds meant no more co-pays to the doctor's office, and no more co-pays for the drugs!
I had my blood work redone a few months after my 8 week evaluation and all of my blood work is completely within the normal ranges. Amazing, exercise and good food choices were my saving grace. Imagine that?
With my new found education on food, health, and wellness, I can honestly say that I am making better food choices, which have resulted in my children and my husband eating better, in return; it has caused them to be more conscious in their eating habits as well. Live by example!
Where am I now? I'm 46, Weight 106.3, Body Fat 18.1%. No medications what-so-ever. All blood work within normal ranges.
I feel incredible! I'm more energetic and I can complete tasks in less time. I look refreshed and 10 years younger. I feel sexy and confident again! My husband...has been a huge supporter of mine and reminds me daily of how proud he is of me and the progress and changes I have made in my life...in our lives.
I could not have done it without the support I received from Integrity, my family, and my will to not be afraid of change.
In the end though "I" had to make a choice, did I want to live a healthy, quality-filled life or did I want to be always tired and a slave to medications?
I know I definitely made the right choice in taking charge of my own health. I choose to live healthy! I choose not to be a victim to the pharmaceutical industry or the food industry. I choose to educate my children to live the best possible life.
I choose H E A L T H Y!
My choices changed my life so much that I have become a Certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach Advocate so I can help other people feel as fantastic as I do!
Thank you Integrity for introducing me to the EZCOACH system and Thank You for helping me love myself again.