Sunday, March 21, 2010

Optimal Fitness is Acheived Through the Infinite Power of Your Mind

My name is Karen Brennan and I am Obesity Survivor. In 2005, I was 47 years old in the body of a 54 year old, I was 210 pounds and extremely miserable. I looked at myself in the mirror (naked). That was a very defining beginning of my lifestyle make-over! Our daughter moved across the US to attend University, and when she came home after her first year it was very noticeable that I had gained the "Freshman 20" and she gently told me that I must start taking care of myself. Later on I found out that it was my husband, who confided in our daughter about how concerned he was for my health and well being and she took action with me. Sarah had worked at the local gym during her high school years, and was well liked by mamagement thus I got a great deal on my membership! It was terrifying at first. I wore men's baggy clothes and couldn't look in the mirrors there..they are everywhere! I was intimidated by the enormity of the facility and I was feeling like I was being laughed at at first. It is incredible who people look right through you when you are Obese. It is as if you do not exist and. I soul searched and reached down deep within and continued to go to the gym 3 days a week, no excuses! I changed my diet too. For the first 4 months, I deprived myself of carbs. This was not the right decision to make. Since then, I have become a Certified Fitness Trainer and I now know that your body needs carbs (at least the good ones) for energy.. I lost 20 pounds though and I was making progress and used a rule of no carbs except (non-starchy) Veggies after 3PM. This is my #1 rule for weight loss. In one year, I lost 75 pounds and went from a size 16 + to a size 6 jeans! I have maintained this weight loss for 7 years and counting.  Now I am 56 and have had a rough year with incredible hip pain and I fell into deep depression at times, but I have started up again at the gym after healing through acupuncture. I have had many ups and downs in these past 8 years, such as getting terribly ill with diverticulitis and landing in the hospital in 2010. Just when I thought I was on the right path..the nuts and seeds coupled with stress + dehydration almost did me in! And then it happened again 6 months later. I think it was stress and dehydration related that time, though. Our beloved jack Russell Terrier died in my arms and I was so grief stricken, I forgot about myself...completely lost myself for a bit.
Before I started my weight loss journey, I suffered from back pain, heel spurs, asthma and depression. At this stage of the game, the  apart from the bone spurs and arthritis in my hip from over-training, the Other aches and pains that I have are usually exercise induced and I like that sort of pain (now), my heel spurs are still there because they never go away, but my feet don't hurt like they used to..there was a time where I couldn't walk from the intense pain . My asthma is controlled by one puff a day of that purple disk and exercise is my natural anti-depressant..ask anyone @ the gym! My goal in life is to help others to also change their lifestyle with a sensible program of exercise and diet that is tailored to their personal needs. I create programs of Exercise that is fun to follow and it changes all the time so you don't get bored and also a sensible eating plan. For example if you have wheat allergies, I have been experimenting with Gluten Free recipes that are really easy and yummy. It takes the first step from YOU! It really is not that hard to do this, it is all in the power of your mind. I will list on this blog from time to time healthy alternatives to some of the very fattening and unhealthy recipes that are often presented on television, magazines and newspapers. One must be ready to change their life to begin a program and stick with it and I am hoping with this Blog and my "Long Distance Fitness" page on Facebook that I may inspire some people to do so because it is so worth it and so are you! Take that first step to change your life forever and become a little selfish with your time for yourself. 10 "Secrets" to my success: 1)Embrace yourself and be realistic about changing your life 2)Be Determined to never give up 3) Eat 6, small, well balanced meals a day 4) Take all of the White out of your diet-eat whole grains, raw sugar (no artificial sweeteners), no trans fats, no animal fats other than very lean meats and cheeses. I prefer low fat to non fat. You need some fat in your diet to absorb the vitamins in food 5) Eat less meat 6)Drink at least 8 Glasses of water per day 7) Do your Cardio.Sweating is required. Aim @ burning 200 calories in 20 minutes for a total of a 600 calorie burn at least 4 times a week~choose music with a good beat 8)Believe in yourself and your family will follow. 9)Take Vitamins 10) Use Relaxation techniques to relieve stress..Breathe and Stretch.
Now it is up to you to do this. It is no so easy to do. There are so many obstacles in life. One foot in front of the other and the Power of Now is something that helps me. Remember the past, but do not dwell there. Live for this moment, grasp the beauty of every moment and move forward.
In Great Health and Fitness,
Karen Brennan

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