Laid off? A good thing!

Last summer, I was laid off from my job in the technology arena.  It was absolutely the best thing that happened to me.  How, you ask?  I had worked for 23 years in a job that had become so unmotivating.  I have an expressive personality and was told a few times by my manager… “you are too happy”.  Too happy, I didn’t know being happy was a bad thing.  As jobs were being sent overseas, my job was eliminated.

I was very fortunate that I had 5 months of severance to determine what I wanted to do.  I did know what I didn’t want to do.  I was determined to find a job where I could “be happy”, “be helpful”, and “make a difference”!  I looked at opportunities at the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and others; however, only volunteer positions available.  I have a family and need to make a living.  Hmmmm, what can I do?

One day, I was at my gym with my trainer and wondered if I could be a trainer.  I didn’t think I had the appropriate body type.  I had lost 60lbs, but still no means was I thin.  I asked my trainer, “do you think I could be a trainer?”  She said, “more people will relate to you because you’ve been there…”  We talked for a good bit and she suggested a school, NPTI – National Personal Training Institute.  I visited their website and requested more information.  My interest was sparked, so I made an appointment to visit.  I was in luck their classroom was in Raleigh, only 10 miles from me.

What happened when I got there? I met the lead instructor of NPTI, Alan Wiest.  We sat down and talked, he had such passion for the program and answered every question I had.  I believe we spoke for almost 2 hours.  In our discussions, I felt like this was where I was meant to be.  Everything about it just seemed right.  I submitted my application and deposit the very next morning.

In January 2011, I began class, my journey to become a personal trainer.  We have absolutely the best instructor I’ve ever had and I did earn my bachelors degree.  He teaches us anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, the business side and the practical side of training.  Alan delivers his message with passion; he is easy to understand and gives many examples.  He truly cares about the education of each and every student.   I have been blessed to have him as an instructor and an inspiration.  We also have another instructor that teaches us nutrition.  She is very knowleageble and a joy.  I absolutely love the class, the students, the instructors, the curriculm, and the practical.  I am a few months shy of graduation.  I have enjoyed every moment in class.  I have received an unbelievable education and am SO excited to begin a new career.  A career that will allow me to make a difference in the lives of others… is there anything better than that?

So being laid off… could just turn out to be a good thing for you… as it was for ME!

Why choose a nutritionist?

Why should you choose a nutritionist, you ask?  Well, almost 5 years ago when I decided to make a lifestyle change I realized I probably didn’t have the best eating habits.  If I was REALLY going to change my lifestyle and not just words, I thought I needed a personal trainer for the right exercise regimen and a nutritionist to make sure I was eating properly.  I had tried both sides of the coin before, a diet with no exercise and exercise with no nutritional eating plan.  Well, suffice to say, neither worked very well.  I was going to make a lifestyle change and needed ACCOUNTABILITY.

The day that I found my new gym, I asked if they had nutritionists on staff.  Lo and behold, they had a nutritionist that contracted to the gym.  Woo-hoo!  I was in luck.  I met with her and we settled on a package that worked for me, an initial consult and 4 weeks of reviewing food plans.    I have to admit I was very nervous; however, she was SO gracious and helpful…making me feel comfortable about talking about my eating habits.  She didn’t judge me…”Ew…you eat what?”   She educated me on the right balance of foods and the myths out there.  You need to eat carbs, fats, and proteins in the right quantities she said.  Geez, I thought fats and carbs were bad for you.  She explained there are better choices for each macronutrient then maybe I was making.  After our first session, she asked me to keep a food journal of everything I put into my mouth.  Oh my, would I have the dedication to do so…or would I be afraid to admit what I’m eating?

I went home and set up a food journal in Excel for the next morning.  I began logging everything I put into my body, even a piece of gum I chewed.  She had said everything!  What did I find when I started my logging?  I realized some of my unhealthy choices…chips, sodas, bagels… I was hiding.  I didn’t want anyone to see I was eating unhealthy snacks.  I would eat them on the way to work and the way home and make sure the wrappers were thrown away.  I didn’t want any evidence.  I was ashamed of what I had been doing and wondered how long have I been doing this?   That evening, I took ownership of what I had been doing and was bound to learn how to eat right.  No more hiding, no more being ashamed.

I continued to see my nutritionist once a week with my food journal and we’d count the calories and make sure the balances were right.  Some weeks, not enough protein, other weeks not enough carbs…etc…  Finally, the last week I got it right.  I was eating a balanced diet.  I hugged her and thanked her, she was a saving grace for me.  I learned I could eat nutritously on my own.  When the diet and proper exercise came together, the weight began to shed.  Success was happening.  And, oh did I start to feel GREAT!!!!

So why choose a nutritionist?  Accountability, education, better choices, balance, and the help to make you feel you are capable of making the right choices.  The world of food can be difficult, lots of conflicting stories on foods good for you.  We also all know of all the temptations.   For me, choosing to hire a nutritionist was very valuable to my fitness success.  I hope if you are looking to be a fit individual you will consider a nutritionist.

A personal trainer? A gym? A lifestyle change?

Just One of the thousands of bouldersIt all began in Joshua Tree National Park, July 2006.  What happened do you ask?  Well, I had been an obese adult for the past 15 years.  I worked in an environment where I sat at a desk all day; however, I had always been somewhat active.  I played on a tennis league, went skiing every year, and loved to hike.  I wanted to hike the boulders at Joshua tree, so a friend and I drove to the park.  Yes, granted it was 115 degress…I began to climb the boulders.  I could NOT get up that boulder.  I struggled, pushed, and tried to use my body as leverage to pull myself up.  I couldn’t lift myself up that boulder.  I was very upset, I’ve always been able to climb even being heavy.  I was determined, but finally settled on a smaller boulder which I could get up.  My friend took pictures of me and I climbed down and we drove on to experience the beauty of the park.

Back at the hotel, my body was in a lot of pain.  I could barely move, my muscles were extremely sore.  Later that evening, we had a social event to go to…and I am a social butterfly…normally.  This evening,  I told my friend, I’ll meet you there.  I never went…I stayed in the room secluded and cried.  I didn’t want to be with anyone…just alone.

The next day I flew home…I just wasn’t myself.  I didn’t want to go to work…I just wanted to hide.  I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, I’m usually SO bubbly.   Over the next week, friends called me to go out, I turned them all down.  I sat in my house alone and depressed as I mulled over what could be wrong with me.   As I was brushing my teeth, I attempted to look in the mirror…”Yikes!”…I was scared what I saw.  All I could see was a blob and realized I needed to make a change.

The next few days, I explored gyms…I had requirements.  I wanted a gym that I could feel comfortable in, not on display.  I wanted a gym that had personal trainers that could relate to me.  I knew I didn’t have the dedication to stay to a workout regimen.  Finally, I needed a gym close by to my home.  I didn’t want distance detering me from going to the gym.  I finally found the perfect gym for me!  I walked in and it felt right….I found my personal trainer and my life was never the same.