I found my Melanie by chance. Thank heavens for blind dumb luck. I had no idea what kind of gem I'd stumbled upon...well, maybe a little...but it would take 9+ years to figure out just how important she would be in my life.
It was June 2004, I had just gotten out of the army, & I had no clue how civilians kept in shape. What was the test to see if you were or you weren't fit? I'd always had push-ups, sit-ups, & a 2-mile run to tell me if I was in or out of shape. But what now that I was leaving the military lifestyle. How would I know if I was up to snuff in the game of life?
I sat down with her for a "getting to know you meeting" and the first thing she showed me was a picture. Of her. At her highest weight ever. I couldn't believe it. Here was this tiny little 130-some pound girl in front of me not trying in the least to hide her heavy past. I was blown away. I'd never encountered such bravery & honesty in my life. Not to mention she owned up to the fact that even though she'd lost the weight...she still loved Taco Bell as much as she ever did...she had just learned to manage the cravings better. Well...most of the time.
"WHAT?!" I thought. "This girl gets me!!"
I didn't need to know anything else...I hired her on the spot.
We worked together for a few months that year before I moved away. Mostly I just used workouts to up my Ben & Jerry's intake without gaining weight. I wasn't trying to be a super model. Wasn't working out just a tool so I could eat more of what I loved (ice cream, chocolate, red wine, & anything covered in cheese)?! I vaguely remember her saying something about nutrition...but it basically fell on deaf ears. Green smoothies & protein bars were for gym rats. I was a normal person.
Whoa. That actually made sense. I had basically thrown away this really valuable tool I had access too. Uh...why?! I needed a do over.
So I called Melanie (who I'd stayed friends with thanks to the miracle of Facebook!) and we started working together again. Only this time...I took all her nutrition advice.
It was hard for the first 6 weeks. REALLY hard. But I did it. And eventually, I started seeing results. And the more results I saw...the more I wanted to keep doing it.
I felt better than I ever had and found that eating healthy was a challenge...but it was a FUN challenge. In fact, the food tracking app I was using (My Fitness Pal) made it almost like a game. How much could I eat within my daily calorie allotment and still lose weight?! It was awesome!
WHAT?! I didn't believe in me...but she did. And after 9 years of watching her be an amazing girl who lived what she taught, I suddenly knew she was right. That "YES" was all it took for me to believe in me too.
So we trained. And trained. And trained. And in May 2013 I completed my first 70.3 Half Ironman race...with Mel cheering me on at the finish line.
I sincerely hope everyone can find a Melanie. It may or may not be a personal trainer...but it is DEFINITELY someone who pushes you beyond your limits, makes you see what you are capable of, and on those rare days when the world really is too much, will split a dessert with you so you don't ingest a boatload of calories from depression eating all by yourself.
And if you're lucky enough to have a Melanie like mine...she'll kick your ass like nobody's business in the gym the next day...because she loves you that much.
Curious how to find a personal trainer to help you on your journey? Here's some advice from Mel & me on how to approach that first meeting to make sure you're picking a good one!
- Who are YOUR "Melanies"...the people who bring out the best in you?
- What can you do to trust yourself more ('cause that makes it a whole lot easier to trust someone else)?
- What dream are you ready to share with someone you know will encourage you to GO FOR IT?!