Tonight is going to be another very special night in Carol's Corner as you hear another personal story of courage and triumph. You will hear in her own words the story of Sarah Lynn, a member of Carol's Inspiration Station. I so appreciate her being willing to share her story. Sarah told me that writing this has been therapeutic for her and that she has never spoken about her weight openly or positively till now. So welcome to to Sarah's story.
This is Sarah at her top weight of 250.
This is Sarah today at 212. This is her story in her own words with some other pictures along the way.
My struggle with weight was off and on my entire life. Coming from a very tall, fit family, I was always the biggest. My two brothers were”bean stalks”, my younger brother to this day is 6'10″ tall and only weighs 180! My parents were both in the military and were always required to be in great shape. My mother even got certified and taught aerobics classes part-time off and on. They used to make me go to the gym with them when I was younger, and according to the BMI I have always been “overweight “. My parents also used to portion control all of our meals. We didn't have a “serve yourself” style dinner, and sweets were non-existent unless on birthdays. We grew up,without Reese's Puffs, Mac n Cheese, soda…which I am greatful for, NOW that I've seen what it can do to me. In high school and college, I appeared to be a much healthier size, towards college especially, because my eating had been replaced with drinking. I was misdiagnosed with depression several times after leaving home at 17. It wasn't till the fall of 2012 when I switched doctors that they discovered I had a thyroid problem, Graves Disease. This was a huge missing puzzle piece for me and my family. I encourage all the women I've met that have weight loss or weight gain issues to get their thyroid levels checked before anything else, it is so common, especially in women. Between the time I was diagnosed and my total thyroidectomy in March of 2013, I had lost 60 pounds. My heart was working double time and my thyroid was barely working at all. I had to eat every two hours and could barely move. During this time when I was physically very weak, I had fallen and broken my neck, which pushed my surgery date to March. After my thyroid was removed was when my weight loss story really started. It took over two years for my body to ” level out” and for my specialist to find the correct dose of my thyroid replacement drug, and in that two years I went from my lowest weight,168 to a (still shocking) 250. Food was and is and alway will be a hurdle for me. In those two years and well before that, I was a fast food junky! I've worked night since I was 18 years old, and was used to getting a meal on my way into work at 11 pm and on my way home at 7 am. I've learned since then, that the things put in fast foods, make you crave only those things, so it didn't take long for that to be all I had a taste for. And fast food doesn't exactly give you the nutrients or energy to power through a workout, so physical activity just wasn't a part of my life. When I saw that I had hit 250, that really freaked me out, especially in such a short period of time.
Workouts started slow for me in April of 2014. I would go to Planet Fitness with an old friend, and do the weight circuit there with her, and a little cardio( 15 minutes used to be A LOT for me). After a couple of weeks I started to see and feel different, and needed more than the couple times a week she could meet, so I got my own membership. In the fall of last year I had gotten down to 230, and did my first 5K with two other ladies in Carol's Inspiration Station, ( Megan Coons and Christine Bolten)
( insert comment from me Carol, that is my cousin Chris hiding in the back with her tongue out, being the ham I would guess.) That summer I had also started dating someone who has always been incredibly active, and that's been such a huge help for me. He never says no to a workout! That was a big relief to me after cycling through several female gym buddies. It is easier when you have someone to sweat with! Which is why I appreciate this page so much.(CIS)ANYWAYYY, by December of 2014 I was going to the gym 5 times a week at least, and by February I switched gyms to one only a mile from my home! The commute to the other gym was just too much, and they didn't offer any fitness classes.
My new gym is much smaller, but I've had a lot of success there. There are so many aerobics class options, and the class size is small, so I've finally found my group of women to workout with! We all know each other by name, and I've gotten to know 2 of my favorite instructors outside of the gym as well. To keep myself focused, as soon the class schedules come out every month, I make myself a little schedule as well to stay accountable.
I don't have any workout DVD's or a FitBit, so I don't do many posts on the page, but I still get so much motivation from reading how far everyone else is going everyday! For myself I use the Lose It app to track calories and the MapMyWalk app to track any walking I do with my dogs a few times a week. For a brief period of time I was lifting weights( mostly at Planet Fitness), but since I switched gyms and have started taking classes I try to focus on exercises that just lift my own weight( I' ve certainly gotten enough), basic things like push ups and planking. I love aerobics classes because first and foremost, the instructors know so much better than me about what a well rounded workout entails, and also its an hour and then I'm DONE. Some mornings after work at 7 am I'll hit an 8 am class and by 9 am, aside from walking the dog I'll have finished my workout for the day. But mostly I go to classes at night , so I am woken up and energized for my night shift. Sometimes during my classes when we're using hand weights and marching in place, I think to myself ” Is this what the Leslie ladies are doing?” I also use a Daily Yoga app at home, but I don't like to do much more than that outside of the gym or outdoor exercise, because I try keep my home a relaxing place. When I first started losing weight I had a number in mind, but found I was really obsessing over that. I'd weigh myself daily, sometimes multiple times, and there'd be a lot of negative feelings attached to food, mostly guilt. In the last couple years with the help of Pinterest, I've taught myself how to cook healthy meals, and aside from exercise, it's one of my favorite “me time” activities.
We eat out once a week or less now, which is a big change. And when I'm craving something “bad”, I know I can find a healthier alternative with similar tastes. Like swapping out my beloved tortillas for lettuce wraps, or something as simple as milk chocolate for dark chocolate.
My weight loss goal has turned into something without a destination. I'd just like to be the healthiest version of myself, and I've learned it's more of a emotional and mental journey for me. No one else tells me I can't do this, so why should I? I try to push myself as much as I can in classes because I know with Graves Disease, that I'm fighting my own body, and that it really needs the extra push. I might never have the same amount of energy as my peers, but that doesn't have to be an excuse anymore.
I also have to give credit to my furry fitness partners
My boyfriend also signed us up for a Warrior Dash this year, which I'm very excited to cross of my bucket list.I don't have a goal for the event, but I'll just be happy to finish it. We'll see what happens.
Watching my body change has been a real gift. Even when I was a healthier size, I didn't have the muscle I have now, so it really is all new to me! I went from a D bra to a B, and so far am down 3 pants sizes. My piyo instructor has a shirt that I really love, it just reads: STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY. Good note to end on.
So there you have the story of Sarah's journey to date. We all know the journey never really ends, it just enters a new phase. I know this took a leap of faith for Sarah to share her story for the world to see, as she has never really openly talked about it before , but I know this will be a type of healing for her. If this has touched anyone in a special way, please let her know. From my own experience, knowing that you can impact the lives of people you have never even met has had a profound affect on me and it's what keeps me doing what I do and I know it will have the same affect on her. Thank you Sarah from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story and your journey with us. May God bless you each and every day.
Stay tuned for more great personal stories as I recieve them. Till next time , God Bless.