Consistency Helps Dawn do Anything—Because She Can!
This year at Fitbloggin’ I roomed with Dawn 1 and Dawn 2. (does that make me the Cat in the Hat?)
I was impressed with both of their stories. They both embody what it means to make major life changes and never give up.
Today I’m sharing Dawn 1′s story as one of Your Inspiring Stories. I’m totally impressed with her! She is an amazing, kind, caring individual. She’s a wife, mother and caring aunt (raised her nephew).
Along with that she’s a walker, a blogger and a queen (seriously, she has a crown and all!).
Be inspired by Dawn’s story… one step at a time, she’s doing it!
Janet: Tell us a little about yourself.
Dawn: I’m 45 yrs old, married with 3 children. I live in Maryland and work as a mechanical engineer for the past 24 yrs. I’m an optimist and I try to make the best of every situation.
In 2007 you decided to make some changes to your life, why?
I had tried to make the “weigh loss” change many times in my life. I remember going to Ocean City, MD in June of 2007 with my family. I weighed in around 350 lbs at that time (378 lbs at my highest). I remember riding a surrey there on the boardwalk with the kids. I just remember how wonderful it felt to be out on the boardwalk hearing the ocean in the sunshine with my kids. I turned 40 on that trip too and felt like life was going by.
After coming home I kept thinking about it and about a month later I remember writing to my online friends that I was “willing” to try again. A few weeks after that I attended a Dr. Oz seminar in DC and I took away that 30 mins a day of exercise could change my life. So I went home and the very next day I walked out my door and down the road 15 mins and then 15 mins back. I continued to walk everyday after that and the weight started coming off.
It’s hard to make changes, how did you do it?
Really my change started about a year before my Ocean City trip when I started seeing a therapist. I didn’t go for weight loss, but I went for many other things in my life… my mom had cancer for the second time, my 17-yr old cat was dying, I was having problems with my oldest (my nephew) and my son had an eating disorder. I think it helped to open up my past for me and I started to let go of my abusive childhood.
In the beginning I just made the promise to myself I would walk EVERYDAY. I made a bet with a coworker that I could walk 100 days in a row. With food, I just stopped eating sweets at first and tried to eat more whole foods. I modified my family’s favorite recipes to make them healthier too.
I also joined TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) so I had some accountability for myself. I also told everyone what I was doing. So often in the past I would keep weight loss to myself but I realized that was just telling myself I thought I was going to fail. So this time I was telling everyone and it made a big difference.
Also at the Dr. Oz seminar there was a trainer there named Joel Harper and I had bought his DVD. Joel had given everyone his email address, so I emailed him when I couldn’t do his DVD. We started emailing every week and he really helped keep me motivated.
His favorite word was “CONSISTENCY”.
I felt like I had put so many things in my life to push me forward, that I couldn’t fail this time. Plus so many people knew and I didn’t want to let anyone down. I was always good at not letting others down. In the beginning it was the help of others knowing that pushed me forward till eventually I pushed myself for me.
Is there any certain situations/events/
circumstances that could cause you to slip back into to your previous habits?
I found that anxiety is my big kryptonite and it seems like so many things cause me anxiety. I also think obesity and depression go hand in hand. I’m not sure which comes first, but I had a psychiatrist once tell me all obese people were depressed. I didn’t want to believe her as I always thought I was a happy person. But as I’ve went through this journey for myself I’ve realized that yes, at times I do suffer from depression. It’s the anxiety though that seems to throw me into the old behaviors the most.
If so, how do you counteract that?
Therapy has been a big key for me, so when I’m really struggling a lot I go for a “tune-up”. Usually I see my therapist about once a month or every other month now.
Walking also brings me a lot of joy and helps relieve depression and anxiety for me. I have a road near my house I call “my road” and whenever I’m struggling emotionally, that’s where I go. It’s almost instant that when I walk down that road my emotions come to the surface and either through smiles or tears (or both things) they are washed away.
Writing also helps me a great deal. I blog at Fixing Myself Happy. I think just writing out my feelings is so therapeutic for me.
What goals have you reached that you didn’t know if you could?
Since I’ve spent almost my whole life morbidly obese (350 at age 15) I really never thought I could overcome my obesity. So setting weight loss goals was really never something I thought possible. But when I started losing weight this time I set some goals.
My first was to lose 100 lbs and take my family to Disney World. I wanted to ride all the rides and act like I was 5 :) I reached my goal in Aug 2008 and In June 2009 we went to Disney.
My next goal was to lose 200 lbs from my highest weight and be the Maryland TOPS queen and to win a trip to Nova Scotia to compete for international queen. For those that don’t know what TOPS is… it’s a non-profit weight loss support group similar to Weight Watchers, but it’s only $28 a year. What I love about it is your chapter really becomes family :) So my chapter and my sweet state coordinator (who is in my chapter) rooted me on every week and in December of 2009 I reached my goal and in April of 2010 I got my TOPS crown.
I wanted my next goal to be a physical one, so I decided to run a 5k. I never thought I could run but in June 2010 I ran my first 5k but soon realized my real love was walking so I decided to walk a half marathon, I accomplished that in Oct 2010 with my husband who has lost 130 lbs during my journey too. Then I did another half in Oct 2011 with Mike and 9 of our TOPS folks.
What goals do you have for yourself in the future?
I had hoped to walk a full marathon next week in Baltimore but I just didn’t have the walking speed I needed to complete the marathon in the time limit. I also found out my mother has cancer for the 3rd time. So Mike and I will do another half together next Saturday. A full marathon is still a goal in my future.
I really believe I will accomplish it because if I’ve learned nothing else during these past 5+ yrs it’s that “I CAN DO ANYTHING” if I want it enough and work hard enough to accomplish it.
What does a well-lived day look like to you… or in other words, if you knew you were dying tomorrow, what would you do today?
Boy, that’s a big question, I know I would want to spend it with my husband and 3 kids and I would want to spend it outside. I would love if I could hike through the hills but also wade in the ocean :) I would want to laugh and convey to my family just how much I love them.. .
Did you catch what happens when consistency is the key? You can do anything! I love that concept which Dawn’s story illustrates so well.
What area of your life do you need to apply some consistency?
Leave encouragement or questions in the comments for Dawn.
You can also connect with her on her blog, Fixing Myself Happy and on Twitter.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*More of Your Inspiring Stories
Chris Kaag—Doing What He Can, Because He Can!
Troy Roland—Hockey and Running, Because He Can! Running at Age 72 and Age 84—Because They Can!
Living Each Day Well–Because She Can
Running Truly is for all Ages Michele Lynn—Believed She Can… and She Did! Beverly Shantz—Living and Laughing… Because She Can!
Roni Noone does Fitbloggin’—Because She Can!