85 pounds is a heavy load to carry. After some very scientific research (*cough* Google…) I discovered it’s roughly equivalent to the weight of a dishwasher! That is the amount of extra weight that, until this year, I carried through the world.
Full disclosure, I’ve never been thin. Years of too much stress, eating crappy food, drinking too much followed by late night binges to sober up, you know the story… But in 2008 something changed and I developed severe back pain. Since I was a hair stylist I assumed it was a side effect of the job but it gradually became so intense I could barely make it through the day. I had trouble standing and walking, I couldn’t bend over, even sitting upright was excruciating. So I spent most of my time flat on my back. With exercise out of the question I put on weight to the point that I no longer recognized myself. No doctor could explain what was happening to me. (Though each made sure to point out that I should exercise more and try to lose weight…) This went on for four years.
In 2012 I was finally diagnosed with a Synovial Cyst between L5 and S1. On September 8, 2012 I had surgery. On September 9, I took my first walk in four years. I only made it to the end of the driveway, but it was a start. Keep in mind that I was only 38 years old and I couldn’t even bend down to tie my shoes. I was scared. My mother is disabled, I knew all to well what my life could look like. I was determined, but I needed help.
I met Heather Craig in late 2011 through a mutual friend. We talked a bit about how I was feeling in my body. How frustrated I was with myself. She didn’t judge or shame me, she just listened. Then, a few months after surgery, she offered to help.
She slowly helped me build my strength and my confidence. Never rushing, never judging. Always willing to meet me exactly where I was and adjust to protect my body. As I got stronger the workouts evolved, and by Summer of 2013 I was also taking classes and starting to keep up with the group. Then, in February of 2014 I developed more severe back pain and new tingling down my leg.
An MRI showed Spondylolisthesis at L5 and arthritis at L4-S1. Seeming to be the cause of the anomalous cyst but was somehow missed until now. I was told the only way to”fix it” would be a spinal fusion. A procedure that would give me the flexibility of a 70 year old woman. Or…! If I could get the belly weight off and strengthen my core I might be able to stabilize my spine enough to put it off for another 20 years and possibly forever. Challenge accepted! Fear is an excellent motivator…
Once again, Heather reassessed, redesigned and re-focused. She introduced me to a Nutritionist to help hone my diet. She adjusted the intensity and purpose of my training, always protecting my body in the process. She never doubted me, even when I doubted myself.
It’s been a long road. It hasn’t been fast or easy. I stopped drinking, quit eating out constantly, and use my free time for exercise. Not all of my relationships survived the transformation. But others are so much better and more fulfilling. I am more present, calm, clear minded, and a more engaged parent. I appreciate my body for it’s resilience and strength. My journey to health has been life changing and I am so grateful to have had Heather on my team!