September 2013 – “Client Of The Month”

Jamie Berry

Since I was 14, I’ve had body image issues.  Many teenage girls have this issue, and we all have our reasons – media, peer/family pressures, etc.  I was no different.  As I grew up and moved to university, this issue only became more and more present in everything that I did and was with me everywhere I went.  Like most girls my age, I would compare myself to others, and never measure up to the high standard that I had set in my own imagination.  Taking compliments was never a strong point for me because I never really felt I could believe in them.  I am sure that this was perceived as either false modesty or rudeness – unfortunately it was just my own insecurities.
Looking back now to those earlier years, I know that I was never as big as I thought.  However, I also know that I wasn’t physically fit or healthy.  I didn’t know what I needed to know about nutrition, as most of us don’t.  When I was in high school I would work out in my room.  When I went to university, I went to the gym two or three days each week.  I would ‘work out’ but looking back I am sure I just looked lost!  I had no idea what I was doing!  I had never played a sport, trained physically, or had any guidance when it comes to physical fitness in my entire life outside of gym class (which I stopped taking as soon as I could after junior high).  Even after I finished university, I joined a gym and went often.  I got a plan from the personal trainer on staff, and I did the workouts.  Sure, I felt like I had ‘done something’ but I rarely worked up a sweat. This went on for years!  My weight yo-yoed and my self image never really was very positive.
I remember in September of 2009 on my 29th birthday thinking, I didn’t want to feel like this anymore.  I was tired all the time after work.  I was ‘getting into’ my clothes and not really enjoying it anymore (and I LOVE shopping and buying new clothes!).  I had poor eating habits.  I knew all of this needed to change and I knew that I didn’t want to be 30 years old and still unhealthy. I also had every excuse in the book (I’m too busy with work, I can’t afford to take classes, I can’t afford a nutritionist, I’m not very athletic, etc).  That January I started taking beginner yoga classes once per week.  I LOVED it!  I was absolutely hooked!  I went once each week for the first 6 weeks, then I took two classes a week for the next 12 weeks, doing both the beginner and intermediate classes.  This was the beginning of my journey to health and wellness.
That spring, I was helping my younger sister plan her wedding.  We went to a flower shop to pick out her flowers and were kidding around about losing a few pounds before the wedding.  The lady waiting on us said, “you have to hear about Bethany’s program!  I lost 17 inches in 8 weeks with her!”  Then she called Bethany over and the rest is history!
That May in 2010 I began attending Never Go Back (now Synergy Fitness) classes three times a week after school.  I remember how tough that first class in Victoria Park was.  I was truly sore in muscles I didn’t know I had for the first week – and then every week after that for the full 8 weeks!  Right away, I loved the program.  It was tough.  The trainers were very good and made sure all of us were modified where we needed to be for our fitness levels (and mine was pretty low when I started – I couldn’t even do one push up from my toes).  We were held accountable – if you were late there were things you had to do before joining the rest of the class (push ups), and you were called or emailed if you missed classes.  I never had a call and I was never late, but being held accountable kept me going three times a week and I was on time!  During the first fit test we were asked to do a timed mile running.   Mine took almost 14 minutes.  I was happy just to have completed it and was so exhausted when I finished, I was just happy that I didn’t get sick!  Coming on the end of the first round of classes I took, we were asked if anyone was going to run the Deltaware 5K at the end of June.  I laughed.  Yeah right!  I was encouraged that the training I had done would have more than prepared me.  Still, I wasn’t ready to take that plunge, but I did start training on my own and I walk/ran the Gold Cup Trot that summer in 32 minutes exactly.  What an amazing feeling.  Then I wanted more!
Since that first spring in 2010, I’ve been routinely doing 3-4 classes each week at 6 am.  I try to do 3-4 yoga classes each week (less when I am training).  I’ve completed two 30 Day Moksha Yoga Challenges.  I’ve run many 5K and 10K races and one 12K race.  Last year I trained for and completed the PEI Half Marathon.  This year I am training with a friend for the distance of a half marathon, but will be participating in the Corporate Relay during PEI Marathon weekend.  I cut 5 minutes off my 10K this year.  All of these things did not even cross my mind when I turned 29.  At that point, all I wanted to do was ‘lose the weight’ and fit into a smaller size (which I did – I lost 4 sizes and at least 25 lbs).  Now I feel healthier and stronger, both physically and emotionally, than I ever have!  The best feeling is that I don’t question whether or not I can do something anymore, now I just ask myself how long it will take me to train for it.
I’ve worked with Bethany as a trainer, nutritionist and most recently as a running buddy.  Her support has been monumental in my success.  She has always been motivational and sets the bar high for all of us.  Through these classes I have met some of my favorite people and made great friends.  We motivate each other and keep each other accountable in so many ways.  We’ve built a fantastic support system that certainly comes in handy when you are working out together at 6 am!  I’ve been incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful husband who encourages me and has loved me regardless of my size.  He has been there through thick and thin, literally.  He has watched me transform and has been there as I’ve worked to transform my body and mind into a much healthier person and has been incredibly patient while I spend my early mornings and early evenings working out.
For anyone who ever feels that they just aren’t cut out to live a healthy lifestyle, you are!  If I can, you can!  All you have to do is surround yourself with the people who will support you in the right ways, like Bethany with her fitness and nutrition background.  Find a group of likeminded people who have similar goals and do it together.  Remember that you can’t run before you walk – don’t get discouraged when something doesn’t come easily to you right away.  You have to condition your body towards your goals.  Remember that the number on the scale can not compare to that healthy feeling you have after you work out – do not hold too tight to the numbers, with consistent work you will reach your goals.  Remember that you only get what you give – paying for classes that you don’t attend, or don’t give your all are worthless and won’t yield results.  Set small goals and work towards them and then build on them when your body is ready.  I’ve been very lucky to have the results that I have had, I have put the work in, but I also know that this journey was not a short term one.  I have made these lifestyle changes as opposed to doing a workout and dieting for a short period of time to lose weight only to stop and put it all back on.  I enjoy food, very much, but moderation has been my key.  I do exercise that I enjoy so that I know I will keep coming back.  Anyone can do this!

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