I am the mother of five. At 40 I had a war zone of my own: I fought cancer as it metastasized into other areas of my body. My oldest son was going out with the gatekeeper of Hades. My daughter was experimenting with alcohol and angry with me because I had divorced her adulterous father. My third son was my lifeline, and son #4 was experimenting with drugs and hanging around with people who practiced alternative lifestyles and worshipped the Devil.
My youngest son, frustrated with the whole mess, ran away from home for a year.This explosion took place in a home of well-adjusted, responsible, middle class kids, who were loved and encouraged. These were successful kids who had made me explode with pride in their accomplishments…athletes, scholars and gold medals for achievement. Their dad and I had centered our lives on them and were confident they would never give us a sleepless moment. At the height of all the chaos, my husband’s company filed bankruptcy. He went to work in another city working 14 hours a day with a 4-hour commute. His reaction to all the stress was to distance himself from the kids and me.
Through the stress and strain of all of the above, I went from size 3 to a size 16 in 6 months. This added to the strain on our marriage. My husband was giving 150% to his job, 25% to his personal fitness schedule, and 25% to the kids.
Devastated by my failing marriage, disillusioned with my children, imprisoned in a body with a non-existent immune system, my self-esteem was in the toilet. My weight climbed to 220 pounds on my tiny 5’3″ frame. I was wearing a size 22. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. All of it – the kids, my health, the marriage, it all kept spiraling out of control like a huge tornado destroying all that we had spent a lifetime building.
At first, I cried. Next, I withdrew into my bed, angry with God. The only thing holding my marriage together was our vows. Finally, I realized that I was going to have to save my own life: no one was going to rescue me from the pain. I realized that there are people with bigger problems than I had. It’s relative.I needed to pull myself together.
I had become so angry and bitter over the events in my life. I was mean and depressed. I finally decided enough is enough. I got up one morning and decided to go to the gym for one last desperate attempt to lose weight and strengthen my immune system. I started with weights. I would come in and work down the line of circuit machines. I didn’t know anyone, and I felt isolated, but kept going.
Then one day, one of the personal trainers walked past me and smiled a very warm and caring smile and said “hang in there.” For some small reason I felt we connected and with that I continued the next week. As I was straining and wondering if there was any hope, that trainer with the big warm smile approached me, her name was Shelley Glasson. She offered support and her caring attitude was so comforting.
The next week went by and before long it was one month and I was making friends at the gym. Shelley was there everyday without a doubt I could depend on her stopping by to say a few words of encouragement. The exercise somehow affected my eating. Food had been my tranquilizer, now I just worked out my anger. After the first month, I lost ten pounds. Shelley persuaded me to let her check my body fat and measurements. I dreaded her pinching my fat but that smile pulled me in and I did it. Of course the news was not the greatest but Shelley gave me the low down on where I needed to be and she said she would be there to help in any way I needed. Not once did she ask me for money, I felt as if she was my guardian angel. How did she know I needed an angel?
I then began working out five days a week. The second month, Shelley checked my body fat again, I lost another 10 pounds and had made a few more friends .The third month, Shelley measured my body fat and talked me into participating in a low impact aerobics class twice a week. I lost another 10 pounds and another dress size. The fourth month, I added another class of aerobics. I did Shelley’s group cycling class. She had a replica of a pound of fat, which burns 4 calories an hour, and a pound of muscle that burns 45 calories per hour. I realized how important it was to transform one pound into muscle.
I never went on any special diet. My appetite just came into submission to my new goals.The fifth month, I decided to hire Shelley as my personal trainer. For months she had proven to care for my well being and offered so much support I began to wonder what the possibilities would be if I trained with her for an hour twice a week. I made so many friends, and they encouraged me as the weight began to disappear. Not only did Shelley work the daylights out of my thighs and rear end, she also was a witness to me of what it is like to live in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The sixth month, I was into a size 12 and was in good enough shape to wear a bathing suit and started tanning. During that six month, everything started falling into place. My children have settled into their niches and are all doing well. We began attending church. I attended a conference with my husband and got wolf whistles and compliments a plenty. The gym replaced the refrigerator. My trainer, aerobics instructor and friends took the place of counseling. I remember in group cycling class Shelley giving us a pep talk about not quitting on a morning when I was contemplating it. She told us that fitness was a lifestyle and made the class so much fun, that I looked forward to going. Her class is a challenge but it gives me confidence and strength.
What a place to be.