I am now putting me first

October 16, 2015- The day my life changed. I will never forget this date.

Hi, I'm Annemarie Alberts. I am a workaholic and an emotional eater who puts everyone and everything before myself. And have been doing this for years.

I have been overweight since 1981. I remember years of only being able to shop in the Sears Pretty Plus department (still cringe at those words). I remember the taunts of kids. I tried eating right, being active. I played soccer (poorly) and even tried ice skating (have the scar to prove it). I loved getting on my 10 speed bike and walked everywhere, but it did not work.

In High School, I did Nutrisystem..and lost weight! But I did not learn how to live off the program. Or how to control my emotions. Oh how not to turn to food as a friend, a comfort, a way to quiet the voice of insecurity.

The weight came back on with a vengeance. I remember breaking 200 lbs in 1993 and in tears because my then boyfriend weighed two pounds less than me and was a foot taller. (OH..and I did have the chocolate cake after that) And over time, it kept creeping up. I had gym memberships, home equipment, even a personal trainer. But something always came up that either stopped me, or I fell into bad habits.

(Pic 1 - Me in 2013 at my highest)

Then I was 252 in 2013. And as much as I swore I would never be 200, I REALLY swore I would not be over 250. I had to do something. So I changed my diet and lost 40+ lbs. And I was doing great. And then I stopped counting and tracking. And the weight started creeping again. I never added an exercise regiment to the changes. Life was always throwing something my way. (All excuses now)

Then there was 2015. 2015 was a bad year of epic proportions. I went from living in another country working on a dream project, to it suddenly ending and having to move back and start a whole new role. At the same time, I lost seven family members and friends to cancer in less than six months. One was my father-in-law, another was my favorite Great Aunt. Add to that, my husband Mark (that boyfriend that used to weigh less than me) went to live with his mother as a caregiver as her health continued to fail. Here we were living in different states for the first time in eighteen years while grieving all the change.

I get on the scale in early October and I am now 20 lbs more than I was the year before. I know I have to stop and I have to change. And it has to happen now. 

But what do I do? Where do I start?

I run into a friend at work and I tell her everything. And she turns to me and says “You need to come to my gym. Precision Kettlebells is awesome. I have been going since April and I have changes so much. Trust me. You will love it.” And I say “OK. I will think about it.”

That night she emailed me about one of those 28 day challenges. And I decided then and there I was going to do this. I call Mark to tell him what I am going to do, I made myself an account before I lost courage, and signed up for a challenge. And I made the appointment to meet with Mike and get weighed in and learn more.

Which brings me back to Friday, October 16, 2015.

(Pic 2 - Me and Mark- Oct 16,2015)

I was scared. I brought my husband Mark with me on his first day home in three months. LOL. 

And I met Mike Barbato. His first words to me were "You're late!" (and I was..LOL) I liked that he called me out.  And as we talked, his desire to help me change and watch me succeed was evident.  His enthusiasm was infectious.  And I saw the truth and the damage I had done over the years with the numbers and the measurements. But I was going to do this.

ONE month. I can do a month... Anyone can do one month!

My first class on Monday. I thought I was scared on Friday??? I was TERRIFIED on Monday. I remember thinking I have not worked out in years. What if I mess up? What if I drop the kettlebell? What will everyone think of the new slob? Oh the voices in my head were loud and negative.
 
But I still stood there in class and looked around. Everyone around me was supportive. And everyone was focusing on their own workout.. And I did it. And it was hard.. and I sweat.. A LOT.
I remember about half way through thinking “Wait..I am having fun?!!???” I was! I was having fun. It was a surprise to me! I could not wait for the next class....and the next class...
 
During that first month I came often. I even came on Saturdays. People were noticing. My Mother In Law Evie even commented to Mark how proud she was of me finding something I loved. And Mark replied ”You don't know the half of it. She travels an hour each way to work out. She is giving up three hours each Saturday.”
See, Precision Kettlebells is close to my work, but not to my house. And I was driving here on the weekend without a second thought. It was not until I heard this that I realized that was true. I was in love with these classes, these instructors, these members. That is when I realized I was going to become a member.
 
Precision Kettlebells is more than a gym. It is a family. We all are working towards a common goal to better ourselves. We laugh, we tease, we hug, we cheer each other on. Mike, Kate, and crew have worked to build a community. We help each other through it all.
 
The trainers all care about you. They challenge you . They push you. They also rarely repeat a workout. Yes, the moves may be similar, but I swear I have yet to have the same exact workout in almost a year.
And when work life started getting crazy and I was missing classes, I changed. I did not give up or go back to my old ways. I became a morning person. I now get up at 4:15, out the door shortly after 5 AM, and am in the gym and ready to workout at 6 AM. This is so not my natural biorhythm. I am SO not a morning person.. the only reason I seem like one is I have been up for two hours by class time. LOL.
 
This is the big change. I am now putting me first. I make sure I get my workouts in. I WANT to be in class with Mike, Pete, John, Michelle, Christina, and Marianne. I want to get stronger. I do Saturday yoga now so I can improve my balance and flexibility. I am doing THIS for me.
 
The weight will come off when it wants to come off. It did not come on overnight. But I am losing inches like crazy. I bought a size 14 (!) dress recently. I have had to replace all my exercise pants so I was not mooning the class.
My posture has improved. I walk with my head up high. I have coworkers come up to me and tell me how I am changing. I get stressed, I go to class instead of eating. I also have a confidence and energy that was missing.
 
And I have motivated some of them to join me here. I tell everyone to come see us here. I now never miss a Monday and look forward to Circuit Fridays. I have a love/hate relationship with burpees, planks, and ropes. I am swinging, dead lifting, and snatching at weights that seemed unfathomable last year.
 
And this. This is my new favorite picture. (Pic 3 - glasses)
 
 
In class one Friday in July, Mike mid sentence stops, walks away, then comes back with his camera and takes a picture. Oh great...I am going to be all sweaty and bright red... But it is this...Look at my glasses. My glasses are all fogged up from class. And I love it. The new active me. I love the new me. It only took me 42 years to find me. See you in class.
 
Annemarie - Harleysville PA