Shawna D.
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February 2003

Before
After

These pictures show you where I came from physically, but I think my story will also give you some insight into the emotional and spiritual aspects of my Power 90 journey.

For most of us the issues of why we are overweight are not simple, they are indeed very complex. My weight has always been a concern for me. I haven't always been overweight, just in constant fear of becoming overweight. My anxiety regarding being overweight wasn't ever entirely an issue of vanity, but one stemming from a fear of dying. I come from a family of morbidly obese people and I have lived most of my life struggling to keep my own weight in check.

Unfortunately, many of those closest to me are not willing or not able to consider the health risks that are associated with being overweight. My father was one of those that ignored the reality of the risks that come along with being unhealthy and unfit. Nine years ago, I received the saddest phone call of my life. My father had died of a massive heart attack at the age of 42 (his mother and brother had also suffered heart attacks and died at the age of 42), he weighed 320 pounds and his cholesterol was in the 500's. Soon after my father's death, I had my own cholesterol checked and was horrified to find out that my cholesterol was 394. I was put on medication and was able to get it down to the high 200's. I later found out that I have a genetic disorder that can elevate cholesterol levels to astronomically high numbers.

Since the day of my father's death, I've walked around in fear. Fear of not living a full life, a fear of traveling the same path of so many of my relatives, a fear of dying before seeing my children grow up. I walked around feeling like I was a time bomb set to go off at the age of 42. I knew how important it was to take care of myself, it really was a matter of life or death, but still I allowed myself to gain weight over time. With the fear and the weight gain came a terrible despair that still brings me to the brink of tears.

In February of 2002, I finally reached my personal rock bottom. I was 31 years old and was convinced that I would be dead by my 43rd birthday. I tried to hide my worry by making jokes about it to those closest to me. I would say things to my husband like, "Well, when I die in 10 years, you can have your next wife take care of. . . " Although I tried my best to put on a brave front, I was filled with so much misery and self-loathing because of my weight. My spirit was so sad and I felt so scared and hopeless. My weight was up to 190 pounds and climbing, and my cholesterol was near 500. I had a terrific husband that I desperately wanted to grow old with, and two precious babies that I feared I would not see grow to be women. I knew that I needed to get my weight under control before it killed me. I just wasn't sure how to do it successfully.

The answer came to me as if it were sent by a higher power. I saw the Power 90 infomercial for the first time. However, sometimes when we are given the answer, we choose to ignore it. Fortunately, though the infomercial got me thinking about at least attempting to climb out of the darkness that I was in. My first step to losing weight was to try to make some changes in the way I was eating, so I started Weight Watchers.

About a month after joining Weight Watchers, I saw the Power 90 infomercial for the 2nd time and as the infomercial was concluding I JUST KNEW, that I was supposed to do it. I ordered the tapes, but when they arrived my fear took hold again and the tapes were shuffled from room to room for 4 months. Thank goodness I was given a 3rd chance to see the infomercial! On that 3rd occasion I was sitting around feeling generally sorry for myself, folding laundry, channel surfing and cheating on my Weight Watchers program. This time my inner voice yelled at me, "YOU NEED TO DO THIS! " I will never be able to explain it, but something just clicked in my mind that day. I hadn't done the tapes because I was afraid that if I started I would fail, but then I thought to myself, "You are failing right now by not even making an attempt! " That night, I put my kids to bed, and previewed the sculpt tape. When it was over, I literally said out loud, "That's it?" I thought, "That is what I have been so afraid of trying? That didn't look too hard. " So, I went to bed and the next morning got up and did my first Power 90 routine. Next to getting married and the birth of my children, that was the most meaningful day of my life.

Once I started exercising the dark cloud and the sadness began to dissipate and as the days passed the sad woman that I had been began to recede. I look back now and feel so much compassion for that person, but I am happy to see her go. Power 90 has done so much for my appearance, my health, but most importantly my soul. It is nearly impossible for me to express the happiness this program has brought into my life. The only regret that I have is that I wish that I had had this program to share with my dad. I truly hope that my story inspires at least one person to face their fears and "just push play. " I know that it may be scary at first to "push play," but once you do your life will never be the same!

Oh, a little end note. . . At my last check my cholesterol was down to 179 and my doctor cut my meds in half!

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