As a 40-plus single mom, I often struggled with my weight — fluctuating between 250 and 300 pounds. My closet often held a range of sizes from, from 18 to 26 and 2XL – 4XL. To say I had given up on myself would have been an understatement. I tried diets, calorie counting, weighing food, eliminating certain foods, etc. I knew these things were an unhealthy, unsustainable approach, and I was good at making excuses about why I couldn’t lose weight (no time, no support, costs too much, hurts too much, there is something wrong with me, etc.).
In 2017, my life turned upside down when I suffered a spontaneous dissection of my vertebral artery. This severe condition made it necessary to rethink both my work and geographical situations. As a single parent, I needed a solid support system to help me care for both myself and my young son. So I moved home to California, and along with this move came a need for a new job. After a lot of searching, I was hired at Western Governors University (WGU). This was the first step of many on my health journey.
WGU partners with Sonic Boom Wellness to help employees manage their work-life balance Initially, I used this space to track my food and ensure I got enough fruits, vegetables, and water. I noticed that, since moving home and at a weight of 250 pounds, I was ballooning as the years went by. In fact, in 2020, when Sonic Boom was made available, I weighed 300 pounds. I had picked up an additional 50 pounds over the course of three years due to a sedentary lifestyle and poor food choices. I decided I needed more accountability than just myself. Even though I despise asking for help or admitting failure, I knew that speaking with someone would help me find encouragement … even in challenging times.
To say my coach, Sarah, is an angel is an understatement. She’s been with me through struggles, failures, joys, wins, and even injuries — and even through 2021, the pandemic year when everything went catawampus! In addition to working my full-time job, I became my son’s teacher, counselor, and entertainment venue (since nothing else was available)! The emotional drain, along with the removal of access to small attempts of exercise were demoralizing. However, Sarah was there to help me understand that progress is incremental, and small wins are just as important as the big ones.
It was with trepidation that I first discussed a desire to join the 2021 Heart Walk with her. While I do not have heart disease, I do live with cardiac problems in the form of Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, supraventricular tachycardia, premature ventricular contractions, and I’m also hypotensive (low blood pressure). These cardiac issues make meaningful exercise difficult; once my heart rate hits a certain level, it forgets how to work correctly. So I did have a connection to the walk, and Sarah helped me slowly prepare for it.
Each week we discussed progress and activity, and I felt pretty good about getting up and moving. It was after that walk that California went on complete lockdown, and my sedentary ways returned. During this time, Sarah did not judge or push for more exercise. Instead, she realized that my emotional wellbeing was a priority, and, while we discussed opportunities to move, the focus was more on stability.
At the time of the walk, I didn’t realize there was an opportunity to enter a raffle for a bike! God had plans for me — so guess who won that bike? That’s right … me! I felt like winning the bike interesting (ironic?) since I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was a teenager. I was excited to get my son on his bike, too, since he doesn’t like to do anything alone.
The bike came in, my son and I got ready to go for our first ride, and the embarrassments of all embarrassments happened—the bike seat slid down. It would not hold my weight. After checking the manual, the weight limit on the bike was 275. Surely I couldn’t be heavier than that? And even if I was, it couldn’t be that bad, right? Boy, was I wrong! I checked my scale and had a “come to Jesus moment.” I was well over my highest weight of 300 pounds. In this moment, something changed in my mind and heart. My motivation was set, and I was determined that now was the time for meaningful change. After sharing this embarrassing story with my coach, we discussed the next steps. And from here, consistent changes were in the works.
Since that embarrassing day, with Sarah’s help, I have changed my diet, sleep schedule, stress-relief methods, and the frequency and duration of exercise. As I write this, I now weigh 254 pounds and can now ride that bike. While I am not where I want to be yet, I plan to continue my progress. As I phase out clothes with the weight, they will get donated instead of staying in my closet as fallbacks if I slip back into a sedentary lifestyle.
While medically, I am a complete dumpster fire with the issues already mentioned (and some others), my overall wellbeing is better today than it ever has been. I struggle with weight because it is easy to fall back into old habits. However, Sonic Boom has provided me a lifeline in the form of Sarah to understand that I am doing okay and that a short-term setback doesn’t mean I have failed. She also reminds me that I will continue to improve and incrementally reach my goals.
To provide some insight, here is a snapshot of my weight since I moved home in 2017:
|Change in weight
This story may seem to focus mainly on my weight. However, Sonic Boom and the role Sarah plays is about the person as a whole. While my weight is a huge factor in my wellbeing, Sarah helps me with my emotional wellbeing as well. We talk about trials and tribulations. We celebrate wins, personal victories, and life events. Sarah is more than a coach; she’s also is a valued and trusted friend. I started working with Sarah as a periodic touch point, but I’ve found that being accountable to someone else helps me stay on track. At first I was hesitant because I was not comfortable talking about or admitting to problems in my life. There was a stigma attached to asking for help. Now I realize that asking for help is like seeking growth or development in your career. Often you can’t see a problem because you are living it. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to help you think outside the box.
In conclusion, the Sonic Boom experience will be what you make of it. If your focus needs to be on getting sleep, staying hydrated, increasing activity, finding ways to destress, or making healthy lifestyle choices, the coach will help you find what works for your situation. Don’t be afraid to reach out and make a connection to start on the journey to a new and balanced you!