When choosing a Member of the Month, I look for someone who inspires others by their dedication and someone who has overcome something challenging. So often the big challenge overcome in their life is a significant weight loss and/or overcoming a major health concern. For Sherry it is a little different; she definitely inspires others with her dedication and hard work and she has lost weight. However, her struggle is different than most of the people we share, but I believe it will resonate with most, if not all of you. Her story is one of a mental and emotional battle.
Sherry grew up watching her mother do one of the latest diet crazes after another, never fully achieving her goals of a healthy weight. As Sherry started her family, she didn’t want to show that lifestyle to her son. She wanted to set an example of healthy eating and exercise. Over the course of her adult life she ate mostly healthy and was on and off with exercise. Trying the latest fitness crazes and group exercise. As she approached 40 years old, it became harder to keep the weight off with diet alone. Plus, she wanted to be healthy, not just thin. That is when she realized she had to become more consistent with her exercise and get more focused with eating. She began making her lunches rather than eating frozen dinners and joined a gym beginning on a treadmill and later adding in circuit training. She even tried to hire a personal trainer at that gym, but it wasn’t a good fit for her. She decided to quit the gym and bought a treadmill for at home, beginning with a Couch to 5K regimen (5K run training program). For the next couple years, running was the only thing she did for exercise. Although the running was good for her, she wasn’t doing any cross training so injuries ensued. She fought with shin splints and sciatica. In 2010/2011 Sherry did Zumba with me through Community Ed. Having enjoyed that so much she decided to begin the Healthy3 journey with us in August of 2015. Now she is staying on task and focused, combining both her passion for running and her enjoyment of group exercise classes.
From the outside looking in, you may think, “man does Sherry have it down!” But what you don’t see is the emotional struggle that she has fought with her whole life. The feeling of not being good enough. The feeling of being a failure. The struggle to keep going when she didn’t feel she could. That is where Sherry’s story rings true with me and I am sure many of you. In all of her desire to be healthy, live an active life and be a great example for her son, she fought constant mental blocks of feeling inadequate, fear that she couldn’t do what she wants to and an over-whelming sense of failure. It is through this struggle that she has fought to attain a healthy lifestyle. Many of you who know Sherry would never imagine that she struggles so because she is a beautiful, vibrant, full of life woman. Anyone who meets her immediately feels more motivated to work hard for their goals. Yet, her battle internally is real. So I asked her how she overcomes such challenging mindsets to be the amazing woman that we all see her to be. She said one of the most important things for her is to set small, short-term goals. Looking at the big picture is just too much. It becomes overwhelming and she struggles to believe she can achieve it. By setting the smaller goals, she is able to focus on one step of the journey at a time, getting the satisfaction of success. She believes one of the other keys to her success is having the guidance and encouragement there to help her change it up as needed to reach her goals. Additionally, the only way to stay consistent is to never allow time to lapse between small goals; as soon as she achieves one goal, she sets another.
If she could offer advice to others who struggle with mindset it would be two-fold:
- Cut yourself some slack. We all have good days and bad days. We can be our own worst enemies. It’s okay to have an off day.
- We are all a work in progress. As soon as you reach a goal, be sure to set a new one in order to stay on your health path.
What does the future look like for Sherry? She will continue to set nutrition and exercise goals and continue to take on new running challenges. Watch out for her at the local events. You can cheer her on and maybe even join her, reaching toward your next small goal!
Thank you so much Sherry for having the courage to share your story with me. I am so honored to be a part of your journey and so thankful to have the opportunity to share in your triumphs and your struggles.