My relationship with my weight is complex—but who’s isn’t? My story may be just like yours, or nothing like yours, but details aside, we have something in common—we are actively finding ways to be a better version of who we were yesterday. My journey really started a year ago. It was December 2011 when I decided that I had had enough of the stops and starts that had defined my entire adult life. I would “do good” for about 2 weeks, then find perfectly plausible reason at the time to skip one workout, then the next, etc. Or make a poor food choice, then another and another, etc. Honestly, I think people who have to really make a full lifestyle change all have a moment when the choice to live becomes more important than the excuse. For me it wasn’t a catastrophic health event like a heart attack or stroke (thank GOD), but rather a photo.
As the co founder of the Black n Gold Girls—the world’s largest female fan club dedicated to all Pittsburgh Professional Sports teams—one of my job functions is to host/promote events for professional athletes. After supporting a cause for Hines Ward, a colleague and I were asked to meet him in person for a follow up in December of 2011. At the end of the meeting we took a picture which would be published on our website—standard protocol. When we got the photo back, I was really appalled at what I saw staring back at me. I had jokingly (but not so much) asked a friend who was a whiz at photoshop to make me look smaller. No joke. He got to work, and about 10 minutes into the process he paused as I was standing over his shoulder telling him what I wanted to happen, turned to me, looked me dead in the eye and said “You know this would be much easier if you would just lose weight”. His words were not mean or malicious, just matter of fact. I felt my heart sink and I knew he was right. ROCK BOTTOM moment.
Exhibit A—The Culprit
With his words from the photo altering resonating—two days later I joined a gym. I started walking on a treadmill. I mustered up the courage to attend group classes like Hip Hop, and Boot Camp. I committed to doing at least five sessions at the gym per week. I also began to alter my diet and start a food journal. I was starting something. This time everything about it felt different.
The first couple of weeks were intense and I remember going on Pinterest every night and pouring over the fitness pages looking for inspiration and continued motivation. One that stood out to me and I had on repeat for several months was that it would take 4 weeks for you to see a different and 12 for everyone else—keep going. I thought if I just keep going, eventually I will get there. Where “there” was I didn’t know, but I just kept going.
After my first weeks were underway, I began to examine my real “why” for embarking on this battle. I was able to figure out what that this wasn’t about a photo or that stinging moment. What this was really about for me was the quest to live a healthy life. Genetically, my deck is stacked. My father passed away in 2004, at age 69, from a heart attack in his sleep. He was also a type II diabetic, had gout and a slew of other weight related health problems. My Mom passed away in 2011 at age 71, due to complications after a knee replacement surgery. She too had type II diabetes, heart disease and CLL. The promise I made to my Mom was that I would get healthy. That I would change, reverse or stop what I was doing to myself and that I would not meet the same fate (as much as I could control anyhow). I was finally ready to make good on that promise. The best was to honor their lives, the sacrifices they made on my behalf was to make mine count.
What is different about this go around is that there is no “stop”. There is no point in my mind where I will be done. After a full year of working out, learning, tweaking, changing and evolving, I understand that way I live now, is how it will be forever- and I am for sure okay with that. As every day now, is a bit more vibrant than the day before with new things to discover and learn. I invite you to join me as I break down my journey here on the Core Stix pages. It’s been an adventure for sure and I look forward sharing it with you.
By Cassandra Buncie