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My Challenge Experience

Alana Roman Before and After

In late 2012 while browsing through photos taken throughout the year, I came across some photos of myself and almost wondered who the person I was looking at was!  I had gained significant weight over the last few years but did not notice it when I looked in the mirror each day.  However, pictures do not lie!  So, like most people my New Year’s resolution was to lose weight and become healthy.

I had a goal weight in mind but had no idea where I was starting.  New Year’s morning in 2013 I stepped on the scale for the first time in years.  How do you know where to start without knowing where you are truly starting?  I was saddened and frustrated when the scale read 192 pounds!  I couldn’t even begin to explain what happened or how it happened but I knew it needed to change.  My goal weight seemed so out of reach that I decided to set mini goals to achieve.  I also decided that I did not want to be on the latest fad diet and yo-yo with my weight for the rest of my life.  Instead, I used an app called MyFitnessPal which helped me track my calories coming in and calories going out.  I reduced my portion sizes, started eating smaller meals throughout the day and kicked the soda habit.  It was tough and I often felt hungry but I had my goal in mind.

I also needed to get active again but in the winter months that is not always easy.  My search for a treadmill began.  I knew I wanted a good quality machine that would last for years.  I came across Health and Fitness Equipment during my search.  My husband and I stopped into the North Olmsted store and met David Roche.  He answered any questions we had and we had the chance to try out several machines.  We found the treadmill with all the features we wanted and made our first purchase.  Since weight loss and being healthier was already my goal, I decided to sign up for their Health and Fitness challenge.  This gave me extra incentive since they pay you back a portion of your purchase if you accomplish the goal.

I weighed myself weekly and marked it on a calendar.  It was a nice way to see the progress I was making!  90 days later, I had my first weigh in at Health and Fitness Equipment.  I not only met the goal of losing 7.5% of my body weight but I exceeded it.  I was so excited but I knew I was not done.  The next part of their challenge is to keep the weight off for another 90 days.

I added some light jogging to my routine.  In May 2013, I participated in the walking division for the Rite Aid Half Marathon.  I was so inspired by the people around me and I was hooked!  From there I decided to sign up for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in October but this time my goal was to run the entire race.  I started training in June and things were going great!  I had my second weigh in and not only did I maintain my weight but I lost more.  Things were on a roll.  October quickly approached and so did race day.  I was nervous at the starting line because I never considered myself a runner not even in my younger years.  2 hours and 18 minutes later I crossed the finish line and achieved my goal to run the entire race.  I was so proud and I felt so accomplished.

With winter approaching again I was nervous that my fitness level was going to back off a bit.  My husband and I decided it was time to purchase a stationary bike to add some variety to our workouts.  We stopped in at Health and Fitness Equipment again and were delighted that David was there.  He once again helped us pick out the bike with the right features without getting more than we needed.  Throughout the winter, I worked out on the treadmill, bike and added some body weight strength training.

Fast forward to spring and I completed a few half marathons and knocked about 16 minutes off my time.  It was time for a new challenge.  I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a full marathon but I knew I needed more than what I was doing.  I signed up for the Columbus Marathon just hoping that things would click into place.  Training up to 13 miles was going ok but I struggled on my longer runs over 13 miles.  As race day approached, I knew I would not be able to run the entire race so I started looking into run/walk methods.  This worked well on my last 20 mile training run so I thought I’d give it a try for the race.

Race day on October 19th I was a nervous wreck.  26.2 miles…what was I thinking?!  My goal was to just complete the race (preferably under 5 hours).  My husband, son and mom all came out to cheer me on.  I only got to see them 3 times during my race but when I saw them at mile 26 it pushed me across that finish line.  It was an emotional moment and I was more proud of myself as I ever was.

Once again winter is approaching, so we stopped in to see David at Health and Fitness Equipment and he helped up select a home gym to add more strength training to our routines.

It is hard to believe that I started this crazy journey almost 2 years ago!  As I look back, I not only lost 50 pounds but I have gained confidence in myself, improved my health and made friends through a local running club.  If you are looking to improve your health and have unwanted weight but you’re not sure where to start…just think baby steps and keep going.  If you miss a workout or have a day where you didn’t eat so well, don’t beat yourself up.  Brush it off and get back on the wagon the next day.

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.


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