HomeMakers Testimony 9/13/11
In October of last year, I decided after four children and over 100 pounds of weight gain since I married my husband in 1999, that I wanted to become a contestant on the Biggest Loser television show. After all, how else would a girl like me lose all the weight I had gained without the aid of a show like that?
Despite my embarrassment, that I had allowed myself to become so very heavy, I asked several of my friends to pray and believe with me for the opportunity. On my 12th anniversary in March, instead of spending the majority of my day with my husband, I was at the Mall of America standing in the largest Q line anyone has ever seen for the Biggest Loser casting call. I borrowed my friend, Emily’s, video recorder in order to make what I thought was the perfect audition video, even taking the time to walk around department stores to point out to producers that the models shown were not really plus size models at all and other phenomenon’s in poor taste such as placing the string bikini section adjacent to the Women’s clothing area in the store.
My plan was to announce on the very last day of HomeMakers in the spring that indeed I had been chosen. Balloons would fall, everyone would cheer and Living Word would finally receive some good press. I would stand before you today, the winner of the Biggest Loser season, and use part of my $250,000 grand prize to have somewhat of an "Oprahesque moment" here at HomeMakers and provide manicures and pedicures for everyone. However, the Biggest Loser never called and for a couple of weeks in the Spring I was emotionally defeated thinking I would never achieve weight loss and be unhealthy forever.
In the midst of my self pity one night, I asked my husband if he thought I could lose weight just like the people on the Biggest Loser show. Without hesitating, he said, “Of course I do”. And from there a new vision for health began to blossom.
I decided to take on a weight loss challenge this summer. Besides diet and exercise, I would also write a blog in order to keep myself accountable. I called my blog – “Run to Win: 100 pounds in 118 days”. Run to win based on 1 Corinthians 9:24 that says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” 100 pounds because, if some of the whiners chosen for the Biggest Loser could do it, surely I could too. 118 days because that is when HomeMakers would kick off again in the fall. And even though we did not have additional money to add to our current budget, I believed that God would provide a way to do it.
I decided my kick off day would be May 17, the day that Dustin Maher came and taught us his Mama Tone class. As he shared that day, he asked us to envision ourselves 10 years from now if we made no changes to our life today. For me, that would mean weighing an additional 80 pounds and therefore, solidified my decision to adopt a healthy lifestyle even more. At the end of the class, he blessed me with a DVD set that contained 24 workouts. God was already providing.
As friends began to read my blog and hear that I was using Dustin’s videos along with other workout videos I had borrowed from the library, two friends, Monica and Julie purchased the Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels videos for me to use. My parents blessed me with CrossFit and Kickboxing classes at a gym in Maple Grove. And to help enhance my challenge, Julie also offered to bless me with a 5K at the end of the summer along with participating with me to cheer me on.
When Julie asked me, I wanted to say yes as I had thought about participating in 5K races before. However, even when I was a much smaller size, I would occasionally have problems with my knees and shins while exercising which made me afraid to try. Yet as I thought about it more and more, the Lord brought Joyce Meyer's words to mind, “Do it afraid”. I told Julie yes and stayed committed to my diet and exercising no less than 5 days a week over the next couple of months.
Finally, the day of our 5K arrived. This past Sunday, September 11. Despite my training, I was still apprehensive. Yet I knew this was something I needed to achieve. In my CrossFit classes, they teach that at the beginning of each workout you should start with your goal in mind. My goal for the 5K was only to finish.
As the horn blew and we began our run, which was more like an aggressive walk for Julie, it turned out that running was much harder than I imagined. And even though it was only two laps around Lake Como in St. Paul, by the time I was 1/5 of the way through the first lap, I started to wonder what on earth I was even doing there. This was torture. Instead of Julie paying an entry fee, the organizers of the race should be paying us to participate! I am not going to lie to you. I thought about quitting. However, with each exercise video or workout class I have set out to do from day one of my journey, I had never quit. I decided that this would be no different.
One by one, they passed: A man with a baby in a stroller, a family with a six year old little girl, woman who weren’t even running, just walking. However, Julie kept encouraging me, from stories of Dory in Finding Nemo singing “Keep Swimming” to words about being an active participant instead of just sitting on the sidelines. When the leaders of the 5K passed me before I even finished the first lap, she assured me that was OK and they always pass her too. And toward the end of the race when I was so very tired and began to feel like I was circling a lake more the size of Lake Minnetonka, she kept cheering me on and said, “Why don’t we just power walk for a while”. As I gasped for air, I informed her that in my world I was already power walking. Finally, at 58 minutes and 20 seconds, I crossed the finish line.
Julie and I hugged and cried as we were both so very happy of what I had accomplished. Something I never believed I would be able to do just three months ago. Then Julie looked back at the finish line and exclaimed, “Karen! You weren’t last!” I turned around just in time to see three other ladies crossing the finish line. Not only did I finish in under an hour. I didn’t finish last!
If you knew me last year, you know as I stand before you today on my 118th day of my challenge that I did not lose 100 pounds. When I weighed this morning, my total weight loss had only come to only 22 pounds. However, in the past three months more than anything I have learned that my total weigh lost is only secondary. What is more important is all that I have gained: energy, strength, a desire to eat healthy, perseverance to keep moving forward and the ability to know longer feel ashamed of the person I am. Today is not the end of my journey, only the end of the first chapter of many to come on the road to become healthy. Pastor Mac is right when he says, “If you don’t quit, you win!”