I was always overweight, and I spent the better half of my teens and my twenties yo-yo dieting. Every time I lost weight, I gained it back—and more.
I then found myself in my 30s and morbidly obese and at rock bottom. I went to my internist and she found me a physician who worked with obese patients. He set me up with a dietician and a psychologist—and after two years of working together they decided I was a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery.
There were so many people against me doing this, but I knew I was in the right place with the right team. I bounced right back from surgery without any complications, and I followed everything that I needed to do to be successful. Within two weeks, I was working out.
Although I had always been overweight, the one thing that was always constant in my life was that I was active. I liked to work out. By six months I had lost 35% of my weight. At one year I had lost 110lbs. The years went by and I only gained 10lbs back. Those that had doubted me we amazed by my results and my ability to keep it off.
I ran 5Ks, 15Ks, ½ marathons, The Chicago Marathon and an sprint triathlon. Then in 2014, I hit 40 and I found myself single and struggling. I was still keeping the weight off but it wasn’t easy. I had to watch how much I ate and drank just like everyone. I was also bored with working out. I hated the gym. I moved to a neighborhood where running outside just wasn’t the same as running by the lake. I needed to be inspired.
I started trying different small gyms. I found workouts I liked, but I was still looking for something to take me to that next level. So a couple of us from work brought the Gilt deal in November 2014—and I had my first class in Wicker Park with Jeremy Walton. I remember finishing the class feeling energized. I had never done a workout like that before. It combined my two favorite things, running and strength training.
I couldn’t stop thinking about Shred. In February 2015, I joined for a month. I remember it was my second class back and we had just finished a run segment and I turned to my friend and said, “I f*cking love this.” That was it. I was addicted. I joined and I’ve never looked back. I lost 10 lbs. this past year. I wish I had done measurements because everything fits me so different.
However, it’s not the weight loss or how my clothes fit that keeps me going back. It’s the people. I love the people at Shred415. I usually go to Lincoln Park. When you walk in everyone is so friendly. They make me feel like I’m part of the team. I’ve never felt that way at a gym before. They know my name. I work night shift and I’m in graduate school so I attend the late afternoon sessions. Lyndsey and Kelly are always cheering me on. Jacquelyn makes me smile the whole time I’m running even when I think I’m going to die. The Shred415 instructors are so motivational. Just when you think you can’t do it, they get you there. They really care and want you to get the best workout.
I knew I was increasing my running pace but I really didn’t know by how much. Before Shred415 I would run 12- to 12.5-minute miles. Slow and steady. I signed up for the Bucktown 5k this past fall. I forgot to set my watch and had no idea what my time was when I finished. When I checked my results that afternoon, I was floored. I had run 10.48/10.58/ 11.0. I was hoping to run 11.5 min/miles. I blew that away and I was consistent. I could never have done that without all the work at Shred415.
I have my good days and I have my bad days. I’ve had days where I can’t break that mental block but then I realize I’m here and that’s all that matters. What I love is Shredders come in all ages, shapes and sizes. I may be 41 but I don’t feel it. I have more energy now then I did was I was 20. I can’t wait to see where this next year at Shred415 takes me.