My biggest fear in life- being in the spotlight. Seriously, piece of gum under a table, that is a comfortable thing and place to be. Spotlight- NOT! I literally typed Channel and said, 'No, no, no- PLEASE don't do this to me'- then she pulled a Channel (what is it with her?? She has some secret power that makes you not be able to say no to her! 'Scott, get a bigger kettle bell- oookay, go faster- oookay, YOU'VE GOT THIS SCOTT'- oookay...) So I said it- oookay.
Then I sat here staring at a blank screen for an hour because I don't know what to say; thinking of a long list of people that so deserve this far more than me; thinking I've got a long way to go before I'm good enough for any spotlight. I'm not at my goal weight, not at my goal physically or strength-wise (is that a word?) But now it's all making sense to me- you see, that's just it, at Amazen Boot Camp and Iron Antler CrossFit- it's not about that. It's not about being the best or looking the best, it's about doing 'your' best and helping and encouraging others to be their best. So many of you here have supported and encouraged me on this journey to healthy and I am so grateful for every one of you.
A little history- I have never had a healthy lifestyle. I have been thin and I have worked out a lot in order to get that way, but I have never done it right or to be healthy. The goal was approval and acceptance. I have lived on a 12 pack of diet Dr. Pepper, 1/2 a pop-tart and a couple hours of aerobics every day, I have lived on 200 calories a day, I have been anorexic and I have been obese and addicted to carbs and caffeine, hating my body at every stage and never being satisfied with my appearance whether I weighed 90 pounds or 200. I was the kid that never, not even once, did a pull up or a push up during those yearly p.e. tests and everyone laughed at the zero written next to my name and the kid that was chosen last when teams were picked and I never dressed out for p.e. when there was going to be running involved. I have always had a tendency to carry a little weight but I managed to keep it from getting too far out of hand, and then came....the love of my life, (still is, always will be) who loved me at any and every weight, and then....babies! 1,2,3,4 of them! At that point it wasn't about me anymore and I would not starve my babies so I ate well when I was pregnant but had a very messed up metabolism and the weight jumped up with each of them. I was still 'okay' though- and then....everything started to hurt and I never felt good anymore. I hurt more and more and over two years got to the point where couldn't walk normally and the doctor gave me an RX for a handicapped placard- at 40 years old. After living with pain for a few years I was at a point where I cried myself to sleep a lot of nights because it was hard to live, to be a mom and homeschool my kids when I every step I took and move I made hurt. During those barely moving years I continued to gain more and more weight. The lack of activity and at least getting a little feel good from my ice cream, starbucks, etc. at night led to me reaching my highest weight ever. I was miserable physically.
Because I also had had a lot of tummy troubles for almost two years, my doctor asked me to stop eating anything with gluten in it and see what happened. I was shocked, and quite frankly really disappointed that within a week my tummy problems were gone. I did not want to be gluten free, I did not like gluten free, so I though it must have been a fluke and tested my theory (more than once) only to find that it was true, I could not eat gluten. As bummed as this carb addict was to discover that, I was truly fascinated and amazed to learn the power of food. Not only did my tummy get fixed but there was a reduction in the pain I felt through my body. Around this time we finally figured out that I have an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is basically an inflammatory disease, a for of arthritis that affects my spine, sacroiliac joints and my feet. This is why I had been living in pain. AS is a lifelong disease but there are options to manage it, I can give myself shots or take of an immunosuppressant or biologics medications but I learned that for some people, a pretty strict diet without many starches like grains and beans helps. Because I had seen what an amazing difference removing gluten had made for me I decided to try the AS diet first. In a month my pain was almost gone, or at least definitely at a manageable level. Again, I'm amazed at the power and effects of food so from there I read and researched everything I could and completely changed my diet. I no longer eat any sugar, including honey or maple syrup or artificial sweeteners, everything I eat at home is organic, grass fed, pastured meats and eggs from my own chickens and mostly raw dairy, nothing I can't pronounce, etc.- just real, natural foods. Have I mentioned the power of food is amazing. A month into this new healthy lifestyle. I was so excited to hear that Channel had created the level E class. I could not do one sit up, any in and outs, anything that involved impact, a push up, etc (you get the picture) so there was no way I would have come to a regular class but the Level E brought comfort so I came. Here's the part that I couldn't believe- the people were so kind to me. I had known Channel for years so I knew she would be accepting of me and kind but everyone else...really? They encouraged me. I barely did anything compared to others and people were saying things like, great job and you've got this Stephanie. There were times I didn't feel like that, I didn't feel like I had it at all, it wasn't in me, and I literally felt like I was too far gone and cried right there at bootcamp. The part that is the most awesome and in itself sums up what this place is is this- every single time someone encouraged me, people I didn't even know honestly cared and went out of their way to help me. If it were not for those bootcampers and coaches I would have left crying and never come back. Thank You to every single one of you!!! I am so blessed by you all and thankful for the new friendships I have formed here.
As of today, I am 50 pounds lighter but I'm happy to be at the point where it's about being healthy, about quality of life, the little things like being able to carry my sleepy daughter up the stairs, able to jump on the trampoline with my kids, let my son try to teach me to ride a ripstick, carry the groceries inside with no problem (even the cases of bottled water! ;) ) and it's about helping other people by encouraging and supporting them and letting them know that they can do this, just as y'all have done for me. I've got a ways to go and still can't do a good push up or pull up, etc. but I now know that thanks to learning to make healthy choices, Amazen Boot Camp and Iron Antler CrossFit and the love and kindness that fills this place, I've actually got this!
Colleen G 6:14am
Way to go Stephanie! Haven't known you except for a few months at dance classes and seeing you work out at bc. You do a great job working out and are a very nice person to know. Congrats on being spot light person as you deserve it!
Wow, Wow, Wow!!!!! Love your Testimony! Doesn't get any better than that. Keep up the hard work and nothing can stop you Stephanie!!
Marie C 7:44am
Hey sweet friend! So proud of you and all you have accomplished. I remember working out with you that first day of Level E. I miss working out with you now! Your sweet smile and words of encouragement are always an inspiration to all of us! So happy for you and your family! Stay focused on your goals! Love ya!
So proud of you!!! I'm just recently getting to know you better and I just LOVE your spirit!! What a beautiful testimony, you are so deserving of this spotlight! Sad to miss it today due to being in Dallas, but I'm sure it will be a blast! BIG CONGRATS!! ❤️
Jennifer Wa 11:56am
Wow your testimony is awesome! Congratulations !! After all you have been through you deserve to be spotlight! 50 lbs is awesome! You should be so proud of yourself! Keep up the awesome work! That testimony will keep me motivated this week!!! Way to go girl!!
What an amazing testimony...one I will be sharing with some family members. Way To Go! and keep up the work
Nancy A 4:22pm
That is awesome !! Loved the Wod today Good job ! Girl😉
Loved reading your testimony! Wow you have really come a long way. God is good! Congrats on spotlight boot camper!
Wow- great testimony- and you look fantastic! You have definitely worked hard and it shows. Congrats on being the spotlight boot camper. Can't wait to do your WOD tomorrow!
Sharon C 8:09pm
Wow!!!!! Ongratulations Stephanie! I have loved seeing you change almost every time I see you at Bootcamp! The transformation is amazing physically but even more important, you are glowing!! Praise the Lord for you and ABC! Keep up the good work!
Tracy Ma 9:51pm
Wow....your story made my heart ache for all you've been through, but then made my heart Soar for where you are!!! SS ~ you know how i feel about you! luv ya BIG!! And love to coach you cause I take ''no excuses'' about your strength and abilities ....because you have none :) you are strong, which is why I keep the gradual bump ups going of weights you use and levels you do....etc., You were such a blessing to have in my accountability group for clean eating.... I learned a lot from you. And there you were always willing to help and share info w others. And to encourage us all. You are a super awesome person, glad to call ya friend, and I am so glad it's your turn as SBC!!! Your heart is only matched by your efforts...and I couldn't think of a bad thing to say about ya if I was paid....well, except maybe you are too hard on yourself. Give that amazing Grace you're always showing others back to you.... You deserve it. I promise! Your amazing all on your own!
So glad to be part of your e class!! Congrats!!
Congratulations on being Spotlight Bootcamper! Love your testimony! You look fabulous! 😉💪👍
Susan M 6:01am
you are amazing and such an inspiration so happy for you!!!!
Amanda Di 7:47am
Great testimony!!! Way to go. Congrats!
Yay! Congratulations! You are so deserving of this! I am sooo proud of you and what you have accomplished ! You look amazing and I can't wait to WOD with you next week :)
Jamie C 8:38pm
Omg Stephanie!! So excited for you!! I know how hard you have worked since day one of Level E class and you definitely deserve this!! You are always so encouraging of others and truly are a wonderful friend and person! Big hugs to you! You look amazing girl but more importantly I know you feel amazing! It shows in your smile 😄 I look forward to doing your WOD..be gentle though lol 😜
Heather t 9:01pm
Woohoo!!' I am so excited for you! You are looking strong lady!!! I will never forget that first week of the E WODS!!!what a long way you have come!!!hugs!
Anna H 9:07pm
Just from the picture, you look great! I know I'd know you if I saw you, since our little boot camp family is not so little anymore. What a wonderful transformation and so inspiring! Congratulations on your selection as the spotlight bootcamper!