Tracy Rowe

My journey at Fitness Asylum has been amazing for me and forever life changing. I have to admit it was a little intimidating for me at the kickoff. There were so many fit people who were already rocking the challenge tank tops. I nervously thought to myself “I hope they don’t make me wear that tank for my picture- all my rolls will show.” Like many, my battled with weight has been life-long. I have done every diet known to man and could lose weight but never keep it off.

I have worked the past 35 years as a nurse .I do a great care of taking care of others- a not so good job at taking care of me. Three years ago I had a second orthopedic surgery on my right foot /tendon after the first one was ineffective. I was laid up on crutches and could not weight bear for three months. This was followed by walking in a cam boot for 6 more months .I packed on more weight. I could not exercise much.
This past summer I did a weight loss challenge at another facility my foot was better and I was able to work hard at the gym along with eating healthy. I came in second place and was proud of my efforts. However, life happens…

In September my sister Shelly who had battled various cancers for 20 years developed a metasticized brain tumor. At the same time my mom became ill and was in the ICU at UMass.
I spent this past Fall working my job as a nurse, visit my mom in the ICU and then go next door to a rehab nursing home to visit with my sister who was now on hospice. My stress level was through the roof, I was not sleeping or eating well. My diet consisted of a Coke Zero and a snickers bar from the vending machine. You guessed it I gained back most of the weight I had lost. My mom recovered but Shelly died in September at age 48.
So after the New Year, again another weight loss challenge was starting at my gym. I did not dare join. How could I weigh in at the same weight I was when I started the last challenge? I was embarrassed and ashamed. I was a failure once again. In retrospect I know my coaches would have supported me – it was my own insecurities and self- esteem. I do not know why I equate weight gain with failure and am so hard on myself. I saw posts on Facebook from my friend Kara Kill who was rocking a bikini and looked totally amazing after the bikini challenge.

I decided to give FA a try- no one would know me, my struggles or failures. I could just do my thing. What has been absolutely so amazing and very unexpected is the support from Bonnie, Captain Dan, my team as well as other FA members. I am grateful to Dan for being our biggest cheerleader and motivator. I have never been one to be on Facebook, but that became my source of strength and support.

I thank all of you that just sent a simple Face book message encouraging me and applauding my efforts. Without getting too much into my personal baggage you have to understand that I am in a position in which I am not supported in life. It is a beautiful thing here. So it does matter when we all support each outer. You need to know it matters especially to those of us who get no support at all. To you it may be a simple comment but to the person it can mean the world.

I am competitive so seeing that I was successful – and not a failure drove me harder. The team mentality also helped keep me on track because I did not want to let my team down. I had an “AHA” moment in part due to comments made by Alicia when she hijacked my food journal. She helped me better understand macros and what would be realistic for me. Her comments and I quote “You can win a contest but without nailing down the nutrition your body does not win and in the end that is the most important thing!” I think I finally have the tools to break this dieting cycle. This has to be the way for me to eat for my life, not just for a specific challenge. In the past I would rally to do a challenge only to go back to my old ways.

So as the winter challenge comes to a close, I realize the challenge is not really over – It is never over. The challenge is to make this my lifestyle , to do it for me and NOT be phased by negative people or circumstances in life. I need to believe in myself. I am forever grateful for the new found friends, the knowledge and support I have gained at Fitness Asylum. THANK YOU.