I’m Holly, am a 6-year breast cancer survivor, work for Susan G. Komen Southern New England, married to my high school sweetheart for almost 25 years (in March) and have 3 amazing (if I don’t say so myself) daughters. We have an English bulldog named Charlotte who has her own Instagram: @abulldognamedcharlotte and I’m addicted to sugar. I started at FA back in May terrified out of my mind. I was tired of yo-yoing with my weight and tired of just dieting to lose weight and then gaining it right back (and then some) without gaining strength and needed to find a support group that could help calm my nerves. I was so inspired by the photos I saw of Kelly Keating Walker, someone I went to elementary, middle and high school with that I reached out to her to find out if someone like me (at my heaviest weight) could even survive a class. I was terrified of being made fun of because of my weight (if you’ve seen the new TV show, “This is Us,” I was Kate), but even more terrified of not doing something.
Of course she said I could do it but to talk to Bonnie Lefrak to answer any questions. I thought that if THE owner could take the time to talk to ME than that says a lot. And guess what, of course she did. I explained that I was petrified because I danced as a child and was told over and over again that we were horrible, would never amount to anything and were made to feel worthless. So group exercise could be very difficult emotionally for me. My psyche could not stand to hear negative thoughts or I would spiral out of control and I had to protect myself, even if that meant I was meant to be fat. Bonnie said that this was different but that she promised I wouldn’t feel that way because everyone was very supportive and too focused on their own exercise to worry about what I was doing. AND that night just so happened to be the first class of Intro to BootCamp and I should give if a try. If I liked it, I could pay the difference between the one class and book the six-week class and if not I’d just be out the $20 for the one. What an opportunity to try something I really wanted with all my heart without being forced to join a gym and/or program. So, I did. I arrived 15 minutes early so I could talk to the instructor about my fears (and so she would be a little gentler on me). I guess I didn’t need to because Darlene Bubba Connorshas to be one of the kindest people I know and kept reassuring me and the rest of the class that we were all in the same place.
I don’t think that first class we exercised physically a whole lot but emotionally was simply amazing for me. Bubba continued to encourage me weekly without pushing me over my limit and made me more and more confident to try a real boot camp class. I met a special lady, Ursula John, in that intro class and we decided to do Beach Body challenge together over the summer. To hear the stories over and over again to realize I wasn’t alone just melted my insecurities away. I liked the guided food plan (previously I was on Atkins (my own version anyway)) but since I had no accountability, I would cheat ALL the time. Sugar was my drug of choice. I loved the support of Beach Body. Ursula and I finally made it to a REAL boot camp and survived (with minor modifications), but we survived. I wasn’t scared anymore and actually began liking coming to class (thank you especially to Mary-Beth Turner and Gail Rutkousky and the amazing Martie Porter (who is so inspirational and motivational)). I think I lost about 15 pounds in that program. I knew I couldn’t go back to where I once was so I continued my journey and lost another 10 pounds in between summer and fall and my husband started eating similarly to me (and he’s now lost 25+pounds too!). I have lost almost 20 since starting fall. All in all, I have lost 50 pounds since starting my journey in May and have gained strength and confidence. I feel great, I’m definitely stronger, and the support here is nothing short of amazing. I truly believe FA and all its instructors and clients has saved my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are my FAmily ❤.