By Lorrie Sullenberger
I was the quintessential chubby little fat girl growing up. Mine was a generation where girls did not value sports, and to make matters worse, I could not do a kick ball change or plié to save my soul. Little did I realize that fitness -- of any kind -- would have given me the one thing I so sorely needed, confidence!
In my mid-thirties I started down the road of infertility treatments. The fertility drugs made me gain 30 pounds, but did not make me pregnant. We adopted two incredibly beautiful daughters, whom I loved with every fiber of my being, but my body had betrayed me twice over.
I decided if my body would not make a baby, at least I could be thin. My journey began simply, join a gym and get on the treadmill -- but nothing changed. I tell people now that “the more I focused on my butt, the bigger it got.” I wanted to beat my body into submission, to lose weight, but it did not work.
I met my mentor in a class called the mind-muscle connection. She taught me to be grateful for what my body could do, that my arms and legs worked and I was healthy. She reminded me that I had two beautiful daughters to model healthy behavior for. I had to focus on the health benefits of exercise and find something that I liked to do and do that! If you are not a runner, then be a walker or hiker. If you like classes, then take classes. Just be brave enough to find your thing and do it. Like everything else in life, if you like doing something, you will do it more often.
Getting outside the gym and enjoying the healing benefits of Mother Nature shifted my focus. I could not obsess about my butt when the red tail hawks were flying overhead or the lush green hills looked like Ireland. Hiking became my savior. Little did I know what a spiritual experience every outing had in store, and I could not get enough.
My family and I are blessed to live in an area that has enough hills and peaks for a girl to explore endlessly. I eventually hiked off 35 pounds, and that was ten years ago. Hiking reinvigorated my marriage, as my husband and I had an activity we could challenge ourselves with together. Ultimately we hiked Mt Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States -- all 14,550 feet. I came off that mountain a different woman -- full of awe for the spectacular mountains, gratitude for the ability to take on the challenge, but most of all confidence -- that thing that had eluded me for oh so long.
In the end I tell women that exercise made me a better mother, wife and friend and oh yeah, I lost 35 pounds along the way. And the best part is you can do it too. You can get Fit and Fabulous…Outdoors!
Before January 15, 2009, Lorrie Sullenberger led a quiet—yet accomplished—life as a fitness expert, local television personality and suburban mom. With infectious enthusiasm, strength and candor, Sullenberger shows that the only way to make it through trauma is to point yourself in the right direction and take one step at a time. Currently working on a book on preparing for and making it through life’s challenges, Sullenberger empowers audiences by showing what skills are necessary to make yourself ready for whatever life throws your way.
Read Lorrie Sullenberger's earlier post When My Husband Became a Hero