Meet Kathleen. She’s Embarking on a One-Year Mission to Change Her Life.

Base road image by Nicolas Raymond

New WellATL columnist Kathleen Lorey will spend the next 12 months making serious changes to her health and life — and sharing the experience with you. In truth, her journey is probably going to last way more than one year because once you start down that path to better health, it’s hard to stop… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For now, let’s meet Kathleen and find out what spurred her to make this life-changing commitment to better eating and regular exercise. And remember, it’s a brave and vulnerable thing to write publicly about such a big lifestyle change. As with other stories that have been shared here, if Kathleen’s column inspires you, motivates you, helps you see that you aren’t alone in whatever struggles you face, or just makes you want to cheer her on, it has done its job and we hope you’ll let her know or share your own experiences in the comments.

Kathleen-FitWit-PicI’m Kathleen. Last year, my husband and I began planning an incredible vacation to Italy – truly the trip of a lifetime. It took a year of saving, research, and preparation, and when we got there, almost every step of the way, my lack of fitness was apparent. Carrying my luggage up a small hill to the quaint cottage was a struggle. I barely survived the hike through a countryside town (Cinque Terre) and had to stop every 15 steps for a full minute to catch my breath. I could barely appreciate the most incredible landscapes.

I run into similar struggles at home. I live in town and walking across the street a few weeks ago, I had one of the homeless men yell at me and call me a fat %$*@$. I have pretty high confidence, but it rattled me. I have a good job that I know how to do well, a phenomenal family, and the best friends anyone could ask for in this life. Even so, I had a choice: I could dismiss the man’s comments about my weight as ‘oh, he’s crazy,’ or I could reflect on how the outside world perceives me.

I have never been skinny, but I have never been… obese. It is a scary word to put down in writing, but if I am going to fit into normal airplane seats, buy clothes in the non-plus-size section, not be embarrassed to meet my husband’s boss, or make it up a flight of stairs without getting winded, I need to make a change. I am ready to be able to fully enjoy my next vacation. I am ready to carry more grocery bags up the stairs. I am ready to get out and fight for my health. I am ready for change.

In the past, I’ve run multiple half marathons and played on sports teams. I know what it takes to be dedicated, but I need a routine I can stick with, so I entered a contest to win a year of classes from FitWit, a group fitness program (disclosure: WellATL publisher Josh Guerrieri is also president and founder of FitWit). And I won. Now the changes begin. I say all of this knowing that some of you have been there too, and while I want to “just do it,” I know that part of my journey is going to be accepting and leaning on the love and support of the group I’ll be working out with.

This will be quite an adventure, so I thought I might share some things that I am anxious/afraid/sort-of-don’t-want-to-talk-about when it comes to my fitness journey:

  • I am a workaholic so making sure I end my day by 6 p.m. to leave enough time to get dressed and get to the workout is going to be a challenging change.
  • My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. We eat differently now (I love veggies!), but the kind of changes I’m looking to make are going to take time to adjust to.
  • I’m concerned about burpees, as in hitting the ground and not being able to get back up (I’m a final savasana kind of girl right now).
  • I am growing out my hair (because let’s be honest, a real ponytail is going to be crucial).
  • What about partner workouts? Will someone be my partner? I’m at a <ahem> hefty weight currently and it is nerve racking to try to find someone who will do things slower with me.
  • I’m nervous about FAILURE!!! This is a REAL goal with REAL measurements with REAL (positive) consequences… what happens if I don’t do well, or I get injured, or someone is disappointed in me? (Why, hello angsty teenager Kathleen.)

My birthday was January 3rd and I know that starting this journey is the best birthday present I could have this year.

Read Kathleen’s first update now!