Former Figure Skater Reclaims Her Fitness*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Weight Lost:  54 pounds
Hometown: Middle Grove, NY
Occupation: Executive secretary

What was life like before your weight loss?
I was an active kid--I was a figure skater and played high school sports, so I was always in good shape. Because of my activity level, I could eat anything and not gain any weight. Once I entered college, I suffered a knee injury that ended my skating career, and caused me to be much more sedentary than I had been in high school. So I began to gain weight. I had knee surgery, and I was off my feet, using a cane for about two years. Gradually, through my own physical rehabilitation program, I was able to walk without the cane. However, I was never able to master the art of losing weight and keeping it off. I was unhappy with myself physically and emotionally. It was hard just to walk or to climb stairs. I missed being active, especially ice skating. I was embarrassed about how I looked. I tried to hide my body under oversize clothes.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
First, I saw a picture of myself and I thought, "Do I really look like that?"  That's what got me going in 2008.  I lost 60 pounds, but then some personal issues caused me to start gaining it back. Last year, my 30th high school reunion was approaching, and that was the kick I needed to start eating healthy and working out again.  I wanted to be in the best shape possible before I faced my high school friends, who hadn't seen me in 30 years.

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey:
My reunion was July 2012, and I'm still going strong with my weight loss. I have about 7 pounds to lose to reach my goal weight. I'd like to say it's been all perfect and easy, but that would be a lie. It's been hard work! But, I've learned to appreciate and celebrate the small victories and to enjoy the journey. I began by walking every day, either during my lunch break or on the treadmill in the evenings. I began to increase my walking, with the goal of at least 10,000 steps every day, and now, I’ve progressed to running!

I have fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition which is worsened by being overweight. I have found that exercise helps me manage and control my pain levels. It's hard to begin the exercise, but it always helps. I also have high blood pressure, which has improved a lot since I started exercising. 

The SparkPeople resources and community has been integral to my success by holding me accountable for my food and exercise. For a while, I stopped using SparkPeople and lost contact with my SparkFriends. I began to lose my belief in myself and I started to gain the weight back.  I'm confident that I would not have gotten where I am today without SparkPeople. I've made so many new friends, and found so much motivation and support from reading other people’s stories.

What is your typical exercise routine like?
My dog, Jasper, and I walk at least two miles at lunchtime every day. After work, I run at least four times per week and do strength training.

How have your eating habits/ overall diet changed?
I’m much more conscious of the food that I eat. Specifically, I try to only eat food that benefits my body instead of random snacking or stress eating.

What was your biggest obstacle while trying to lose weight; and how did you deal with it?
My biggest obstacle has been the fibromyalgia. It’s not easy to exercise with the pain and fatigue. I deal with it by having a routine—I change into my exercise clothes as soon as I get home from work. On really bad days, I make a deal with myself that I will only try to do a short amount, and if I’m still tired, I’ll stop. That rarely happens.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight loss journey?
Enjoy the journey! In the beginning, it looks like such an enormous task, but if you break it into baby steps, it's not nearly as intimidating.  So many people are preoccupied with reaching a goal weight that they miss the smaller victories along the way. Find an activity that you love to do--and do it. If your workout feels more like a chore than a fun activity, then you probably won’t stick with it.

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
I feel better, and I can walk long distances--so far my longest is 7 miles.  A few years ago, I put my figure skates back on and returned to the ice. It was scary, but I enjoyed it. I didn't realize how much I had missed skating.  I've completed 15 5K races, and I'm currently in training for a half marathon. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I could be a runner...but I am!  I love the increased energy that becoming fit and healthier has given me. And the added rewards of knowing that I am controlling my fibromyalgia and lowering my blood pressure keep me on track. I know that I will reach my goal this time. I can do this, I will do this, and I AM doing this!

Congratulations, Pattie! Thanks for sharing your story!

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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ALABAMASUSAN17 10/6/2017
I, too have Fibromyalgia and the widespread Chronic Pain and Fatigue that goes with it. After taking a drug called LUPRON for another problem I packed on over 175 pounds. I'm slowly but surely taking off this body prison of fat. Thank you for sharing your journey and inspiring so many of us! Report
Good for you Pattie! Your story is inspiring to me, thank you for sharing it. Report
Too bad I won't be able to get my wife to read this. She has fibromyalgia and has basically given up on life as a result. When she's not sleeping, she basically sits around all day feeling sorry for herself. When I try to offer help and encouragement she just tells me that I don't understand how hard life is for her. Now I am no expert, but I can't imagine that fact that she's overweight, does no exercise, smokes a pack a day, and eats an unhealthy diet is helping how she feels at all. Report
You're an inspiration! What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing. Report
Congratulations on your accomplishments.. I also have fibromyalgia and it's not fun at all. Report
That is AWESOME Pattie! Congrats! We can & wil do this! Report
WTG! Awesome story and inspiring journey, in spite of fibromyalgia! Report
Totally look awesome. Report
Thanks for inspiring me. I have fibromyalgia also and it not only makes me not want to exercise, it makes me not want to move AT ALL - even though I know it WILL help. Reading your blog got me up and doing some step aerobics this morning. Thank you and CONGRATULATIONS!!! Report
WONDERFUL! You are an inspiration! Report
I loved reading your story. So inspiring! I am just over 50 yrs old and used to ice skate when I was in Middle/High School. I still LOVE the smell of the indoor ice rink and have it on my list of things to do after a lose some weight and feel more confident that I won't break bones. This last year I've really struggled. I pretty much stopped exercising and haven't been eating well. I gained 30 pounds that I had worked hard to lose. Altogether, I need to lose about 75 pounds and have tried so many things and haven't been able to keep it up. I'm tired of trying even though I know I have to. I know its me who has to "Just do it!" and quit talking about it. I just need to find it in myself to get moving. Keep up the great work. Report
Hi. Your story is very inspiring. I too, have a chronic illness. I also find it hard some mornings to exercise, but once I get started, it gets easier.
Again, thanks for sharing your story.

gary Report
First off, I love your Spark name...second, you have an awesome story. I am just at the beginning of a long journey and yes, it does seem daunting. But stories like yours give me inspiration that I can do this!! Report
Thanks for sharing, you are an inspiration Report
Woo Hoo!!! Thx for sharing! Report
Thank you for sharing your story! Knee surgery and fibro and still running and moving forward...BRAVO! I am truly inspired. Report
Wonderful Job! Inspirational, Thanks! Report
Pattie, your story is very inspiring! I love the part where you say, "So many people are preoccupied with reaching a goal weight that they miss the smaller victories along the way." Thank you for the reminder! Report
From one success story to another, hearty congratulations!! Best to you on your continued SparkJourney! ~~ Barbara Report
You're so great! Report
Congratulations for your wonderful success story! And thank you for sharing all the ups and downs and ins and outs and things that helped you on your way. Report
I too have fibromyalgia. Thank you so much for your inspirational story. I really appreciated the point you made about noticing the little victories while enjoying the journey. I think this time around I am noticing the little things on my way to health. It may help me to finally get to where I need to be.

Way to go Pattie!!!! What an inspiration to all of us here on spark!!!! Report
Thanks for sharing about your journey and for your honesty. I admire how you don't use pain as an excuse to not exercise. It inspires me. Report
awesome job! You look amazing! Report
You look fantastic! What an inspiring story! Congratulations and please wish me luck on my journey. Someday I want to be a spark success story too! Report
You are beautiful! Inside and out. Report
Well done and well said! As a person who also has FM, you nailed it.. A routine is so important. Without exercise, I'd be super sore, so get up each morning and practice yoga, then walk the dogs and for cardio, my stationary bike.. This is my prescription for wellness and as a result I only need a minimal amount of medication.

You are such an inspiration!! Report
So happy for you! Report
Congratulations! I know exactly what it is like to deal with pain on a daily basis, and it is difficult. I hope I can take encouragement from your story and reach my own goals. You are an inspiration - thanks for sharing your journey!! Report
Way to go Report
Way to go Pattie!! Report
What an inspiration. When I get up and walk my dog, I frequently start out by saying "oh, just do 1.5 miles". Needless to say, I wind up feeling better and walk my usual 2.5. Thank you for sharing your story. Report
Pattie , what an inspiration you are ! Well, if we make the excuse w're tired or had a long day all we need do is think of Pattie & her disease & she's STILL doing it to get us motivated.
Your story is the definition of the phrase, Just Do It !
You look GREAT ! Report
Awesome!!! Report
Proud of you Pattie! Report
Great story that is wonderful! Report
I also have fibromyalgia and some other rheumatological issues - so reading your inspiring story is just wonderful! THANK YOU!!! Report
Great, inspiring story! I'm so happy you are living the life you deserve! Report
Congratulations on all your accomplishments!!! You are an inspiration!! Report
Thanks for sharing your story. It's a real help to keep me motivated! Report
Thank you for sharing. You are an inspiration! Report
Just the motivation that I needed this morning. Congrats on not giving into to pain! Report
Amazing story...Congrats. Thanks for Sparking! You are an overcomer and a success of both mind and body.

P.S. Thanks to SparkPeople for making sharing possible. Report
This is a great motivation for me. I have lost 170 lbs with the help of gastric bypass surgery. Now I am at a plateau and frustrated at times, but I am not giving up. I have signed up for a 5k in August. I completed a 5k in the past and struggled to finish it. For the 1st time I am running on the treadmill for short periods of time, but it is a good start. Keep up the good work. Report
I could relate a lot with your story. Not the early activity part, because I was a very heavy kid and have never been small. But the fibromyalgia and managing pain better with it. I'm 58 years old and started working on getting healthy 4 years ago. I walk a lot and do strength training. I run a little and have done a number of 5k's. My running is off and on. But hiking is my real passion and I can hike up and down hills. 10 miles is my furthest hike so far. For the past 4 years I've also participated in the Bataan Death March Memorial event, held every year in March at a military base about 2 1/2 hours from me. It's something that is very close to my heart and honors the original Bataan Death March participants, as well as all military over the years. There is a 15 mile course and a 26 mile course. Some run one or the other. More walk one or the other. You see people of all levels of ability, and also wounded warriors, some with artificial legs. Close to 6,000 participate in this walk (it isn't like the original death march because there are lots of aid stations, some first aid stations, support , etc. I mention this event to some people who think that it's a very morbid and an event that recreates the things they went through but that isn't true). Years 1 and 2 I did the whole 15 miles. Year 3 I got to mile 11 and I got too hot and had to drop out but I made it 11 miles before I did. It was unseasonably hot. This year I got the whole 15 done again. It took me longer, over 6 hours, but I stopped a few times at aid stations and rested for 15 or 20 minutes and took time to talk to soldiers and families who were volunteering to thank them for their service and in the case of a few wives with husbands deployed to talk to them for a while about how much of a sacrifice it is for families (my brother retired a couple of years ago after 20 years in the military and some deployments), and just let them know we appreciate them as much as the ones serving. I focused on doing the walk to commemorate our military, past, present and future, and to support them instead of time. We do wear chip timers, but there are no awards except top 2 in the 26 mile. So time doesn't really matter as much. And I wasn't last either. Lots finished before me but others were slower too and finished after me and that's awesome. My biggest challenge with fibro is the fatigue. I have to do my exercise early in the morning, because by the end of the work day I'm wiped out and usually asleep by 7 or 8 pm. But most mornings I can get up early and have more energy. Thanks so much for sharing your story about how you overcame everything and are doing so well. Especially with fibro. We don't have to stop living because of fibro! You are awesome! Report
Congratulations Pattie!! You have been an inspiration to me. I'm so glad to see your story on the Start Page so more people can hear it! Report
I, too, have knee issues (will eventually have my knees replaced!) and Fibromyalgia. It's good to know that these chronic conditions don't mean I have to live with this weight forever. Thanks for the inspirational article!! Becca Report
Congratulations Pattie! Thank you for sharing. I also have fibromyalgia (22 years) so I understand how hard it is. I was walking 10,000 steps a day and had a flare so am down to not walking right now. Report
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