Journey to Fit features an F&F reader with an inspirational weight loss or weight gain story to share. The men and women featured in Journey to Fit each paved their own path to a healthy lifestyle, and I am thrilled they are willing to share their journeys on my blog. Everyone has a unique story and approach to healthy living, and each person had to start somewhere. I hope you find this series inspiring. Enjoy!

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I thought it would be fun to feature a couple on Journey to Fit this week in honor of Valentine’s Day right around the corner! Today we’re chatting with Bill and Lauren, a husband and wife duo who both work at MEDITECH with me. Some of you may recognize this story from some of the staff wellness spotlights I’ve written for the company’s wellness newsletter, but Bill and Lauren were kind enough to let me re-purpose their story for F&F.

Journey to Fit: Bill and Lauren

Bill and Lauren, tell everyone a little bit about yourselves.

We met over eleven years ago on a corporate ski racing league trip at Wachusett Mountain. Lauren was the captain of her high school ski team, and Bill used to teach skiing. Bill was employed by MEDITECH at the time in the Interoperability group, and Lauren joined the MEDITECH family a year later in the 5.x Admissions service group. We now work in Sales and Marketing respectively and work surprisingly well together!

When did your weight loss journey begin?

We began our FINAL weight loss journey with Vo2max Fitness and Sandy White of Be Well, Be You in January 2014 when we realized that what we were doing on our own just wasn’t working. Years of neglect and unhealthy habits weighed heavily on our minds and bodies. We were getting married in June and wanted to start our new life chapter with a better perspective: looking and feeling our best.

What lifestyle changes have you made since the beginning of your journey?

Adding in cleaner and more wholesome foods helped alleviate almost all of our problems. We’re much more conscious now about what we put into our bodies thanks to Sandy White’s health coaching. With her support and recipes on top of our intense workouts, the weight loss really kicked in. The recipes not only helped us stay fueled for our workouts, but they also forced us to try new things. Quinoa for breakfast?! Try it, it’s good! We don’t deprive ourselves of treats, but our idea of treats has drastically changed. We reduced our sugar consumption and now actually crave healthy foods instead. “Cheating” is no longer a word in our vocabulary. Instead, we take a no guilt approach and are able to enjoy a nice meal out or some of that leftover Halloween candy without letting it ruin our week. If you plan ahead, you can enjoy anything you want and not feel guilty about it.

We continue to work out frequently and try to make as many positive decisions every day as we can. By the time our wedding rolled around, we lost a combined total of ninety pounds! More importantly, we’re no longer unhappy, obese, unfit, energy-drained, or pre-diabetic. To date, we continue working out and eating healthy. It’s become a part of our lifestyle, something necessary for long term success.

Journey to Fit: Bill and Lauren

Did you encounter any challenges along the way, and how did you overcome them?

Our first workout was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. It took us about a week to recover, but we kept at it. Each week our trainers helped us push harder, and we learned more about what we could handle, both physically and mentally. Nutrition was also very challenging. We generally knew what we needed to do, but we weren’t so motivated at first. Our stamina was tested during the first few weeks of workouts, and we quickly realized that without fueling our bodies appropriately, we were not going to reach our goals. We pushed ourselves to eat differently using some of Sandy’s methods, and we immediately started seeing results. We were able to power through the full workouts and still have enough energy to last throughout the day. No more 3pm slumps!

Aside from the weight loss, what has rewarded you? What differences do you notice in how you felt then versus how you feel now?

Our self confidence is completely re-energized, and we believe in ourselves now. We feel fit and know we can accomplish almost any challege our trainers give us at the gym. We watch The Biggest Loser and say, “Wow, we’ve done that!” during most episodes. Because we have more energy, we find ourselves doing more active things at night or on the weekends that we probably wouldn’t have done before we started our journey such as going on hikes, long walks, and occasional runs with our dog. Yes, we’ve had to re-invest in new wardrobes (yay!), but our reliance on medications for cholesterol, high blood pressure, and pre-diabetes is a thing of the past. We have a renewed focus and feel more productive than ever, both at home and in the office.

What are the next steps in your journey?

We still have more work to do, so our next steps are to simply keep taking steps! We want to continue to find the motivation in our daily lives to keep us on track. We are contemplating running more by signing up for 5k races and potentially the Spartan race so we have a goal in mind. Lauren is currently recovering from a back injury, so eventually easing back into things and remembering how far we’ve come will be key for her progress. We also continue to find new and exciting foods to add into our dietary regimen and use a CSA program to help us think outside the norm for healthy food preparation. We even recently took a cooking class together!

Journey to Fit: Bill and Lauren Cooking Class

What tips would you offer others who are just starting out?

As we see it, there are two ways to start out: either gradually ease into it by taking one small step at a time (replace a meal with a healthy alternative or start walking during lunch) or throw yourself into it with everything you have. Either way you do it, you will be surprised at what you can accomplish by just starting. You may not be able to climb Mount Washington in a month, but you have to take a step or two in that direction to even consider it. You may even have to try out a couple different activities and gym locations/trainers to find your groove, but keep trying until you do. The most important thing is to have a measurable and obtainable goal to work towards. Keep reflecting and congratulating yourself on how far you’ve come, even if you don’t succeed at first. In our minds, you succeed by just taking that first step!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

It doesn’t matter whether your job is traveling or non-traveling, or if you’re single, married, parents, or independent. There will certainly be challenges on your journey, but you CAN manage them through proper planning. We have adopted Sandy’s “fail to plan, plan to fail” motto, and it has worked wonders for us. Believe it or not, there IS time every single day to focus on you and your health needs. Some may just have to work at it a bit harder than others. Good luck!

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Bill and Lauren, thank you for sharing your inspirational story! You are definitely an inspiration to my readers.

Readers, leave Bill and Lauren some love! They deserve it.

If you or someone you know has a weight loss or weight gain story to share, please email me at fitnessandfeta@gmail.com. I would love to feature you. This series will run as long as I receive enough content to keep it going.

For past Journey to Fit posts:

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