My friend Lindsey Cotter is a superstar. She has lost almost 150 pounds, and has fought SO very hard through lots of struggles to be where she is right now. Four pounds away from her ultimate goal weight!! She is living proof that we can do anything if we really try. Here is her guest blog-
Hello Grace Got Healthy Readers! Grace has asked me to share a little bit of my story and fitness tips.
I can relate in a lot of ways to Grace’s story. With being over weight and just sort of lost in life…just defeated. Let me explain.
February 15, 2009 my world was rocked. Turned upside down and was never the same again. I got a phone call about 7 a.m. that morning from my father saying my brother had been in a car accident and didn’t make it. When I computed and actually understood what he had just told me, still in disbelief, I completely lost my mind. I lost half of myself that day. My brother was my best friend and we were the closest of close. We understood each other the way nobody else ever has or ever will. We had a true bond. He was everything to me. One night he and some friends from work were driving home from a local bar here in town and they were all drunk. My brother was in the front passenger seat. They hit a light pole on the passenger side…my brother was killed on impact. It was the most horrific details and story I had ever heard in my life. I remember I had to go pick up his ashes from the funeral home by myself and vomited in the parking lot once I buckled him in the front seat…in the box. It was a harsh reality that came to me right then and there and I lost it…literally. After that day my depression and weight had just climbed up and I had no idea how bad I really was. September 2, 2010. Just 19 months later I received a phone call that afternoon. My father was killed in a car accident. He was a little league football coach at the time and was on his way to practice from picking up one of his players, but thankfully that boy wasn’t home so my dad was alone in the vehicle. They believe he didn’t have a heart attack or a stroke but was having breathing troubles like angina…they believe that he was having these issues and eventually jerked his truck off the road and it rolled…he was ejected and died on scene. He was so very over weight and that is what killed him. It was cold hard facts…his arteries were about 97% clogged with plaque. So many years of not caring how he ate, eating what he wanted, very horrid eating habits finally caught up with him. He wasn’t 50 yet. He was 49 and suppose to turn 50 on September 28 later that month. In my mind that is incredibly young. That has been part of what drives me and motivates me to stay on track and stay focuseBy September 2010 I was 300 lbs and completely defeated and numb in life. I remember an instance where I had to go into a department store thinking I was “getting out” and doing things, to shop for some things and I had a panic attack and froze in the store. I had it in my head everyone was staring at me in disgust and it freaked me out and I panicked. As soon as I was able to, we left and I was probably home for 6 months straight with not hardly going anywhere. That was after my brother passed away. I had a lot of unresolved issues and unsaid things with my father…so his sudden death was hard because nothing was ever fixed and questions were never answered. We didn’t really have much of a relationship. I got put on the back burner in life after he married his wife and she had 2 young kids. I resented my father a lot. Once my brother died, my father never made an effort to make anything better with him and I and it just made me feel more like I wasn’t worth anything in this life. He was real good at building me up to bring me down. He never had confidence in me and was never that parent that was just all about BOTH of his children. My brother was the star football player athlete and I was just a chubby band geek. I had a friend whose dad worked with my dad and they were all there in the office one day and my dad had referred to me as “the chubby one” and my friend just couldn’t believe my own father would do that. She said that if she knew her dad had done that she would have just fell apart. But I just never had that close relationship with him. So I guess it was just “ok well if my father says I’m chubby I guess I am”. You learn to believe it after a while and actually use the excuse that it’s genetics and there’s probably not a whole lot you can do about it. I look back on that now and laugh. That is the most ridiculous excuse I’ve ever heard of. Because of that now a days I say “hey I’m altering my genetics at the gym I’ll get back to ya in a while”. HA! I just never had that great relationship with my dad, so after his death it was like “ok what now?”.
A month after his accident my Momma flew me to South Carolina for a week (that’s where we’re from). She decided it was time to get out of town after so much happening. So I spent a week with her and my step daddy and it was this trip that ended up changing my life. On the way home from a family gathering with my step dad’s side of the family in Georgia, My momma and I were talking. We had a lot of time to talk and I learned things, she learned things, it was very good quality time we had and so greatly needed for the 2 of us. We got to talking about my father and how upset I was that he got so much money from my brother’s life insurance and he went and bought himself and my tall thin step mother and her 2 tall thin children gym memberships and personal training for my father. When here his 300 lb daughter is struggling in life in general and finances and obviously weight, never got offered any gym anything. It really made me resent him more. I know without a doubt in my mind my brother would have wanted that for me. But anyways, I again got left in the dust, so to speak, and here they are going to the gym, he’s working with a trainer and I’m left with nothing but memories and a box of ashes….While we are talking about all of this I tell my Momma how if I had a trainer I know I’d do whatever they said because what else do I know?? ABSOLUTELY nothing. I knew If I was shown what to do and how to do it and gained some knowledge and was taught how to, that I’d probably do well…at least get SOME weight off. Well my step father sat there driving not saying a word(he’s the strong silent type:) and soaking it all in. A couple days later my Momma and I are out shopping and my step dad calls her and she’s about in tears when she hangs up with him. She tells me he’s taken it upon himself to call the Gold’s Gym here in Grand Junction and set up a meeting with a trainer…he’s paid for 2 years of membership and training PLUS the child care so I have no excuse not to go. We stood inside this store hugging each other crying. It was the most exciting scariest moment. Needless to say when I got home I hugged his neck and I have been so grateful for him and my Momma for this opportunity and standing behind me the whole way. All it took was ONE person to take some initiative and have SOME kind of confidence in me enough to say hey, I’m doing this for you…go do it..I know you can. That’s all it took. I took it and ran like the wind with it and haven’t looked back since.
I got back to Colorado and met with my trainer that Monday. I’ve been with her ever since and now she’s like my “Colorado Momma”. She’s one of the best people I’ve ever known. I’ve been working with her for 2 and a half years and she is just amazing. She started me off slow. It wasn’t any Jillian Michaels in your face BS. I’ve been beat up enough…I didn’t need that anymore. She, in a way picked me up. Showed me I could do it. Showed me the way, the path, and gave me knowledge. She taught me and gave me her time. She truly cared how I was doing. I wasn’t just another paycheck to her. She’s the purest of gold in my book and I’d of never been able to do this without her. That’s just how the people are in this facility. It is some of the best group of people I’ve ever had the honor of meeting and getting to know.
Walking through the doors of the Grand Junction Gold’s Gym I was 300 lbs. I’ve now dropped 146.5 lbs. And trying to reach 150 lbs gone total. That is my ultimate goal. And so VERY Close :). Any tips I could leave y’all with…TAKE PICTURES. Take a photo before you start your journey or keep in mind of any you have that were taken recently before you start your path. These are SO VERY IMPORTANT. I cannot stress it enough. Photos tell you what you looking in the mirror every single day won’t. I suggest taking a photo every month. I have for the past couple of years. The first 5 months I dropped about 50 lbs. Because I was so big and it was coming off about an average of 10 lbs a month. That was eating so much better and doing the workouts. I’d take a picture every month and be able to see the difference and OH what motivation that is. Not only that but keeps you accountable. It’s so important to have that accountability and support.
I started curling 14 pound bicep curls and now maxing out at 110 lb bicep curls. The work is such a sweet bragging right. I’ve lost about 25-30% body fat. These things are possible if you’re willing to put in the work. It’s like asking yourself “am I worth it?” Dang right I am! And not letting ANYONE get in your way. You are completely worth it and giving up is NOT an option. It never was for me. I knew if I did I’d not only let myself down but my step dad…my Momma…my army of support I have behind me from all over the world now. There’s no way giving up was even in my vocabulary. I remember many times like on the anniversary dates of my brother’s accident or my dad’s accident…I’d be emotional..especially on my brother’s. I’d be in the middle of a set and just stop and get frustrated for feeling weak and start to cry. My trainer Deb would ask if I wanted to stop…I always said no. Stopping meant giving up and there was NO way that was happening. I had spent my whole life never finishing things…always just stopping because it was too hard or just didn’t have the courage or strength or confidence in myself. But this time was different. I luckily had another father who believed in me enough to start this for me so by God I did it. And put all I could in this. I am such a driven person now. I’m focused. I’m motivated and want to help and motivate other people like myself. I’m currently studying to be a personal trainer and can’t wait until I can get my hands on some clients and just spread this feeling I have. I’m strong, and beautiful and I finally feel I have a purpose in life. I feel as if I found my place in this life…in this world…and I love it. I fell in love with the fitness lifestyle. I love going in and lifting weights and putting off those endorphins that make you feel so good. It’s my drug…my high…my anti depressant. It’s a true passion to want to help other’s like I have been helped. It can be done. I believe it can be. It’s just a matter of YOU believing in yourself enough to get it done.
I workout about 5-6 times a week. I do a lot of interval training. I like to burn as many calories in a shorter amount of time as I can. To me it’s fun and more exciting. I lift and tone and isolate 3 days a week with my trainer. The other days are cardio. It balances out really well for me and has for these last 2 and a half years. I started the “diet” in baby steps. I put the ” around “diet” because frankly it’s not a diet. You’re just eating healthy. There are healthy alternatives to the every day foods we love. It’s fun to cook new and tasty recipes. Pinterest is a secret weapon I use for recipe hunts and I just do a lot of online searching and researching foods. Knowing your foods is very helpful. Getting the knowledge will get you far. I’ve learned along the way…and still learning. In the fitness field things are always changing and some new cutting edge product or food or something is coming out with how it’ll help this or what it will do for that. I always say and it’s what I’ve been taught by my trainer is a good complex carbohydrate and protein every meal…eating about 6 meals a day…small ones, keeping your body and metabolism going evenly throughout the day. Portion control is always a must. There’s so many things to learn and take in it seems over whelming but I took to it almost right away. I figured If the way I eat improves and I’m working out I could drop this weight like nothing! So I did. I keep a journal on an app I use on my smart phone called MyFitnessPal. You can also make an account online as well. It’s a great calorie counting app and keeps you in line on where you are with calorie in take and also sodium, sugars, fats etc…That’s my other secret weapon. It’s an accountability thing. You can add friends and keep track of friends and whoever else may be on the program as well. My motto for that is “if you bite it, write it”. It’s amazing what you see what you put in your mouth. What we are putting in our bodies and may not really think twice about. But we do it every day without blinking an eye. I’m just more conscious of what I’m putting in my body. I eat now to fuel what I do for workouts. I’ve learned a little more how to do that. It’s a comfort knowing what you’re cooking and making for yourself and/or your families and you know exactly what you’re feeding them and you. The more natural the foods are the better your body knows how to handle it. I also suggest cooking extra. Package it up so all you have to do is heat things up. A lot of people I’ve talked to about the eating is they don’t have time to cook or they don’t feel like it. I tell them to pick a day to make things…bag them up or freeze them or whatever and then just pull it out and heat it up so you don’t have to cook every single night. I don’t mind cooking but everyone is different. But these are ideas that work for some.
This past 2 and a half years have been quite the journey for me. I never thought things would get this big for me. I was voted Gold’s Gym’s Most Inspiration Member, in the world in 2012. The day my trainer and I flew to Vegas for the convention and award ceremony my grandmother(my father’s mom) whom I was so close to she was one of my best friends. I’m a lot like her in so many ways…passed away. I had visited her every day for the summer months as she was slowly just going down hill and the day I leave for Vegas is when she passes. So I’ve had a lot of adversity in my life. I came back from that trip and the next day I had her funeral to go to. It was a strange feeling of hearing “hey congratulations on the award! I’m so sorry for your loss” in one sentence. But I get through it. In July It will be a year ago since we lost that sweet woman. She taught me so much. I’ve learned a lot and am learning who I am as a person. I was a scared over weight hermit girl who never did anything and now I’m a strong spirited woman whose grown up and realized her potential and knows she can do anything she puts her mind to. I’m a better friend, mom, daughter and all around person because of it. I have more confidence in me than I ever thought I could ever have. And absolutely nobody will get in my way of what I’m doing. I won’t let them. I believe I’m worth it enough to do it. It’s ok to love yourself. Loving yourself means you can love others even better.
I am happy to have this opportunity to share with y’all my story. I want to help everyone I can. It’s important for me to make sure people know that they are worth it. It’s an investment in your life. It’s a lifestyle change. The money and food and time you put into this…is worth it…There is no price you can put on happiness and health. It’s priceless.
*Please feel free to add and follow Lindsey’s journey over on her facebook page*