The summer of 2017 should have been one of the best summers. I had just gotten married to the love of my life and we were traveling on our honeymoon to the Pacific Northwest. But I was miserable. While traveling we had to stop every few blocks so I could sit down because I was out of breath. Any time my shoes came untied I had to have my husband help me tie them. I could no longer reach my feet because my mid-section had become so large. I hid all this despair from everyone around me and made excuses for myself. It was not until reality set in while I was looking at my wedding pictures – I finally grasped the reality of what I was doing to my body.
A voice inside of me tried to tell me that I could be happy being at the size I was. That I could eat anything – that there was no way out. I would binge eat and hide food from everyone in my life. Each day I would come home from work and take a nap instead of walking with my dog. I was tired. Suddenly another voice told me that if I did not change, eventually my health would take a drastic turn for the worse.
The Farrell's way…
It took a couple of months after that realization, but I finally came to terms that something needed to change. If I wanted to start a family, I knew I needed to put excuses behind me to take charge of my life.
A friend of mine started working out at Farrell's eXtreme Bodyshaping in the Twin Cities. The program peaked my interest and there was a Farrell's within a few miles of me. So, I enrolled in the summer 2017 10-Week Challenge and have never looked back.
The first day was hard! I rolled out of bed for my first 5AM class. The place was foreign, scary, and I didn't know anyone. But the scariest part was stepping on that scale. You see I had avoided doing this for a long time. It was a reality that I needed to face. I stepped on their first scale, but to my horror the scale could not read my weight. They took me to another scale that could handle higher weights and saw the number: 367.6 lbs. How? Why? So many questions were running through my head. I could have run, but instead I decided it was time to stop making excuses. From that day forward, I promised myself that I would not let excuses stop me from my success.
Kickboxing and Strength Training
Kickboxing and strength training at 300+ lbs. were super hard at first. But harder than those workouts was the thought of not being able to move because of my weight. I pushed through and persevered through all the obstacles. At the end of the 10-Week Challenge I had increased my sit-ups and push-ups and knocked 4+ minutes off my mile run time and lost 37lbs. It was difficult and challenging, but my transformation in that short period of time was amazing. I was seeing it and others were too. I didn't step on a scale at all throughout my 10 weeks. So when I weighed in it was finally a happy time. I wasn't afraid of the scale anymore.
The Farrell's 10-Week program was only the beginning. I had one of the best coaches around who challenged me, gave me advice, and encouraged me to enroll for the one-year challenge.
Teamwork makes the dream work….
Quickly after becoming a FIT member, I realized that the people (my team) that I was working out with were becoming my family and friends. Working out daily with these people gives you a level of inspiration and they hold you accountable to show up and crush your goals. I am happy to also say that I am inspiring people in my family to join Farrell's and start their journey.
The little victories are inspirational
Throughout my year challenge I have been able to do things that I never thought possible. I crushed some non-scale victories I had set for myself along the way, including:
- Fitting into an airplane seat without a seat belt extender
- Going zip lining
- Running a 5K without stopping
- Training and running a half marathon
- Doing a rugged maniac
- Going rock climbing
Setting goals the Farrell's way…
I set some high goals at the beginning of my National Challenge year and I refused to give up! I followed the Farrell's program for fitness and nutrition closely and set milestones along the way.
50lbs lost, check. 75lbs lost, check.
Then it happened. I lost 100lbs in March. A milestone I thought was so out of my reach at the beginning.
I kept on with my goals and hit 150lbs lost. I was now at a weight that was lower than I was in the 6th grade and fitting into sizes I could not wrap my brain around. Every time I would try on a new lower size I would be overcome with emotion and tears. I was finally not letting my excuses get in the way of my success.
The biggest goal through my year-long challenge was to get below 200lbs. To do this by my test out date would be challenging and require me to follow the Farrell's program closely. When my challenge test out date came, I did it! I was in One-der-land! I weighed in at 196.7lbs and lost 170LBS!
My goal was met, through hard work, dedication, and perseverance. I proved to myself that I could do it!
Not done yet…
Now that the Farrell's National Challenge has come and gone I ask myself “what is next?” I am a goal-driven person and have set more FIT based and strength training goals. By developing a strong relationship with my body, I am confident that I can start a family with my husband and do it in a healthy way. I want to be able to run after my kids, play with them and not be out of breath. I want to teach them about healthy living and eating by being a good role model for them. I could not have done this without Farrell's and my incredible team. You all have changed my life.
The Farrell's community is the answer to self-love…
The Farrell's community is what keeps me coming back. Our owners, Cindi and Kerrie, are amazing and involved in the care of everyone who walks through their doors. It is more than a business to them. They truly help everyone on their journey and want to see them succeed.
Cristina and Farrell's Coach AnnaMy coach Anna was by my side from day one. She was my kickboxing partner and has become a great friend and source of inspiration to me. We continue this journey together and to push each other daily. We are discovering new challenges and healthy ways. The friends that I have gained along the way have truly become family members to me and have helped shape my future. I want to continue being a coach at Farrell's and to help other members as I was helped. Working together we discover our FIT journey and the road to self-love.
Testing out of this national challenge, I have proved to myself that I can do whatever I put my mind to. I am proud of my journey, and proud to be with Farrell's.
Cristina Winterfield is our 2018 Female National Challenge winner and a member at our Farrell's Blaine, MN location!