Name: Rebecca Fredrick
Before Weight: 200 lbs
How I Gained It: I gained the weight slowly over four years. I had previously been working full time in the horse industry and had always been very active through the normal course of my work day. I wasn’t health conscious; I just burned everything I ate. But once I moved to a new state, switched to a desk job and got married all within a six month period without changing my eating habits, it started to catch up with me.
Breaking Point: I attribute my success to two “turning points” in my life. The first was a family trip toIsrael. I didn’t own a scale at the time, and while staying overnight at my dad’s house before we left, I was shocked to learn from his that I weighed 200 pounds. The photos taken during the trip were even more startling — that’s my before photo! I had no idea who that person was. The trip was also the last weekend with my husband. We separated when we got home, and with my marriage went my sense of self. I didn’t like who I had become and I was ready for some change.
That time in my life started me in the right direction, but it was the second turning point — joining the Army reserves — that changed everything. I started considering the Army for several reasons. I liked the idea of having a part time job with a purpose and I liked that could become full time if needed. I wanted the camaraderie of training and working with like minded people; people with motivation, focus, goals, and patriotism. I’m not political at all, but I am deeply patriotic. Also, I really needed the personal and physical challenge to do and be more and joining the Army provided that That decision is what galvanized me into action, and I finally got serious about health and fitness.
How I Lost It: Originally I started with a modified Slim Fast-type diet, using protein shakes instead of meals. I also walked my dogs for 30 minutes twice a day, and progressed to longer hikes. At first I wasn’t focused specifically on health or fitness; I was just tired of being overweight. Initially I lost 52 pounds and got down to 148, but when I moved out of the area, I gained 12 pounds back and held steady around 160 for the next two years. I had reached my goal of losing weight and suddenly it wasn’t the right goal anymore.
I joined a gym and was doing cardio and light weight training, but my weight wasn’t budging and I was still not feeling healthy or fit. When I decided to join the Army, I hired a personal trainer, joined the boot camp fitness class, and took up running with a vengeance. Having an actual ship date to basic combat training is the big motivating goal for me right now, but in the meantime, I also have incremental goals to reach. I’m running a 5k once a month until I leave, and I’d like to get down to a 10-minute mile. I alternate running with strength and endurance training, and I work out with my personal trainer twice a week. I would like to be down to 140-ish by the time I ship, but my actual weight is less important than my fitness.
I’ve learned that measurable goals are important, and it’s crucial to set new goals once you’ve reached on. I’ve also learned an amazing amount about maintaining a healthy diet through reading blogs and online research. I love food, so I won’t deprive myself of anything, but it’s become clear that changing my eating habits and living a new lifestyle is the only way to maintain success — it not just about dieting and cutting calories when you need to. When it comes to healthy eating, it’s easier for me to reach my goals when I get creative with recipes and cooking. Recipes have to be fun, easy and tasty.
The desire to join the Army motivated me to become a different person. I have never been athletic but now I push myself to the point of exhaustion and enjoy it. I am surrounded by amazing people who motivate me daily, and what truly motivates me is to helping motivate others. I’ve had a few setbacks, minor injuries and illness, but the progress I’ve made and the people around me keep me motivated through it all.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned? You can do anything you set your mind to, regardless of age, ability, or how out of character it might seem. You are the only one holding yourself back. My new motto is this: What if you tried something new and it changed your life? I’m 38-years-old and I’m in the best shape of my life so far, but I’m not even close to my final fitness level goal. So, what’s your excuse? What are you waiting for? You can change your life today, and I am living proof of that.
After Weight: 155 pounds and counting
Becca just finished a 5K and will conquer another one in May.