Working out with a Buddy
How exercising with a friend motivated Sarah Gutzwiller to get moving and burn calories.
Name Sarah Gutzwiller
Job Full-time mom
Weight before 240
Weight after 150
The Gain: After two difficult pregnancies that required bed rest, Gutzwiller tipped the scales at 240 pounds. “I weighed 160 pounds before becoming pregnant and assumed that I’d be able to diet my way back to my old size,” she says. But taking care of two young children while her husband, Greg, worked long shifts as a construction manager left her too tired to get started. “I felt hopeless and didn’t know what to do to change things,” she says.
The Change: One night while out to dinner with friends, “I was complaining yet again about how terrible I felt,” Gutzwiller says. “Katie, the wife of my husband’s best friend, volunteered to go on a walk with me.” At 8 o’clock the next morning, Katie, who Gutzwiller barely knew, was waiting on her doorstep. “I couldn’t believe she actually showed up!” she says. “I couldn’t say no.”
The Life: Gutzwiller left the kids with Greg and set off with Katie. “[The walk] seemed like a marathon, and I had to stop several times and catch my breath,” she says. “But Katie promised that if I stuck with it, I’d soon be running.” They started walking together every day, and Gutzwiller also began making changes to her diet by adding more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat. She started dropping weight but then got pregnant again — and again. After her fourth child was born, she resumed her workouts with Katie, this time taking classes through StrollerFit, a national group that offers fitness classes you can do with a baby-laden stroller. “At first, when Katie invited me to join her, I thought it wouldn’t be challenging enough,” she says. “But it turned out to be a great cardio and strength-training workout I could do with my two younger sons.” A year later, she reached her current weight of 150 pounds.
The Reward: “I’ve run in more than 20 races, and I’ve also become a StrollerFit instructor,” Gutzwiller says. “Helping others has helped make me feel more fit and more confident than ever before, and my boys tell me that I look great.”
Throw out the scale.”I used to weigh myself every day until I realized that a pair of size 8 pants was a much better gauge of my progress.”
Use mom muscle.”Pushing a 20-pound child in a stroller uphill or playing a game of tag for an hour can burn just as many calories as working out on a cardio machine in the gym.”
Take it slow.”Set small goals, such as running a mile, instead of huge, unrealistic ones. Reaching them will motivate you to work harder.”
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