Lately, I have been wanting to write/post about people in a different way than my usual Q&A “Meet the Athlete” format. I’ve been stirred by the stories of others, some of whom are very close to me personally, and others who have absolutely no idea who I am. I want to share some of their stories with you in hopes that you will take some encouragement or lessons from them. I believe that regardless of what our own “life stuff” is, we can grow in empathy by getting a sneak peek into others’ lives, and perhaps learn something valuable for ourselves in the process. I am so proud to share the story of a woman I met at the Ventura Aquatic Center nearly four years ago. I have the pleasure of seeing her everyday when I walk onto the pool deck at 5:50 a.m. (she is in the water at 5:30!). She has an aura of joy that those around her can’t help but notice. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Donna!
Life Stuff 1st ed.
Someone once gave me some very wise advice. She said, “You didn’t gain weight overnight so you won’t lose it overnight either”. My name is Donna and I have been overweight most of my adult life. I have tried almost every quick fix diet on the market. I have tried “no fat”, “no carb”, and protein shakes. I even allowed myself to be hypnotized once!
Nothing worked in the long run. I would lose weight only to gain it back plus some extra. In my research for the “magic cure” I soon realized there isn’t one. Weight loss requires hard work and discipline if you want long term results.
I knew that exercise, along with dietary changes, were going to be what was necessary to achieve long term results. In September 2014 I found BuenaVentura Swim Club and Ventura County Masters. I had been swimming by myself at a gym for a few months, but I was bored and not as consistent as I wanted to be. A coworker was talking to me about how she was on a soccer team and I thought, “I want to be on a team!”.
Swimming with people that are so accomplished in the sport has been very motivating. To have someone that has achieved so much take an interest in my progress means so much. I have also greatly benefited from coaches who have helped me set goals for myself in regards to swimming times. I never played sports as a child and did not come to swimming with that mindset. Having people help me set goals turned swimming into a fun activity and not just an exercise program that can begin to feel like a chore. It also doesn’t hurt that if I skip practice people notice and ask where I was.
In the past 3 ½ years I have lost 126 pounds. When people ask me how I did it I tell them swimming 6 mornings a week, but there is more to it than that. Surrounding myself with people who are motivated to be healthy and active has translated into a desire for me to be healthy and active. When my coaches and teammates started believing I could get faster in the pool I started believing it too. This translated into a belief that I could lose weight and become healthier.
I have a ways to go to reach my goal weight, but I am confident that I will. That person who ate whatever they wanted and never exercised isn’t me anymore. With God’s help and my swim team I know I can achieve my goal.