Inspiration Story 24 – Amber


Stats: Age 30    Height 5’8”  Weight Before 153    Weight After 138  DF Services: Personal Training and Fitness Classes

For a few years, I frequented a 24 hour gym and would workout 3-4 times per week. I wandered around somewhat aimlessly, dabbling in some weight training, running, and other cardio endeavors. It didn’t take long for me to lose interest in going; I felt alone when I was there, not only because I was surrounded by a cloud of earbud-induced solitude, but also because my husband was not motivated to go with me at the end of a long, busy day at work. To top it all off, I was angry with myself for not making more progress toward my weight loss goal.

But let me back up…in the interest of being completely honest, I had a long-standing battle with food. Various eating disorders served to be a pillar of the “family values” I grew up with. I was left thinking that food and the (seemingly endless) flaws of my body were my enemies. If I overate, I would either workout excessively, starve myself the next day, or a combination of both.

In August 2012, my husband and I decided that enough was enough; we walked into the Duluth YMCA and became members. Within my first week, I decided to be brave and try a group exercise class called Yogatone which was instructed by Julie. Having never practiced a minute of yoga in my life, I found the class challenging, but it left me wanting to come back to see if I could improve. As the weeks went on, I learned that Julie had her own business, which included personal training sessions. That Christmas, I was delighted to find that my family had gifted me with some sessions! Being able to train one-on one allowed me to be challenged both physically and mentally. Being encouraged in positive ways was a new language to my native tongue of self-hatred.

The biggest lesson I took away from my involvement with Destination Fitness was the realization that exercise is not intended to cover for my dietary sins. In order for my body to operate at full capacity, I needed to give it the right fuel. After dabbling in a few concepts, I found that a primarily vegan diet worked well for me. I was amazed at the transformation I experienced: my skin cleared up, my stomach issues dissolved, and my frequent migraines faded away. I was also able to drop 15 pounds in four months – and I have kept it off for over two years!

Throughout my involvement with DF, I have made huge strides in my level of fitness, taking over 20 minutes off my half marathon PR, almost 80 minutes off my marathon PR, and participated in my first sprint distance triathlon! I have not been alone in my fitness journey; my husband also became involved with Destination Fitness, which has allowed him to reach new heights in his mental and physical wellness. I am so proud of him! J

In the future, I would like to complete a half-Ironman distance triathlon, and if I can muster the courage (along with a dash of craziness), I would love to complete a full Ironman race. I am incredibly thankful and humbled for my experience with DF. I have met many amazing people from all walks of life and have forged some lifelong friendships. Not only have I braved new waters toward wellness (which is not defined by a number on the scale, by the way!), but I have changed my perspective to realize that my body is not meant to be a target of my insecurities; it is a tool to accomplish amazing adventures!

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