Technology Saved My Life: Part 1

Reflecting on my 212lb weight loss journey is something that I do on a daily basis. Seriously. Having lost the weight of 141 DOZEN Krispy Kreme glazed donuts is pretty incredible. Sometimes I'm still in shock that I managed to do it. But I did. Without the help of drugs, surgery, wraps, or shakes. But there is ONE thing that I used. One thing that saved my life. What is that?? TECHNOLOGY!!

You might be scratching your head thinking "how did technology save her life?" Let me explain.

Back in 2008 when I began my life changing transformation I didn't tackle diet and exercise at the same time. Weighing 369 pounds and being a realist, I knew that if I attempted to change too much at one time I would become overwhelmed and likely fail.

What I did first was begin to exercise. But I needed to know how effective was my exercise plan? Was I burning the calories that the exercise bike at the gym told me? I had to know. Enter the form of my very first Polar product, a F7 Heart Rate Monitor.

And what my F7 told me was that I was NOT burning nearly as many calories as I thought I was. It also taught me that I wasn't working as hard or as effectively as I could be. Polar's motto of "Listening to your body is one thing, understanding what it is telling you is an altogether different story" was so true for me. Once I embraced that I was capable of doing more, I started to do more. And as I began to do more, my training evolved and changed and so did my need for my training products.

As I approached the anniversary of one year on my journey and losing 100 pounds,  I decided to treat myself to a new Polar. A top of the line RS800CX. I LOVED this piece of technology. It kept me accountable and on a steady path of fitness success.

But Polar has so many great products and again, as my journey evolved, so did my fitness needs. I also needed heart rate monitors that could be worn as accessories. Tongue Out With having 3 young kids, and a very active life, always on the go, I am not one to change out my watch after a workout. So I needed something that could go from the gym to the office, to a PTA meeting, to a cocktail party.  My first foray into this was a beautiful lime green FT40. I got so many compliments on this watch, but it still didn't have quite all the functions I was looking for.

So I got another one. This time a snazzy FT60 in Berry. And this baby...this baby took me where I needed to go! This piece of technology is the one that I currently use 80% of the time. Why only 80%??

As I have gotten more involved in sports, I have an need to know how fast I am going, how many miles I am going, what my heart rate is, what my elevation is, and as much as I love the FT60, it can't do ALL that.

I also have a beautiful RC3GPS that I wear when I am running or outdoor cycling. This HRM is amazing, but it's bulky, totally not water friendly, and not as pretty as my Berry FT60, so it's only worn for certain fitness occasions.

It's hard to believe that I went from that to this. But I did. With the help of technology. And if you look close enough in the "this" picture, you'll notice my RS800CX on my wrist. Wink


But more than this...Polar and Technology have opened so many doors for me. By posting my pictures on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, I have inspired, motivated and been able to share my journey with thousands of people. In turn, I have been motivated and inspired by thousands of people. People that I would have NEVER met if I didn't embrace technology and the world of social media. Technology doesn't have to bring us further apart, technology can connect us in ways that we never thought possible.  Technology enabled me to start this blog. To be able to share my story, my message with whomever wants to read it! And your support, your comments help to keep me inspired. I have made friends all over the world, and have had the opportunity to meet a lot of these friends in real life. I've made connections with local fitness bloggers and have genuine, honest to goodness relationship with these women. I trust my children with them.  All because of  technology.

But as I mentioned fitness was only one aspect of my journey. I also had to change how and what I ate. And I used technology for that, too. I'll explain that in Part 2.

Have you made friends through technology? Have you been able to meet these online friends in real life?

Does technology assist you in your fitness journey??

Find Your Support System

People often ask me “how did you do it?”  By “it”, I’m referring to losing 212 pounds. Two people. More than half of myself. So how did I do it? I did it with the tremendous support of my family; mainly my husband, James. James was there with me every step of the way. From the day he brought me home the gym membership in October, 2008 to the day I reached my goal weight in April, 2011, he was there. Sure, he wasn’t physically there at the gym pushing me, coaching me, he didn’t attend my weekly Weight Watchers meetings, but he was there where it mattered most; in my heart, in my mind, in my soul. I could hear his voice telling me that he was so proud of me. I could see that pride reflected in his eyes as he looked at me. And that pride empowered me. It gave me the courage to push myself further, to try a little bit harder. Not only for my husband, but also for myself.

His pride gave me my pride back. It had been a long time since I felt proud of ME!  Sure, I had three great kids that I was raising and I was proud of THEM. But I didn’t do anything that was all mine. All for me. And suddenly I was. I took my life back. I spent 36 years of my life just moving through the motions. A bystander in my own life. But I knew how my story would end if I didn’t change and I was determined to rewrite the chapters. And I did.

When you begin your own journey, make sure you have a support system in place.  It doesn’t have to be your spouse. It can be a friend, a relative, a sibling. You want someone that can give you a “thatagirl” when you feel like you just can’t do it anymore. As I started to lose weight and gain pride, I also started to develop confidence. With this confidence I started to reach out to more people to bring into my support network. Social networking on Facebook and Twitter became a huge source of support for me. I had people from all over the United States cheering me on.  It was encouraging and inspirational. I also reached out to the group fitness instructors and other members at my gym. But times change and a lot of those members and instructors have moved on to other things, and so have I, though I'll always have those memories!! And I can’t forget about my fellow Weight Watchers members and my leader. They were my anchors. They kept me grounded and reminded me of how far I’ve come.

The first step to a successful weight loss journey is putting your support system in place. Look in places you’d expect, but also in places that you might not. What you find just might surprise you.

Here I am with James (and my mom) on my 37 birthday in 2008. I am pretty close to my heaviest weight ever (not including pregnancy.)

And recently on the 4th of July.  I know he loves me as much now as "fit Jenny" as he did when I was "fat Jenny" but what's key is that I love myself more, and that love transfers over in to other areas of my life.

I now find support and accountability from my workout buddies at CrossFit En Fuego. Watching strong women get stronger is SO MOTIVATING!!

  and from my running and cycling buddy Denise from RunDMT. Denise is an early riser, so she keeps me accountable for those early morning workouts. She's also a speedy runner, so she helps to inspire me to run faster!

Do you have a support system in place? Who helps keep you accountable??