The Annette Chronicles: Holiday Wishes and New Year’s Hopes

I feel so very lucky to have gotten to know Annette Tanner this year, not only professionally, but now as someone who I consider a friend.  With a mountain of challenges ahead of her when we first met, both physically and mentally to improve her health, she has fearlessly taken them head on, accepting both victories and set-backs.  She is the champion of the saying, “fall seven times, get up eight”.  She has come so far this year with weight, movement, and most importantly, confidence.

In typical New Year’s fashion, Annette is taking what 2011 has taught her and kicking off 2012 with a few very well defined goals.

Weight Goals for next year:

1/1 to 3/31       285   (what I weighed roughly seven years ago)
4/1 to 6/30       250
7/1 to 9/30       230
10/1 to 12/31   199    (what I weighed when I graduated high school)

Fitness Goals:

By the end of the year I would like to:

Walk a 3K in less than 90 minutes
Be strong enough and small enough to join a stretch and roll class and fully participate
Be strong enough and small enough to join a yoga class and fully participate
Be able to ride a bike comfortably

With her goals for the New Year out of the way, Annette took a moment to send me a note about her year in review.

“I went vegan in March. I did a trial SOF membership in April and joined in May weighing in at 364 pounds. By July I had pretty much dropped the whole idea of bariatric surgery. I told you once that it wasn’t about losing weight. It was about keeping it off. This year has been a roller coaster ride of successes and failures, good days and bad. But this morning I weighed in at 316 pounds, my A1C is 6.1, my morning blood sugar was 98, I no longer take insulin, and this December I will be facing the season with joy instead of despair.

I don’t see it. I feel it when I move better, when I touch muscles that didn’t used to be there, when I fit into smaller clothes (I am down 3 full dress sizes), and when I compare blood tests. But when I look in the mirror I see the 384 pound woman who had to make a choice: sit down and eat herself to death, or stand up and fight her way back. So every day is still a struggle to keep my inner moppet from leading me astray.”

In her always grateful and humble style, she also took a moment to give thanks for what she has learned and those who have helped her along the way.

The most important thing that I have learned in the 12 months since I chose to live is that, for the morbidly obese, it isn’t simply about eating less and moving more. It is about healing the mind, body, and soul all at once—something that I was unable to do on my own. I needed a support team to prop me up when I faltered and a place where mind, body, and spirit all felt safe enough to heal properly. I found that at State of Fitness. I have the best trainer in the world, Jessica Stewart, who pushes me when I think I “can’t” and helps me reach a place where I absolutely “can”. Rebecca and Justin, the trainers and staff, and even the members are always encouraging and supportive. I still feel like a freak, but no one in SOF allows me to feel that way for long. I no longer worry about people staring at me in horror, overhearing mean things, or making a fool of myself. Everyday, I try to do better than I did the day before. I look out over the gym and see people doing things I may or may not be able to do someday and am constantly amazed and inspired at the ways in which a healthy, finely tuned body can move.

                At Thanksgiving the thing I was most grateful for was that I found this wonderful place and these wonderful people who gave me the time, the place, and the support to relax, to work, to learn, and to heal. My wish for the holidays is that others out there, who face this season with despair in their hearts and a bag of Cheeto’s in their hand, wake up and make the same choice I did.

Life.”

Goals aren’t always achieved on the timeline we set, things don’t always go according to plan, and years don’t often wrap themselves up with the satisfaction of tucking all New Years’ resolutions away completed.  But, if we take a moment, recognize the accomplishments we have achieved, take note of the things that we are thankful for, and  remember to try to do better today than we did yesterday, we can all have a pretty good year.

Thank you, Annette, for reminding us all.

Happy New Year.

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