Retrofit Blog

How I Triumphed with Retrofit

March 4, 2014
Lisa's before and after

I had a lot of success during my year with Retrofit. That's why I'm writing this. If any of my story can help someone else with weight loss motivation or even help me push further, then it's worth it.

Before I started Retrofit, I was so frustrated trying to fit into clothes. I hated going places because I was so embarrassed about my weight. But somewhere along the way, a light went off inside that made me start believing I could do the program. This is really the key, as the mind will start believing what you keep saying, whether it's good or bad.

What I can say is that I had tried for a long time to lose weight, and at many times I gave up. Of course, sometimes I lost some weight, but only to gain it all back. With Retrofit, I lost more than 50 pounds. That's 27% of my starting body weight. Retrofit's team sessions and the web interface are really what kept me accountable. These things kept me focused on achieving the goals that had eluded me for so long.

I have a five-year-old daughter (she was four when I started this, and I was 41 years-old). I wanted to get healthy for myself, but I especially wanted to get healthy for her. I wanted to have the energy to play with her. More importantly, I wanted her to develop healthy habits. To do that, I had to become a better role model. Here's how I did it.

I silenced the negative thoughts

Before I signed up for Retrofit, I was worried I couldn't stick to it. I was skeptical for sure. A lot of what needed to change was my mentality, namely my attitude. The truth is, I felt so awful about myself for a very long time. Worse yet, I didn't even really realize that I was saying things in front of my daughter that weren't pleasant about myself.

I didn't realize this until I started working with Jennifer at Retrofit. We really started discussing this problem. Talking this through with my coaches really helped. Also, I learned to change the actual words I was using—no more saying "I'll try" but instead using words like "I can" and "I will."

I became mindful of how I ate

For me, the newfound accountability and awareness I gained were huge game-changers. I think it's hard to pin down exactly what my "a-ha moments" were, but talking about the emotions—which, frankly, I never did because I hated to unless I was beating myself up—that were associated with my eating were very helpful.

While I actually had been eating somewhat healthily, my dietitian, Amy, helped me pay more attention to portion sizes. Sometimes I would eat and not even notice that I was. And other times I'd go long days without eating regularly. Then I'd just end up overindulging on huge meals because I was so hungry. I was ready to do away with the emotional and stress eating. I was ready to get more active and start a meal plan. I ultimately developed better habits. I started packing and bringing my lunch to work everyday, which I had never done in my life. Seeing the scale start to move down was encouraging. I didn't feel like I was starving either. Today, I'm eating healthier, with a lot more non-processed foods.

I stopped demanding perfection

One thing I can say with certainty is that I'm competitive. So, naturally, I wanted to be perfect. I'd get irritated when I wasn't seeing results fast enough. Fortunately, my coaches were like friends. I wasn't afraid to reach out for support. When I had someone to talk to about what I was feeling, I was able to redirect the emotions to the real issues. They always reinforced that what I was feeling was normal and things were actually okay. This let me stay on track and push on. This also let me know the coaches were paying attention to me. I felt like I couldn't fail them. That would've been just as bad as failing myself.

This isn't to say I'm perfect now. I still have my moments. I am human after all. I do miss my advisors at Retrofit. Without them around for me 24/7, it can be challenging to remain accountable to someone. But today, I can acknowledge my faults and know how to change and improve them.

I became accountable to others

Coincidentally, some of my co-workers were also doing Retrofit. We worked together for some of it, and that fueled my competitive spirit and kept me going. Having others who wanted to work with me allowed me to be accountable to someone. I tried to inspire them as well. This allowed me to help them, but it also kept me motivated to lose weight.

I tracked my progress

My Retrofit coaches gave me the tools to change my life, and I ran with it. Little things like tracking my steps and setting daily goals really helped. This also highlighted for me just how sedentary I was before starting Retrofit. And with the encouragement of my coaches, I started to see things happen. It was really amazing.

I love my Fitbit activity tracker and my Withings Wi-Fi scale. It's still a little scary to get on that scale, but, hey, that's normal. I understand my body so much more. My Fitbit is my favorite tool of all because it helps keep me on track everyday. It's a constant reminder of where I am and where I can go—a healthier and happier place.

I learned to think differently

Overall, I'm so much more active. I love to do the elliptical these days. And I've really changed my focus on life. I'm especially much nicer to myself. I'm much better at listening to myself and not being negative. I loved that when I was initially struggling, my team was right there to talk me through it. But now I'm reminded to look at things that I have accomplished. Thanks to my program advisor, Val, I don't get down on myself nearly as often and as hard I used to.

A great lesson I recall was from my exercise physiologist. He taught me that it's okay to rest. That was a good lesson, even though I still don't always do as well as I should. But I'm aware I need to focus on this so I can achieve my new strength-training goals. This is another habit that I'm making a regular part of my life.

My experience with Retrofit was completely life changing. I love my coaches all so much. With their support, I became a much happier and healthier person. They really changed how I think and do things everyday. I really don't believe I could've done this on my own because I didn't have the right understanding. I'll admit it wasn't always easy. However, I am so much happier with myself not only because I look and feel better, but also because I think differently now.

I never really believed that this was possible, but I am a believer now. Retrofit changed my life in so many ways. I know that anyone reading this can learn to become more aware of their thoughts and actions. Once you start focusing on the positive and start taking small steps, you'll start saying, "I CAN."

If I can do it, anyone can.

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Registrar at DeVry University, Retrofit Client

Lisa joined Retrofit in May 2012 and has lost more than 50 pounds (27% of her original body weight). She wrote this story hoping to give others weight loss motivation and encouragement, showing them that changing one’s life can happen with some simple changes in thinking, eating, and activity. She believes that it’s important to find your inner strength and gain some new awareness and support. That’s how you can get the ball rolling so you can reach your goals.

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