The Erin O'Neill Testimonial / Life Story
As a fitness writer, I often get testimonials from people using fitness programs that I have developed and they ALL motivate me to continue. However, there are those few letters I receive that strike a deep emotional cord in me that I feel a need to share with others. The following testimonial is from a former military spouse and mother of three young children. Her achievement as you will read has motivated her to help others like her - those who had a constant battle with weight all their lives. Erin's story has motivated me to hire her as my "poster child" for my beginner fitness line of products. Not only will you read Erin's motivational story, but you can email her for more tips and suggestions on how she managed her time, got over personal obstacles, and fueled herself for daily exercise / weight loss routines. See the Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program which is the programs she started out with me several months ago.
Meet Erin! Mom of three and Military spouse - now 60 lbs lighter!
Here is her story:
Hi, I am Erin, I was not born fat, but I achieved it quickly. If I could have been graded on weight gain/loss, I would have made the honor roll. By the age of eight, I was already over weight, embarrassed and often sad. This was the beginning of my yo-yo life's struggle.
All through school, weight controlled my thoughts and activities. It even prevented me from doing things I wanted to do. From dateless weekends to the varsity volleyball coach commenting that I had gained too much weight over the summer and would then be relegated to the B team, I slowly died inside. Self-esteem --- what was that? I had none. Each morning the same thoughts dominated --- I was fat! I was hurt from years of people saying, "Wow, you have such a pretty face." That is a death sentence to a heavy girl.
In college, I was accused of always wearing the "hide the butt" jacket; which was true - that's exactly what I was trying to do. Finding my true love didn't help, for we discovered how much we enjoyed Hooters wings and beer - 100 wings and 6 pitchers of beer for two people is a little much!! What made me think that I should eat as much as a man? After we married, I ate my way across the country to his new duty station, San Diego, where I "blossomed" even more. By the time he left for his first deployment, I was determined to do something about my weight - once again. I joined a weight loss program, which did help and I lost some weight, but it was short lived. My husband returned from deployment, my bad habits re-ignited and I ate my way back to the next duty station - Rhode Island.
I then found out I was pregnant with our first child and I really took the saying "eating for 2" literally - it was my ticket to eat guilt free!! My husband's 2nd deployment was 3 weeks after our son was born. This time I found peace not in the gym but in Hershey Kisses!!!! By the time he returned, I weighed more than I did when he left. At this point I gave in and the weight battle was lost. I believed that taking time for me was selfish. I thought to be a good mom I was supposed to give up myself and put all my time into my children. Little did I know!
Every major event in my life, I remember what I weighed, what I wore, and the size of my outfit. I was tired of counting months or weeks in my head before vacation or special events and thinking how much weight I could lose to make myself feel better. Last year when my brother was getting married I was determined not to be known as "Joe's fat sister". He had asked me to read in his wedding and all I could think about was when I got up everyone was going to see my butt.
After twelve years of marriage and three children - I'd had it! I needed something completely different. So, I emailed Stew Smith. I knew I needed something fast and heavy duty - the wedding was only 44 days away! I did the 45 days beginner workout. I got my first workout sheet - WOW - I looked at it and seriously cried. I thought "no way," but I had to do it. It was during the summer so I had the three kids home with me. We went to the track 5 - 6 times per week to walk. We brought scooters, jump ropes, snacks, drinks, balls, tennis racquets, anything to keep them occupied for an hour- I never did more than one hour. If I could not get to the track I would jump rope in my kitchen, do squats, sit ups - whatever was on my workout sheet, even if it was 10:30 at night when the kids were in bed. My workout sheet became my daily bible - I carried it everywhere with me.
Sometimes after I worked out I felt like I was going to puke it was so hard or as Stew says "you just TRIED hard - so good job.- you did it not me!" I was so sore sometimes that the baby couldn't even sit on my lap, but I was determined and it became addicting. It was now my job, no, more than that; it was the start of my new life!
I achieved my goal, by the time of the wedding I had lost 25 pounds! I felt amazing. By working out daily and drinking more water than I imagined along with eating better, I did it. I personally love the weight loss but I love how strong and healthy I feel even more. I love that my children have seen me accomplish something that I never knew I could conquer. My son had his best year in football as he would often workout with me and we would motivate each other. I know that I have taught them to work hard and to never give up.
When you want it, you will it, and you can make it happen!
I have been commended from people big and little, young and old, and from people that I did not even think they knew I existed. There have been an over whelming amount of compliments. Everyone wants to know the secret. I truly believe that it is Stew's workouts. But, Stew tells me that it was me, not him getting him to do the workouts every day. This adds to my feeling of accomplishment and I am proud of myself. Now I want others to feel this way.
A few comments that stick in my mind are a 9 year old boy said to his Mom, "Wow Mrs. O'Neill has really lost weight!!" My own Grandfather said, "You lost a whole person. I never thought you would lose those hips."
One of my dear friends said I inspired her to lose her weight and get healthy again and now she has lost 35 pounds. I have now lost 55 pounds and I am not done!! With Stew's help I got my life back, created a whole new life for myself, my husband, and my children and hopefully one day I can help someone else get their life back too.
I have now started educating myself on fitness and will be getting certified in personal training and group exercise class in order to best help people who are like me. Email Stew for any answers to your fitness questions. He answers his own emails and offers ideas to "fit fitness into your schedule."
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.