It’s Just A Number! (4-Minute Read)

Connie Pretula Headshot

Connie Pretula

Connie Pretula is an inspiring health coach and Menopause Navigator to mature women, using a holistic approach to nutrition and life.

April 3, 2013

I decided in June 2012 to compete in a figure competition. I wasn’t sure it was feasible given my age but I felt healthy, I had just run two 10k marathons and wanted a new challenge.
I never thought of myself as athletic. As a kid I was small in size and was referred to as skinny, I now hate that word. I was the last one picked for any team sports in school. I was teased constantly about my body and that continued until I graduated.
I was naturally slim, I could eat what I wanted and never gain weight. I was always active but stayed away from competitive sports because of my school years experience. I liked to bike or walk and the only thing I was brave enough to do at a gym was aerobics. I lacked confidence in my abilities, I let all of the teasing become my reality.
My weight would go up and down by about 5 pounds, I was lucky. People would say “wait, wait until you’re in your late 30’s or early 40’s, then it will catch up with you!” I realize now that even these comments affected my self-esteem.
Guess what, I did happen one day. I had been putting on weight but very gradual. I was in a fast-paced job and traveling for work attending conferences, lots of food, just not the right kind.
I started to become unhappy with what I saw in the mirror. I didn’t care what I looked like, I was unhappy in my relationship, it was a downhill slope.
One day I stepped on the scale and when I saw the number I said “no way, this has to stop and stop now, I’m getting the old me back!” 
The number on the scale was 147 pounds! I had always been around 115 pounds.
I started a new life on my own, changed my diet and lost a whole 10 pounds over about 6 months. I didn’t get discouraged but I knew I needed to do more.
I started with simple core exercises I could do at home in the morning before work. Then a few months later I started working with weights and a stability ball and doing Pilates. Again all of these are from home, remember I’m too scared to go into and gym and use the machines, I could embarrass myself! 
But I could tell I was moving in the right direction, I was slimming down slowly. My clothes were getting loose and I had to take them in to be altered.
A friend of mine offered to take me to the gym to show me how to use the machines and suggested some exercises. He also suggested I work with a trainer for a bit to learn proper technique.
I was intimidated by all of the beautiful people. Muscular, looking great in their nice gym clothes, I didn’t feel I fit in but my goal to get back in shape was more important than what I was wearing in the gym.
I started to really enjoy the weight lifting and working with a trainer a few times really helped.
I started to see results and changes in my body that I liked. I felt more confident and still had old demons haunting me but I decided that I wanted to start living life better and happier than I had in the past.
I started running, I never thought of myself as a runner because in school I sucked at the 100 yard dash. What I didn’t realize is I was better at long distance, it wasn’t long before I was running 4 miles.
The friend who took me to the gym commented one day as we were running, he said I was a natural athlete. I had him repeat the words because I had never heard that from anyone in my life. Me the skinny kid that was never picked for teams! Now I hear I’m a natural athlete!
That comment really helped to build my confidence.
The gym now became a place to unwind from a crazy day at work. It was my saviour when I was out of work for 7 months. I faithfully subscribe to Oxygen Magazine for meal plans, exercises and inspiration.
I will be sharing my journey to the stage as a figure athlete which is 45 days away. Even though I am just starting my blog now I plan on revisiting some of my experiences since making my decision last June. I hope you enjoy the journey with me.

Thank you for reading my words.

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