Transforming her body from a size 26 to a size 12: Kathy’s Pilates Story

“In May 2017, I weighed 280 pounds.

I experienced constant back pain, had trouble sleeping, was fatigued, out of shape and miserable. As a Mom of 5 great kids, I was suffering from “Mom Syndrome”. That’s where I put the needs of my entire family first, ignoring the fact that I had needs too.

On August 4, 2017, I walked through the doors of Club Pilates New Braunfels. I was soon to be an empty nester and my last daughter to leave for college wanted to find something for me to do while she was away at school. She called it “Mommy Day Care.”  She urged me to pull in the parking lot and go in.

We met Tana and I told her I was ready to do something for me and get healthy. She didn’t laugh, judge, or roll her eyes. I’ll never forget the way she looked me in the eyes, smiled and said “Congratulations! Good for you!” and she meant it. That day I signed up for unlimited classes because I knew if I was committing, I was going to go all the way!

I signed up for my first class. It was a Flow 1 class on a Friday at 4 pm with Michelle. I’ll never forget it. In my head, I was expecting everyone to come in wearing matching workout outfits and that I would try to hide my big body behind all those size 2 ladies who come to class for hours every day. I told myself it wouldn’t matter because I was on a mission to improve myself. When I showed up, everyone was so friendly. They introduced themselves.

It didn’t matter that I was in my 50’s, or that I was totally out of shape, or that I was morbidly obese.

Everyone was made to feel at ease and congratulated for being there. We were doing something positive.

The best part for me was that when we laid down on the Reformer, no one was watching me. I could concentrate on what Michelle was saying and do the very best for my body on that day. I remember my arms didn’t fit on the Reformer when I laid down, but nobody stared at me or judged me and I didn’t have to hide behind all the “fit” people. What a relief! Everyone was staring at the ceiling concentrating on themselves. It was so refreshing.

When I got out of that first class, I realized it wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. There were no size 2s in matching outfits judging me. No one stared at me because I was so out of shape or obese. We didn’t get yelled at or had to jump around to pounding music. Michelle was so funny and welcoming – even when I couldn’t figure out how to put my feet in the straps! When I left, my legs were like noodles, but I didn’t feel like I had just been through a horrible, sweaty workout. I felt energized and refreshed. That night I had the best sleep in years.

I knew that day I had made the right decision and I was a Club Pilates junkie!

Over the last 19 months, I have tried to attend classes 3-4 times per week. I noticed that I began to hold myself upright better, my legs were stronger, I slept better and pounds began shedding from my body. There were changes that were happening! I started to see muscles where I didn’t think I had any – in my arms and legs! I could squat and climb stairs without having to stop and rest. (And I discovered the bargain foods at HEB are on the bottom shelf but you have to squat down to find them!)

As I began taking some of the classes regularly, I began seeing the same folks in the class. We laugh and encourage one another without judgment because we are all there together working on our bodies at our own pace. Club Pilates NB is my family. When I don’t show up for a class I receive phone calls and emails checking on me to see if I’m okay! (No “exercise gym” has ever done that for me!). I feel so encouraged and am so grateful to be part of this family.

I’ve loved all my instructors and they encourage me to push myself while still listening to my body. In all, I’ve stayed on course with my doctor and nutritionist and have lost 118 pounds. I still have a bit to go, but I’m hanging in there. I may have lost all that weight, but what I have gained is immeasurable – confidence, strength, balance, concentration, nightly sleep, better posture, the ability to squat (for those HEB bargains), thigh gap – it’s a real thing! GASP! I suffer from scoliosis and the strengthening of my core has relieved a great deal of back pain. I’ve added an inch back to my height! The shape of my face changed and I even got a new shorter haircut to go with it.

One of the great benefits of my new Club Pilates body is my newfound ability to try other physical things.

It makes my heart so sad to think of all I have missed out on because I was simply too large, out of shape, and too weak to do many of the things I now enjoy. Over spring break, I went to Austin and took a harness class with my daughter. We “warmed up” with side plank leg raises and teasers and I was so thankful for the ability to do those! Below are some photos and video of the class.

So, in no way have I “arrived” or anything like that. My BMI is healthy. I can pull my knees to my chest and even do a sit up! (I did cry in class the first day I realized I could do that!) There have been so many victories along the way. My kids look at my arms and tell me, “Mom, you got some guns there!” lol – and collarbones, oh my goodness!

Yep, I still have a poochy tummy and a lot of loose skin on my arms. But I choose to be grateful. I remember when I wished for the arms that I have now. Also, when I wasn’t able to sleep well, I had no energy and I tried to be invisible, hoping no one would notice me.

We went dress shopping for my daughter’s wedding and I fit into a size 12. A 12 y’all! That’s a far cry from my starting size of 24/26.”

Thank you for sharing your Pilates story Kathy! You are such an inspiration and light of happiness!

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