Dawn’s Story

Dawn is someone who was very hesitant to start improving her live at Backward Arrow Modern Fitness. She had lived a certain way for a long time and change was scary for her. Listen to her story and encouragement for you today! These are Dawn’s words…

Sometimes a blessing is hidden in the difficult. 

About a year ago I lost my father. After a few months I realized that I wasn’t feeling very well and began to worry that I might have some of the same health issues that my dad struggled with. The doctor confirmed that I was becoming diabetic, and my blood pressure was high in addition to the fact that I had reached an all-time high weight of 340 lbs. No wonder I was struggling to walk without becoming winded. 

Knowing I needed to do something, I began thinking about attempting to lose weight again, a path I had taken many times before. The key words in that sentence are “many times before”. Feeling defeated before I even began, I reached out to our church worship team for prayer one Sunday morning before practice. The prayer was encouraging and part of the answer to that prayer came almost immediately afterward when my friend Thomas asked if I was ready to do something different that would help reverse my symptoms and give me the strength to live well as I aged. He explained that the philosophy of Backward Arrow Modern Fitness is wellness. Using nutrition and exercise to become healthy. As much as walking into a gym terrified me, I knew I needed this, and the next day I made an appointment with Josh at BAMF.

I was embarrassed and ashamed on Dec 19th when I walked through the doors for my no sweat intro. I felt like there was no way that I could belong here and to be honest, I don’t remember very much that Josh and I talked about that day. What I do remember is that he was not hesitant, and he assured me that there was a path to becoming healthier. Step 1 was commit to this process. As the holidays and our vacation were approaching, we agreed that I would begin walking 10 minutes a day at a brisk pace and we made an appointment to begin personal training when I returned. 

I had 2 ½ weeks to start walking and consider what I had gotten myself into, but I kept coming back to the fact that both Thomas and Josh thought that I could get healthier, not just lose weight, but actually be stronger and be able to live better too. Maybe I didn’t have to give up on the dream to go on a mission trip (a dream that I figured at this point in my life was impossible). So, I took my commitment seriously and walked every day – at home, on vacation, even in the airport. If this was going to have a chance of working, I knew I had to be all in. 

I had my first personal training appointment on January 4th. I sat in the car and prayed that this was not a mistake before I entered the gym.  That workout was not easy. I hadn’t exercised in decades (literally), but Josh made it possible and I did it. Throughout this process I have found Josh to be thorough in his explanations of each movement, patient with my never-ending questions, and encouraging of my effort.

Within the first couple weeks we talked about nutrition. He laid out how many grams of lean protein and carbs (from only fruits and veggies) that I should start eating per day. I asked about fat and calories and he said not to worry about that for now. I nodded and agreed to embark on this new eating plan while he smiled a knowing smile and warned me that this might be harder than I was thinking. Well, it was definitely different than anything I had ever done before. Meeting those numbers required me to eat MORE than I was currently eating (but of course not the junk I was currently eating). I thought there was no way I could lose weight eating that much. To my amazement, I did lose weight and I have continued to lose. I am at 82 lbs lost to date and after 5 months my A1C lowered 1.2 points(back into the normal range), my blood pressure is no longer high, and I am off ALL medication.

I am learning not only to exercise my body, but also to listen to it. There is a difference between soreness that indicates that your muscles have worked and are getting stronger, and pain that indicates that you should stop and figure out what is going on. During this journey, I have experienced some knee pain. I am grateful that Josh is also a physical therapist and dedicated to getting to the root cause of the problem. After evaluation and a couple physical therapy sessions, he was able to determine that the issue was mostly in my hip muscles instead of my knees. Daily exercises are working to strengthen and stretch these areas and my knees are doing much better.

After 6 months on this journey, I have learned a ton! I have some new vocabulary: AMRAP(As Many Repetitions As Possible),and  EMOM(Every Minute On the Minute); and I have learned that clean, jerk and snatch are good movements, not things to be avoided. I have done many things that I didn’t think were possible including burpees and joining with the other members of the gym in the Memorial Day Murph workout. I look forward to seeing what each workout will be and on the rare occasion that I have to miss a workout, I have even asked what it would have been. This is a huge change for what my life was previously!

My goal is that my experience would also help others. As people notice my weight loss, I have had many opportunities to encourage them that they can make changes as well. I still walk for at least 13 minutes a day and now my husband joins me most days (I’ve even gotten my teenage son to come a few times).

This is now a lifestyle and no longer something that I am trying out. It is still hard – but hard is where change occurs, and I have definitely found hard to be worth it. I have been surprised that I actually like working out and I feel better the rest of the day when I work out. 

Josh and I have begun to prepare me for entering BAMF classes instead of solely doing personal training. I am nervous for this next step, but one of the things that I love about BAMF is that every class is supervised by a coach who will demonstrate the exercise movements and help each person tailor the workout to their needs and goals.

I greatly appreciate Josh and Thomas for encouraging me along this journey and welcoming me into the family at BAMF. I am looking forward to getting to know more of the people here as I transition into classes. 

At one point, Jesus was asked to state the most important commandment. His replay is recorded in Mark 12:29b-30: 

“The most important is, ‘Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ “

In my journey to love God and follow Him, I was aware that he desired for me to commit all of myself to loving him, but in actuality I never considered physical strength to be a part of that. Looking back at the beginning of this journey, I can see that my lack of physical strength was hindering my ability to do my job as Admin for South Pointe Church, I had to sit often and there were many things I had to call someone to do for me. One of my coworkers commented the other day that they were so proud of my progress and glad to not have to worry about me being constantly out of breath anymore. 

If you are struggling with weight, strength or illness that results from these things, I highly encourage you to come to BAMF and begin your journey. I would love to be one of the 1st to encourage you that you can do it. It may be difficult, but a blessing is hidden in the difficult.