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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Inspirational Mama - Stefanie Valencia

My name is Stefanie Valencia. I started Mama Bootcamp in March of 2009.  At the time I was 25 years old and had 205 lbs on my 5'2" frame. I went back and forth between a size 16 and size 18 dress size.  I had always been overweight. I remember as a child in the 3rd grade thinking, "I can never wear what those little girls are wearing. I'm too big." I eventually grew up into an overweight preteen, teenager and finally adult. I had never once looked at myself and thought, "I look beautiful." Instead, I avoided mirrors, cried when I went clothes shopping, and hated every single picture of myself. Year after year after I told myself, "This is the year, Stefanie. This is the year you get healthy." And, year after year the days came and went.

I was working at a preschool when I met Pantea Dunn. Her children were enrolled in our school. A co-teacher and I had been talking to her, and she had mentioned how she went to Mama Bootcamp. The two of us decided to go. I was not really sure of what I was getting involved in. I didn't exercise. "Run" was not a part of my vocabulary. "BFAS" was definitely not on that word list either. Water? I only showered with it. I drank a soda or two a day. Fast food was not a sometimes food but almost an everyday occurrence. So there I was, with all of these healthy women, at 7:30 in the morning, ON A SATURDAY!! I made it through the core warmup and then came time for cardio. I remember Lorri Ann asking, "Who's walking?." I sheepishly raised my hand. Obviously, I was going to walk. She said to follow a woman because she knew the route. I thought, "Great! She's pregnant. I can keep up with her." Little did I know, the pregnant woman would pass me up by a quarter of a mile. The whole time I'm sweating, I have shin splints and I'm struggling to keep up. This woman was pregnant! So pregnant I didn't see her again because she had her baby. Then as if it wasn't bad enough I hear feet quickly coming up from behind. An old man, who I believe to be bionic, begins to pass me up. He says, "You're not going to let an 82-year old man pass you up, are you?" It was at that moment that I decided enough was enough. I was 25-years old, and a pregnant woman and 82-year old man passed me up. P.S. He caught up and passed the pregnant woman. I signed up that day. I got my measurements done that Monday and by the next Saturday (after lots of epsom salt baths and unbelievable muscle soreness) I officially began my new journey.

The process was not magic, as Lorri Ann continually reminds us.  After all, 25 years of lifelong bad habits are hard to kick. Its been a little over a year and a half, and I have to admit, I still fight those habits. I hated vegetables, and still am not a raw vegetable kind of girl. BUT! I found ways for me to like them. I made sure that I threw vegetables into almost everything that I ate. I gave up soda, and if I needed a fix, forced myself to drink diet instead. My 32oz water bottle was my every day, every where companion. It still is. I stopped the fast food and I did my homework. I began walking 30 minutes a day around Maidu. I then decided I wanted to run. I wanted to be one of those outer loop girls. So I started giving myself small goals. I would jog 10 feet then walk. Until I was jogging 20 feet, then 30 feet, until finally I made it around the whole loop. I'm sure I scared a lot of people because I was huffing and puffing so badly that I sounded like i was in Lamaze or having an attack. But I kept on going. 

Which brings us to today. I am 57 lbs lighter, 102 inches smaller and in a size 8 dress size. Today, "run" is a part of my daily vocabulary. I even have "love" and "run" in the same sentence now. I can look in the mirror, I dont cry when I go shopping anymore, and I jump in front of that camera. As far as my ultimate body goal, I still have not arrived. I still am in process. I will keep running until I hit my goal, and when I do, I still wont stop running. I have to remind myself that its not about my size, its not about the numbers on the scale, and its not about how I look to everyone else. Its about being healthy and loving myself enough to take care of my body. Movement and healthy eating is my new lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, I still eat that cookie, and I eat out for dinner with friends, but I know that I am in charge of my body. I am the only one taking care of it. When I eat a little too much, its ok. I do the next right thing for me. I go for that run. I add in another bootcamp session. I say no when I need to say no. The most important message I could say is love yourself. You're worth it. Oh, and "nobody every died from the burn." So, "Go to your happy place! and give me 20 torso twists, 20 bicycles and 20 push ups! 5 sets!"

1 comment:

Kathy D said...

Stefanie ~ what a wonderful story. You are truly and inspiration!