. Hi. I am so excited to be writing my first blog and to have it be about my life’s passion…helping people embrace a healthy lifestyle, discover strengths that they never knew that they had and to ultimately achieve their weight loss goals. With the recent growth of the Bariatric Boot Camp program and classes, I have had a few people ask me if I myself am a bariatric patient. I thought this would be a good forum to explain my own weight loss journey. I grew up as the fat kid in class and have plenty of emotional baggage resulting from being bullied about my weight through school. I also experienced discrimination early in my banking career. In 1992 I experienced a health scare that put me in the hospital twice. In addition, I had a failing marriage and was terrified about being single and obese. In the news, there were some early whispers of a “stomach stapling surgery” to assist with weight loss, but people at the time were also dying from complications resulting from this. I finally looked at my size 26/28 self in the mirror one day and decided right then and there I was DONE! I realized I was the only one who could fix my “problem”. I needed to figure it out myself. I had a “get real” conversation with myself about my nightly habit of big bowls of ice cream (a full ½ gallon went down every two days) along with mounds of pasta. I began cutting back my portions. I then joined a local health club. A former marine set me up on my program of strength training and cardio exercise. To say the least, I was a little more than intimidated. I quickly discovered that I was good with the weights and strength training. I loved the fact that I felt so incredibly strong doing them. In fact, I realized that as I built my physical strength, I was building my emotional strength. Cardio, however, was another story. I realized quickly that 30 minutes on a treadmill or stair master were never going to cut it. The stair master was nearly impossible, and the treadmill faced a full length mirror. The last thing I wanted to do was to watch myself wobbling on the treadmill for ANY length of time, staring at a constant reminder of just how much I had let myself go and how far I had to go to get to my goals! I kept hearing great music coming from the aerobics studio. I finally sucked it up one evening and lined up in my big t shirt, leggings and my step bench outside that studio with women wearing thongs. Was I scared! To my surprise, with a few breaks, I made it through that class. I loved the music and the fact that I worked out hard for an hour without even realizing it because I was too focused on watching the instructor. I was in love! I began taking step aerobics daily. I literally went to class 7 days a week without a break for at least 6 months and supplemented this with my weight training. I found that I was challenging myself in the class a lot harder than I would have done on my own. I made several great friends, and, the ladies in thongs, became my biggest cheerleaders. My body began to shed my weight. As my workout schedule needed to change and I began taking the early morning step class, I soon found myself leading the class by default. The early morning instructor was not showing up for her class. Someone said “Liz. You’ve got good rhythm. You teach it”. That’s what got me started in health and wellness. For the next several years, I taught step aerobics as a part-time career, as much as 7 classes each week through the downtown Baltimore club circuit. In 1997, I relocated to Cockeysville and began teaching at the Maryland Athletic Club and Wellness Center. I was mentored there and during my tenure assumed many roles including fitness and wellness specialist, personal trainer and weight loss director. While at the MAC, I was contacted by a local bariatric surgeon who saw my weight loss story and wanted me to help support his patients with exercise. I had the unique privilege to meet with each patient in the program to help them design personal exercise programs and prescriptions and to help support them in achieving their goals. I loved sharing in the joys and helping through the inevitable setbacks.
I am extremely excited and honored to be sharing this wonderful, rewarding journey with you. Through this blog, I look forward to sharing with you some of what I have learned and to answer questions you have for me. I hope that the things I post here are helpful to you in your journey. Whether your journey is through surgery or not, I hope you find the topics timely and helpful to you. I would like this site to become a safe place for people to find support and to be able to explore different aspects, challenges and successes of this incredible, rewarding weight loss and wellness journey.