Theresa’s Story is inspiring and encouraging. Can you imagine losing 100 pounds and finally being able to breathe- literally and figuratively? Well, Theresa did just that. She shares her previous struggles, her successes, and how she made The Academy her own.
Listen to podcast here (or read down below)
In this episode, you’ll learn…
00:58 Who Theresa is.
01:51 What her biggest struggle was previously.
03:03 Things she had tried already.
04:32 How she is overcoming her previous challenges.
05:54 What successes Theresa has experienced.
08:36 What it feels like to be released from burdens.
11:05 Theresa’s keys to success.
12:44 How baby steps were instrumental to her success.
14:39 The essentiality of all 7 habits.
16:52 How Theresa has learned to let her habits serve her.
18:43 Being flexible as life challenges arise.
“I feel like I am leading a healthy, free life. I might not be at the end of the journey, but life has been so much better. I can enjoy life. I can just feel free. I feel the burdens have been lifted, not just physical ones, but emotional ones, even, you know, spiritual burdens. There’s growth in every area going through this process and sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at the moment you’re in and you know, that was its own lesson.” – Theresa
- I am about to turn 60 years old, so that’s like a big milestone in life.
- I’m happy to say I feel better than I ever felt probably for the last 40 years of my life.
- I married and about to celebrate my 37th anniversary next week.
- I’m a mom to a 29 year old daughter.
- And I’m currently a caregiver to my 93 year old mother.
Theresa’s biggest health and life struggles
As an adult, my entire adult life, I’ve struggled with weight and a lot of yo-yo weight loss/weight gain. It was a continuous struggle.
I tried a lot of different diets and exercise programs over 40 years and, you know, results might be fleeting. They might be nonexistent, but ultimately it led me to a place where I was heavier than I’d ever been.
Prior to coming into the academy, I was:
- chronically fatigued.
- in a constant state of brain fog.
- basically living day to day.
- not getting anything done.
And that was causing a lot of additional stress.
What Theresa Had Already Tried
A large variety of various diet programs and self-help books.
I had tried:
- Weight Watchers more than once. (I know at least twice and I think three times over those years.)
- Atkins for awhile.
- Oh, my goodness, The South Beach Diet.
- I think there was something called The Zone.
- Physicians Weight Loss Plan, that really had nothing to do with my doctor. That’s just what they called it. That was extremely calorie restricted. In fact, that was kind of like a 500 calorie a day diet type thing.
So again, nothing. None of them sustainable, you know. The really extreme ones, obviously you can’t sustain that. I could get results, but I can’t sustain 500 calories a day.
So obviously I’m not going to sustain the results I got with it.
Things have changed for Theresa
The major difference now is that rather than pursuing a diet or an exercise program, I’ve embraced a whole person way of living that really is based on everything that The Academy and you teach in terms of having a healthy mind, healthy spirit, and a healthy body.
Developing good healthy habits and the whole process of habit formation for me has been instrumental in the changes that I’ve been able to make.
Theresa Has Seen Results
I have been able to shed a hundred pounds, so that is huge in terms of a scale victory and a whole lot of tens of inches went with that.
I couldn’t tell you the exact amount right now, but it’s a lot. It’s several sizes of jeans.
I guess a non-scale victory has been getting rid of the bigger jeans.
I did make a point of not hanging on to those, you know, when they were perfectly good jeans.
It’s like, “No, I don’t ever want to go back there.”
Other non-scale victories:
- So they (the too-big jeans) left the house. That was a great non-scale win.
- Clothes fitting better, but probably the greatest wins have been in the area of energy and clarity of thought, although sometimes I don’t feel like I have that at times.
- I am very well hydrated, which I had not been and so I’ve read a lot of the benefits from that.
- And from better sleep. I can actually go to bed and go to sleep without tossing and turning.
- Well for one thing, I’m more comfortable in my body.
- But also just habit development, you know, the steps I had to take in order to be able to do that-to go to bed, close my eyes, to go to sleep quickly, to stay asleep, and get just a good night’s rest and wake up refreshed.
Because Theresa Sleeps
It’s been huge to sleep. Because I’ve just come into the role of caretaker for my mom in the last year and a half, a lot of additional movement has been required on my part.
And had I not already achieved some of these things in terms of my ability to move and my flexibility and my stamina, I wouldn’t be able to do that right now.
What Theresa Feels Like Now
Well, it’s been a huge relief. It’s been like being able to breathe.
Prior to a year and a half ago, I was in a place where I felt like I was drowning and I couldn’t come up for air. It’s like, okay, how do I just get through this day, this hour, whatever it was.
And now I can enjoy a day, no matter what, you know, even despite whatever the responsibilities of the day are or the chaos of the day might be.
I am not having that struggle to breathe, so to speak literally and figuratively.
It has been huge. That’s allowed the God-given joy that we have have as Christians, you know, the fruit of the spirit, to be more evident. It’s kind of helped uncover that more. So it’s more evident, not just to myself, but to others that joy’s there.
Theresa Shares the Keys to Her Success
For me a little bit, this was probably unorthodox, according to your team, I’ll lead with that.
The month I started the academy, the focus was actually food and, you know, I think we naturally associate food or not so much food with being healthy and, you know, changing your lifestyle.
And it is, and you obviously would encourage us that when we start The Academy, we pick up with the habit of the month.
But I looked at it and I did not do it because in my case, my bigger issue at that moment was I was so sleep deprived. I was just chronically fatigued. I mean, I couldn’t even think about food or making any changes.
And so for me, I was able to access, I think it was the previous month you all had done sleep, and so that information was readily available. And so what I worked on first was sleep and that actually changed very quickly for me. That was a blessing that it improved so quickly.
So it probably was a couple of weeks before I moved on. By the way, now we were on Spirit, but then I did start food a little bit.
It was all baby steps for Theresa.
Baby steps have been so instrumental in every bit of this. It’s not my tendency. When starting anything in life, I have always gone all in.
It’s like do as much as you can, as fast as you can, as hard as you can.
That’s not feasible. And as you teach us, it’s not a path to lasting change.
And so the baby steps have just been that lesson above all others. I’m seeing the fruit of baby steps. It is just incredible to me. And it was incredible for me.
Do the Lessons
So I guess the other thing is just the lessons. The lessons are really just invaluable in each of those areas, it helps you.
It helped me to understand the why behind things.
The sugar lessons were mind-blowing to me and made an enormous difference.
Just reaching lowero levels. You know, I really did shoot for the 25 grams of sugar a day, which is not a lot, but that actually went away kind of quickly, more so than I expected.
Once I was able to kind of break free (because I’m sugar addicted) from the addiction part of that, I think that was a big part of a lot of things changing for me, health wise.
It all works together.
I couldn’t even fathom breaking free from sugar if I couldn’t sleep and be rested, you know? So, I mean, it’s all important. You can’t leave out any of the seven habits. Those seven things are just all foundational, obviously in different measures.
Theresa Took Baby Steps
Katrina: It was the small baby steps you took, all the habits that you added in on a daily basis, that actually helped you achieve the goal. You had this huge goal and you kept it in mind, but then what we focus on, what we need to focus on is the day-to-day habits in our life that help us to get to the goal.
They are more important than the goal itself. You are proof that theory is correct. And I am just so proud of you for embracing the baby steps and embracing the seven habits. Over these last 18 to 20 months, you have continuously worked towards them.
God’s Not Done With Theresa Yet
We’re not going to be healthy and a hundred percent whole on this side of heaven. That comes on the other side. Until then we’re going to seek to strive to stay healthy. You have stepped up to caretaker for your Mom and some of your habits have had to change.
We have all these lies and these stories that we believe in our head, but I love what you did.
I would love for you to share with those that are on the Healthy Free Life Journey.
Some may have stumbled and may have gotten to that place where they’ve not been on track for the last month or two.
What are you doing right now to get yourself back on track?
What Theresa Has Done to Stay on Track
Well, one of the things I’ve done that is I had to come to grips with it’s okay to kind of go backwards in the habit goals a little bit. That was a really hard decision to make.
Part of my struggle for a while earlier this year had to do with trying to hold on to all seven habits at the level that I had been doing them for the past year and this season will not allow it. A big part of that’s because of time demands for me.
I firmly stepped back and said, you know, that doesn’t make me a failure to not be able to, you know, do the 14,000 steps I have been doing a day. I can be okay with 9,000 steps. Maybe I need to be okay with 8,000 steps.
It does not make me a failure that I’m not doing a 90:10 on my food. Maybe I need to do a 70:30 this week because I know what the week holds. Maybe next week I can do an 85: 15 and that’s okay.
I can be flexible with that because I need to be flexible with that right now.
I would never call myself an exerciser prior to coming into The Academy. And just a little aside on that, in November of 2019, that was the exercise focus of the month. And I literally could do the warmup and like one rotation, two rotations. And that’s all I did for the whole month.
I’m also the person that kind of hated exercise. And so it would have been so easy that when December rolled around to just say, okay, well, exercise’s done now for about six months till we get back into it.
So I needed really specific accountability in that area and I made the decision to kind of go public with that in the Academy Facebook group and commit to a weekly post of my own accountability to continue exercising. It’s just kind of a celebration. And the ladies that are a part of that group, are every week now posting on those posts.
“Okay. Here’s my plan for this week. And here’s what I was able to do or how I’m struggling or something that motivates me or whatever.”
And we’ve all kind of kept each other going with that. And I did have to take a step back from the whole habit, but I did injure my back, not exercise related, back at the end of, I guess, about the middle of March.
Theresa Had a Set Back
So I was not able to exercise for a month. I kept doing my accountability posts every week because I wasn’t gonna let it go and continued to be motivated and inspired by all the ladies that kept posting in that discussion.
When my back healed, it just made it so much easier to step back in. It’s like, okay, no excuses. The back is healed next week. You know my post is coming up. What’s your plan? And I need a plan for what this week’s going to look like.
I’ve also decided that, you know what, I had been exercising four days a week, 30 minutes for the metabolic workouts each time. And because of my schedule, I’m having you go back to just 15 minutes.
But Theresa Didn’t Let it Defeat Her
I realized I’ve reduced other stress in my life by limiting that a little bit more right now. So as much as I would have wanted to strive to hold onto 30 minutes of workout four times a week, I have less stress right now, which is better for my health, by just reducing my time.
We don’t want to become slave to the habits. We want the habits to be our servants. We want them to be there serving us. – Katrina
I do consider myself an exerciser now. Isn’t that amazing? I mean, I missed it when I couldn’t do it.
Theresa Sums Up Her Life Now
I feel like I am leading a healthy, free life. I might not be the end of the journey, but life has been so much better.
I can enjoy life. I just feel free. I feel the burdens have been lifted- not just physical ones, but emotional ones and even spiritual burdens.
There’s growth in every area going through this process and sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at the moment you’re in, and you know, that was its own lesson.
It’s interesting because I just found something earlier today, something I had written several months ago when I was not yet dealing with the challenges in my life circumstances that I am right now. I needed it more now than when I did then. What I had written was
“Disciplined growth and lasting change can not develop in the absence of challenge.”
It just helped me look at the moment in a better light. You know what I’ve been given. I’ve used all the tools with wonderful success, but now there’s a different challenge. And so I need to look at that as an opportunity and decide how to approach that challenge.
And I feel like that’s where I’m at now.
Thank you, Theresa!
Thank you so very much, Theresa, for just sharing your story of hope and success. I pray that this will inspire and bless others to want to continue on their healthy, free life journey.
If you’d like the know the first steps to the Healthy Free Life Way, click HERE.
Until next time. Bye for now.
Wow, Theresa, thank you so much for telling your inspiring story. I have about 100 pounds to lose and this gives me hope. I wrote down your statement about disciplined growth where I can see it every day. Katrina, thank you for sharing this.
Jean, I’m SO delighted you were inspired and have hope. One baby step at a time.
Thank you Theresa for sharing your story. May God help you sustain your lifestyle changes. He will and He does!