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From Shannon Y.

I was an overweight child and an overweight teen, with all the insecurities and pain that comes with growing up fat. I was ridiculed by peers and even members of my own family. I learned very early to seek comfort in food. When I went away to college, I lost weight, and became thin, but I smoked cigarettes and became addicted to drugs and alcohol. I had replaced one addiction with another! I finally stopped drinking and smoking before I got married and had my son. I gained sixty pounds with my pregnancy and another twenty pounds after William was born. I was eighty pounds overweight! I tried everything, mostly fad diets (South Beach, Atkins). I even ordered videos and weight loss supplements from infomercials. Needless to say, none of it was working. I managed to lose thirty pounds on one diet, but I was gaining all of it back. That was when I joined WoW! Boot Camp.

I was so nervous the first day, but it was really fun! I could not even run a complete lap, but it didn’t matter; I wasn’t alone. I stuck with it and soon I could run a whole mile without stopping. Granted, the mile took 14 minutes, but it didn’t matter, I had done it! I was losing weight each month through sensible diet and a great work out regimen provided by WoW!. April was a real motivating force to me - she was there for me every step of the way. She cheered me on and celebrated every success, no matter how small. After three months of Boot Camp, in February, I enrolled in my first 5k race. To prepare, April met me and some other girls and jogged the course with us. I ran that whole race without stopping! Granted, it took me 38 minutes, but it didn’t matter, I had done it. I stayed in boot camp and kept running races, each time getting faster and stronger. In May, I finally weighed under 200 pounds for the first time in years! In June, I ran a 10k race. After the 10k, April put a group together to participate in a triathlon in August. I really wanted to do it, but I was scared and I still had not reached my goal weight. I worked hard to train, but I was so self-conscious about wearing the triathlon clothes. I was in tears, and again April was there for me. I stuck it out and did my first triathlon in August! I was so excited and my husband was so proud, it was truly a special moment that I will never forget. I continued to train and completed my second triathlon in October. In November, I finally reached my goal weight, exactly one year after joining WoW!

These accomplishments have given me the extraordinary feeling that everything was as it was supposed to be. That everything had led me to this moment and it all had a place and a purpose. I was 80 pounds overweight, but that sad reality had set me on a journey to discover things about myself I might never have learned otherwise. When I enrolled for my first 5k in February 2007, April said “Hey next year, how about a half marathon” I had scoffed at this idea, but guess what I’m doing this February!

Participating in WoW! has been a life changing experience. I have learned so much. I have made new friends and found great support, all I had to do was reach for it.

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