Sara Oestrich – Transformation #1

I won. I was so happy when I won, I started crying because finally, here was my chance to make a change, here was my chance to get “me” back.

In 2012 I had a job that I absolutely hated, I’d cry on the way to work, and cry on the way home from work. I was completely stressed out because I wanted out of the job so bad. In being so stressed and having a job in a cubical with little to no movement, I started packing on the pounds. Just as much as I hated my job, I hated the person I became. I didn’t like to look in the mirror. I dreaded stepping into my closet to find yet another article of clothing that I couldn’t fit into anymore, or that were so tight they’d rip when I tried to squat to stretch them out. I lost interest in many things that I normally would love to do – Roller Derby, Skydiving, Six Flags, etc. It also started affecting my relationship. How could I love someone if I didn’t love myself? How could someone love me because of the way I am?

Then, things changed. I got out of the dreadful job. I wasn’t so stressed anymore, but wasn’t finding the pounds leaving me as easily as they came on. My new job that I loved provided an excellent work environment with caring, wonderful people, but it didn’t provide full-time benefits such as health insurance. I tried to get health insurance on my own. I was denied because my height and weight didn’t meet their requirements. It was time to make some changes. I needed to hold myself accountable, but at the same time, I wanted someone to push me past my comfort level, because let’s be real, if I went to the gym and chose my workout, I’d do a little of this, a little of that, and then say “Phew! I’m exhausted, time to go home.” I even did the Insanity videos, which helped, but something was still missing. I started looking for places in Green Bay that would do just that. Push me, motivate me, all while I learned to do the same for myself. Then, the day came last June when I saw my calling, an ad on Facebook for a chance to win a 60 day package with nutrition and fitness classes at Fitness Renegades. I told myself I had nothing to lose to try to win, so I submitted my story.

I won. I was so happy when I won, I started crying because finally, here was my chance to make a change, here was my chance to get “me” back. That first day I went, I did the benchmark in just under 14 minutes. I was not impressed, but I told myself it was only the beginning, and I had to start somewhere. I continued to work on my eating, and always tried to push myself a little more each class. So, here I am, over a year later, down nearly 40 pounds, and known as She-Hulk at the gym. My outlook on life has changed. I no longer hate myself. Sure, I get into some pretty deep inner-dialogues from time to time, but that’s only to keep myself striving towards my goals and to not get comfortable with where I am. Comfort will only lead to taking steps back, and I only travel in one direction. Forward. My relationship has improved, and to have my love, Jay, working out next to me, following the same eating habits as I has only aided in my success. If Fitness Renegades hadn’t happened, things could be completely different for me right now.

Now, little holds me back. I was able to cross skydiving off my list because I finally wasn’t too heavy to go. I look forward to traveling in the future and having pictures of my travels that I am not ashamed of – pictures where full body length is acceptable, rather than only chest-up photos. My goals have also changed. Now I do want to continue losing pounds and inches, I mean, I’d be ecstatic to get to 174lbs, which is ultimately my end weight goal, but there are so many other goals I have realized are more important to me. I want to be strong, and as I realize that may impede my weight loss, being strong will give me more confidence in myself than whatever number is on the scale. I want to be able to backsquat 300lbs, and deadlift 265lbs, and even one unassisted pull-up would be pretty sweet, too.

I’ve met some absolutely amazing people in my journey at the gym – people who share the same struggles, share the same triumphs, motivate and push me to be better, faster, stronger; people who I can secretly compete with, and people who I have motivated and pushed myself. These people I am hoping will be lifelong friends, no matter where our life journeys may take us. The friends who sweat together, stay together, and there has been some serious sweating going on, believe me. My chalk handprints are all over that gym, if you need proof. I lift a blender bottle of Spark, and say cheers to all my friends and staff at the gym. Here’s to making these life-improving experiences better than I could have imagined.