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Sandra Parlow: A year of change

Sandra-Parlow times two

Sandra Parlow, before and after her fitness journey

Sandra Parlow shares her inspiring journey to losing weight and getting fit:

One Year Ago …

I installed an app on my phone and I decided it was time to get serious.

Get serious about my health. About how I treat my body. About how I will face the rest of my years.

You see, I was doing OK, really. But I felt sluggish. Sluggish and tired. My cholesterol was starting to creep up. Getting out of my chair was beginning to hurt. Running up my stairs left me winded.

I was out of shape (well, I WAS a shape – just not one I was happy with), getting older every year (yes, like the rest of the world) and knowing that it was only going to get harder with every passing year if I didn’t get my ass in gear.


I visited my doctor and arranged to have iron shots because I’ve been extremely low for years, and never able to catch up with it. It was like an instant shot of life being transfused into me. Without all that nasty digestive crap that I’d been putting myself through for years with so little results. That was step one.

Step two was to finally get over myself and just decide to join a gym. I hated gyms. I never really went to one before.

The truth is I feared them. I was afraid that if I went to one, I would be judged.

I’ve never, in my whole life been athletic. Always the last kid picked for the team. Always the write off in gym class that wasn’t worth the teacher’s time or effort.

Always the kid that wasn’t fast enough or strong enough or competitive enough. I was the kid who was teased  or maybe even worse – ignored.

So, off I went to the gym, with butterflies in my stomach and my heart in my throat. I was sure I was going to hate it.

That I’d last a month, maybe lose a pound or two, and then decide it wasn’t for me.

Slowly I began to feel comfortable. Then I actually began to like it. I began to feel like I was part of a community.

I mean, most of these people I don’t talk to. I don’t know their names, (I have affectionately given them names inside my head though) or their jobs or anything about them.

But there is a certain comfort in seeing those same faces every day. Of acknowledging them across the room with a nod or a smile or even just meeting eyes.

These people have no idea how much a part of my daily life they have become, but the truth is that I look forward to seeing them, even if we don’t speak.

Then there are the awesome staff and instructors at the Y. What a great team! Through them I  have found so much encouragement and joy.

I can attribute SO much of my success this past year to them.

It is them, who kept me going back, kept things interesting, encouraged me to keep working, to work harder and stronger.

Who had faith that I could complete their crazy, amazing classes, even when I didn’t have that faith in myself.

Who showed me what I am capable of. That I should believe. They have given me the confidence back that I lost so long ago.

And then there is my husband, Terry. He’s been with me every step of the way, making great gains himself.  We learned how to eat together. How to work efficiently together.

And how to support each other in our journeys. Once again, I could not have done  all that I have without his support.

With the support of all these wonderful people I have reached goals that I have never even imagined, including becoming a certified fitness instructor and teaching fitness classes of my own.

What an amazing thing – to give back the things that were so freely given to me.

One thing I’d like to mention is that it’s hard to go to the gym for the first time.

People can feel afraid of being judged, and they think they need to get into shape first. I know I felt that way.

I felt SO conspicuous. But, the truth is, everyone is there for the same reason.

We all started somewhere, and honestly, when I see a new person at the gym I am happy for them.

Happy for them for wanting to make a change and get healthier.

And excited for them, because I know if they stick with it, it is going to make them healthier and the personal achievements to be had are so amazing!

Sandra Parlow before after

So, here are my one year totals…

I have lost approximately 55 pounds. (it varies a few pounds from week to week, of course)

I have lost 10 pant sizes. From a size 16/18 to a size 6

Neck: from 15 to 13.5 inches

Waist: from 42 to 35 inches

Hips: from 46 to 37.5 inches

And now my Pearls Of Wisdom…

What I have learned over this past year

  • My body was tired because I never gave it a chance to wake up
  • My mind was more tired than my body
  • Your body, if given a chance, WANTS to move. It IS a machine and it needs the proper fuel and the chance to work.
  • It feels good to feel strong.
  • I miss my boobs. Kinda.
  • Buying clothes is a lot easier now.
  • Buying panties and bras that fit properly is still a pain in the ass.
  • I have veins that I never noticed before.  I kind of like them.
  • No matter how much weight we lose, we will never look like what we imagine we will.  I always thought I’d be curvy.
  • Turns out I’m straight up and down :(
  • Stretch marks never go away, nor the skin that increased with them.
  • People will try to make you eat crap, 5 minutes after they praise all your hard work and success.
  • You will spend a lot of time defending your food choices.  (AKA = really, I don’t miss french fries. Seriously!)
  • Cholesterol?  Not an issue any more.
  • When you lose fat, your wrinkles become more noticeable.
  • It feels pretty good when you tell your son that you are going to a Manitoba Fitness Council convention and he just smiles at you and says “who would have ever thought?”
  • My body still gets tired, but it’s a different kind of tired now.
  • You never get over craving chocolate or peanut butter, or both at the same time
  • It takes great dedication and sacrifice to achieve so much in a short time, but it’s worth it
  • Spaghetti squash makes a great pasta substitute and it sounds really cool when you drop it on the floor at the grocery store.
  • Buying a whole new wardrobe is damn expensive
  • People you know will not recognize you and walk right past you
  • It might not necessarily be WHAT you are eating – but HOW MUCH of it you eat
  • People will suddenly call you a “skinny bitch.” That’s not fair. I worked hard. It wasn’t luck.
  • Losing weight and getting in shape will not make you a super star – you already are one.
  • People want to know the “magic secret”. There isn’t one. Eat better and move your ass more.
  • People expect you to “stop” once you reach your goal. This is a lifetime thing. It will never stop. I shall forever be a work in progress.
  • I may not miss french fries, but I sure do miss Cheezies.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that no matter how much weight you lose, or how much your body changes, or how much healthier your yearly physical tests come back, you will always still find something about yourself to be unhappy about.

Sandra Parlow Sun
So don’t wait to love yourself. Don’t waste time.

I kick myself that it took me so damn long to do this. Love yourself now.

Love yourself first, and then work on the rest. We spend too much time hating on ourselves.

Wear your best perfume, drink out of your crystal glasses, dance like you don’t care if anyone is watching, and love yourself.



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