A message from the Founder of Inner Fit …
Karen Ibbott, a teacher from Cambie High School, joined our studio as a member who was a bit shy but was ready to make a change. When I think about Karen today, I think of a happy, kind, and loving person who is always supporting and encouraging members in our community and she has one of the best laughs. In the spring time, she entered our annual Biggest Loser Weight Loss Contest and she killed it. Not only did she win, but her reaction was so beautiful. You can watch the video below. Today, her husband and two teen sons also workout at Inner Fit and have made a commitment to a healthy family.
I am so incredibly proud of you Karen. You are a beautiful person on the inside and out and seeing you inspire so many people in awesome! As I read your answers, I cried a few times. You deserve your success. Thank you for not only sharing your story but for helping our community on your journey.
Rachel Seay, Founder of Inner Fit
How much weight have you lost as of today? 46 lbs
Why did you decide you needed to make a change in your life?
The main reasons why I decided to make a change in my life is because my weight was unhealthy and I felt unhappy with myself.
I did not have issues with my weight until I was in my late 30’s. Over the years, my weight steadily increased and by the fall of 2015, I reached my heaviest gaining 20 pounds what seemed like overnight.
When I joined Inner Fit, I was just a few months away from my 48th birthday. Which is important to note because my father had a heart attack at 50. My weight was focused on my abdomen that is risk factor for heart disease. My blood pressure was already up and I was scared that I was shortening my life.
In addition, I hated how I looked in pictures and deleted most of my photos from family vacations and celebrations. In fact, my current Facebook profile photo is 8 years old! I was hopeful a lifestyle change would help me feel good about myself so I wouldn’t be embarrassed of my appearance.
How do you feel today compared to how you felt at the start of your weight loss journey?
When I started my weight loss journey, I had very little self worth and I was unhappy with myself. Although providing for my family and having a teaching career is important and rewarding, it left little energy and time for me to take of myself. I put everyone and everything ahead of me. I felt like I was existing day to day and not living a full life. I felt lost.
Today, I am a much happier and confident person. I feel like my old self again. I am more outgoing and energetic, I sleep more soundly, I take on more risks by trying new activities and challenging myself. As a result of this positive change in my personality, I am more engaged in my relationships and I am better able to manage the stress in my life.
How long have you been a member at Inner Fit?
Since September 2015
What role did Inner Fit play in your weight loss journey?
Inner Fit Studios had everything I needed to find fitness and weight loss success. It is a community of coaches and members that not only focused on my fitness, but it provided me with opportunities to make and reach goals with my nutrition and social well-being.
With a variety of classes offered, I was able find classes that fit into my busy schedule. Having members and coaches that made my classes enjoyable and challenging, allowed me to establish a sustainable workout routine.
I also attended Inner fit’s Weight Loss Support Group that helped me to set goals for myself and provide an environment to have a conversation about lifestyle changes with other members.
I love participating in Rachel’s weekly or monthly Challenges as they maintain my interest and engagement (on our Facebook Secret Group for the Inner Fit Community). Lots of laughs, memories and friendships result from these challenges. It is a testament to Rachel’s dedication to keep things fresh and interesting at Inner Fit. These Challenges are brilliant strategy for members to reach goals and to build a social support network.
I don’t always look forward to a workout. But when I do go to a class, I am grateful I did. I love the feeling I have from the endorphins after a good workout. I love the variety of classes, especially Lift and Kettle bell. I love it when I walk into an environment where people are smiling and happy. I love the connections that happen both in the studio and out. There is a special community here, and I want to continue to be a part of it.
What would you say to women who are afraid to lift weights?
I believe women may be afraid to lift weight because they may not want to injure themselves, or they’re afraid to “bulk up” or even get calluses on their hands.
I would suggest starting with a weight that you are comfortable with. I started with the lightest weight available for the overhead lifts and shoulder raises. I’m talking about 3 lbs! I’m now up to 15 lbs! I’ve also adjusted to muscle fatigue by using a lighter weight once I felt I was losing my form or straining too much.
I don’t believe that you can “bulk-up” unless you are a competitive body builder. I love my strong, toned arms and I am working hard to define them even more.
If calluses are a concern, you can always wear fitness gloves.
What changes did you make to your nutrition habits to help you lose the weight?
My nutrition habits and meals were mediocre when I started at Inner Fit. I didn’t plan my meals and often relied on convenience foods and ate lots of rice and bread. My portion sizes were out of control. When my boys were young, I would eat about the same amount as they did. But as they grew and required larger portions, my portions grew too. I should not be eating the same amount as teenage boys!
Now I am tracking my meals on the MyFitnessPal app. I’ve cut back on drinking wine during the week. I rarely eat bread, rice and pasta, choosing instead to eat spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
I allow myself to have treats, but I have to earn them by making good food choices staying active.
I am fortunate that I did not have any challenges such as an illness or injury during my weight loss journey. I did not experience a desire to give up, but I did feel frustrated when my weight plateaued for a couple of months. Having continuous, positive feedback from my Inner Fit coaches, husband and classmates and friends kept me motivated. I didn’t feel like I was failing. I Got This!
What does your support system look like? What role have they played in your success?
My support system involves many people. I am grateful to have a husband that loves and supports me. We made financial sacrifices for me to join Inner Fit and attending several classes a week meant that we had less time to spend with each other.
I have made lasting friendships with members at Inner Fit and we rely on each other to motivate, share resources and to advise.
What 3 pieces of advice do you have for someone who is wanting to lose weight but struggling?
- Start with a small goal, even it’s one day at a time.
- Be vigilant about tracking and measuring your food each day.
- Include a friend in your journey that you can feel safe being honest and accountable with.
Did you set out to reach a certain goal or did you set mini goals along the way?
I had a combination of both. My initial goal when I started at Inner Fit was to lose 48 pounds by my son’s grade 12 Graduation. My motto was 48 by 48 (years). I wanted to feel good about how I looked in his graduation pictures. I’ve been deleting so many pictures of myself from family gatherings and vacations these past few years. I didn’t want to be “omitted” from photos on my son’s Graduation day.
Establishing mini goals was less intimidating and beneficial for me. Rachel’s Weekly and Monthly Challenges were great.
What goals did you reach that filled your heart with joy and pride?
I am joyful and proud that reached my weight loss goal (within two pounds) by my son’s graduation June 2016.
I am also very proud of myself winning the Biggest Loser Challenge. At first, I found it difficult to accept that I deserved to win. Especially when I knew other members were working hard to meet their goal. But then acknowledged myself, that I had worked very hard too.
What struggles do you still face on a daily basis?
Journaling my food!
I worry that I won’t be able to maintain my current weight and fitness level over the long term. I’m worried that I’ll disappoint people if my weight-gain returns.
I worry that I will falter when I am away from Inner Fit for 5 weeks this summer. I will be “home” for three of those weeks staying with family with lots of temptations during social settings and celebrations. What will camping look like with the social eating and drinking with my friends?
I am an emotional eater and will overeat when I’m in social situations, stressed or bored. How do I control this?
Describe a week of fitness:
During the fall and winter sessions at Inner Fit, I was attending the 6:00 am classes every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. But once spring started, I started running in the mornings and shifted my essential classes to the evening.
My recent schedule looks like the following.
Sunday – early morning 10km run
Monday – 7:30pm Essentials Class
Tuesday – early morning 6 km run and a Kettle bell class at 7:05 pm
Wednesday – 7:30 pm Essentials class
Thursday – 7:15 pm Lift class
Friday – early morning 6 km run or REST DAY
Saturday – 8:15 am Spin class and sometimes Hurricane class
Describe a day of nutrition:
I always need a breakfast to start my day. A favorite breakfast is a poached egg with half an avocado and salsa. I have eggs about 4 times a week. I also enjoy a bowl of steel oats with maple syrup.
I will always have a mid morning, and mid afternoon snack and sometimes an evening snack. My snacks may be a ¼ cup of plain Greek yogurt with 1 tsp of maple syrup and 1tsp. of walnuts, 12 almonds with 1 tsp. cranberries, an apple with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge or bowl of steamed edamame pods.
Many of my lunches have been green salads with homemade dressings or roasted vegetables. I make sure that I have a protein with my lunch such as chicken, salmon patties, tuna or chickpeas.
A typical supper now includes a fresh salad with homemade vinaigrette, larger vegetable portions with lean cuts of meat. I have broadened my menu to include more vegetarian and fish recipes into my meals.
What fitness programs and diets had you tried in the past?
I joined the Weight Watchers program several times over the years. I also consulted with a nutritionist and a hired a personal trainer for 20 weeks in the past.
What didn’t work for you and why?
I did not relate to the members at the WW meetings and I would eventually quit when I did not see results. When I worked with a trainer, I only went to the gym once a week when I met for our session. That was obviously wasn’t enough fitness. I’m glad I consulted with a nutritionist as I learned a lot but unfortunately, I didn’t put anything she told me into practice.
What part has the fitness classes played in your weight loss journey?
I am wearing a Garmin watch to track my heart rate and calorie burns. Many members are wearing heart rate and step monitors as well. As I wore the watch I began to learn how hard I had to work in the studio to work off calories that I mindlessly ate. There were a couple of us that would compare the calories burned to the amount calories in a glass of wine. It made me rethink what I ate. Also, by improving my fitness and building muscle mass, I was able to improve my metabolism and burn more calories.
What have you learned about yourself?
I didn’t realize how competitive I was. The weekly and monthly challenges were very effective in motivating me.
Have you participated in any of the Inner Fit Adventures? Did any of them have special meaning to you?
I was excited to be a member of Inner Fit’s Workout to Conquer Cancer team. Spending the day of the fundraising event with this dynamic team allowed me to form new friendships with members I hadn’t had the chance to meet.
I was not available for the sport adventures organized since my start such as snowshoeing, Foam Fest 5km or hiking the Grouse Grind but I hope to attend future outings.
What fears did you conquer?
I was afraid of starting this weight loss journey because that I was afraid I would fail again. I can’t tell you how many false starts I had over the years.
Yes! I’m within two pounds.
What goals do you have for the future?
I would like to finish a half marathon race in under 2 hours. My best time to date was 2:14. I would also like to be able to complete 30 push-ups. I’m up to 10.
What are you doing to keep the weight off?
I am making sure I am active with my heart rate up 4-6 times a week. I am more mindful to make healthy choices with appropriate portion sizes and I’m trying my best to track my food daily.
Any favourite quotes that you have discovered along the way that inspired you?
“You got this!”
Has there been a ripple effect with the people in your life seeing your transformation?
Absolutely! I think I had the biggest influence on my husband. He joined Inner Fit in May 2016 after witnessing how much I enjoyed the classes and my weight loss success.
Did Karen’s Story Inspire You? We would love to meet you and welcome you to Inner Fit. Send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s begin your journey together!