‘From victim to victor’: a fitness quest sparked by reading this blog

D'Amour completing her first 5k at Michigan's Big House

I enjoy hearing stories about your weight-loss success. A few of us at A Healthier Michigan have either personally struggled with or have a loved one who has struggled with obesity, so hearing about your victories feels a little like our own.

One of our readers, Cynthia D’Amour of Ann Arbor, has lost 80 pounds in the past two years and enjoys talking about what works for her.  As someone who was looking for ideas on how to start and stay on a healthy lifestyle path, she started reading our blog after hearing about it at a chamber of commerce meeting.  She enjoyed the healthy recipes and ideas on making healthier food choices — but it was all information she didn’t want to hear before.

“It’s exactly what they tell you that I didn’t want to hear, eat clean, drink water, and work hard.  But it really is hard work and consistency, there is no magic pill,” she says.

Indeed, there is no magic pill.  It took a shift in mentality for D’Amour’s weight loss to transition from a thing she had to do to a lifestyle.

“The biggest change is seeing myself transition from victim to victor,” she said.  “I used to feel like I was being punished, in part because we use good/bad language around food a lot.  For me, the head game is the biggest challenge to a fit life and to working out.”

Part of that head game was learning different ways to comfort herself.  Instead of food, she now turns to things like getting a manicure and pedicure.  Finding pleasurable activities that don’t involve food wasn’t always easy to do, but she knows she’s worked hard and doesn’t want to slide back into unhealthy habits.

Her hard work has paid off — and not just with the lost weight.  D’Amour jokes that she used to think a marathon was a trip from her front door to the mailbox, but she ran her first 5K last summer and is planning on running more.  She works out with a trainer and notes that when she started, she could barely do a squat with no weight.  Now she’s doing three sets of 10 squats with 135 pounds on the barbell.  She feels like most of the physical limitations she once had are now gone.

“It’s almost like having a new play toy.  I was heavy for 10 years.  Now I have a new toy called my body and it’s fun to see what it can do,” she says.

To encourage other people on their fitness quest, D’Amour started a website and a Facebook page so she can share some of her favorite insights.  She’ll ask you daily if you’ve had enough water to drink and each day around 3 p.m., she and her husband stream their dance break live.  Her theme is to encourage new behaviors that everyone can do and that have proven to work for other people.

In the end, D’Amour hopes that people realize that their weight-loss and fitness goals are really a lifetime adventure.  “The big thing that I want people to get is that their fitness quest isn’t a moment in time, it’s a lifetime adventure.  Being on a fitness quest and a lifetime adventure makes it fun, which allows the quest to become a lifestyle.”

Thanks for sharing your story Cynthia!

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Read 3 Comments

  1. I’ve followed Cynthia D’Amour since she began her fitness quest, and she’s been a tremendous cheerleader for many — even those of us who still struggle over that first step in deciding to change our lifestyles around food and exercise. Thank you for this great article, which further encourages us to become proactive about our personal health decisions. Cynthia is a leader when it comes to healthy lifestyles, and I’m so glad you highlighted her triumphant journey.

  2. Auburn, thanks for your kind words! A fitness quest is a lifetime adventure. As long as you keep taking that first step you’ll keep moving in the right direction. Sometimes it takes time to get all the elements lined up the way you need them. Goodness knows I’ve stumbled and fallen flat on my face several times. It’s just part of the journey.

    – Cynthia

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