Biggest Winners Inspiration Part 2

Like I said yesterday, I wouldn’t be here without the Biggest Winners program or Michele who inspires me daily. But she’s not the only one. I’d like to share with all of you another inspirational story. She likes to be modest, but really she’s an amazing and caring woman. Sherry McKay started in the Biggest Winners program in January 2010 and has been a solid in that group ever since I have been there. When I get that internal voice that starts to wine about having to go to the gym Sherry is one of the people I think of and remind myself that I can keep going. She has this way of quietly motivating people. She reminds me to pick myself back up every time I fall and to keep on going. She has encouraged me after a tough weigh in or after a slip up. But I think you will agree how amazing she is by just reading her interview below.

Tell us your story? Why do you struggle with weight/food?
My story, hmmmm, I’ve been overweight almost my entire life with brief period where I was a good healthy weight. My mother is morbidly obese and has a life long struggle with weight and poor body image. I think that really left a mark on us kids, because in a family of 5, we all struggle with obesity. I’ve looked back at old pictures, and even when I was a decent weight, I thought I was really fat back then, when I look at them now, I think, wow I actually looked pretty good. So just goes to show that poor image of self. I have always felt, not good enough, not smart enough, not fit enough, not picked for sports teams (until the bitter end) in school. Teased, tormented, etc., by the other kids because of my weight, so slowly just started to withdraw and not try to do stuff. I also think it is partially a security blanket….I can’t do this…that because of my weight, not trying, means not failing (at least in some sort of weird language in my head). Scary to put yourself out there, fat insulates you from doing that. You can’t be as much of a disappointment if you set your sights very low……I think that’s what I did, having poor self-image, low expectations. Over the years I’ve tried many different weight loss programs, and I think I have every diet book that’s ever been put out there, always seeking, never reaching. I also think I self-sabotage, when I’m just short of success…..why?...that’s something I’m still figuring out, but I think success is a bit scary…what if I put myself out there and don’t succeed,….can’t blame it on being overweight, then its just me. That’s my theory on it anyway.

When did you start your weight loss journey?

My weight loss journey has been something I’ve worked on always…I was a teen the first time I went to weight watchers, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ticked the “rejoin” box there. I also tried Weight Loss Clinic, Jenny Craig, Diet Centre, the cabbage soup diet, Dr. Phil’s weight loss solution, Bob Greene’s diet plan, and a variety of other stupid things ….most of them worked, but when you stopped following the plan….like one diet I was on was 495 calories a day…and I, lost 80 lbs, but then gained it all back +++, and I had to have a couple of “fatty tumors” removed because the weightloss was too rapid and fat pooled in the bottom of my toes. Anyway, certainly not sustainable, and not the best way to do it. Until I came to BDHQ, I never tried diet and exercise (something the doctor told me all along, but he never said exactly how to do it). I started by having Lovisa come to my house to do personal training 2-3 days a week (part of a Christmas present from my daughter…I got the “gift” of Lovisa). That was in Jan/Feb of 2009 I think….and I did it for a couple of months…then Lovisa did not want to come all the way out to Brentwood, and I wasn’t yet ready to come into the gym, so several months passed and I gained back the weight I lost with Lovisa. But then my husband and I were planning a trip to Europe, and I wanted to be able to keep up with everyone, so I called Lovisa again, and she wasn’t willing to come to my house, so I had to summon the courage and come into the gym. I started doing personal training in the gym July of 2009, and then started with BW’s in January 2010. I lost 50 lbs doing the personal training, and felt I was ready to join the group….and I’ve been doing it ever since. I consistently lost 2-3 lbs every week until I was down 130 lbs….since then I’ve struggled, but continue to go to the gym, and work the program…why?....because I’m feeling so much better.

SIDE NOTE: Here is the lovely Lovisa

She may look sweet and innocent but trust me she can woop your butt and push you to limits you never thought possible...ok back to your regularly scheduled program...Sherry...

What prompted you to start?
Several things, my mother had a heart attack and wound up in hospital where she was treated pretty awful being a person of considerable size, and it was humiliating for her (and for us) …for instance, she fell in the ER in the Duncan hospital and they had to get the fire fighters over there to lift her back up and into the bed. She was bruised from head to foot, but she was too heavy for the nurses there to lift her up without the strength of 4 guys. I also was facing some health challenges, on 4 pills for blood pressure which still wasn’t being controlled, and my blood sugars were high, one step away from being classified diabetic, and I also had sleep apnea and had to use a CPAP machine at night to make sure I didn’t die in my sleep, and we had this trip we were planning to go to Italy, so I was highly motivated to change.

How much weight have you lost?
Starting weight was 342, and I lost a total of 130 lbs….now I’ve gained back some, so am at a total loss of 104.

What does an average week look like in your life (commitments, workouts,work, kids etc.)? How do you fit it all in?
I make myself a priority (something most women lose somewhere along the line…for years your child is the most important thing and I also tried to do it all, all the cleaning, cooking, shopping etc., now I enlist my husband’s help and its more 50/50…although he’d probably say its shifted and he’s doing 60, and I’m doing 40! Anyway, I make my workouts my priority, and even though some days I don’t feel like it, I’m always glad when I go and I’ve done it. I feel better and happier for it. I try to workout 6 days a week (I don’t always make it, but that’s my plan). I do BW’s 4 days, then I fit in treadmill workouts with my sister in Calgary. We have headsets and we talk on the phone and challenge each other to go longer, faster etc. I also have a couple of friends that I walk or cycle on days when I can fit that in. I still do a personal training session every Saturday morning with Lovisa for an hour, and I take the stairs every time I can, I park further away, and I get up and get out for 2 walks a day at work…they aren’t long as our break times here are short, but I figure its better than doing nothing.

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: Sherry’s amazing sister, Corine Sullivan, has also lost a considerable amount of weight. Check out her story featured on the Calgary Herald

Is there anything you miss eating that you used to eat before? Why?
Chocolate, mashed potatoes…why, comfort foods I suppose. Chocolate does something to my brain, its kind of like have a cigarette, you know its bad for you and yet you have to have one. You get an instant sense of feeling better, and then remorse takes over. I still battle with the chocolate, but I continue to work on that….I’m getting to know better now why I’m reaching for it, so that’s a good start to overcoming it. Always good to “phone a friend”, go for a walk, take a break, and then go back and decide “do I really need it?”

If you could go back and talk to yourself at the beginning of your journey what would you tell yourself?
That you have nothing to fear, and that you CAN do it!

What advice would you give to other's that are struggling?
Just keep on keeping on. There are still days I’m not in control, the secret to success is to shrug off the bad day and get right back at it the next. I used to think I had to be perfect, but now I realize I just need to be consistent, and that there will be slip-ups, but it doesn’t have to bring you down. Just get back up and keep going. “Fake it til you make it”

What do you do to keep yourself motivated?
I remember what I felt like before I lost the weight, how hard it was to tie up my shoes, or roll over in bed (simple every day things) that I can do now no problem. I love that I can do things now, and I feel like I’m living instead of merely existing.

What do you do to reward yourself?
I am good to myself and treat myself every once in a while to a mani/pedi or massage and facial. I spend money on myself….I consider it a treat to have my workouts at BDHQ, and once a week I eat out for breakfast with some of the gals from the gym :) ….that’s my treat, and time just for me.

What has changed in your life? for good? for bad?
I would have to say that everything has changed for me, I can buy clothes easier and I don’t have to shop in the Plus size stores anymore, I can fly on an airplane without having to get a seatbelt extension and I can put my meal tray down, I don’t have to worry when we go out somewhere that I’m not going to fit in the chair, at work, when we have meetings in different buildings and we go over as a group, I don’t have to worry that I won’t be able to keep up. I can walk up the stairs quickly and don’t have to stop like I used to. I used to always take the elevator, but not anymore :).
For bad, there are saboteurs out there, so it’s just making sure that you are armed with what to say to them. I try to surround myself with people who are my supporters, those who try and sabotage are usually feeling badly about themselves and just want to bring you down with them. I have armed myself with a couple of things to say to people when they say things like “you’re crazy for working out at that gym, its way over the top”, or go ahead “you deserve to treat yourself”, “just one won’t hurt”……I come back with things like “l love working out at the gym, and more importantly, I love how I feel after I workout at the gym”, and “you wouldn’t offer me cocaine if I was a recovering drug addict now would you”…that usually works.

Share one of your successes that has meant the most on this journey
The first time I climbed up Mt Doug with my daughter (it was “bring a friend/family day” for BW’s), and I made it to the top, Lovisa cried she was so happy for me, and I felt like a million dollars as that is something I would never have even tried before. Now my husband, daughter and I do hikes together….it’s nice to be able to talk and spend time together doing something that is healthy for all of us.


Sherry & Corine celebrating their success. You can read more on their story on the BDHQ Blog

I am proud to call Sherry my friend and could not have gotten through the last year without her support and smiling face. I believe in you Sherry – you will conquer this, you know that already!! I gave Sherry my LuLu Lemon pants that I got for winning the first session of Biggest Winners I was in. As I was giving them to her she tells me that they are way to small for her and that she can’t wear them. I’m happy to report that they fit!! So proud of you Sherry - onederland is within your sights.


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