From Couch to Triathlon- Lori Grelli
If one year ago someone bet me $1,000,000 and told me I would be training for a triathalon I would have said they were crazy and I would have taken the bet, no brainer. At 250 pounds there was no way I would ever be able to run 1 mile, let alone swim, bike and run. I am so glad that this bet was not real- I would have taken it and I would have lost!
Most of my adult life has been spent over weight, and not just a few pounds overweight, but over 100 pounds overweight. I went away to college and gained the normal freshman 15, then another 15 then another 15 and before I knew it I weighed 180lbs. That summer I did whatever fad diet was around and lost a nice amount of weight. Did not exercise, just drank grapefruit juice and ate cabbage or whatever fancy diet was around that year. Definitely not the right way to lose weight, but it worked for a short time until I gained every pound back, plus some. This was the cycle for the next 13 years. It was Weight Watchers then weight gain, Phen Fen then weight gain, just an up and down cycle over and over again.
In February 2008, my son was born and in May 2008, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Over the next 2 years I supported my mom emotionally and then took care of her physically. In March 2010, I took a leave of absence from work to be my mom’s caregiver for her last few months of her life. During this time I continued to gain weight. My days consisted of watching tv, taking care of my mom and eating. It was a very emotionally difficult time for me and I gained quite a bit more weight. In May 2010 my mom lost her battle with cancer.
After going through such a life changing experience you learn a lot about life. Life is very short and no one is ever promised tomorrow. That is when I decided I was no longer going to sit on the sidelines of life. I deserved to enjoy each day. I deserved to be able to run around with my son. I deserved to look in the mirror and love the person looking back at me.
Knowing that I needed some kind of tool to help me lose weight, I looked into bariatric surgery. I found a wonderful doctor and a great program. I took nutrition classes and became very educated on weight loss surgery. On January 19, 2011, I had gastric bypass surgery. That became the first day of my new life, a life that I love. For me, surgery was not a quick fix, I work hard every day. I was given a second chance at life, how often can you say that you were given a second chance?
Two weeks after surgery I started walking on the treadmill. I did this for a while and the weight started to come off. A few girls that I work with are club members and they convinced me to join this Tri Club that they all can’t stop talking about. I was motivated; I knew that I would never sit on the sidelines again, so I said ok. Not really knowing what I was getting myself into, but my new motto is “Never say No, I will try anything”. Once I jumped into this there was no looking back. I loved it!!! I learned to love running and I learned to love biking. Swimming scared me, and I could not commit last year. So I did complete the SheRox Duathlon and when I crossed that finish line I was proud of myself. Proud that I changed my life- proud that I worked hard for something that mattered to me and proud of the person I have become. I walk with my head higher each day because of who am I now.
Swimming… I promised myself that I will do a Tri…And as I already said, I can’t say no to anything anymore, so in the pool I went. With the guidance of a good friend and some determination I am already feeling more comfortable. I look forward to my morning swims- it is just part of my day now, just like running and biking. I am officially ready for my first triathlon. Riverwinds…here I come!
In a few weeks the date will come that it will be one year ago that I decided to take my life back- I have lost a total of 120 pounds! Today I no longer sit and cheer the athletes on- I am the athlete!
Thank you to Ranae Pollicino, Dana Warner, Christine Desrochers, and Janine Dammann- you convinced me to join this amazing group of women and words cannot even begin to express how thankful I am that I let you talk me into this! You helped me change my life and I am forever grateful! I am beyond lucky to be part of such an incredible organization- thank you!