|Living Instead of Existing
First published in RACEPLACE Magazine, March/April 2016 Issue
Where do you start? When you’re weighing in at 457 pounds and you’ve been overweight for most of your adult life, what diet do you embrace to help stop the madness?
The date was February 7, 2012. Rhonda Martin, originally from Iowa but by then living in San Diego, made a conscious decision NOT to go on another diet.
Why? Because she had tried them all and success had still eluded her. Oh sure, there would be some weight loss for a month or four, but eventually Martin would revert to her old patterns and the weight would come storming back.
“I was dealing with sleep apnea and high blood pressure,” she admits. “I couldn’t take 150 steps at a time without being out of breath and having to stop.” She realized that this time she had to change everything; and that long-term health doesn’t come from the latest fad diet, it comes from a total lifestyle change. “That’s when it clicked in for me,” says Martin. “I started drinking two to three protein shakes per day, plus eating three healthy meals. I started counting calories and bought a pedometer. Then I challenged myself to take 100 more steps than the day before.”
In her garage she had an electric bicycle that she had barely used. That soon changed. “I started riding the electric bicycle to and from work a few times a week,” she continues. “I’d pedal for a while, rest up, and then pedal some more. By riding the electric bike, I also had two full hours a day of me time. I loved that.”
By totally changing the way she lived her life, Martin was happier and healthier than she had ever been. When she realized that she had plateaued, Martin hired a personal trainer who she worked out with two to three days a week and he recommended that she sign up for her first triathlon.
Triathlon? Isn’t that a sport for an uber-athlete, not someone like Rhonda Martin who was looking to lose some weight and get into basic fitness?
Not quite. While being overweight makes it hard on the joints when you run, non- weight bearing sports like swimming and cycling can become the perfect fitness activities. Her first triathlon was a 500 yard swim, a 9 mile bike ride and a 3.1 mile run in the spring of 2014. “When I came across the finish line of that first triathlon, I can’t put how I was feeling into words,” she says. “I was in awe.”
Rhonda Martin also discovered a little known fact: she was competitive!
By the end of her first summer as a triathlete, she had completed four events, had lost 277 pounds since February of 2012, got her weight down to 180 pounds and took third place at the San Diego Triathlon Classic in the Athena Division. “I remember my trainer saying to me while he was looking at the results sheet. ‘You’ve got to come look at this. You’re third!’ I was in shock.”
Rhonda Martin’s Facebook Page is called ‘Living Instead of Existing’ and she loves answering questions from other people facing similar situations to her own.
Rhonda exemplifies what it takes to make a difference in your life. There is no quick fix and while RACEPLACE was created to help everyone out there find their finish line, we also understand that step number one to lifetime fitness is to find your starting line.
Hopefully, Rhonda Martin’s story will help inspire you to find yours.