On April 14th, I will be riding in a Soul Cycle class in the middle of NYC…in a sports bra, at the Sports Bra Challenge. I wanted to share the following story which I sent for my “Reveal” for the SEAK foundation.
Sports Bra Challenge is a day for all women to participate in a series of group fitness classes in their sports bras as a way of supporting and empowering one another to feel comfortable in our bodies. It is about bringing people together to accept and share their insecurities and overcome their fear of them.
2 years ago, going to the Sports Bra Challenge was a dream that I wrote down on my “Goals-I Wish” list. I remember Olivia and Hannah, winners of the Biggest Loser, were going for their first time, and they challenged everyone to experience working out in a sports bra, even if we did it in our homes. (I was extremely overweight at that point.., I have battled weight my entire life…the last time I was happy with my weight, I was in High School, and it was only for a short time after extreme dieting)..
I wanted to feel what it would be like to do the sports bra challenge, so I remember, that first year, after my husband left for work, and my children went to school, I shut all the shades in my house, put on an exercise video, and felt a part of the day by doing it at home in complete privacy. I remember seeing the videos and pictures of the event, just wishing that one day I would be able to go.
I am a woman who has always had a strong faith in God, and I had pleaded for so long, praying that I would somehow find the motivation and inspiration to finally win this battle with my weight. I don’t believe in coincidences, I only believe in God incidences…and finally, In His timing, God decided to use the most embarrassing thing in my life, my weight, and use it to bring me on a journey that has literally taken my breath away at times, and left me in complete awe!
The beginning of my journey began when Olivia Ward, winner of the Biggest Loser, and her husband Ben (who lost over 100 pounds at home),took the time to believe in me and share what they had learned in their journeys.
Ben goes to my church, so we all watched every week and prayed for Olivia and Hannah to make it to the end and win…and they did! I swore that I would lose the weight as I watched the show, but after a few weeks into it…I gave up, and found myself just watching the show and sometimes eating while I was watching, I continued to wish and pray that I could do what they were all doing.
Well, the confetti fell,the finale ended, Olivia was now an instant major superstar, and I wondered if she would ever have a little time to give me… for me to just ask her how to do what she did and how she finally accomplished her goal. So I sent this email on July 10th, almost 2 years ago….
I hope you are getting my emails through this. Although I follow you and Hannah on Facebook through my husband, Warren’s account, I don’t have one, and believe it or not, I don’t know how to twitter. LOVE the “myfitspiration blog”. Not sure I am ready for the sports bra challenge, maybe in my own home. Wish with all my heart that I was at the place you and Hannah are….. I would put on a great color sports bra and sign up for that class on the 29th and meet you there, even though I have no idea how to spin. But like many others, I am at the place right now where you and Hannah were last summer……so sad not to be able to walk around in a bathing suit, hiding under big shirts and capri pants, wishing I could just put on cute shorts and a tank top, or a cute little sleeveless dress for all of the parties/weddings I have to go to. The sentence that hit me on your blog was the one where you pointed out how much you have missed in life….. just by hiding. We’ve all been there, and like you pointed out, so many missed opportunities through the years, not swimming with friends or with the kids, or choosing not to go somewhere, because your ashamed of how you look. I keep thinking that you guys were there just a year ago, and think maybe by next summer there is a possibility for me to be as free as you are now, I just can’t get started and stick to it. I saw the new TV show being publicized on Hannah’s wall looking for people who want to lose 50-100 pounds, but I know that I could never do it publicly where you have to let the whole world know your weight. I still don’t know how you guys walked up on that scale the first time in sports bras back then…..but because you did, we are all now soooo inspired by your bravery and honesty….and I want somehow to lose the weight, to be that person for others, helping and blogging and connecting and inspiring, like you girls are doing. I really want to figure it out like you have done, and again when things slow down a bit for you, would love to ask you about some of the head stuff, and get your best everyday tips.
We just got back from an amazing family vacation. I did everything with everyone, remembering as you said, not to miss it. I had the best time, but my husband just put an amazing video together of all the pictures to music, and I absolutely love it, until I see a picture of myself come up, I just get soooo upset at the way I look. I’m sure you remember looking at pictures and thinking, “is that what I really look like”, and just wishing you looked differently. Then I see your Hampton picture, as you said, sooo surreal, rocking out a bathing suit…..I can’t even imagine, but I want to be able to feel that way, again, with all my being! You and Ben have done it together, and Warren and I just want to get to that point of feeling and living a healthy lifestyle forever. We last a few weeks, then with kids schedules, etc…..blow it. I keep trying to go to Weight Watchers meetings, I last a few weeks, then ruin a day here or there and say, oh I’ll try doing it on my own, because I know I gained and don’t want to get on the scale with a gain, so another week goes by, and failure sets in, gaining back the lost weight and more…
If you and/or Hannah decide to run a support group, or want to take on someone to use to pass it all onto, please let me be one of the people you work with. I will write it all down, follow it all, and share my results on your blog if you want. Each time I grab another magazine with you guys in it or see you on your blog, I am soooo upset that I didn’t start and stick with it when the BL started last fall, hoping to lose bit by bit along the way, I wouldn’t be here at just about my highest weight in the middle of summer. Even each week when we saw Ben get smaller and smaller, I thought, oh man, what am I waiting for? So here I am, another summer, sooo upset to be hiding behind the big shirts and three quarter pants.
My brother and kids are leaving today. Hoping tomorrow (yes, another Monday start), to get back to working on it with Warren. If you have any tips at this point to just help us start and stick to it, would love to hear it. I know you are busy with all of the publicity, blogs, opportunities. So for now, I will just keep reading and watching all that you and Hannah are sharing with the world. Keep sharing from your hearts, all the stuff you are sharing really hits home for sooo many of us. As I continue to pray for you guys, please pray for me to win this battle as you have done.
Gotta go and find something to wear for a birthday luncheon today (wish I could just throw something cute on and love the way I looked)…… hopefully someday soon…… Thanks so much for listening, but more importantly, thanks so much for sharing your whole process with everyone (tell Hannah thank you also), you both continue to give me hope that it really can happen. Praying that tomorrow is finally the starting point of real success, and that next summer I can be where you guys are now, actually happy to be in a bathing suit. That would be the ultimate dream come true! (I guess the first goal is tucked in shirt with no third layer of clothing on top….maybe a goal for the winter!, Do you girls remember that first moment?) Love, Wendy
And she wrote back an email that forever changed my life…
I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog!! It has been a joy to work on. I would love to get together to chat about all of this and working with you to help you achieve your goals. I know you can do it….believe me if I can you can. Like me you just don’t have the knowledge…it’s as simple as that. It’s not because you have failed…you just need some instruction. Start to look at it that way…mentally it will make the BIGGEST difference in how you view weight loss. What are your plans Sunday after church? Would you like to go to lunch with Ben and I? I’m going to write down some instructions for you and we can go over them then. You will start on Monday. Let me know if that works for you, if not we can find another time…no worries. I look forward to hearing from you!
With that I wrote back…
You just gave me sooo much hope this morning. Sunday would be perfect, and Monday is the best day to start, as it is my birthday! It would be the greatest gift in the world to achieve what you have achieved. Thanks so much, see you Sunday. Wendy
Little did I know what that morning would lead to. I met with them, they were so honest. They shared all that that they knew had worked for them, and they truly believed in me…that I could do it.
I remember going home and ordering my Body Bugg,(SHOW) so I knew for sure the calories I was burning. I began to put into practice all that they had taught me, and I began moving, just walking, as far and as often as I was able to. Doing anything to make sure that I showed the right amount of calories burned that I had to.
My next huge God-incidence was the day Dr. Oz launched his Transformation Nation Million Dollar you Challenge. I remember sitting on the edge of my sofa, taking down all of the information, truly believing that I could win the entire thing. Why not me? Olivia, a normal, every day person, just won the Biggest Loser…why couldn’t I win this Challenge? I remember running over to the computer, signing up for the challenge, hitting “send”. I truly believed since day one that I could win.
The official weight had to be done at a Weight Watchers, so I looked up the nearest one that would not be in my home town, as I didn’t want to bump into anyone that I knew, being so embarrassed about my weight. So I found one, and that Saturday, weighed in and faced the horrible number on the scale.
I went in for the one “free” meeting, thinking that I would just go to the free one, and not sign up….I had been to tons of WW meetings throughout my lifetime, and I “knew” that I wasn’t going to need this, it had never really made a difference before…..
I sat in the back row, the end seat by the door (for an easy escape when I had had enough), but as the woman, Elyse spoke, and I heard all of the people in that room share, I knew that very morning, that I couldn’t do this without them. Something very special was taking place in this room, and I needed them.
It was an incredible Transformation Nation challenge from September to April, but the whole time, I believed that I could win the entire thing. I started out walking 2 miles on a trail in the woods, then worked up to 5. Then I jogged a little bit in between. I took every piece of knowledge at my weekly meetings, everything Olivia and Ben shared with me, everything I was learning.. and added them one by one…and saw the weight come off. It started to get cold in December, the snow and rain came, it was getting harder to go outside, and I knew I had to join a gym. I didn’t know where to begin to choose one (but God already knew).
Through more God incidences, my next door neighbor, whom I really didn’t know had a coupon to try one of our local gyms for a week. We decided to try together. We walked in those doors, petrified..we were greeted by the most kind, patient people at the desk, who told us to try everything and anything for as long as we needed to see if we liked it there, and to let them know if and when we wanted to join. We looked at the weekly schedule, and we decided we would try everything…a class every day that week, and then decide.
Monday was a crazy, hard cardio/sculpt class…Tuesday was Zumba…Wednesday was a very hard circuit….Thursday we walked in so sore, we could barely move, so we asked if someone could just show us how to use a treadmill, and we walked 2 miles on the treadmill (and back then, that was really hard for us), Friday was a weights class that was killer. In every class, the instructors modified everything for us, so that we could keep moving and doing what we could do. All we had to do was bring our best to the room every day, and they would modify, until we could finally do it.
For some reason, I started keeping a journal of this weight loss journey, and as others saw the changes in me, and started asking how I was doing it, I was making lists of what was really working. I created a binder to keep all of my info in, all of the knowledge I was learning… and as others asked, I just made copies of what was working. People kept saying I should start a blog, but I had no idea how to even do that. I remember starting to think about it, but then even the little decisions became overwhelming…what do I call it? How do I find out how to write a blog, what should it look like? I just didn’t know where to even begin.
While walking in the woods, discussing the idea again, a friend of mine said, “How about calling in Wendy Weighs In?”…”You are always sharing with others about parenting, marriage, all your ideas for organizing, etc.….this way you will begin a blog about “weighing in” on weight loss, and then use it as a forum to “weigh in” on other topics.”
It was brilliant…I loved it right away. It took a while, but my husband finally got my blog up,(wendyweighsin.com)… and I began to put my story up…sharing the Dr. Oz Challenge with the world. I remember launching it the first night, hitting send…and by the time I went to bed, people were writing the most amazing letters to me. By the next day, people were writing from England, Norway, Poland, Canada…all saying that I was inspiring them already. I couldn’t believe it. I truly didn’t think that I could inspire anyone until I reached my goal weight, which was over 100 pounds away.
The first morning after launching my blog, was the first week I had joined the gym. I walked in on a Tuesday morning, told the owner of the gym that I just launched a blog about my weight loss, and by the time I got out of Zumba, he had read it and told me that he tagged me on the gym’s facebook page! I wasn’t sure what that meant, so I asked him, and when he explained it to me, I just teared up. That night, when my husband got home, I told him to go to the gym’s facebook page and showed him that the owner of the gym already believed in me…an overweight woman…he just met me and believed that I could do this and win the entire challenge. It was the most extraordinary thing to me.
Well, I continued to go to the gym Mon.-Fri. With my neighbor…I weighed in every Saturday at Weight Watchers, everyone was pulling for me and supporting me. The more I asked for help, the more people helped me. I had never done this before. Being so embarrassed about my weight and going on a diet “again” in the past, I would never tell anyone. But this time was different.
The more I learned and added one great piece of knowledge at a time, the more weight I lost, and the more I saw my body changing and becoming more fit. As it got closer to the final weigh in, I met some girls in my gym, strangers…who just “happened’ to have an extra ticket to the Dr. Oz show. They ended up taking me…and through more crazy, beyond my wildest dreams circumstances…I ended up meeting Dr. Oz, and with his hands holding mine, I looked him in the eyes and told him that I would be standing next to him at the finale of the Million Dollar challenge…(and I was!)
Out of 1.2 million people, I made it to the final 20! As I went through all of the final doctor’s appointments and physicals, I remember one of the most astounding moments was hearing my doctor say that all of my medical numbers were incredible, and that I now had the blood pressure and heartbeat of an athlete. What an unbelievable feeling to hear your doctor say she’s proud of you, and you have some internal numbers of an athlete… after a lifetime of hearing, “you need to lose weight.”
I met Jennifer Hudson’s leader as I was preparing for the show, and when I introduced myself to her, she already knew who I was! I was the first one to speak on that show, and just like I told Dr. Oz and his producers months before…I was standing right next to him at the finale.
In the audience, I was actually sitting right next to the woman whose husband won…He lost the weight in order to be able to give her his kidney when she needed it, as she was battling lupus. I got to throw my arms around her and congratulate her when they won, as I knew at that moment, it was totally meant to be.
The day of filming that finale last year, was the same day as the Sports Bra Challenge. I remember walking through the city with my friend after we left the show, heading back to where we were staying. I looked at my watch to see if we could catch a cab to The Sports Bra Challenge, but it was already ending. I remember we promised each other that we would continue to get fit and healthy and we would go to it next year. As we walked, I shared with her that I just dream of being able to one day wear a sleeveless top and feel good. At that point she said, “Wendy, who do you know in NYC right now?” I said, “No one.” Then she said, “so take off your blazer and walk the rest of the way in your tank top. You can do this. Feel what it feels like, you look great.”
So, I took off my blazer, tied it around my waist, and walked the next few blocks feeling such an amazing feeling of freedom, I will never forget it.
When that incredible finale day was over, I remember, heading home, standing on the subway, with my arm wrapped around the pole holding on…I was just thinking about the entire day, going through all that had miraculously happened…and I heard God say in my spirit…”Wendy, I just gave you the most amazing finale to write about today, but this story is not over. You didn’t win the million dollars today, but you were never in it for the money. You were in it to transform your life and to inspire others. Keep writing all of this down, because although you didn’t win the million today, your story is one day going to go out into the world and touch millions of lives. Keep writing, trust me.” (Little did I know at that point what would happen next.)…
A few weeks later, Hannah and Olivia announced on their Myfitspiration blog, that they were going to be a part of a boot camp/retreat called Unleash the Champion, in Nashville Tennessee. The boot camp was going to be lead by Carter Hays, the amazing trainer that brought her to win 2nd place (who also just brought Gina McDonald to win the $100,000 at home prize this season)…and we were also going to be meeting and learning from Marci and Courtney, Mary Nell, along with Olivia and Hannah, for almost a week at this ranch. All of my favorite people, from my favorite season of watching The Biggest loser, were going to be at this boot camp.
As I watched their announcement, I was just wishing I could go, but my dad had recently had a stroke, and my mom was very ill with copd, diabetes, breathing problems, heart problems….and I am their primary caretaker… and there was no way that I could leave them. I remember after watching, I tagged their announcement on my facebook page to pass on to others who might be able to go, and wrote underneath it, “I wish I could go to this, it would be a dream come true.” Well, within minutes, another post appeared. It was from my husband.. And it read… “you are going.”
He went right into the website and signed me up immediately, and told me that he would take care of everything at home, no matter what it took…my birthday was coming up, and he said, “this is my birthday gift to you…I love you, you’re going, Happy Birthday.” I just cried, I couldn’t believe it.
Well, in September, I went with around 40 other people, mostly women, a few brave men, and worked out…learned from the most incredible people who changed my life forever.We worked out under, and learned from the most brilliant trainer I have ever met. We learned from and worked out side by side with these tv stars. And one of the most extraordinary things that happened was that they went from stars we saw on tv……to real friends in our lives. They inspired us and taught us through their real life testimonies of struggles and victories. They shared straight from their hearts.
Carter Hays took us on His indoor turf at 5am every morning, and took us to a place where we left believing there isn’t anything we can’t do. We were flipping 440 pound tires, pushing 285 pound sleds, bear crawling, sprinting, planking….he took us to a place mentally and physically and spiritually… where we truly believed…why not me??
I learned and experienced so much there, and wrote down every single thing I could, so that I could pass it onto the world through my blog, and through my life. By the time I got home from that bootcamp, I realized that I was finally living a lifestyle and no longer trying to keep up a diet. A new lifestyle of fitness and wanting to become more healthy and fit, not just starving to get a lower number on the scale. I left there with another entire family, my “Unleash the Champion” family, who have supported me and have continued to walk through this weight loss journey with me. I never experienced or understood the power of such a support system.
Everyone is just an email, text, facebook page, phone call… Away. I have surrounded myself with a support team that means the world to me. We are all in this together. If I need inspiration, motivation, prayer, support, I just reach out. I continue to follow Hannah and Olivia on their myfitspiration blog, as they continue to pass on what they have learned.. Marci, Mary Nell, Courtney, and the other speakers/teachers on the ranch continue to share and encourage all of us through very powerful posts. And the most amazing gift, is that Carter continues to coach us, even from thousands of miles away…support us and pass on all of his wisdom and knowledge every single day through facebook. They could have all said goodbye to us on Friday, the last day on the ranch…but they didn’t. What a tremendous gift.
I am around 80 pounds down today, and have 45 to go. My life has completely changed in a year and a half. 2 years ago, I was dreaming of one day being able to go to the Sports Bra Challenge…writing to Olivia Ward as a stranger, wondering if she could help me get started. This April, I will be at the Sports Bra Challenge, 80 pounds down, celebrating my body, even as it is now, with a ways to go, but believing for the first time in my life that I will get there….making one great choice at a time, one meal at a time, one day at a time…sometimes one moment at a time.
The first Christmas after starting this journey, I was in my WW meeting. It was the morning of Christmas Eve, so it was already a miracle that that is where I was on that day. The leader, Elyse, asked us, “who has ever seen the Polar Express?” With that, she took out a bag filled with those small little jingle bells, and asked, “who hears the bell?” Someone raised their hand and said, “those who believe.”
She proceeded to hand everyone a small bell and she said, “you are about to go through the toughest time of the year for weight loss, Christmas, New Year’s, all the parties. I want you to put this bell somewhere where you can feel it, your pocket, wherever. And when you feel it and hear it, I want you to believe that you can do this. You can make the right choices and win this weight loss battle.”
As she spoke, I knew right away that this was going to be a huge tangible item for me to believe and stick with this. When I got home, I asked my daughter to get her bracelet making box and cut me some of the black cording to put my bell on. I made a necklace, put the bell on it, and made it long enough to just hang where the bell was hidden under my shirt, right in between my chest. Where I could feel it and here it to remind me to keep believing that I could do this. I wore it that night to Christmas Eve dinner, and it was amazing the great choices I was able to make, hearing that bell as I reached over to take something to eat.
Every day… I heard it and felt it as I reached for food, and made a conscious choice about what I was doing…I heard it as I worked out in the gym…during the toughest part of my workouts, I would hear it and remind myself, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!” Many times I would have to say that over and over again, I still do. and each time I heard it and felt it, That “believe bell” became a very powerful tool in my weight loss, and I had it on every single day since that morning… up until an amazing day on the ranch, when after climbing a mountain with a courageous woman who climbed for her first time, I was lead in my spirit, to tell her the story of the bell, and then place it around her neck for her to believe now that she could do this. It was another incredible moment that I will never forget for as long as I live.
Her name is Roseanne, and since placing that bell around her neck in September, she has lost over 102 pounds, and she will be flying in to stay with me, and will be riding on a Soul Cycle bike, by my side, as we experience the Sports Bra Challenge together, along with Hannah and Olivia and everyone else who will be there. Another woman, Bethanny, whom I met on the ranch, is flying in and coming with us, as she wanted to celebrate how far she has come at the Sports Bra Challenge…before she turns 30 in a few weeks. She wanted to celebrate and mark this time in her life in a powerful way…and this is where she wants to do it.
The only word that I can think about, as I try to picture what being at the Sports Bra Challenge will be like for me is…”surreal”-which means having a dreamlike quality. This will be one of my dreams come true. And what I learned early on as I started to list those dreams, is that the most exciting thing to do as you cross one off….is list another one…keep dreaming, and keep making those dreams bigger and bigger. Because as you see one by one come true, that’s when you start believing for sure that dreams do come true!
I have been dreaming more dreams and praying more prayers…and I’m walking through a journey that is bigger and mightier than I ever imagined. As I pray and dream and share what I’ve learned with others, I always share the verse….”and now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine!” I’m praying to God, who is able to do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine! What are you asking for? What are the dreams you are dreaming? What do you want out of life? Why not you?
I know now, why He used the most embarrassing thing in my life, my weight,..for such a time as this. It is to show who He is and what He can do, even in weight loss. It is in my absolute weakness that He gave me His strength and power to do this, so that I knew for sure that He is all that He says He is and can do all that He says He can do. Over and over and over again, when I couldn’t…he could, and He did… and that’s when miracles happen.
I have been walking through the most amazing miracles…miracles still happen today, and I am living proof of that. For some reason, I wrote down this entire journey, and I’m hoping to get it published one day…to share it with the world. It is an extraordinary story that I couldn’t even make up if I tried….and The Sports Bra Challenge will be an amazing chapter in that book…
Just think and try to take this in….2 years ago, a very overweight woman, named, Wendy Veronica Dorothy Trunz… couldn’t even get through a spin class…She had been praying for God to finally show her how to win her battle with weight…how to find the motivation and inspiration to do what they do on the Biggest Loser. She wrote to Olivia Ward, winner of The Biggest Loser, seeking help, and was dreaming of one day being able to go to The Sports Bra Challenge…. She met Olivia who believed in her…. She went on a journey where out of 1.2 million people, she made it to the final 20 in Dr. Oz’s Transformation Nation Challenge, and stood next to Dr. Oz, speaking at the finale. From there she ended up on a ranch with some of The Biggest Losers at a bootcamp called Unleash the Champion, where they, along with over 40 others impacted her life forever.
Celebrating 80 pounds of weight loss, believing now that I can lose 45 more to get to goal… living a new lifestyle of fitness… On April 14th, I will be riding on a Soul Cycle bike….in the middle of NYC….in a sports bra….riding alongside special women, Roseanne and Bethany, whom I met at bootcamp, on a ranch in Nashville, along with Olivia, Hannah…and Jenny Gaither…head of The Sports Bra Challenge!
Dreams do come true, and miracles still happen! I know that this day will be abundantly MORE than I could have ever asked or imagined! Praying that it is for every single woman there!