I have had the privilege of knowing Keisha for the entire almost eight years I’ve lived in Huntsville. I have watched her weight loss/gain from the back line without ever really knowing all of her struggles. We NEVER really know. It is very difficult to fight such a battle in public especially when you are considered a “leader” in the movement. There is a considerable amount of pressure. You question if you still have what it takes. It makes you self-conscious. At least that’s been my experience.
Keisha told me she had a hard time writing this and was very open to my input. I decided not to give any. I believe that one of the thing we are missing in the fitness world is REAL TALK from REAL PEOPLE about our REAL STRUGGLES. It seems like a really cool gig to be up there with the mic and the cute little workout tops and spandex. But we are people too. And the best way to help the people we serve is to show how we are realistically overcoming the same struggles our participants and clients face.
I very much applaud Keisha for stepping out and being willing to be transparent. Each one reach one. Or many.
I lost 100 lbs almost 8 years ago. And I have to say that was one of the hardest and easiest things I’ve ever done in my life. All it took was 18 long months of eating healthy and exercising 5-6 days a week. I did various types of fitness classes, used cardio equipment and weight trained regularly. For me, it was all mental. Literally. Although I never wanted to quit, I struggled with mental health.
I had always struggled with depression and had dibbled and dabbled with different anti depressants. Fortunately, none of them ever gave me weight problems. However, in 2007, the year in which i was in the best shape of my life, I was prescribed a new medication and my spandex got tighter. I knew something was wrong because I taught entirely too many fitness classes and worked out too much to gain anything. Within 5 months my life changed, and I gained 40 lbs. Great look for a Personal Trainer and Instructor. So, I naturally swapped mental health for weight loss. Body image was number one of course. I got off my meds. Real smart, i know. I was back to my old self in no time. I looked great! My clients and class participants gave me the self gratification that I needed. They were my antidote. The irony was that I ensured that my clients set fitness goals that consisted of more than just body image. Go figure.
The unfortunate thing about allowing things and people to fill voids in my life meant that I was often mentally unstable. Breakdowns occurred when I least expected them to. I had major issues not dealing with my problems.
The cycle of new medications and weight gain occurred two more times resulting in 25 lbs here and 30 lbs there. And i was left with a staggering 20 lbs in the process that i could not lose. But something else happened during the last cycle. Not only did I get a new diagnosis, but I got new medications that cause severe weight gain. Not taking them was not an option.
So, here I am today 15 lbs heavier than what I would like to be and carrying extra body fat in areas that don’t seem to get any smaller no matter how clean I eat or how much I work out. Yet, I still persevere and work just as hard. However, my fitness goals have changed. Yes, I would still like to look good, but feeling good is so much more important to me. I exercise and eat clean to be heart healthy and mentally stable. I’ve also started getting myself together emotionally. Thank goodness for therapy. So, if I lose 15lbs, great! However, if I can survive my bipolar roller coaster fit, fabulous and medicated I’ll be just fine.
Keisha Nelson is a wife and mother. She has worked in the fitness industry for 8 years. Keisha is a passionate personal trainer and fitness instructor who currently teaches Body Pump and functional fitness classes. She also runs Madison Adventure Boot Camp for Women.