It was one of those lazy Sundays. You know, the Sundays where you just want to stay in your comfy sweat pants and sweater that you should have probably tossed out a few years ago because the colors have faded away. They fit just right, loose and relaxed, so they continue to make the cut each year during spring cleaning.
We skipped church and walked to my sister Hilda’s house. As we walked in, the smell of the slow cooker filled the air. There was a chicken cooking slowly and veggies on a baking dish in the oven. She was preparing her lunch for the entire week ahead. Containers were laid out with different compartments for the various food categories.
Since changing her lifestyle, this is the norm for her on Sundays. It’s a lot of work and takes dedication, but Sundays are her meal-prep day.
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My sister’s story started a few years ago. I remember the conversation well. We were sitting in our living room and she was debating whether to join CrossFit or spin class. She toured many local gyms to find the right fit. Finally, she decided to start with spin and then, after losing some weight, she continued her mission to become healthy with CrossFit.
As a teenager, she was heavy. Although she didn’t let that stop her, people would talk. If they didn’t talk about her weight behind her back, they would make comments to her face. It’s not easy being heavy in a time when we, as a society, idolize “bone showing.” There is nothing wrong with being so skinny that your bones show, but that look isn’t for everyone.
I know first hand about comments people make to heavy people. One day, as I was walking in the elevator at work with an ice cream in my hand, a well-dressed, arrogant looking gentleman directed a comment to me like, “You look like you have had many of those.” I smiled and told him that he was correct and that all the ice cream I have eaten has been “very good” and “worth the calories.”
Then, there was the time at the gym when the local gym regular told me that my arms needed “a lot more work.” I, again, with a smile on my face, told him that while he had been at the gym every day and night, I had been reading books and in school getting an education. I wished him luck in going back to school to get his education.
Back to Hilda.
Along with her Sunday meal prep came a workout schedule of five to six days a week and a few hours of hard-core workouts a day. After work each day, she travels to her CrossFit gym in Clovis to put in her time.
After a few months of dedication, her body began to shed the pounds. People started noticing and commenting. Comments on her social media sites (follow her on Instagram at @Hildatate) included, “Wow,” “Keep up the good work,” and “you go girl.” As an older brother, I stood by and watched and smiled. To me, she was a great person at any weight. I am proud of her not for losing the weight, but for accomplishing her goal.
Today, Hilda has lost over 170 pounds. Her weight loss journey has taken her around the U.S. and world to participate in CrossFit training camps. She has met friends who share her story of being heavy and dropping the pounds. People often ask me if she had surgery to remove her weight. I tell them “no, it was all natural weight loss.” They are always shocked.
Her hard work is rubbing off. She has inspired several people, who have themselves started the weight-loss journey. It even has got me to start thinking more about fitness and daily movement.
Let’s be clear, I am not as motivated. But, if I am going to be successful at fitness, it is going to be because I am watching my sister, and her successes are going to push me to better choices; at least sometimes.
Sevag Tateosian is host and producer of The Central Valley Ledger, which airs on 90.7 FM KFSR Fresno and CMAC – Comcast 93 and Att 99.