My Journey – A Roller Coaster Ride To A Healthier Existence

If you know me, you know where this phase of my life started.  September 2008 wearing a size 24W and quickly closing in on 300#, feeling worthless, unhealthy, in pain, full of anxiety, and like my life was never going to be any better than it was in that second.  In a word, I was miserable.


It had been 10 years since my spinal fusion and I was still weak, in constant pain, taking narcotic pain killers, and numbing the rest of my physical, mental, and spiritual pain with LOTS of alcohol, chain-smoking, and binge eating!

So if THAT was Rock Bottom, WHAT IS MY CURRENT STRUGGLE ALL ABOUT???

For the time being, let’s start 5 years ago!

5 Years ago, what was going on???

It was August 2012, and I had already lost and maintained a 125#+ weight loss for more than 2.5 years.  But things within my family dynamic were about to change.  As an introvert, I was trying many new things.  I was actually getting out the house more, and trying to make friends.  But instead of things becoming more “normal”, I was making things worse.  Tony and I started arguing.  My Dad made it known that he felt like I was ignoring him.  But I finally felt like I had “friends” and I felt good about myself.  WHY SHOULDN’T I FEEL GOOD FOR A CHANGE?  To say I was struggling was an understatement.  I was LOST!  Then an AMAZING guy came into my life!  Ya’All are probably thinking, WHAT?!?!?!?!

Yes, I still LOVE my wonderful husband Tony, and that never changed!  I am referring to my AMAZING friend Stace Sanchez of KICKpics.com

It has been 5 years since he took these pictures and made me feel like I MATTERED!

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Like no matter what anyone else thought of me, MY hopes and dreams mattered!  At the time, I had actually gained back not only 10# of muscle and dropped my BF%, but I had already at that point put on about 5# of stress weight.  Over the next 5 years, that 5# has turned in to an amount I am 100% not proud of!  I am on a day to day basis hovering around 200#.  I am only about 35% BF, which is nowhere near the 54% that I was the last time I weighed this much, but all the same, I feel defeated a lot of the time.  Main reason is that I know that some people stopped looking up to me because I gained some of the weight back!  And that has made my stress grow, which only makes things worse, since my hormones are out of whack!  And to be honest, I feel bullied for not being “perfect” because that is what some people think their fitness trainers/coaches should be.  We are still human all have our own struggles in life.

I wish that the people who had these opinions had a REAL grasp of what it was like to be as overweight as I was all of my life.  I was bullied!  I was made fun of!  I was TORTURED in a Catholic School!  Don’t think that private school takes you away from the bullies of the outside world!  They live in the private world too!  Maybe more so to be blunt!

And, yes, I have thought about, and even tried, to take my life more than once during this series of screwed up messes that is my life, but each time God spared me.  WHY?

I believe that it is so that I can help others who feel like they may be lost causes to find their way!  Be it fitness, nutrition, or even as a friend who will listen!

 

SO…today, I look like THIS-

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And to be honest, if I would just let all the JUNK go in my head…..I AM HAPPY!!!

I will keep trying to get my weight back under control, but FOR ME and for my health!  

But for now, the following 5 things are the ONLY things I am worried about changing in my life.  I think if I do that, my stress will get back under control, and I will FINALLY be able to live my life to the fullest and enjoy all of the success that I DO have in my life! ❤ 

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MAKE TODAY GREAT!!!

My LAST Day ONE!!!!

YUP!  This is IT!

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I took this gym selfie after a Shoulder workout last week, and it frustrated me. Although I can see the progress in my shoulders, I am still so unbelievably THICK around my middle.  And Yes, I do know that is a tell tale sign of the adrenal problems that I am working on, but I struggle just like many of you with keeping balance in my life.  I know that I am far from where I started, but I am also not where I want to be!  And I don’t want to reach that goal to please the fitness industry, Beachbody Corporate, or even you who follow me on social media, this is ALL FOR ME NOW!

And to lay it on EXTRA THICK, this past week I have been dealing with an injury, which simply ticks me off! I know that sometimes the Universe has its way of reminding me that I just need to pause, but GGGRRRRRR!!!!!  Because until my knee is better(which will likely include draining and an injection on July 28th), my 100% will look quite different from what it does most of the time.  I am never afraid to modify my workouts, but this has taken me down another notch to hopefully prevent it getting any worse.

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So, today as I had planned to resume my morning workouts, all I could think as I was struggling to get out of bed, was that I am getting tired of having DAY ONES! Because I often feel like I have to be ALL IN 100%, or it doesn’t count.  
 
Well….today I say HECK WITH THAT!
 
I am throwing out that way of thinking. Sure, I may occasionally have a Day 1 of a new fitness program, or a new workout schedule, but TODAY is my last Day ONE! Because I am tired of feeling like a quitter! I am tired of giving ONLY my BAD choices any recognition! What about the GOOD Choices that I make 75-80% of the time?
 
So I had an alcohol filled weekend as I wallowed in self pity for several reasons, and woke up this morning bloated and feeling the effects of the inflammation, and even having gained 4#!
It’s OK!  
It is all going to be OK!
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My new goal from now on, is that when I have a “bad” day, it will just be part of my journey! I will acknowledge it and move on! I have come too far to be anything BUT proud of myself. A dear friend told me last week, that basically I need to start giving more attention to the successes in my life instead of the small failures and setbacks that are just an inevitable part of life.
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SO…there we have it!
Don’t look at a setback as an end, look at it as a setup for something even more EXTRAORDINARY to come into your life!
I AM a SUCCESS!
I am NOT my past!
I AM CAPABLE of doing AWESOME Things with the gifts I have been given!
I have built a place where people feel safe, and I should be VERY PROUD of that!
I do NOT have to be perfect to be loved OR successful!
My Last Day ONE is going great so far!  And I will continue to celebrate the good and accept, learn, and move on from the bad.
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Throw away the ONE bad apple!  The rest of the bushel is GREAT.  So instead of focusing on the one you threw out, ENJOY each and every one of the AMAZING ones! 🙂

She’s NOT What a Fitness Instructor LOOKS like!

I know that not everyone has the same outlook on this subject, but I am truly curious…

Do you want the person you are taking Fitness Classes from to be “perfect”, or does a little more “real” suit you better?

First I will tell you a little bit about why I am asking.  9 years ago this week, I hit the HEAVIEST I have ever seen on a scale.  I was 296#!

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I started dabbling in cutting back on different foods over the next few months before I really started my journey to being healthy, but this was the start for me.  And most of you know my weightloss story over the next couple of years.

BEFORE AND AFTER

 

Which lead me to become a Beachbody Coach, getting certified to teach Zumba, then CIZE, then getting my NASM CPT, Country Heat LIVE certified, coming soon, Core De Force LIVE certified, and even opening my own fitness studio Phoenix Fitness with Body By BrendaT and all because I fell in love with health and fitness and want to help others do the same.

If you know me, I do not believe that being “skinny” has anything to do with healthy, but being overweight can kinda go either way.  Don’t misunderstand, I am all about body acceptance, as long as you are not using it as an outlet to simply not take care of yourself.  Healthy and fit comes in MANY Sizes, but you do have to put in a conscious effort to do healthy things for your body.

So over the past few years, after getting to my best physical shape ever between 2011-2014,

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I started to slowly start putting on a few pounds here and there.  And over the last 2 years, despite still working out anywhere from 8-16 hours a week, and still eating pretty clean, at least about 75-80% of the time I have put back on a total of about 30#!  Sure, I am 46, going through menopause, and have elevated cortisol levels, but I am frustrated all the same. Life happens to everyone, RIGHT?

But because of that, I admit, that I often worry that people will no longer see me as a role model for fitness just because I am no longer a size 4!  What is funny, is that I still wear mostly Size 8’s, some 10’s, BOTH of which I would have KILLED to wear back when I was 13 and wearing size 13/14, but I still sometimes feel like I am not quite up to people’s standards when they are looking for a fitness coach.

So, my question to you is, when you look for a fitness coach, motivator, instructor, etc….Do you want someone who has never been anything but a “fitness-type” or do you look for someone who has “been there, done that, bought the damn t-shirt!”?

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Shaun T Pulls Me Out Of a Funk!

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This 35 second video from the break this morning during Pure Cardio 2 Workout from Shaun Week – Day 2 made me KNOW that Shaun T​ is SPECIFICALLY doing this week for ME!  I was bawling like a baby as I listened to this as I stood there DRIPPING in sweat!  It was truly like he has been watching a movie of my life! (Is ShaunT STALKING Me??? 😉 )

 

OK, so maybe he was not talking ONLY to Me, but I definitely felt like he had been inside my head when he started talking this morning. I feel like I shouldn’t have “bad days”, let alone BAD YEARS! I have not been at what I FEEL is my ideal weight for 3+ years now, and it all started with ONE stressful situation that just built and built until I felt like I was spiraling out of control. But I never gave up, and there is something to be said for that. And I am learning that it is OK for me to be sad. It is OK for me to NEED an occasional day OFF! It is OK to slip up! And it is OK to NOT be what some people think of as “the perfect” fitness professional.

Show up and do YOUR BEST for that day! And simply don’t even worry about anything else! You can NOT do any better than YOUR BEST!  If you can push just 2 seconds longer, DO IT! Don’t give up on yourself.  When the countdown of the last 3 seconds starts, you know, when the trainer says 3-2-1, are you stopping at 3?  DON’T!  Push to the end!

Slip ups, backslides, straight up F-UPs happen! You aren’t going to be PERFECT! But change is possible! Being better tomorrow than you are today IS POSSIBLE! You just have to make the decision and COMMIT to the process. It will take time. It will sometimes be REALLY HARD. But YOU are worth it! And NO ONE, no matter how badly they want it for you, can do the work for you!

So if you are looking for someone to help you through, someone to help keep you on track, someone who KNOWS how much some days on this healthy lifestyle journey can REALLY STINK, and how HARD it really is. It isn’t easy, and people who tell you to simply “Eat less and Move More”, are probably people who have NO IDEA what this journey is really like! I have LOST over 140# in the past, and I can tell you that NONE of it came easy! And now that I have hit menopause, it is even harder for me, because what worked 5 years ago is not working for me now. Nothing is a surefire solution for everyone! But you have to give it time to work! You have to commit to something for more than 2 days, 2 weeks, sometimes 2 months before you see how it is going to work for you.

I deal with hateful people often, who think that because I am NOT a fitness model, that I should not be in the fitness industry.  

I call Bull Shit!

Real people like to deal with REAL people.  Not someone who is going to make them feel “less than” because they weren’t born genetically gifted or have the ability to live on the perfect diet with the perfect amount of exercise and SLEEP!  I know what it is like to be super morbidly obese, and I know what it is like to be RIPPED!  I also know what it feels like to be everywhere in between, and the struggles that go with it all.  I know what it is like to workout when you can barely breath because the heaviness of the weight on you constricts you, and I know what it is like to end a workout with pride because you just squatted more than your neurosurgeon thinks you should ever be able to do, or what it feels like to finish a FULL Marathon in under 5 hours as a disabled 40 year old!  But I ALSO know what it feels like to be doing everything “right” and gain over 35# in 3 years because of anxiety and messed up hormones.  I know what it feels like to wake up every morning in pain from an invisible disease that most don’t understand.  But I also know that with modifications, the movement of exercise will keep me going a lot longer than sitting on my butt popping pain killers and muscle relaxers will.  

I will always do my best by my clients and customers, but there will be no results if your are not willing to put in the REAL work.  NO FLUFF!  I can give you the tools, and remind you to use them, but what you do with them is 100% on YOU!  Are YOU ready to MAKE A CHANGE?

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CONTACT ME – There are openings to work with me either in person at my studio in Fowler, IL –  Phoenix Fitness with Body By BrendaT, OR online with Beachbody Programs, since I am a Beachbody Coach and Beachbody LIVE Instructor who believes in their programs, trainers, Shakeology, and the sports supplements in the Beachbody Performance Line!  Find me on Facebook – Body By BrendaT or email me at bodybybrendat@outlook.com so we can get you Started TODAY!  And you can find my schedule and other links on www.bodybybrendat.net

 

Another Bridge the Gap Half Marathon in the books!

 

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Had you told me in May of 2008, that in May of 2017 that I would be completing my 7th half-marathon, I would have told you that you were CRAZY!!!  Yet here we are! 🙂

I walked most of this one, because 1-I had not trained, and 2- I have been having some knee issues.  But we finished it!  It took us 3:27, but we had so much fun! 🙂

I even got interviewed for KHQA news

http://khqa.com/news/local/bridge-the-gap-to-health-race-sees-large-crowd-despite-wet-conditions

So happy the rain stopped in time for us to have a great day! 🙂

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Here’s to another year of Health and Fitness! 🙂

Moms

May has been quite busy so far.  I started a new workout program, and a new nutrition program.  I’ll write a post about that here very soon.  Lots of experimenting and research going on right now.  But for today, I wanna talk a little about Mother’s Day, Moms, and the blessing and the losses.

First, as most of you know, I will honor my sweet girl, whom I have missed everyday for over 28 years now, my Marian.  I loved her without ever meeting her, and I love her still. 

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Next, I would like to mention the AWESOME kid that gives me hugs that make me feel more special than anyone has ever made me feel.  I love you Miss Bella! ❤

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And of course, the most wonderful Mom EVER, and the one person that I never go a day without thinking about.  The way she loved me.  The HORRIBLE crap we went through together.  Her never giving up on me being “normal”. The way we became best friends as I got older.  The way I can STILL bust out laughing just thinking about things she said and did.  I miss you ALWAYS, Mom!  I love You!

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And to the woman who gave me my Soulmate to drive me crazy and love me through ALL of life’s good, bad, and downright UGLY times.  My mother-in-law Vicki.  Miss You!

(The look on my face in this picture says it all! She was being ornery that day!  hahaha)

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To those Moms who have loved and lost little angels as I have, my heart breaks for you.  If you are still trying my heart is full of hope for you.  If it doesn’t happen, please keep your faith in God that there IS a reason.  That you do have people that love you and need your love and guidance.  Be a “mother” to them.

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To a friend whose Angel finally arrived and is perfect and beautiful in every way!  I actually finally got to meet this little guy yesterday, and it filled me with so much love to see the Bentley Family so Happy! ❤

 

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Lastly, I was reflecting on a conversation that I had last night.  A friend saw her son for the first time being a “Dad”.  She was surprised at how AWESOME he was at it, considering this young man’s dad was not exactly “Father of the Year”.  But this morning as I replayed that conversation, it dawned on me that being a Mom, being a Dad, it doesn’t really matter which you are, as long as you do it with love and are a good Parent, those who are watching will learn.  So single moms, dads, grandparents, foster parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, childcare providers, ANYONE who has influence over children….They ARE watching, and they WILL learn from what you do!  We are ALL in a sense “parents” to the children who are in our presence.

This particular friend is an AWESOME MOM!  Her son did not need a “Good Dad” around to teach him to be a good Dad, he just needed a Good Parent.  And THAT he HAD! 

 

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So to all of you who are a Mom to 2-leggers, 4-leggers, here on Earth or those with wings in Heaven, my wish is for you all to have a Beautiful Day, this Sunday and EVERY Day! ❤ 

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Resistance!!!

I have said it before, and you are probably thinking, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Here we go again.”

Maybe so!  But I have been really digging deep the last couple of weeks, all while actually being on vacation and adding an additional FIVE POUNDS to my already squishy and bloated body, but a few things seem to have really sunk in.  Plus I am going to have a great support group starting on Monday that I hope will help everyone in it get on track with their nutrition. ***Message me at bodybybrendat@outlook.com if you want in that group. Shakeology and being my(or a member of my team) Beachbody Customer is required.***

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As I drove to work today, I was listening to You Are A Bad Ass by Jen Sincero, which I have done at least 3 other times, but I HEARD something different today.

“When taking GREAT leaps forward, life often turns to shit before it turns to Shinola!”

WOW!  I mean WOW!!!!

As I FINALLY took the leap to open my own studio, it seemed the minute the purchase went through, the stress started.  I faked it on the outside, but truly was not ready to believe that I could ever be successful in business.  That was my past full of failures coming back to haunt me.  But I pressed forward.  As I did, the stress grew, and my drinking started to get a little out of hand again.  Not quite where it was in the past, but enough that not only was I wasting calories on all the booze, but I started making poor food choices.  I was sabotaging my own success!

After finally opening the studio, by Thanksgiving, I was starting to get sick.  By Christmas, I was sick enough to finally go to a doctor for meds.  By January, I was driven into the ground!  2 rounds of antibiotics and steroids it would take just to get the bugs out and start the healing on my lungs.  I was BEAT!  And I seemed to have overnight gained about 20#!  I was already heavier than I wanted to be from the stress of the months leading up to the opening, and here I was packing on MORE!  I felt, and FEEL, horrible.  I needed something to wake me up and snap me out of this “Failure Funk”!

Well, it happened!  As I was preparing to take this next leg of my journey, I got a slap in the face!  I am STILL letting not only my past, but the energy of those around me, AND the fear of rejection and failure rule my present life.  Sometimes it is those closest to you that try to hold you back the most.  My advice to You AND ME, is DON’T LET THEM!

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If you KNOW someone or something is a bad influence in your life, take whatever steps you must to SHUT IT DOWN!  INSIST that the people in your life, from you parents and spouses, to your casual acquaintences on Facebook, respect your goals to be healthy and happy!  And if that means that you have to end up leaving a few people who make you feel bad about yourself behind because they have no desire to help you grow, then it is their loss.  Bless them to go on about their lives and release them from your circle.

Life is a rollercoaster.  without the work to get to the top, you will never feel the full thrill of the ride.  There will be ups and there will be downs, but if you have the courage and the drive to work up to the top of the next hill, the ride on the other side is sure to be filled with “throw your hands in the air fun!”

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GOALS