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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Burn and Fuel Woman: Mindy Spencer

Since Burn and Fuel Women is about inspiring and encouraging women, we decided to feature spotlight stories of women close to us who we believe are beyond inspirational. This blog is about all of you, not us. Sure, Mel and I like to write about our runs or various workouts, but at the end of the day, we want to hear your stories and allow others to draw inspiration from your challenges and accomplishments. 

Mindy is a dear friend of mine who I have known {and loved!} for several years from church. She is always such a pleasure to be around and has the sweetest spirit. I asked her to be the first BAFW profile because I have seen her life just blossom with amazing opportunities just in the past several months. She has always been beautiful inside and out to me.  But now she looks smokin' hot! I am so thrilled about her dedication and hard work to get to where she is today...I know it hasn't been easy, friend!

Here's Mindy's story...

My fitness journey begins when I was 20 years old and in college. At the time, I was taking 22 units, working two jobs and at my ultimate breaking point of the amount of stress my body could take. What can I say... I have a high amount of "Achiever" in me. I believe in hard work and doing your very best. 

After awhile I started feeling very ill and noticed I wasn't able to recover from it. It took about two years to get the correct diagnosis. I had Crohn's Disease, an autoimmune deficiency that happens to some young people. I was immediately placed on a steroid, Prednisone, which brought on significant weight gain. 

At that point in my life I was in "survival mode." I was struggling just to get to my next class. But nothing was going to stand in my way of getting my degree, not even an illness. Regardless of my ambition for school, my body was not getting excercise and the nutrition it needed. Emotionally, I was such a mess from everything that I didn't even have time to care. 

Let's skip forward six years...

I am in remission at this point, graduated and in a full-time job. I am finally able to take on the issue that I knew was so important and that I had been almost too "scared" of taking care of. I knew I HAD to get healthy. My body needed it so that I could function fully. I desired to be strong. To not be afraid of the body that I felt had failed me. 

I realized I had a choice and knew that I could do this. I joined Weight Watchers in August of 2012. The nutrition classes they offer were incredibly helpful, especially for a person who has diet constraints due to illness. I also took up running since adopting a rambunctious puppy, as well as getting back to some old loves of mine: hiking and tennis. 

Skip forward to today, June 2013. I am 35 pounds lighter! It's crazy how much you find that you are able to do activity-wise when your body is in shape. I even recently lead a fitness challenge at my work place that had coworkers track their activity level in "steps." It was awesome to get to coordinate that and it definitely kept me in check. 

What's ahead? The same thing. Consistency, I'm finding, is key. Sometimes you have to get to your breaking point to realize that you have to make a change. In my case it was exactly that, and it worked. My hope is to continue taking adventures in the great outdoors and lose about 15 more pounds. Slowly but surely, you can achieve all things!

-mindy spencer 

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