Sunday, July 13, 2014

On The Road To Untwisting My Body - Featured Client Sheila VanBree

When Khristen and Carissa decided to begin the client of the month article many clients came to mind.  However, one client in particular stood out for many reasons.  We love to watch our clients transform, increase strength, flexibility and most of all the emotional and mindful transformation that takes place.  We see people grow and do things that many thought were far fetched.  Sheila became our first featured client because of her dedication to Pilates and the rapid changes we have seen in her body.  Those of you who have taken classes with Sheila the last couple months will certainly agree that a transformation has taken place.  Sheila never misses a class or private session, unless there is a major reason.  Sheila trains 2 times a week in group reformer and follows up once a week with private training.  Recently, Sheila has begun to add and try some of our additional classes such as yoga and Total Barre.  May her road to untwisting continue to be a happy and successful one…..we are proud to have such a inspirational client in our studio!  Read Sheila's story below!



On the road to untwisting my body.

I started taking Pilates classes at Twisted Bodies in January 2014. I knew it would be hard, but I had taken Pilates classes until about 6 years ago so I figured I could still do a few things like “roll a like a ball” and “bridge.”  Well, Khristen and Carissa didn’t really have the same view of my abilities. In fact they talked about “rehab,” which floored me.  4 years ago I fractured my pelvis in 2 places when I fell off a horse going over a jump, a very small jump. My physical therapist told me that I had made a text book recovery, but that was 4 years ago. Khristen and Carissa saw pelvic and hip instability, tight hip flexors and on and on. So I was sent to the reformer and private lessons. I felt like I was going back to  Joseph Pilates’ roots, rehab on the reformer.  Still, I was thrilled to be back and to have that “tall” feeling after every class.

I was so tired of having doc’s say that all of my aches ( intermittent back pain and arthritis)  were  part of ageing. Khristen and Carissa never mentioned age, they just talked about what I was going to do next. Now, that did mean that Khristen made me work on the Tower of Torture, and Carissa would come up with new routines on the reformer and then look at me and say “and Sheila will really like this one.” Ugh. I went into this knowing I’d be challenged, and I was ready to get my “Pilates body” back.

In January, about the same time I started taking Pilates classes, my husband and I decided we were going to get serious (again) about losing weight. We had both gained weight and really didn’t exercise. I had tried to convince my doctor that walking our 2 dachshunds once a day was exercise, but he only shook his head. So, we finished off all the leftover Christmas cookies and started on a “no carbs” and “low fat” diet for three weeks, and then gradually started eating a few carbs. I cannot explain how foreign a “no carbs” diet was to us. Glenn bakes bread every weekend, I love baking desserts, and pasta was a staple, so “no carbs” seemed like an impossibility. Sugar-free Jell-O became our treat. Glenn vacuum packed salads in mason jars to take for lunch. OMG. We weren’t hungry, but to me this was the most boring diet in the world. I felt like all we did was chew…salad, carrots, green peppers…… At least we could have small (very small) portions of meat.

I had a few goals when I started the diet and Pilates. While many parts of my body needed downsizing, I really wanted to get rid of the “back fat.” Certainly, waist, thighs, hips, etc. all needed attention, but the back fat really bothered me. I wanted to bring my BMI down from “obese” to “normal.” I also wanted to get off cholesterol medicine and lower my sugar, which had been getting closer to a high normal.

After 6 months of Pilates classes, I can say it’s one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. I really do feel taller and not just when I walk out of class but all day. When I have back pain from too much time working in the yard or in the kitchen, I can  do a few stretches and get rid of it! I’ve never been able to do that. I move freely now. I had been slow to get up off the floor when I played with the dogs, and I thought that was just the way I was ageing. Now I’m not slow and I don’t even think about it. The arthritis in my hands and knees has subsided. Plus, after 6 months of dieting, I’ve lost 38 pounds, and gone down 2 sizes, or 3 sizes if you count that amazing pair of pants that says “8.”

I actually looked forward to my annual physical this year and the June lab results were great. My BMI is normal, my cholesterol is so good that I’m off medication and my sugar is way down. The combination of Pilates classes 3 times a week and diet really changed my body. I’ve gained muscle and flexibility and improved my balance, and lost a lot of back fat! Carissa told me I had to buy new workout clothes.

While I had a part in all these changes, I give Khristen and Carissa all the credit. They kept me motivated with their humor, caring attitude, and their “can do” approach to solving problems that I didn’t know existed. I feel grateful to have found such wonderful instructors, great mom’s, and kind friends.

So what’s next? Well there is still some weight to lose, back fat hanging in there, and stability issues to address, but I keep looking at the poles…..

And remember: engage the core!





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