Monday, November 2, 2015

Featured Client Shannon Kniss - I am a big girl….IT'S JUST AN ADJECTIVE

This month's featured client is someone so very special to my heart, for so many reasons.  She's not our featured client because we share the same last name or because we fight over gifts at the Kniss family gift exchange.  Shannon is our featured client because we have watched not only her physical journey for the past several years, but her emotional and mental journey.  To say her journey has been a hellacious one is an understatement.  There have been set backs, roadblocks, and just plain old bullshit put in her path.  However, she epitomizes perseverance and determination, throwing a big middle finger in the air to those set backs, moving forward to a happy healthier Shannon.  Shannon's strength is not just a physical one.  It takes a strong and loving heart to be confident in herself, to continually treat others with respect and kindness, and to be honest enough to share her experiences.  She's one of the funniest people I have ever met, I love that she calls Twisted Bodies her fitness home because she has a strong support system here from instructors to friends…..sharing a last name and seeing her at family functions is just a bonus!

I'm a BIG GIRL….It's JUST an ADJECTIVE


When I was asked to tell my story, I wasn't sure what to say.  I have struggled with what to say, and how to say it.  I do not like to tell my full story, it is still painful and emotional for me.  But, telling it is part of the healing process. So, here it goes. 

Hi, my name is Shannon, and I am a big girl. That may appear to be negative body image, but big is just an adjective.  With that being clarified, I am a big girl.  I have always been a big girl.  I was never a very active person.  I played sports through junior high, marched in the band in high school, and was a camp counselor in college. I was definitely not an example of health and fitness.  As I progressed through college, I started realizing that my lifestyle was not exactly working for me.  I was drinking like a fish,  smoking like a chimney, and eating anything I wanted, but I was not feeling like a young college kid full of life.  I went to the doctor, and found out what no 23 year old wants to hear.  My blood pressure was sky high, and I was walking the fine line of Type 2 Diabetes.  Changes needed to happen, and they had to happen as soon as possible.  I began seeing a therapist about my addiction to food, speaking with a nutritionist, and also a surgeon.  In April of 2008 I had  gastric lap band surgery.  



This was my solution. This was going to work.  This surgery was how I was going to get it done, no extra work required.  From April to October, I had lost 50 pounds, my blood work was looking better, and I thought I was feeling better.  Then my grandfather Pops got sick.  The man who I had looked up to, and always made me feel special regardless of anything was dying.  I turned to the one thing that I had known to always be there and comfort me, food.  Now, you may be thinking, but the lap band, you can't eat that much food.  When you have an addiction, you will do anything to get that fix.  When Pops passed away in December 2008, I spiraled.  By September 2009 I had gained back all of the weight I had lost, and added another 20 more pounds, just for good measure. 
The next three years were filled with attempts and failures at trying to change my life.  I did manage to lose some of the weight I had gained back, however I was still not healthy.  

My family and I are big baseball fans.  My MeMom and Pops had always taken us to see the Texas Rangers play, my brother played baseball, my sister and I both played softball.  We loved the game.  To help cope with Pops being gone, I started attending more Ranger games.  My MeMom had become my person, my confidant, and my best friend.  In 2010, when the Rangers reached the ALCS, my MeMom and I went to the championship game.   It was a magnificent night, quite possibly the best memory I have of baseball, ever.    


In August 2011, I had planned a trip to go to Boston with my mother to go see the Rangers play the Red Sox.   I have always wanted to see Fenway Park, the oldest original ballpark in baseball.   We had everything set for the Labor day weekend trip.  The flights, hotels, baseball tickets behind the dugout, I was so excited to go.   The week before our trip, my grandmother MeMom got sick.   She went into the hospital a week before we were supposed to fly out.  Mom had decided not to go on the trip with me, but insisted I still go.  I was sitting with my MeMom one afternoon, and told her that I had decided not to go to Boston.  MeMom took her oxygen mask off, looked me in the eye, and told me "Get on the plane Shannon Kay.  You go to Boston, you watch our team, and come back and tell me everything."    So, I went to Boston, September 1, 2011.  I landed at Logan, got my bags, checked into the hotel, and was about to walk out the door to go to Yawkey to catch some Yankees/Red Sox action when my phone rang.  My MeMom had passed away.

There I was alone in a strange city, processing this news, and what did I do?  I ordered room service.  I ordered a double cheese burger, french fries with cheese, and beer.  I didn't eat a single thing.  Food, something that had always been there for me, something that had always comforted me, could do nothing to help me then.  Looking back, I would say that this was my turning point.  I got back home, and started trying to put all the pieces back together.  I moved back to my home town to be around familiar people and things, and I joined a gym.  Being active had  now become something that helped clear my mind.   I had gone to the doctor for a check up, and was shocked that I had lost 50 pounds, and my blood work was all in line.  That's when the new addiction started.  


I started going to the gym on a regular basis.  I started watching what I put into my mouth.  I started living healthy.  In the summer of 2013, I hit a huge milestone.  I had lost 100 pounds.  I was so proud.  I had done something I never dreamed possible.  I felt better than I have ever felt before.  That's when one night at family dinner, Carissa asked me if I wanted to work out with her at her studio.  Thus my journey began with Twisted Bodies.  



Holy hell, I was not prepared for that journey.  After my first pilates mat class with Carissa, I couldn't move for 3 days.  On day 4, I came back for more.  As a 'beginner' I had hoped Carissa would have been a little more sympathetic to my struggles, but I'm family, there's no such thing as sympathy.  My first yoga class with her, I overheated. So I stepped outside to cool off and catch my breath.  Carissa comes out and says "I know you don't think you're finished."  I trudged back in, and completed what torture she had in store for me.   Even with janky hips and a rouge left foot, she pushed me to be better, listen to my body, and keep moving forward. The first time I did levitation, was when I knew my body was capable of so much more than I had thought.  


I took a new position with my job that involved travelling, and so I was unable to keep my regular schedule.  I dropped in as often as I could, but then I would be gone for weeks at a time, and I was unable to keep attending classes.  Then life really decided to make things fun.   November 2013, I went trail riding with some friends.  Long story short, I was thrown from the back of a truck and broke my shoulder.  Who knew you could break your shoulder?  When I got the all clear from my doctor in 2014 that there would be no surgery required,  I called Carissa and Khristen to rehab.  Fast forward to the present, I am currently taking private pole classes with Kayla.  



My journey has been bumpy.  I have told the abbreviated version of my story, but never have I gone into detail like I have now, and it's been extremely emotional.  I never thought I could be capable of what I have accomplished.  Through all that life has thrown my way, I have maintained my 100 pound weight loss, but now I am not focusing on a number.  That number on the scale is just a reflection of my body's relationship with gravity.  What matters is that I am stubborn with my goals, but I am more flexible with the methods used to reach them.   Twisted Bodies provides those methods.  



HER TOP FAVORITES

Favorite Indulgence
Have you heard of this internets thing called  Netflix?  It's pretty fantastic.  I'm just saying. 

Favorite Movie
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back  

Favorite Twisted Class
Currently, I am barely able to make my private trainings, but when I am able to, I really enjoy reformer work. 

Hidden Talent
When you find it will you let me know?  I have this uncanny ability to make things awkward, does that count? 

What she does when life gets stressful?
Clean.  I don't know what it is, but I let my OCD take over, and clean the house, the car, the office.  

Dream Vacation
I really want to travel through Ireland.  

Historical figure she most identifies with
History was never my strong subject.  There are several people that I could say, but honestly, I don't have a clear answer to this.  

If there were a soundtrack to her life
Good heavens, it would never end.  Anything from The Beatles, to The Eagles, Nirvana, Green Day, Britney, boy bands, Biggie, Dre.  Throw in some Black Keys, Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, JT, Nicki Minage, to George, Garth and Johnny Cash.  My musical tastes sincerely run from,"listen to this" to "please don't judge me". 

Beauty product she can't live without
L'Oreal BB cream

Twisted Client she is most inspired by and why
This one is difficult for me to answer because I don't take classes regularly.  However, Kayla inspired and helped motivate me while I was rehabbing.  She was recovering from an injury at the time as well, and she didn't let that stop her.  If anything it motivated her more.  

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