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    Posted November 5, 2013 by
    Winterset, Iowa
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    CNN Fit Nation: 2014 Triathlon Challenge

    Healthy Kids, Healthy Mom!


    Please see the PS at the bottom of the story, it is not included in the video.


    Hi, my name is Connie Sievers. I am 51 and live in Winterset, Iowa. I am NOT a swimmer, or a biker, or a runner, but I am ready to get my TRI on! Thank you for considering me for a place on the 2014 CNN Fit Nation Triathlon team.


    For many years, weight was never a problem for me. In fact, weight was not a problem until my daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at age 3. She relapsed at age 5 and then passed away at age 6 following a bone marrow transplant. During this time, I gained 70 pounds. Since 1995, I have struggled with those extra 70 pounds. The scales have been up and down a few times over the past 18 years.


    I now have new hope! My oldest son, Ryan, married Chelsie last year. Chelsie is a very active person. She has ran in marathons and she participated in the Iowa State University Triathlon Club during her undergrad. Chelsie convinced Ryan to join her during a sprint Triathlon in 2012, one month after they were married. Ryan told us that he has never been as afraid in all of his life as he was during the swim. He got knocked under water a couple of times and lost his breath. They took a great picture of Ryan finishing the race in between two 60+ - year old men. However, Ryan immediately was planning his next triathlon and has run 4 of them so far. Chelsie and Ryan have started gathering their own group of friends and family to compete together.


    On September 8, 2013, several family members and friends went to watch the kids compete at Iowa’s Best Dam Triathlon. Chelsie and Ryan had recruited Kyle, my youngest son. Ryan had recruited 3 of his cousins and 4 of his high school/college friends. I loved watching the kids compete in the sprint Triathlon. They were talking smack at each other, but also cheered each other on. I realized that if the kids could continue in this lifestyle, they were bound to have a healthier life.

    That day, I decided that I would work hard and do the sprint triathlon with my kids next September. The family photo from that day also helped to motivate me to get started! I looked so very unhealthy.


    September 9th, I started to exercise again. I pulled down my mountain bike that I had not ridden for 18 years, found a pool that was open in the mornings, and started to walk on the treadmill and outside. Today, I am starting my 9th week of exercise. So far, I have lost 5.5 pounds and have lost 3 inches off of my waist and hips. Slowly, steadily, I am beginning to see improvements. I want to continue along this journey.


    I want to do this for myself! One of these days my husband and I will be grandparents, and we want to be cool, active grandparents! My goal is to complete at least one triathlon next year. I know my journey will be more successful, meaningful and fun if I complete it with a team and have coaching guidance.

    Thank you for considering me for the 2014 CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Team.


    PS:  One additional thought, I am the Career & Technical / Health Curriculum Coordinator for Iowa's largest school district.  This means I, along with several amazing teachers, am responsible for the health and nutrition education of 32,000 children.  Participating on the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Team would help me become an exceptional role model for these students.


    As I reviewed the entries, I realized that there is a consistent thread running through almost every story.   Many people have difficulty making healthy choices during emotional stress.   When my daughter went through treatment and then passed away, I made unhealthy choices and quickly gained weight.  A few years later, I maintained a 50-pound weight loss for over a year.  Then an artery in my head ripped causing a TIA (mini-stroke), the emotional stress caused me to make unhealthy choices once again.  I need to learn to take care of myself, even when faced with emotional stress.

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