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    Posted November 14, 2012 by
    Atlanta, Georgia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    CNN Fit Nation: 2013 Triathlon Challenge

    If not now, WHEN?

    Hey Fit Nation! I'm Lindsay Sims and I am so excited for this opportunity to be a contender for next year's triathlon challenge. The mere thought of being able to cross the finish line after a race like this is unbelievable because it would mean that I finally committed to a permanent change in my exercise and eating habits and believed in myself enough to complete a goal.

    I have always been a happy and positive person with an adventurous spirit, but lately life has thrown me and my husband so many curveballs and challenges that I feel like I'm falling apart; so much so that I barely recognize myself anymore. A year ago after graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design, we got married and moved to Atlanta to peruse our careers in the design field. Unfortunately, the job-market wasn’t exactly hopping and I couldn't find a job fast enough so I settled for a nanny position which I still have today. My husband did find a promising job, but his company struggled as well and couldn’t pay him for several months. Needless to say, we are in debt with student loans and bills up to our elbows and we barely have enough energy to focus on our relationship or our health.

    I have become so tired of dealing with our financial burdens and abrupt life changes that I've found myself addicted to sweets and snacking because it is a temporary relief for how I'm feeling. I am from a small town in North Carolina and continue to reside in the South where I’m surrounded by “comfort” food. I enjoy cooking at home, but most of my recipes were passed down from my Mom and grandparents and they are the furthest from healthy. Even though I eat lots of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables, I often ruin (or in our opinion, improve) them by adding salt and butter. With this journey, I would love to be taught methods to help me keep up with my nutrition at home.

    I know I'm in major denial in my career path as well. I’ve created this rut of settling as a nanny instead of an interior designer because I'm embarrassed of how I look compared to the other young professionals in my field and scared of failing in my work. I need to claim my self-confidence again, not just physically but mentally, and be proud of my accomplishments in college and not put them to waste.

    I used to be a competitive dancer, for twelve years, and during that time, I was flexible, energetic, and strong. I want all of that back! In high school, I broke my knee and after physical therapy I was so doubtful that I could ever be as good as I once was that I quit. I’ve never regretted anything more than that. I think that this triathlon would get me excited for physical activity again; not only dancing, but hiking, swimming, and biking which were all things I used to find joy in. It would broaden my scope of exercise because I’m used to just walking and lifting weights to lose pounds and I’m excited about the prospect running which is something that I’ve steered clear of!..not only because I think I look like a flopping fool, but because my knees start to hurt since I haven't been strengthening them properly. My doctors told me that if I didn’t watch out, I could get arthritis, and it feels like that’s what’s happening. The more I gain weight, the worse it gets.

    When I graduated high school I was in decent shape at 170 pounds but I gained a whopping 60 pounds during and after college. I have started and stopped a diet and exercise routine more than a dozen times and something always happens that causes me to fall off the band wagon. I just haven’t been a part of a team since I stopped dancing and haven’t had the support that I need to carry on. Unfortunately my husband’s habits are just as bad as mine, so I feel like we’re just going in circles.

    I used to carry my weight pretty well because I had a muscular body with curvy proportions, but now I've gotten to the point where I can't hide my fat. I've never even wanted to be skinny, just toned and healthy. To me, it's more important to have energy and endurance, rather than look like a stick. Right now, I'm kind of disgusted when I look in the mirror or when I see pictures of myself and I’m not proud of that feeling because I am actually proud of who I am on the inside.

    I’m just keep on smiling because I don’t want to burden people with my concerns, but the hardest part about living like that is that no one knows how much I’m holding inside. I just know that now is the time to overhaul my self-image so that I can make a positive and everlasting turnaround for my life. My husband and I are both headed for diabetes and a life of disappointment if we don't make a change now. If I can train and complete in this triathlon, I will have the confidence and the ability to commit to a new healthy and happy life that I can share with family, friends, and our future kids.

    Each time I listen to the Bert Show, here in Atlanta, and hear Jeff talking about his amazing journey with Fit Nation, I am inspired because he gives me hope for a better tomorrow. I want to thank CNN and Dr. Gupta for this chance. Please know that if you chose me to be a part of your team, I will work harder than ever before and never give up. I hope to see you soon!
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