[Editor’s note: Lyn Huston shared her story of improving her health and confidence with us. These are her own words.]
I was always a chubby kid, and my older brothers were the sports stars. As the last of them was getting ready to graduate from high school, I remember overhearing someone telling my parents that there wouldn’t be any more stars from my family on the teams at my small high school. I decided in that moment in time to go out for what would be our high school’s first girls’ cross country team the next fall as a freshman. During the next four years, I was never a star, and I was never fast, but my coach impacted my beliefs about what was possible, and what I was capable of, for the rest of my life. He always told me that it was okay to slow down, but that I was never to walk, and I never did.
I used to refer to myself as a “fat granny on the GO.” This is not my first go-around with weight loss. I’ve lost 40, 50, 60 even 90 pounds, at least 10 times in my lifetime, and I’ve even maintained weight loss for up to five years. I know that food is the one thing I have a hard time controlling. I’m an ex-smoker (four years in February), and it took me at least 20 times of trying to conquer that addiction.
Weight control and diet is harder than that, because you can’t just quit eating forever. I’ve done calorie restriction, portion control and intermittent fasting this time around, and I hope to continue these strategies as lifetime habits. I’ve paired that with upping my game in terms of exercise, and the ElliptiGO has been the key.
Striving for “ONEderland”
I had the GO for more than two years before I finally accepted the fact that I had to commit to both diet and daily exercise. I know that at my age, in order to lose weight, I need to have sustained exercise of more than an hour a day. I start nearly every day with 8 miles (about a half hour) on the trainer, and usually do a second afternoon ride of 12 or more miles. The 4:30 am morning ride gives me insurance that nothing can mess up my intention of riding every single day.
My highest weight was 247 pounds. To date, I’ve lost 42 pounds, and I am just five pounds away from a big milestone that I call “ONEderland,” meaning that my weight will begin with the number 1, not 2. I’ll set a new, more specific goal after I reach 199 pounds. I’d love to weigh between 150-160 pounds someday, and I really feel like that’s achievable.
I’ve always just wanted to “be normal,” such that when I walk into a room, no one’s first thought is my weight. I have always believed, no matter how high my weight got, that it was always retrievable, that I could always eventually be successful in weight loss again. I guess maybe I’d say that I’m a work in progress…figuratively, in the words of my former cross country coach, I’m not walking, I’m just running slowly. With wheels this time.
Finding Comfort to Keep GOing
In the two years before I found the ElliptiGO, I’d started jogging again, but my weight was too high and my knees couldn’t handle it. I ended up with cortisone shots in my knees and then was pretty laid up for a while trying to heal. After that, I did a lot of distance walking, including two half-marathons, followed by more knee problems and more cortisone shots and more inactivity trying to heal. I finally decided that I HAD TO do something else.
My brother is a cyclist, and I’d seen some stories about heavy women getting into cycling for fitness, but I didn’t think I could stand sitting on the seat. I was Googling for “most comfortable bike seat” and one of the website hits on the first page of results was the ElliptiGO website. A few months later, I was able to rent an 8C for the day and I was hooked within five minutes. I saved for a year, a few hundred dollars a month, and bought my own 8C, whose name is AmiGO, in April 2014.
I rode just under 1,000 miles during the first seven months I had the ElliptiGO (May-Dec. 2014), then 2,015 miles in 2015. In 2016, I just wasn’t making a lot of miles…950 in January-October. In the last week of October this past year, after ordering a Kinetic SMART trainer, I realized I needed to make a goal, so I decided to just try for 2,016 miles in 2016, which would require 16 miles per day every day for the rest of the year. That’s how my GOstreak began.
On Halloween, I did the first 16-mile day. It was so much harder than riding 16 miles outside, and I thought I would die of boredom. To keep me distracted from looking at the Kinetic app on my phone every 20 seconds, I watch Netflix with the sound turned off and the captions turned on so I have to pay attention and read them. Sometimes I listen to music on Pandora, trying to make a mile per song, which requires me to adjust speed/intensity based on the length of the song. Really short songs have me praying for a commercial so I can catch up!
I maintained my GOstreak in November, finishing the month with 650 miles, most of which was on the trainer. I’d never even come close to so many miles in a month. In December, feeling pretty certain I’d make my end-of-year goal, I decided to try some longer rides, inspired by Jane LeGore’s metric century on the trainer, and I really wanted to make the top of the Strava ElliptiGO group leaderboard one time, which I did with a weekly total just over 300 miles, all on the trainer. I did 803 miles for the month and ended 2016 with 2,450 miles, exceeding my goal by more than 400 miles.
Out With “Old Fat Granny, In With Confidence
When I’m riding my ElliptiGO, I feel like an Avatar up there! And even “old fat grannies” (which does not describe me anymore!) can do it. I love that I can ride it without my knees hurting or feeling lame the next day. I have some social anxiety, so the uniqueness of the bike makes for an easy conversation starter. I think I’m a little quirky and eccentric, so I think the ElliptiGO and I are a good match.
It is seriously the most fun you can have standing up! It’s the thing I can’t wait to get home from work to do, or take a vacation to do. Although this picture is “pre-weight loss,” it’s my favorite picture of me with AmiGO, because it shows how riding the GO makes me feel.
I can’t say enough about the acceptance, support and encouragement with which the GO family has graced me, and how much it has meant to me. This has led to a great sense of renewed and strengthened personal confidence. Last year, I went to the 2016 Winter Classic in Scottsdale, AZ, and painfully conquered Jane LeGore’s “blankety-blank hill.” This year, I went back to the Winter Classic and flew up that hill!
For 2017 and beyond, I have several goals. I hope to maintain at least 500 miles per month this year, with a goal of 6,000 miles for the year. As of January 24, I’ve ridden every day since Halloween, and the GOstreak is at 86 days. I’m aiming for 100 days, which will happen on February 7 if I’m successful.
I take medication for high blood pressure and type II diabetes. It would be fantastic to not need to take Metformin and Lisinopril every day! I’d like to continue to lose weight, perhaps another 40-60 pounds. This spring, for my birthday in early May, I’d like to ride to the next town: 56 miles away over the summit. I hope to do a metric century this summer. And I want to ride a little way again with my 84-year-old dad.