Denise has long struggled with weight gain and eating. When she found out that she qualified for Take Control’s Health Coaching, she knew she could benefit from nutritional guidance to learn how to fuel her body and to help increase her confidence to lose weight and reach her fitness goals. She has taken off running (literally!) with new habits and has no intention of stopping anytime soon!
When the college running group was having a hard time getting sign ups, Denise took charge encouraging students to come run with her. “You can run with me, I’m slow!” she told hesitant students. What started out as a way to help others, quickly became personal. Before she knew it, Denise set a big goal: run a half marathon.
With half-marathon training underway, and a goal to complete it in under 3 hours, Denise leaned on Coach Katie for guidance. They began to work on viewing food as an energy source to sustain her difficult training. Denise says, “I trusted Katie when she told me I had to actually eat more carbs, I needed more food than I thought, so I trusted the process and it made such a huge difference.” Once she learned about the variety of healthy, whole foods she could eat instead of relying on the typical running “gels” (that she did not enjoy), she felt satisfied and had plenty of energy to sustain her over the long distances. With healthier eating habits, she noticed she didn’t feel sluggish or tired and no longer craved the sugary junk food that always resulted in a crash.
Denise’s mindset and perseverance is a huge part of her success. A snowmobiling accident over 20 years ago caused damage to her spinal discs. After the accident, Denise worked hard in physical therapy, and continued to strive for an active lifestyle. She has since participated in activities like CrossFit and even became a black belt in Taekwondo. She now attends TaiChi. She says, “keep the faith: in yourself, your coach, God or whatever it is you believe in.”
While she had the work ethic, Denise often struggled with feeling like she was falling short, but during her coaching journey, she learned that, “coach Katie was there to support me and I knew she was setting me up for success.” Katie worked on mindset with Denise reminding her that even when an obstacle showed up, it did not mean her goal was going to result in failure. When Denise’s asthma and a bout of Covid-19 sidelined her training, Denise felt worry and doubt start to creep in about her performance. “Katie didn’t let me make an excuse, but reminded me it wasn’t the end of the world if I was struggling and needed to take time away from training” she says.
Just before race day, Denise received a phone call of encouragement from Coach Katie which she says meant the world to her. She recalls that while running she had Katie in her head telling her, “You can do this!” Denise fully enjoyed every moment of the race, stopping to take photos of beautiful views, thanking bystanders for their support, petting dogs, and helping up other participants. She says, “I got into the groove…. I wasn’t sure I was going to make my time goal, but I just wanted to enjoy the moment and make this the best day possible.” Denise completed the half-marathon in just under three hours, accomplishing her goal and following it up with a trail run two weeks later where she placed 2nd in her age category.
Denise’s greatest takeaway from the Take Control program was that “there is no failure in trying to do something that is hard.” She says, “People are afraid to try things and they shouldn’t be. If you get out of your own way, what you put in your body makes changes and you will see how much more energy you have and how happy you can be.”